Close to the ground.

GPS: S 25 51.893 E 025 38.622 | pop. 75,000 | elevation 1,283 m/4,209 ft

The capital city of Mafikeng is laid-back for its size and has a healthy economy relative to some of the surrounding cities and a distinctly large middle-class. The city is historically significant due to its role in the South African War when the city was besieged and shelled for a number of months by Boer forces between October 1899 and May 1900.

Nearby Mmabatho is Mafikeng’s sister city located on the northern outskirts of town. Today it is part of greater Mafikeng, but under the apartheid regime it was the capital of the nominally independent Bophuthatswana homeland led by the controversial Lucas Mangope, who fled his “independent country” after unsuccessfully trying to implement unpopular policies.

Mafikeng Museum

Mafikeng Museum was established in 1985 in its present location, the former town hall, which was built in 1903 and still has its pressed steel ceiling. Inside are displays of the tribal origins of Mafikeng, old tools and crafts as well as herbal medicines used by ancestors. There is an entire room dedicated to the 1899-1900 siege of Mafikeng during the Anglo-Boer War, with numerous photographs of the destruction left by shelling during the siege and three of the original 7-pound guns used during the war. There is also a large display on Sol Plaatje - an activist and politician who was a Mafikeng resident during the siege and recorded his experiences in his "Mafikeng Diary: A Black Man's View of a White Man's War."

St John's Anglican Church

St John's Anglican Church is a Gothic-style church designed by Sir Herbert Baker to commemorate those who died during the 1899-1900 siege of Mafikeng. The interior has been restored since a 1984 fire significantly damaged the building.

Mafikeng Game Reserve

Mafikeng Game Reserve is a 46 square kilometer conservation and game breeding park with sizeable populations of white rhino, buffalo, gemsbok and giraffe. Day visitors can braai in the picnic area and overnight accommodation is available in a self-catering house (R400-550) and at campsites (R200). To get there head east out of town on Shippard St about 2 km . After crossing the bridge over the railroad tracks take a right onto Jacaranda St and continue straight 3.5 km to the park gate.

Crossings Shopping Center

Crossings Shopping Center is on the north side of town and has a Pick 'n Pay, Woolworths, a few chain restaurants, an FNB Bank with ATM and an Nedbank ATM.

Game Shopping Center

Game Shopping Center has a Spar, a few chain restaurants, a Standard Bank ATM and ABSA ATM in addition to the Choppies and Game store.

Mega City Shopping Mall

Mega City Shopping Mall is a huge shopping center with the standard lineup of shops including a Pick 'n Pay, Shoprite, restaurants and fast food, and ABSA and Nedbank banks with ATMs. To get there from Mafikeng head west on 1st St for 0.5 km, turn left on Modiri Molema St. Continue for 2.3 km, turn left on Sekame Rd and continue 1.5 km.

Surrey Hotel

Surrey Hotel is the budget option in town with basic dated rooms that come with a TV and an enclosed balcony overlooking the street. There are three bars to choose from in the hotel, including one for men only.

Garden View Lodge

Garden View Lodge has both standard and self-catering open rooms inside a family's house with TV, AC and a mini-fridge. There is a central courtyard with tables and chairs and an area to braai. It has an attached restaurant (6:30pm-9pm Mon-Thurs, mains R45-65) and Garden View Bar (5pm-9pm Mon-Thurs). It is best suited for those looking for a guesthouse experience.

Buffalo Park Lodge

Buffalo Park Lodge is a family run lodge with 24 standard but pleasant rooms, each with TV and AC. The lodge is within walking distance to the town center, but attached to the lodge is one of the better restaurants and bars in town.

Cooke's Lake Chalets

Cooke's Lake Chalets is a collection of 10 new, brick and tile floor chalets complete with AC, a TV, phone and matching leopard print bedspread and curtains. The thatched roof chalets overlook the lake, which is home to numerous bird species. To get to the Cooke's Lake Chalets from town, head south on Nelson Mandela Dr a few hundred meters out of town and take a left. Follow the signs to the North West Parks & Tourism Board, passing through the Heritage House entrance gate (S 25 52.103 E 25 39.043). Continue about 200 m past the Heritage House to the lodge reception.

Protea Hotel - Mafikeng

Protea Hotel - Mafikeng is a swanky upscale hotel located on one of the main roads. This luxury 4-star hotel has comfortable pillow-top beds, a sleek swimming pool, a library, restaurant and a bar.

Ivory Pot 1

Ivory Pot serves up large plates of delicious food at an incredible value in a small stylish restaurant. There are five traditional African dishes with your choice of meat along with ting, pap, rice or samp.

Ivory Pot 2

Ivory Pot has a second location near the main minibus taxi rank that is equally as good.

Buffalo Park Lodge

Buffalo Park Lodge is a popular casual restaurant and bar with a decent variety of meals, from ribs and steaks to vegetable stir-fry and chicken curry pasta. The bar opens up into the restaurant, a tall thatched roof lodge with a couple TV's playing sports and, befitting its name, a large buffalo head mounted on the wall.

Ebony & Ivory Jazz Bar

Ebony & Ivory Jazz Bar is a relaxed jazz bar that draws in patrons looking to mellow out at all times of day and night. It isn't easy to spot as it is unsigned and you have to walk through a short hallway before you reach the bar.

Graceland Restaurant & Night Club

Graceland Restaurant & Night Club is a solid nightclub (but not much of a restaurant) with a few pool tables, a mirrored wall and a dance floor. Traffic is light during the day but this is a hot spot at night - though a little seedy so watch your pockets. Look for the Graceland sign on a gate halfway between Nelson Mandela Dr and Warren St. You have to walk about 30 m down the driveway to the club entrance.