The three Cities Road Trip Challenge, a Rea Vaya Travel Company tour to Manzini Swaziland, Maputo with a final stop in Johannesburg this past festive season was a marvel.
The three-Coach procession of the newest kid on the travel and tours block took off from Gaborone into South Africa through Tlokweng Border Post in a revolutionary easterly pivot deep into the heart of Southern Africa. One of the prized takeaways from the Rea Vaya’s 3 Cities Challenge is definitely the merriment of fellow holidaymakers.
Strangers effortlessly became friends and conversations flowed with ease into the night, topics changing in an instant: from the politics back at home to the “chameleonic-ways of the media”-so they said. Two things struck me early in this sojourn: One of them was waking up to the world class South African road network. Even to the eye of a lay man, South African roads come across very urbane and sophisticated. The infrastructure is testament to the country’s size of economy and status as a regional and continental powerhouse.
The roads strike a traveler as having been built to last. They do not bear the scars of reconstruction that afflict ours. Aesthetically they are very appealing, adorned with road marks that are alien to this region of ours. The second has to do with the efficacy of the South African traffic police who dotted each highway, thoroughfare and street in the especially accident prone season of festivities.
Slicing through the Mpumalanga province en route to the Matsamo Border Post proved to be the mother of all contrasts. It was a reminder of what we have and what we do not have back at home. The land is characterised by towering mountains, huge gushing rivers winding alongside the mountain ranges, flanked by green undergrowth. The land also bore creeks, ravines and valleys so deep and in a scale no one among us had ever seen before. It was the stuff that Sci-Fi’s, Western and adventure motion picture is made of.
However, this is not to suggest that the great and long drawn mountain ranges have been spared the plough blades of Afrikaner farmers. Eucalyptus trees used to make gum poles and electric pylons are planted on top of these mountains. These trees are planted in such a manner that they resemble a pseudo-artwork of sorts. They are planted in rows tilting in different directions and are different sizes. They are also planted at different times of the year so that they can be lumbered in precise sequence. The result of this is eucalyptus fields of varying sizes.
When one passes the customs area of the Jeppes Reef/Matsamo Border Post; a point of entry between South Africa and Swaziland, the immediate striking feature in the skyline is the humongous mountain ranges. Another immediate recognizable change as one enters Swaziland from South Africa is the change in quality of the road network. Swazi ones are narrow, with scant shoulders and faded markings.
Swaziland is a mountain Kingdom in its own right. From Jeppes Reef/Matsamo border to the nearest town of Pigs Peak, the road meanders up and down mountains which collide to form deep valleys, some of them with flowing waters. These roads can give a jalopy the road test of its life.
Swazi villages dot these mountains. These mountain villages seem off limits for policing as they are simply out of reach for vehicles. Manzini which is one of the two largest cities in the Kingdom is fairly a small but urban city. It is home to Ezulwini Valley, the kingdom’s number one tourism cash cow. The valley encompasses different hotels such as Lugogo Sun Hotel, Happy valley Hotel and Casino among many others.
The Valley is also home to the Execution Rock also known as Nyonyane. According to legend, Swazis who committed capital offences in the pre-independence era were taken uphill and forced to leap to their deaths off the high cliff. Swazi warriors would edge an offender with spear jabs from the back.
Swaziland tourism even admits that the valley is spread over many kilometers stating, in its website: “The valley has no convenient road signs to demarcate where it begins and ends. It is generally understood to extend from the bottom of the Malagwane Hill southeast along the MR103 as far as the Lusushwana River, where the latter crosses the road just west of Lobamba, and is bordered by the Luphohlo/Lugogo Mountains to the west and the Mdzimba Mountains to the east. Some extend this definition to encompass Lobamba, Mlilwane and indeed the entire length of the MR103 as far as Matsapha.”
In local proportions, this might cover an area roughly from Kgale View to Broadhurst or even Tlokweng. In its expanse, the valley’s attractions include hotels, restaurants, hot springs, casinos, a cinema, craft markets, art galleries, riding stables, a nature reserve, a golf course and a cultural village and a mall. Most visitors pass this way, and those who spend just one night in the kingdom will probably spend it here.
