Francistown, one of the oldest towns in Botswana, is strategically placed in the North of the country. The town is at the crossroads of routes between Gabarone and Bulawayo and of Maun and Kazungula, and is ideally located for forays into the Makgadilikgadi Pans. Francistown has a railway station and an International airport, and serves as a stopover for tourists travelling north and west to the safari territories. Human habitation in this area goes back at least 80,000 years, and it was relatively recently - in the 1820's - that the Ndebele began making their influence felt.
Francistown was the center of southern Africa's first gold rush, and is still surrounded by old and abandoned mines. Gold was first discovered here along the Tati River in 1867 by Karl Mauch, and soon the area was full of prospectors staking their claims. The town is named after Daniel Francis, who organized its establishment once the influx of miners began to get a little chaotic. By the 1940's, however, the gold mining had slowed, and there are only a few of the larger mines still operating today.