Cool Beans – Cresta Lodge Harare

Coffee shops and the city of Harare go hand in hand – vibrant spaces filled with friends, family, and businessmen and women, in cheerful discussion. Akin to salons of the 17th and 18th Centuries, a good coffee shop in Zimbabwe’s sunny capital is always an eagerly sought-after commodity.Cool Beans Harare

In accordance with this line of though, Cresta Lodge Harare have recently opened up Cool Beans, the city’s newest, lively coffee shop.

Open daily from 7am – 10pm for guests of the hotel, as well as coffee-goers not affiliated with the hotel in any way, it is a space for meeting, socialising, and relaxing.Cool Beans

Thoughtfully catering for a technologically-centric generation, Cool Beans is centred around a ‘harvest table’ which features plug-in points for almost every kind of communication device imaginable. In addition, the coffee shop features a coveted free WiFi facility for all customers. Even the décor and design of the shop is attuned to the ‘times’, boasting a modern, and yet welcoming ambience. Harare Coffee Shops

Overlooking the stunning pool-deck and well-maintained garden at Cresta Lodge Harare, guests are welcome to sit back, and enjoy their coffee break in comfort and tranquillity. What’s more, during the colder months, guests can to gather around the homely fireplace to warm up, and settle into their conversation.Coffee Shops in Harare

Because bad coffee shouldn’t happen to good people, Cool Beans features only the very best roast – Avanti Coffee – and first-class, trained baristas are on hand to create delicious espressos, lattes, mochas, flavoured au laits, capuccinos, and much more.Harare Hotles

To complement the vast array of beverages, Cool Beans also provide a selection of home-made baked delights and light meals. Offerings include cakes, pastries, sandwiches, muffins, paninis and wraps.

With all this in mind, make your way down to Cool Beans at Cresta Lodge Harare today, for a unique coffee shop experience sure to brighten your day.

Airlines Flying into Zimbabwe

Featuring three international airports spread out across the country, Zimbabwe is easily accessible from a diverse array of local, regional and international destinations. Zimbabwe Flights

With over 15 airlines conducting flights to and from Zimbabwe, prices are more affordable than ever, and flights are available at a wide range of times throughout each day. With all this is mind, travellers from all over can conveniently, and affordably revel in the natural beauty of this incredible country.

Here, we provide a detailed list of airlines operating in the country, and destinations from which to fly in from, according to each of the three Zimbabwean international airports.

Harare

Zimbabwe’s capital city – Harare – is the largest airport in the country, as well as serving as a base for Air Zimbabwe – the country’s national carrier. Harare itself is serviced by two local airlines: Air Zimbabwe, and new low-cost airline Fly Africa.Flights to Harare

Regional airlines conducting flights to and from Harare, on the one hand, include Air Namibia, Air Botswana, SAA Airlink, Comair, LAM Mozambique Airlines, SAA, and SA Express. Out of these, by far the most popular are SAA, South Africa’s national flag carrier, and British Airways operated by Comair. Both airlines conduct daily flights between Johannesburg and Harare, with SAA often running as many as 10 flights per day.

International airlines, on the other hand, include EgyptAir, Emirates, Ethiopian Airlines, Kenya Airways, and TAAG Angola Airlines.

Victoria Falls

Now more than ever, the vibrant town of Victoria Falls is easily accessible, by air, from a range of countries in Southern Africa. A total of 6 local and regional airlines service the Victoria Falls International Airport: Air Botswana, Air Namibia, Air Zimbabwe, Comair, SAA and Fly Africa. As such, the airport is accessible from Maun, Windhoek and Johannesburg, as well as Harare and Bulawayo, locally.Flights to Victoria Falls

The recent introduction of low-cost flights between Harare and Victoria Falls on Fly Africa, has been widely celebrated. With flights as low as US$ 55 one-way, it is simpler than ever to visit Zimbabwe’s very own Natural Wonder of the World.

The Victoria Falls International Airport is currently undergoing a multi-million dollar upgrade, in order to boost the airport’s handling capacity and overall tourism in the town and surrounding region. With the upgrade likely to be completed in September this year, Victoria Falls is sure to solidify its status as one of Africa’s most popular destinations.

