With the effect of the fourth industrialization revolution being felt in every corner of the planet, a high demand is now made for more dynamic services and goods and a boom in business. And the hospitality industry is not exempt. The hospitality service in Botswana is growing year by year increasing even in variety and choice, for the benefit of both local and international consumers.
This industry covers the area of local cuisine, entertainment and hotel accommodation to cater for the needs of the consumers, with both the local taste and the global sampling featured in all.
HOTELS AND ACCOMMODATION SERVICES
This aspect of hospitality has long been established in Botswana and has a significant contribution to the country’s economy. Accommodation has services ranging from hotels, lodges, guest houses, bed and breakfast and campsites. All these vary in luxury, class, exclusivity and quality in their respect.
Providing a wide choice and variety for its clientele, the hotel services industry in Botswana, which is overseen by the Hospitality and Tourism Association of Botswana (HATAB), has a number of members that include known brands based in Gaborone such as the Peermont Walmont, Protea hotel by Mariott, the Hilton Garden Inn, the Phakalane Golf Estate hotel, Avani Gaborone resort and casino, Peermont Mondior hotel and the Aquarian Tide hotel.
There are some luxurious hotels across the country out of the nation’s capital. Notably the Cresta hotels have existed for a while over the years with most luxurious member hotels established in urban areas across the country. These include member hotels such as Cresta Mahalapye in Mahalapye, Cresta Marang and Cresta Thapama in Francistown, Cresta Riley’s hotel in Maun, Cresta Bosele in Selibe-Phikwe, Cresta Jwaneng in Jwaneng town and Cresta Botsalo in Palapye. The boom in this business has seen more hotels with better class, quality and luxury springing out all over the countries, not only cities and towns but also in some villages. These include Adansonia hotel and Peermont Metcourt hotel both in Francistown.
Apart from hotels, guest houses and BnBs have also had the opportunity to do well in the industry, with locals establishing local hospitality brands of affordable rates, for people who prefer exclusivity and privacy. Their demand has also led to them enhancing their class and luxury for improved comfort. With most of them adopting what is known as the boutique structure which is a modern pricy but extremely classy model, such as Room50two high tower apartments in Gaborone becoming a trendsetter in this category.
Furthermore, some clients prefer lodges as a source of their accommodation. These are the most common and are widely spread across the country. Bigger than the guesthouses but slightly less quality than that of the hotels, some lodges are strategically established in areas with tourist attractions and near them to provide accommodation for those touring the areas. Kasane and Maun are the areas in the country that attract the most tourists in the country and this has obviously created an opportunity for the hospitality business. With mostly lodges in the areas, they also have other accommodation options such as guest houses, self-catering cottages, and camping sites to meet the different demands and preferences of tourists, both international tourists. These include the River View lodge, Travelodge, Chobe Marina lodge, Ghona Hills Savuti, Thobolo’s Bush lodge and Tlou Safari lodge among others located in Kasane. Lodges in Maun include the Waterfront, Royal Tree, Thamalakane River and Mokoro lodges to mention a few.
To supplement the already mentioned accommodation types specially to cater for tourists, BnBs are also available in various places across the country to meet this demand and also to provide a wide variety. For instance, in Kasane such include Leeville, Elephant’s Trail, Chiloto and Backpackers.
Over the years, preferences have seemed to change with tourists looking for more homely accommodation, and this has birthed the self-catering accommodation together with cottages which are not only found in tourist attractions but have found a good market even in urban centres. These are usually home-like lodgings with bedrooms, lounges, kitchen area and already furnished in all the rooms, but can be pricy. These allow for the tenants to be able to cook for themselves and do everything else they would do at home. They are usually perfect for people who come as families or just groups.
In the capital city Gaborone, the most highly rated of this sort are the DC Self-service hotel, Moritshane Estate, Urban Awe apartment, Brolly apartments, and City mews Tullow apartments. These are conveniently located in the city centre for those who prefer to join the night life while in the country rather than visiting the far-flung tourist areas in Botswana. These are usually meant to exclusively accommodate celebrities especially those in the entertainment industry. Notably, those located in the tourist areas are established primarily for tourists, and are usually quieter, confirming that they are not set for night life revellers.
Sandpiper Villas Chobe, Chobe River Cottages, Masikiro self-catering and Kasane self-catering are some of the self-catering establishments found in Kasane. Francistown has the River View villa. Maun has the First Choice apartments, Envirovilla, Maun Studios, and Phazama farm and Laha hotel among others.
