Traditional SeTswana Cuisine

The Tswana migrated into central southern Africa in the 14th century. As hunters, herders and agriculturists, they found the land abundant in game, lush grazing for cattle, and fertile soil for the cultivation of sorghum, beans, pumpkins and sweet melons. Maize, introduced later by Portuguese explorers, was also highly productive. Over time, these came to form the foundation of Botswana traditional cuisines.


With the country among the most developed in Southern Africa, visitors will find contemporary Botswana food to be a blend of external influences and traditional cooking. Mozambique king prawns, smoked salmon and a variety of European and Eastern dishes can be found, but experiencing local foods is something not to be missed!

Much like the rest of Botswana, Francistown traditional cuisine is based on lamb, mutton, chicken and other meats (beef being the most popular). Sorghum and maize are the main crops grown in Botswana and are popular for breakfast. The staple food is called Bogobe, made by pouring maize and sorghum flour into boiling water and cooking until a soft paste forms.

 

Francistown restaurants offer guests plenty of traditional dishes to choose from. Dried bean leaves are a popular SeTswana food. The national dish of Botswana is called Seswaa, a meat stew served over thick polenta or pap. The meat is boiled with onion and pepper (tradition mandates nothing else be added). Once the meat has cooked for about two hours, it is shredded and pounded with salt to add flavour. The final serving comes with thick maize meal and a leafy vegetable called Morogo.

 

For the more adventurous travellers, the Mopane worm, native to Southern Africa, is a common delicacy in Botswana restaurants. The caterpillar is cooked in hot ashes, boiled, or dried and fried.

 

The experience of dining in Francistown can be complemented by a sampling of traditionally brewed alcoholic drinks. Bojalwa ja Setswana (the beer of Batswana) is made from fermented sorghum seeds. A commercially produced and packaged beer, Chibuku, is a favourite drink in villages, towns, and in some parts of the city. Travellers staying overnight can look forward to tranquil accommodation, private space and evening entertainment after a day out experiencing the best traditional cuisine Botswana has to offer.

Harare Weddings at Cresta Lodge

Zimbabwe weddings are held in locations as diverse as the country itself. From the inner city to the majestic Victoria Falls, safari weddings or onboard the famous houseboats of Lake Kariba, these joyful occasions are characterised by a wealth of destinations and exciting activities for the choosing.

 

Amongst the Harare wedding venues, the Cresta Lodge is surrounded by beautiful gardens and set in a tranquil environment. Situated just outside the city centre, the hotel is ideal for the bride and groom wishing to experience an outdoor event without having to voyage outside of Harare.

Just a few kilometres away, the Cresta Jameson hosts an in-house chapel, greatly simplifying the event planning for the big day. Receiving guests from outside the capital is not the only advantage conferred by the short distance from the airport – deciding on a honeymoon getaway is one of the most exciting things when planning a wedding, and close proximity to the airport means you can rely on a speedy departure. In fact, the entire concept of a honeymoon is to get away from it all and at Cresta Jameson, you can!

 

The modern, yet stylish, conference centre at Cresta Lodge can seat several hundred guests, making the venue ideal for large wedding parties; while the nearby Cresta Jameson is an option for more intimate events. With a range of menus to choose from, the dedicated food and beverage team are able to satisfy all tastes and budgets.

Both venues offer complimentary amenities and 4-star Harare accommodation for the days before and after the big event. Visitors can look forward to round-the-clock buffet catering and à la carte lunch and dinner; while drinks and light snacks can be enjoyed over jovial conversation at the Continental and Chatters bars, which is open until late.

 

With top-notch reception, accommodation, dining and hosting facilities, whether you plan on grand splendour or a more personal wedding reception, these hotels are sure to exceed all expectations. A warm welcome, exceptional service and a charming atmosphere all go a long way to ensure that any wedding held in Harare is a unique experience with memories to last a lifetime.

Weddings at Cresta Marang Gardens

With summer garden weddings being all the rage these days, Cresta Marang Gardens have been a hot choice for couples wanting a high class experience under the trees and surrounded by gorgeous African landscape.  It is conveniently located just 5km out of Francistown, a thriving and bustling town some 400km north of Botswana’s capital city Gaborone, 500km south of Kasane and 200km west of Bulawayo in Zimbabwe.

Located on the beautifully scenic banks of the Tati River, it is an ideal location for a dream garden wedding.  Guests will be collected from the airport in Francistown, a complimentary service, and accommodated in the 105 rooms available.  If there is an overflow, the well-maintained campsite can accommodate those who don’t mind a slightly more rustic stay in the heart of nature’s finest offerings.  The rooms in the hotel are air-conditioned and all of them, with the exception of the budget rooms, have coffee and tea making facilities as well as a television.  There is Wi-Fi throughout the hotel.