Bulawayo

Less popular, but not less important, the Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport in Bulawayo is served by only 5 airlines: Air Botswana, Air Zimbabwe, SAA Airlink, Proflight Zambia and flyafrica.Kulula Flights

Much like the Victoria Falls airport, it is accessible from Gaborone, Johannesburg, Livingstone, Ndola and Lusaka regionally, as well as Harare and Victoria Falls locally. With a new terminal established in 2003, the airport has become an increasingly popular gateway through which to travel the southern half of Zimbabwe.

With so many different options at your disposal, begin the search for the ideal Zimbabwe flight today!

Cycling events in Botswana: The Tour De Tuli

Botswana is best known for its wildlife safaris, but the country is increasingly playing host to annual cycling events.Botswana Cycling EventsFor mountain-bikers with a social conscience who want more of a cycle tour experience, there’s the Nedbank Tour de Tuli, a four-day event which runs this year from Thursday 13 – Tuesday 18 August. This challenging fundraising cycle-tour event is in support of non-profit Children in the Wilderness (CITW), a rural environmental and life-skills educational programme. Through eco-clubs and camps, CITW tackles conservation by educating rural children on their natural heritage, and has been hosting the finest mountain bike tours to raise funds for their cause since 2005.

A breath-taking Botswana event, the Tour follows the Mapungubwe Route (named after the ancient Kingdom of Mapungubwe), which gives cyclists the chance to cycle through some of the Continent’s most remote and awe-inspiring areas. Thanks to the route’s biodiversity and archaeological sites, it’s listed as a World Heritage Site, and it includes Mapungubwe National Park.Tour De Tuli BotswanaThe route forms the core of the proposed Limpopo-Shashe TransFrontier Conservation Area that covers regions in Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa. As such, it offers diverse scenery, such as views of the Limpopo River, stately Baobabs, sandstone cliffs and balancing rocks. Add to this the rich variety of birdlife and animals, and it’s easy to see why a trip here alone is an unforgettable experience. For cyclists wanting a tour of Africa’s natural beauty, while also ensuring its future sustainability, the Nedbank Tour de Tuli is an impactful, unmissable Botswana cycling event.

While it certainly has that feel-good factor, the terrain itself is harsh, with bikers navigating vast 70 to 80 km routes each day in remote areas, often in hot and dusty conditions, so it’s geared towards adventurous, experienced bikers willing to put in plenty training and preparation in advance.Cycling Events in BotswanaThe Tour de Tuli traverses not only Botswana, but Zimbabwe and South Africa too, requiring a passport, and appeals to cyclists from across the world. Many take advantage of their visit to this beautiful country to experience some downtime at one of Botswana’s numerous safari and wildlife destinations or simply to unwind and rest weary legs in their comfortable Botswana hotel accommodation.

Botswana Sunrise Photoblog

As one of the most naturally beautiful countries in Africa, we have decided to put together a photo blog on arguably the best time of day in Botswana: sunrise. Set your alarm clock, shake off the night’s sleep and chase the dawn with us.

Bask in the unearthly beauty of the Makgadikgadi Pans, and make sure to visit the astonishing Kubu Island – a dry granite rock island engulfed by a sea of white sand. Embark upon a river cruise along the gentle Chobe River, or a game drive in the Chobe National Park, known for it’s enormous elephant population. Explore one of Africa’s last remaining vast wildlife habitats – The Okavango Delta – a vibrant, unique wetland.

All this, and so much more – Botswana is an incredible destination waiting to be experienced.

Makgadkgadi Pans

Botswana Sunrise

Botswana Wildlife

Beautiful Botswana

Kwando River

Kubu Island

Kalahari

Okavango Delta

Okavango Delta

Chobe National ParkImage Credits:
Anton Matthee
Caroline Granycome
John Karwoski
Kevin Brown
Matthijs Strietman
Michael Sale
Peter Ulbrich
Phil
SWWT

Harare Day Trips

The city of Harare is the vibrant, bustling capital of Zimbabwe. While this metropolis features an array of exciting activities and attractions, there is much to be said for a a quick, and yet spectacular day trip.

