The mining town of Selebi-Phikwe was established to house and service the employees of the Bamangwato Concessions Ltd., a nickel mine that began operations in 1973. Originally there were two villages that straddled the then unexploited deposits of nickel and copper in the area. When
the minerals were discovered, the mine and township were built on the land between the two villages, and their names were combined – SelebiPhikwe.
Copper-nickel ore is extracted from shafts in deep, open cast mines, and is transported by rail. The coalﬁred power station Morupule was Selebi-Phikwe built to supply electricity to the mine and surrounding areas. The mine is the main employer in the town, which has the usual amenities of shopping centres, hotels, guest houses and an airport.
The Letsibogo Dam is part of the massive North-South Carrier (NSC) Water Project, which saw the construction of several dams, water transmission systems and water treatment works to develop water resources in the northeast of the country and relieve tight water demand in the southeast, particularly in the capital. NSC links Letsibogo and major wellﬁelds to Gaborone via a large, 400 kilometre pipeline.
A major leisure venue for residents of, or visitors to, ‘Phikwe,’ the Letsibogo Dam is situated near the nearby village of Mmadinare.
- Panoramic views
Situated approximately 25 kilometres northeast of the village of Bobonong, the Lepokole Hills are composed of colossal granite blocks often piled one on top of the other, giving way to fantastic creations of rock, trees, vegetation and sky. The Hills are in fact the southernmost extension of the Matopos Hills in Zimbabwe, which feature similar terrain.
Hiking, climbing and fabulous scenery are some of the main attractions here, with incredible views from atop the highest hills. And the area is extremely rich in archaeological and historical treasures.
San rock paintings can be seen in the rocky overhangs of kopjes, and some tell the story of their retreat from encroaching peoples into these hills. Walled ruins in the style of the Great Zimbabwe era can also be seen, as can the remains of ancient village settlements and Iron Age sites, their evidence including stone arrangements, granaries, pottery and Iron-Age tools.
A community-based tourism project for the development of Lepokole is being administered through the Mapanda Conservation Trust. Plans are underway to fence the area surrounding the hills, restock it with indigenous wildlife, and offer nature walks and wildlife viewing, as well as guided hikes up the hills. The Trust also plans to build camping facilities.
Botswana Tourism Board is assisting the communities in the Lepokole Conservation Area to promote local conservation, generate important income for rural residents, and diversify their tourism product, enabling the communities to achieve the maximum tourism potential of this rich and diverse area.
Iron age sites
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