One of the most visited and revisited place in the valley is the Matenga Cultural village. Mantenga is a small protected area of 725 hectares in a secluded corner of the Ezulwini Valley; it is only two kilometres from a major road. The Mantenga Falls are said to be Swaziland's best-known falls, and the largest in terms of volume of water (95m high).
The reserve is home to the Mantenga Cultural Village, a living museum of old traditions and represents a classical Swazi lifestyle during the 1850s. It comprises 16 huts, kraals and byres for cattle and goats, reed fences and other structures. The dance troupe in Matenga includes Swazi warriors and maidens partaking in an electrifying song and dance. Mantenga Cultural Village is the only tourist facility in Swaziland with its own fully-fledged permanent troupe.
Since 2004, Mantenga Cultural Group is said to have toured several European countries for a series of festivals and private appearances in countries such as Belgium, German, and France. Forging north east proceeding to Mozambique through the Mhlumeni/Namaacha Border Post it was evident that Swaziland is almost exclusively made of mountains as they start to recede as one tears forward into the Mozambican interior.
Mozambique is a hot and humid country. To some people it can be a jolt of culture shock though. With a population of 23 million one item that took many aback was the magnitude of hawkers and their tenacity when doing business. They mill around foreigners literally forcing one to buy.
Maputo is a vibrant city with historical sights of its own. One is the Samora Machel statue in central Maputo. Our visit to the country coincided with the shooting to death of former President, Armando Guebuza’s daughter, Valentina Guebuza by her husband. The tour guide told us that Valentina was one of the richest people in the country despite being only 38 years. He further disclosed that suspicion in the country was that her father pillaged the country’s assets and fronted with her more so that she was known for her riches but not business acumen.
The ultimate attraction in Mozambique was a boat cruise to the Portuguese Island, a few nautical miles from the mainland. Beaches in the mainland boasted dirty waters and one would not enjoy their holiday experience with nagging hawkers anyway. However the Portuguese Island boasted white sandy beaches and blue waters. It was so picture perfect that even a marriage proposal was done on the island by two lovebirds.
In retrospect, even though the sojourn had its own glitches, it was some of these that made the trip even worthwhile to remember.Coming back to Botswana the melancholy of having to part with fellow holiday maker friends was palpable in the coach. I had already made friends. Monty Siamangwe, Boaz, Masego and Tapologo were some of them.
Even as I write this piece I’m still hung on the nostalgia of the Rea Vaya 3 Cities Road Trip Challenge. It is something I will definitely do again this year. It is doubtlessly a revolutionary travel package by Rea Vaya Travel Company that gives holidaymakers a multicultural and multistate experience.
Women with manicure more attractive.The latest trending thing within the fashion diary of women has been manicures and pedicures.
It goes beyond the traditional nail polish painted on nails. It has become an art that is almost worshipped by women. A need to have fashion statement.
There’s a lot that goes into a well done manicure and pedicure.
THE SCIENCE OF MANI-PEDIS According to the London College of Beauty Therapy mani-pedi offers a deep cleansing for nails as well as making sure that they look exceptionally well.
It also assist in removing dead skin and plays a pivotal function in encouraging the growth of new skin. There is so much that is going on while doing mani-pedi, one of which being a rubbing and a soothing massage to both the feet and the hands. This is imperative in boosting circulation of blood, which can be disturbed during winter season.
Scheduling for mani-pedi from time to time will ensure that nails are in a good condition and lowers the chances of your hands and feet from swelling up especially when you have a busy and hectic schedule that’s why taking a mani-pedi break comes highly recommended.
NAIL BARS Recently many beauticians have been neck to neck with nail art trends that have been set by fashion forward nations. This has seen the growth of nail tech bars in the country. Nail art varies from normal stick on artificial nails to having acrylic nails that have been sculpted and carved out on the natural nail. It’s the art on the nails that really grabs attention; glittering diamonds and all sorts of small trinkets adorning nails. It depends on the style of the customer anyway and how flamboyant they want the nails to be.