This, introductory, edition of Harare Day Trips, features three wildlife attractions nearby. Image Credit - Lizane PurseThetford Game Reserve

Situated only 30 km from Harare, the Thetford Game Reserve covers over 3000 hectares of stunning, diverse Zimbabwean countryside. With incredible views over Lake Mazowe, and home to almost 900 animals, this Zimbabwe game reserve offers a unique experience in the backyard of the country’s Capital city.

A privatedly-funded conservation resource, Thetford creates a well-maintained, safe environment in which these animals can breed. Image Credit - Lizane PurseAn afternoon, or full-day game drive, under the care of a professional guide, will bring you within range of animals such as Tsessebe, Buffalo, Zebra, Giraffe, Blesbok, and the regal Sable. Mentionable highlights are the ability to view the endangered White Rhino, and incredibly rare Roan Antelope found in the reserve.

Rates

Half Day Game Drive – $55.00 per person
Full Day Game Drive – $85.00 per person (includes lunch, drinks, snacks & sundowners)  – Min 6 people.

Lake Chivero

Only 32km from Harare, lies Lake Chivero – one of the most popular weekend spots for Zimbabwe locals. 26km² in size, and 8km at its widest point, the lake was constructed as far back as the 1950’s. Upon the lush shoreline of this grand lake is the Lake Mcllwaine Recreational Park, an area rich in a variety of game, and gorgeous to behold. Easily sighted game includes wildebeest, white rhino, kudu, giraffe, eland and zebra, as well as smaller creatures such as rock hyrax, monkey and warthog. Harare Day TripLake Chivero boasts an array of activities, the most popular of which is a day out on the water – fishing. With species such as Hunyani salmon, Black bream, Green headed bream, Barbel, and even Tiger Fish, Lake Chivero provided the site for a rewarding bout of angling. Other, more active pursuits include yachting, canoeing, rowing and general boating on the Lake itself. On land, horse riding is available on particular days, while guided game walks and game drives around the park are available year-round. Lake Chivero ZimbabweIf you’re interested in extending your stay into the night, take your pick from a range of suitable accommodation options, including self-catering lodges, campsites, basic chalets and three exclusive luxury two-bedroomed lodges: Hornbill, Fish Eagle and Kingfisher.

Wild is Life

A once-in-a-lifetime wildlife experience, which aids in supporting a diverse host of orphaned, injured and rescued animals – Wild Is Life is both an remarkable and rewarding Harare day trip. Wild is Life ZimbabweFounded in 1998, this wildlife sanctuary have grown little-by-little into the impressive entity they are today. “Wild is Life” consists of two complimentary branches: The Wild is Life Trust, and the Wild is Life Grand Experience, the profits from which contribute towards the continued care, development and welfare of the Trust.

The Wild is Life Grand Experience includes an exclusive tour of the animal sanctuary, led by an experienced guide. Guests are invited to interact with some of the spectacular wildlife at the sanctuary, such as Sweetpea the kudu, Richie the vervet monkey, Mirrabelle the giraffe, and Moyo the baby elephant.Zimbabwe WildlifeIncluded in the entry price is the enriching Afternoon Tea Encounter, complete with freshly made baked goods and delicious teas, which provides a welcome break from the tour, and the exhilaration of the lion feed. The day is wonderfully wrapped-up with Champagne and Canapes at sunset, overlooking the grazing plains game.

With a philosophy of “One by One” which promotes respecting each and every animal in their care as an individual, Wild is Life is a cause to be supported, and a worthy day-out to embark upon.
Harare WildlifeStandard Price – $95 per person & $80 – Teens 12 to 16 years

No Children under 12 unless under special arrangement
Times: 3.30 pm to 6.00 pm
(Closed on Sundays and Mondays) unless by special request

Given such an exciting array of day trip options, escape the city and your Harare accommodation of choice for a few hours, and let the adventure begin!

Image Credit:
Lizane Purse
Jagdish Hindocha
Taryn Baker
Wild is Life

Getting to Botswana – Part Two

There is an inherent, overwhelming sense of freedom whenever one travels; a liberation of the soul, and an adventure that everyone should partake in at least once in their lives.Drive to Botswana

The Cresta Hotel Group is fortunate enough to boast several world-class hotels situated across 3 countries in Southern Africa: Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia. With so many beautiful options to choose from, we thought it best to focus on one country at a time, and provide an indication of the best ways to travel to these amazing destinations.