With some tourists preferring the natural outdoor habitat to see all the attractions first-hand and up-close, they appreciate camping in the veld usually in tents or in temporary structures. Most campsites do not provide permanent structure accommodation. Though some do, they even provide food and beverages to their visitors. Some tourists bring their own cooking equipment and food to cook for themselves. These campsites are also widely spread across the country and not only in the tourism areas of the country.
A typical example is the Africa Casa chalets and campsites in Gaborone, the Eselbe camp backpackers in Nata, Thezha farm and campsite in Francistown, the Goo-Moremi Gorge in Moremi village, Camp Itumela in Palapye, and African Ranches River camp in Tuli Block and Mokolodi Nature Reserve in Gaborone. Maun and Kasane would obviously have more of these because of being tourism areas. Maun has the Sitatunga camp, Crocodile campsite and Mopiri among others. In Kasane the most famous and highly rated are the Wilderness Safaris Savuti camp, Camp Kuzuma and the Farm-view Agro tourism camp.
Camps usually provide flavour to the experience by providing traditional dance and music with local dance troupes invited to perform to tourists, creating an opportunity to share a piece of the local culture. The campsite organizes events of this type where tourists enjoy a meal and drinks over a performance and dance the night away to local cultural music.
FOOD AND BEVERAGES
Local traditional food is the preferred choice in households across the country. Local food also is generally served in big events such as weddings, funerals and music festivals; and likewise it is also available in restaurants and outdoor services. The more common choice dishes include bogobe-jwa-mabele, paleche, seswaa, madila, bogobe-jwa-lerotse, phane, setampa and serobe.
Food and beverages available for households and eateries consist of local and imported products to serve consumers with a wide variety of food from local to international dishes including Asian, Brazilian, Portuguese, and Indian dishes. The local restaurateur strives to provide good service to both local and international consumers. Though some restaurants provide a mixed variety of food, some actually concentrate on local food.
Asian food restaurants in Botswana include Simply Asia restaurant, China restaurant, Bai Sheng, Eastern Crescent Chinese restaurant, Red Lantern Chinese restaurant. Restaurants that offer Indian food locally are the Embassy restaurant, Ashoka Palace restaurant, Chutney Indian restaurant, Saffron, Maharaja, Kebabish, the Moghul, and Mirsch Masala restaurants in Gaborone. These restaurants pride themselves in providing the best Indian cuisine for both the Indian and non- Indian people in the country and travellers. From the Americas Brazilian food there is the Rodizio Brazilian restaurant. European restaurants include the Casa Portuguese restaurant and Caravela Portuguese restaurant which provide Portuguese cuisine.
Some restaurants provide a mix of all these cuisines such as the Multicuisine restaurant, Main deck, Dros, Bull & Bush, Capello, Mokolodi restaurant and Botswana Craft courtyard restaurant among others. Kasane has the Savuti grill even though hotels are the most famous venues offering food and beverages to travellers and tourists. Most of these restaurants also offer a wide variety of international beverages to meet the demands of the international guests. Over and above this, there has been a boom as well in the food business where the demand for fast food is met.
There is a variety of franchises that are found internationally. These include KFC, Nandos, Chicken Licken, Steers, Debonairs pizza among others and are for locals and travelers who prefer fast fried or grilled food and pizza.
Concerning beverages, the authority at the helm of overseeing the production of soft drinks and beer is the Kgalagadi Breweries Limited (KBL) based in Gaborone. There is also the Botswana Breweries a subsidiary of KBL which produces chibuku, a sorghum based beer which borrows from traditional brewing.
ENTERTAINMENT, EVENTS AND GAMING
This aspect of hospitality has developed over the years and include both indoor and outdoor areas of leisure, dance, music, film, beauty pageantry, motor sports and air-show activities. Indoor entertainment comprises of cinemas, with the New Capitol cinemas in the capital city, Gaborone.
Outdoor entertainment is by far the most common type with activities varying from quad bike riding, swimming, horse-back riding, mountain climbing, golf, beach volleyball, game driving, nature and wildlife tours, 4WD off road tours, boat tours, adrenaline and extreme tours. All these are available in most parts of the country. Boat cruises are usually common in areas where there are big rivers such as Maun and Kasane. Most tourists love to cruise the famous Okavango delta.
There is music and dance events with shows held mostly on weekends, and annual events where revellers dance the nights away and usually for the more youthful population. These are also cultural events whose main aim is to promote the culture of the country, with those organised by respective ethnic groups seeking to promote their culture, or national cultural events seeking to display the cultural resplendence of Botswana.