Most wedding couples choose to celebrate for an entire weekend, and the festivities flow freely from the cocktail lounge to the pool bar and to the casino in the evenings, according to the guests’ wishes.  On the big day, everyone can relax while the bride and groom get ready for their big day.  There is a flurry of activity as staff set up the wedding reception under the shade of the trees on freshly cut and manicured lawns, while in the kitchen; staff will be preparing five star cuisine suitable for the couple’s perfect day.

In the unlikely event the weather turns and the reception cannot be held under the trees outside, the hotel will ensure that one of its conference rooms is transformed into a room reflecting the essence of romance that will ensure that the day more than meets expectations.

Accommodation is arranged as follows:

  • 12 rondavels which have king-sized beds.
  • 14 chalets with king-sized beds and can sleep up to five people each, these are perfect for families.
  • 22 executive rooms with twin ¾ sized beds.
  • 8 budget rooms.
  • 1 cottage with a kitchenette and a small lounge.

 

If you have guests coming from around the world, Marang Gardens is the perfect place to impress your guests with an African garden wedding.

Camping in Francistown

Francistown, founded in 1897, is the second largest city in Botswana, and is often referred to as the capital of the north.  Once a gold mining mecca, named after Daniel Francis, an English mining concessionaire who acquired prospecting licenses in the region in 1869, the town is dotted with abandoned mines reminiscent of its glory days.


Today Francistown is a hub of textile milling and leather manufacturing, but is often used as a stopover for travellers through Botswana, and is a particular favourite for those who love the outdoor camping style, with the two most popular spots being Marang Hotel and the Woodlands Stopover.

While it may seem strange to camp at a hotel, Marang Gardens offers the best of both worlds.  It has perfectly manicured lawns and offers shady campsites.  There are rustic tables and chairs set out under the trees for when the weather is good and you want to eat your meals ’al fresco’.  The shared ablutions are clean and comfortable.  There are two separate rates for camping, and for electricity, but the convenience of having the electricity far outweighs the nominal fee for it.

Your safety is number one priority here, so you will see guards patrolling the grounds 24 hours day and night.

If leaving behind all creature comforts is not your idea of a great camping experience, then this spot is perfect for you.  The pool bar offers televised sports action and drinks, and there is internet access from the hotel reception should you be unwilling to cut your ties with the outside world.

The Woodlands Stopover campsite is covered in lush grass and the sites are well spaced.  There is a swimming pool close to the campsite – a welcome respite for those who have travelled far, particularly in the summer months.  Electricity is paid for separately, and the ablutions here are clean and offer hot showers throughout the day and night.

Friendly staff is always on hand to assist you with any queries and each site has their own braai facility.

While there is not a lot to do in Francistown, camping here certainly offers plenty of opportunity to relax and take in the breath-taking scenery of the surrounding African landscapes.

Matobo National Park & Matopos Hills

Known as the Matobo National Park, the Matopos National Park, is a worthwhile destination for a day trip from the surrounding Zimbabwe hotels, and is the oldest park in Zimbabwe. The area has a long and interesting history, varied species to view and several sights of historic importance. The Matopos Hills found within Matopos Naitonal Park, are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Formed over 2 million years ago, the Motopos Hills encompass some 3100 square kilometres of Southern Zimbabwe, close to Bulawayo, and were first inhabited by the San about 2000 years ago.  Reminders of their presence such as rock paintings, clay ovens and cave dwellings have been discovered here and faithfully preserved for visitors to marvel at today. Continue reading

Cultural Tourism in Botswana

Botswana is approximately the size of France, and is the 48th largest country in the world, with about 70% of its land made up of the Kalahari Desert.  It is a country with great ethic variety, and diverse, interesting people. To gain insight into the myriad of colourful customs and traditions that are incorporated into the daily lives of those living within Botswana’s landlocked borders, visitors should embark on one of the many enlightening cultural tours available.

Guests can also do a cultural trip to meet the BaYei people of the north-west district of Ngamiland.  This Bantu-speaking tribe have many survival skills, including novel fishing methods which are used in conjunction with skilful canoe building techniques, which they brought with them from Zambia.  The people of the baYei tribe are also very good at understanding the language of plants and their medicinal benefits, and on the tour you can learn which plants are believed to work best for particular ailments.

There are interesting past hunting skills to be learned, and guests will be able to get a better understanding of the traditional practices of initiation at the Initiation School.  Here you will find out more about the important transition from puberty to adolescence and ultimately manhood, through traditional dancing which interprets the two life stages.