As part two of a two part series, we detail one of the best ways to get to Botswana.

Self-Drive

If you are looking for more than a trip, if you are looking for a journey, then this option is for you. Pack your bags, stock up on provisions and hit the road.Roadtrip to BotswanaWhile there is a misguided view that road trips can be expensive and time-consuming, there is truly no better way to get the most out of your journey.

Of course with this option you have a veritable buffet of routes to choose from, depending on your personal preference.  We have put together a route that will lead you through some of the more well-known towns, ending at one of Cresta’s most luxurious resorts.

The journey begins in Johannesburg where you will travel West along the M47 out of the city to link up with the N14. Once on the N14, continue travelling North to link with the R563.  Turn West onto the R400 and continue on to the R24.  This road will lead you towards one of the best mountain towns in South Africa, Magaliesburg.  This small town is a great place to stop, have something to eat and take in the rich history of the area.Drive to Botswana

From there, it is onto the R509 which continues on through North West Gauteng towards Swartruggens.  The small town is quiet and still contains much of the Victorian era aesthetic with which it was designed more than a century ago.  From Swartruggens it’s onto the N4, heading North-West towards Zeerust.

Continue straight-shot North along the R49, towards the Kopfontein border crossing.  Several sources quote the operating times of the border crossing as being 06:00 – 00:00, Monday – Sunday.  However, should the need arise, the Kopfontein Border Crossing contact number is (+27) 018-365-9055.

Following the border crossing, we recommend heading through to Gaborone in order to get your first taste of Botswana culture.  Explore the city, get a bite to eat, and possibly spend the night at Cresta President or Cresta Lodge Gaborone, because the next leg of the trip will be the longest of your journey.Gaborone AccommodationOnce you have explored Gaborone and are fully stocked in road-trip supplies, head North on the A1 towards Francistown, 435km away.  Mid way through this leg is the town of Mahalapye.  A small village in the past, it has since been made a regular pit-stop destination.

Did You Know?

There is a small monument in Mahalapye marking the fact that the town lies on the Tropic of Capricorn. If you are lucky enough to pass through during the Summer Solstice, when the Sun is furthest South, the Sun will be directly over this monument, casting no shadow at all.Hotels in Mahalapye

The next city on your route is Botswana’s second largest – Francistown. This beautiful town also a perfect place to stop over for the night at either the Cresta Thapama or Cresta Marang Gardens.  Both hotels are stunning options and provide all the amenities you need at this point in your journey.Francistown Accommodation

From Francistown we head North West along the A3 route towards the small town of Nata, the second smallest in the country.  Nata is home to the Nata Bird Sanctuary, a protected community-managed reserve, and a highly recommended stop-over.Botswana Birdlife

From Nata, head North on the A33 Route towards your final destination in Kasane!  This north-eastern city is the administrative hub of the Chobe district and is perfect location to several world renowned attractions.  Kasane is situated on the North-Eastern boundary of the Chobe National Park and is a mere 70km’s from Victoria Falls.accommodation in KasaneWithin Kasane is the luxurious Cresta Mowana Resort and Spa.  This amazing 4 star hotel is perfectly located and provides both luxury and convenience when traveling all the great locations this area has offer.  They offer day trips to Victoria Falls as well as guided trips through the Chobe National Park, and tours along the Chobe River.hotels in Kasane

At this, the end of your, enjoy a luxurious spa treatment, or simply relax on the balcony with a cocktail in one hand and an ocean of memories to hold with you for all time.

Zambezi River Cruise in Victoria Falls

If Victoria Falls activities such as white water rafting, canoeing and power-boating are too vigorous for your liking, then opt for a Zambezi River cruise for a far more relaxing way to enjoy the bounty of the river.Victoria Falls River CruiseThere are a number of operators who provide this service in Victoria Falls, and some of the hotels in the area even have their own cruisers for the use of guests, while most will make all the arrangements for you.

