Located on the outskirts of Gaborone along the Tlokweng Border Gate road, it is hard to say whether Riverwalk is in the Gaborone Village area or if it is, in fact, located in Tlokweng.
For me, this is the one mall that makes me feel like I am not in Botswana. Do not get me wrong; I am not saying that it is fancier than all other malls around town or that it offers better shopping options because, to be honest, all malls in Gaborone offer the same options as far as shopping is concerned. But Riverwalk just has that vibe that sets it apart from all other malls in town.
In my time, this used to be the mall to be seen at over the weekend, and by ‘in my time’, I mean during my junior high school days when it used to be cool to hire a combi on Saturdays and go to chill in Riverwalk either having ice cream or just going there to watch a movie.
You know, the time when dickies were still the coolest kicks you could ever own and or for guys, those colourful dickies two pieces that went so well with the dickies hats and the manyora walk.
The time when Vee was just breaking through into the music scene with the crazy tunes like ‘Pompa Tswidi’ and that song that talked something about the kasi.
If you grew up in my time, you will know exactly what I’m talking about. The time we used to go to Riverwalk for Christmas carols, when the latest you could stay away from home was 10pm and if you made it past midnight you were a maniac.
Sure Game City was there, but that was the mall you went with your mom and the rest of the family to; it wasn’t a place to hang out, have fun and feel cool. It was just another mall but Riverwalk on the other hand made you feel like you were something special. This was the mall that you made sure you wore your best clothes if you were going to pass by it.
Riverwalk has this upbeat energy about it that seems to speak to the youth and those young at heart. It is a place where you can go and just relax your mind whether it is to catch up with friends or just to read a nice book with no distractions while enjoying a nice cup of coffee and the best part about it all is that most of the restaurants, or at least a considerable number of restaurants, offer wifi so for those university students who are tired of being cooped up in the library doing research, it offers a great change of environment but they don’t loose much time in their studying as it is also not very far from the university of Botswana.
You can surf the net while enjoying a cup of coffee to take the edge and strain off and change your boring study schedule.
For the young business person, it is an ideal place to hold meetings because it is never overcrowded and it is a place that you can feel comfortable in. It doesn’t seem too unprofessional, which means if you are meeting up with potential investors, you can propose your ideas to them in a place that allows you to be yourself completely.
So what sets Riverwalk apart from all the other malls in town?
It is the ambiance in the place and the ability of the management to maintain the same level of standard that the mall has had since day one.
They have managed to make it a classy yet laid back place that does not alienate people but then, again, has in its own way been able to dictate the kind of crowd that goes there on a regular basis in a very subtle manner.
Riverwalk is a mall for anyone but not for everyone; for me it the Rolls Royce of malls in Gaborone. Everyone loves to look at it and everyone agrees that it is not only a good car but also a beautiful classy one, once in a while one would like to ride in it or even test drive it but it’s not everyone who can afford to have one and people are content with that fact.