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.

Weekday Bar Discounts at Cresta Churchill

Cresta ChurchillEnjoy discounts on all local beers from Monday to Friday at Cresta Churchill.

Beers sold at an incredible $1.50 each.

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
M (+263) 864 4130037/39
E reservations@churchill.cresta.co.zw
E reservations@crestahotels.com

The Toyota Kalahari Botswana 1000 Desert Race

The Toyota Kalahari Botswana 1000 Desert Race takes place between 27 and 29 June this year, bringing forth adventure enthusiasts from across the globe. Botswana is the perfect venue for a desert race, with miles of Kalahari dunes taking up 70% of the country. Motorsport Events in Botswana

Despite the logistical hiccups, this race is one of the most spectator-friendly events in Botswana, with 19 designated points for the droves of motor enthusiasts who arrive each year.  With the relocation of the Dakar Challenge to South America in 2009, this off-road test of endurance has taken its place as Africa’s Premier test of motor vehicle endurance.  Not only is the race open to four-wheeled 4×4’s but it is also a top Botswana biking event.

The winners in the main categories of this race automatically qualify and receive free entry for the Dakar Challenge in 2016.

The origins of the Toyota Kalahari Botswana 1000 Desert Race date back to 1975, and the race continues to transverse 1 000 kilometres of Botswana’s harshest terrain. From 1980 to 1991, the race was moved to Gauteng in South Africa but has since returned to the challenging terrain of its homeland, and has become a highlight on the Botswana events calendar.Events in BotswanaDespite the good rain received so far this season, the going is expected to be dry and sandy, with all the usual natural obstacles to negotiate, including trees, boulders and the resident wildlife.  Contestants and spectators alike are in for a thrilling three days of racing once again.

The Jwaneng Sports Complex, located within walking distance of Cresta Jwaneng, plays the role of headquarters for the event and the route begins and ends here.

Jwaneng is the diamond-mining hub of Botswana, with all the infrastructure required to make a great host town for this event and is a tranquil place to relax in-between races.Botswana EventsThis year’s race promises to be even more spectator-friendly than ever before, and the organisers are even taking suggestions on their Facebook page to ensure that it is.

Winter Warmer Specials at Cresta Churchill

Be our guest this winter and enjoy these winter special rates.

Rooms from as low as:

$45.00 (Single, Room only)
R55.00 (Double, Room only)

Offer valid from 1 June to 31 August, 2015.
Breakfast options available from $5.00.
This offer is subject to availability.

Set in peaceful, tree-lined streets of Bulawayo, Cresta Churchill offers the ideal 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.zw
W www.crestahotels.com