Not only is a Victoria Falls river cruise a restful and low risk way to enjoy the stunning scenery in this area, the slow speed of the boats allow you to experience the sights and sounds of the river in vivid detail. Game such as hippo, crocodile and elephant will scarcely give you a second glance, allowing you to observe them undisturbed, and the birdwatching is just as rewarding from the deck of your river cruiser.Zambezi River CruiseAdd to that the relative comfort of the large cruise boats and you are set for an unforgettable time on board.

Wild Horizons is one of the better known cruise operators in the Victoria Falls area and can arrange a 30, 60 or double decker 80 seater pontoon cruise boat for your enjoyment.  These can also be hired for private functions if desired.

Standard 2-hour cruises include a breakfast run with a delicious cooked breakfast, muffins, fruit, hot beverages and orange juice served on board, a lunch cruise with cold meats, rolls, salad, soft drinks, beer and wine and a sundowner cruise. The Zambezi Royal is a luxuriously appointed 28-seater cruise boat on the upper Zambezi and is currently available for sundowner cruises only.Victoria Falls CruiseThe Zambezi Explorer Cruise Company offers a similar range of experiences with the addition of an evening dinner cruise. Specialising in private functions, this cruise company provides little extras to make your experience even more memorable, such as a dockside send-off by a traditional African band, as well as snacks and drinks on board.

Friday Jazz Nights at Cresta Churchill

Join us at Cresta Churchill every Friday for our weekly Jazz night. Sip on your favourite drink and enjoy complimentary snacks while you dance the night away. Cresta Churchill SpecialsNo admission fee.

The hotel’s resident band – Friends Band – will provide the sounds of entertainment, and have you tapping your foot to the beat in no time.

Set in the tranquil city of Bulawayo, Cresta Churchill offers the ultimate balance between business and pleasure, and captures the comforts of the “old world.” The graceful décor of the bedrooms, conference venues, lounge and cocktail bar compliment the renowned fine wines and cuisine of the Inglenook Restaurant, and make for a luxurious style of Bulawayo accommodation.

For Reservations:
T (+263) 924 4243-9
E reservations@churchill.cresta.co.za
E reservations@crestahotels.com

Getting To Botswana

There is an inherent, overwhelming sense of freedom whenever one travels. The feeling of being able to go anywhere you like and experience anything you want seems to break the shackles that we have subconsciously put ourselves in. Traveling is a soul freeing activity that every person should partake in at least once in their lives.

The Cresta Hotel Group is fortunate enough to boast several world-class hotels situated across 3 countries in Southern Africa. With so many beautiful options to choose from, we thought it best to focus on one country at a time, and provide an indication of the best ways to travel to these amazing destinations.
As part one of a two part series, we detail one of the best ways to get to Botswana.

Flights

By far the quickest and easiest way to travel to Botswana and its surrounds is via air. These days it also works out to be fairly cost effective, as the price of petrol and diesel tends to fluctuate regularly. While traveling via air has large pros, the downside of this option is that you tend to miss out on the scenery and atmosphere that can be experienced with a land trip. Granted, if you are travelling for business, or if the end destination is your main focus instead of the journey, flying is the best option.

Air Botswana, SA Express and SA Airlink all conduct daily flights between Johannesburg and Gaborone – the country’s capital city.

The flight is approximately 1 hour long, and will cost in the region of R3000

Cresta Hotels features two properties in the capital city: Cresta Lodge and Cresta President.

On the other hand, all three carriers, as well as South African Airways itself, conduct daily flights between O.R Tambo Airport in Johannesburg and the Kasane International Airport in Botswana. The flight is roughly 1 hour and 50 minutes, and will cost in the region of R5000.

The luxurious four-star Cresta Mowana Safari Lodge can be found in Kasane, located along the banks of the Chobe River.

The country’s national airline also operate flights to and from Maun and Francistown, aiding in the transport to these smaller cities and towns.

Cresta Marang Gardens and Cresta Thapama are both situated in Francistown, and Cresta Riley’s is found in Maun.

Whether you’re planning on traveling to the capital to enjoy the hustle and bustle of city life, or travelling to the outskirts of Botswana to experience the peace and tranquility of wildlife and far open spaces, flying to Botswana is a definite choice.