Visit the oldest inhabitants of this area, the San, who have for thousands of years, lived off the harsh semi-desert environment of the Kalahari.  Tours will take you to meet the San people and learn about their hunter-gatherer lifestyle which has been held together for centuries through the ancient art of story-telling.

A fantastic way to immerse yourself in San culture is to experience the Kuru San Dance Festival, which is a 3-day celebration of San culture.  The festival has been held in the small village of D’Kar every second year in August since 2008, and welcomes Bushmen from the whole Kalahari region.  This includes not only Botswana, but its neighbouring countries of South Africa and Namibia as well, who make music, sing, take part in healing dances and socialise around the fire together.

It is a fascinating experience, and the experience of seeing these thousand year old traditions being practiced will make a lasting impression on you.

 

PALAPYE – THE EDUCATIONAL, MINING AND INDUSTRIAL HUB

Morupule Coal Mine

It was established in 1973 and is owned by Debswana which is a partnership between the government of Botswana and De Beers. It was established to supply the Bamangwato Concession Limited Company which mines copper and nickel in Selebi Phikwe. The mine also supplies both the local and regional market such as the Morupule Power Station nearby which has helped in the reduction of deforestation in the area form the traditional use of firewood for heat in the chores of everyday life. It is located just 15km form the village of Palapye.

 

Morupule Power Station “B”

 

It was born out of the need for Botswana to supply her citizens with electricity (self-sufficient). The station was and is to supply electricity since Botswana’s main supplier Eskom pulled back in assisting Botswana with electricity

 

BIUST (Educational Hub)

 

This is short for Botswana International University for Science and Technology was established by the government of Botswana to focus on Science, Technology and Engineering with its lectures from all over the world. It is the first of its kind in Botswana and it is just located behind Kurumela ward which is opposite the Water Treatment Plant for Water Utilities.

Botswana Railways Station

 

It offers seamless, rail-based transport solutions to consumers who need to move a series of merchandise for the mining sector and primary industries. It has been operational since 1897. It is located in the heart of Palapye popularly known as Old Mall.

 

 

 

 

Debswana – Celebrating 45 Sparkling Years

Debswana plays a vital role in Botswana’s economy. It employs more than 4000 people along 4 mining sites. On top of this, Debswana also creates jobs for over 5000 fixed term contractors, but this large set-up did not happen overnight.

In 2014 Debswana celebrates 45 sparkling years, and here is a bit of insight into where it all started.

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Harare Nightlife

When the sun sets on Harare, the music gets turned up and the streets buzz with people taking advantage of the nightlife that pulses though the city streets.

Not too long ago, the sun was rapidly setting on Harare’s nightlife, and bars and clubs were closing down with alarming regularity.  Fortunately, with visitors from around the world returning to explore this part of the world once again, there has been a new injection of life into Harare at night, and exciting new clubs are being opened, while old favourites have been renovated and the restaurant silverware polished up once again.
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Africa States Bowling Tournament

The honour of hosting the 2014 Africa States Bowls Tournament has been awarded to Botswana. The African tournament is rated as one of the largest and most esteemed international competitions in Africa. The mining town of Jwaneng will host the tournament, which takes place in June, and seven African countries are taking part.

The countries taking part in the Africa States Bowls Tournament include Botswana, Kenya, Namibia, Malawi, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The game will be divided in four categories, namely Singles, Pairs, Triples and Fours.

The Botswana Bowling Association is the organiser of the events and are currently in the final stages of rebranding. This rebranding is mainly to make the association more relevant and attractive to the public and corporate world. The association’s public relations officer, John Gabourtwe, shared with the media that they are “happy and…look forward to hosting the African States tournament next year.

The rebranding is mainly to attract more local players to the Botswana Bowling Club. The process entails a new logo, motto and values. The association’s name will also change to Bowls Botswana (BoBo.). The new image associated with their Logo is a Woodpecker bird. This forms part of the entire new brand, which is should be launched soon. The Association will also adopt a school and run grassroots coaching clinics in an effort to draw in younger people.

Bowls is a universal game, not too expensive to take part in and also a game that people of any age can enjoy. It is a good game to bring people together and the African States Tournament would also be a good platform to improve the image of bowls in Botswana.

The Association’s chairperson, Kitso Robers, feels confident that they will finalise everything. If you plan to attend the Bowls Tournament, whether to support or to participate; or just to experience the festive atmosphere, remember to add a Botswana Safari Lodge to your trip, as well as a safari at the Jwana Game Park and a tour of Jwaneng Mine.  It is also a good opportunity to explore other highlights of Botswana, like Chobe National Park and the Chobe River.