Originally known as Phalatswe, which means ‘many impala’ in Sekgalagadi, Palapye is now known as the ‘powerhouse of Botswana’, due to the massive coal-burning power plant that was opened in the nearby town of Morupule in 1986. Located halfway between Francistown and Gaborone, the tiny town has become a convenient stopover on one of Southern Africa’s principal North–South rail and road routes. The town is famous for being the birthplace of Festus Mogae, the country’s former president.
The first people believed to have settled in the town are the Bamangwato tribe, and the settlement of Phalatswe, also called Old Palapye, was the capital of these people in the beginning of the 20th Century. The ruins of Phalatswe still stand today, a few kilometres away from the centre of Palapye.
There is a range of accommodation facilities in Palapye, ranging from luxury Palapye hotels and lodges to camping grounds, cottages and bed and breakfasts.
Cresta Botsalo is a lovely three-star hotel offering visitors warm and welcoming hospitality, conference facilities, modern amenities, comfortable air-conditioned accommodation and personalised service.
Well-known tourist attractions close to Palapye include The Khama Rhino Sanctuary, which is situated about 50 km from Palapye. Here, visitors will find the opportunity for a rare viewing of the endangered black and white rhino. The Tswapong Hills, a mountain range in Central Botswana, are also nearby and of historical significance. The hills are also an ideal location for viewing a diverse array of birdlife. The Moremi Gorge, an area of great beauty provides an ideal tranquil weekend getaway, and on a more short-term basis it is great place to have a picnic. Alternatively, take a road trip through Botswana in a four wheel drive vehicle from Explorer Safaris, which is based in Palapye. The company not only provides all-terrain vehicles, but also organises a complete package itinerary, including maps, trip notes and bookings for campsites, all at no extra cost.