There are also shapes to choose from, from coffin like shaped nails to ballerina shapes, there is really an array of shapes and designs to choose from. You can also choose the length you want, from talons that resemble a witch with class or a simple rubber base coat that gives both class and simplicity which is healthy for natural nails because rubber base gel is a base coat for gel polish that has an extra elastic and flexible nature. This extra flexibility allows your manicures to flex and bend with your natural nails instead of working against it.
ZURI NAILS Bringing the art of nails to the shores of Botswana is Kato Masibi, a young lady in her mid-20s and a Media graduate who’s passionate about beauty and therapy.
Speaking to WeekendLife, Masibi explains that her love for manicures and pedicures, emanates from embracing looking good and feeling pretty which is why she founded Zuri Nails. A nail bar offering the best in nail tech in Francistown.They offer both manicure and pedicure services, from extensions to grooming natural nails, foot scrubbing and massages.
‘It is very important to make sure your hands are as clean and as presentable as they can be, as well as nails, they’re very sensitive and we need to ensure that we take good care of them to avoid nail infections. Clean nails say a lot about you as a lady and it says a lot about your hygiene status,” said Masibi.
While Zuri Nails offers different types of manicures, both natural looks and artificial, Masibi said; “Artificial nails are done to enhance a woman’s beauty (gel and acrylic extensions, stick-ons) and natural manicure is done to keep nails clean and protected from infections like cutting nails, filling them, keeping cuticles presentable and applying a nail hardener to keep them strong (no artificial agents used) this one can be done by men too,” she said.
Masibi agrees that there are physical benefits to doing your nails and it’s not just about looking good. “Both the physical and mental health benefits of getting a nail treatment are extraordinary. Your feet and hands will both look and feel amazing, your stress will go down, the pain will be gone, and your blood circulation will boosted.”
With Government tightening the noose around public areas through the State of Public Emergency tool, it is very unlikely that there could be celebrations this festive season.
Just this week Government, through the Government Gazette announced that hawkers will not be allowed to go inside parked buses to sell their goods; while at the same time buses will only be allowed to enter the bus rank to pick and drop.
This move is further instructive to the entertainment or creative industry that things are far from being let loose to allow for staging of festivals and gigs.
As the year comes to an end, artists normally anticipate increased rate of bookings inside and outside the country. This looks set not to be the case this year as the spread of COVID-19 remains a threat and Botswana is still under the State of Public Emergency.
As things stand large shows that attract multitudes are prohibited, as per the Emergency Regulations signed by President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi. This is the period when events such as Born & Raised, Gaabo Motho and many more normally have their bread buttered.
When COVID-19 reached Botswana shores in February other big events such as The Hamptons, Gaborone International Music & Culture week (GIMC), African Attire on Fleek, Soul Fill Up with Franco and many more who were anticipating a great return were forced to cancel due to covid-19 restrictions.
Indications point to a Christmas and New Year that would be dominated by law enforcement officers patrolling the streets to ensure adherence to social distancing. Big music industry players like Vee Mampeezy can only hope that their industry will be opened – but this end does not appear in sight.
The popular musician recently spoke to this reporter and confirmed that he is running at a loss, “usually at this time of the year I am usually fully booked,” he said.“Obviously we are affected. We are only hoping that the government will open. We believe they will open.
This year, it is very rough, we are only getting bookings there and there by people who are doing events. I have lost too much money this season. A lot of it,” said Vee Mampeezy.As for Maxy, the songstress is not sure how things are coming up this festive season but she is positive that something is in the pipeline for her.
“I really don’t know; but as for me it’s been better for I have been getting a few corporate gigs there and there due to my corporate market clientele. As for what I’m planning, only time will tell depending on the COVID-19 rules and what is presented on the table for me because I don’t do nor organise my own gigs but I only take bookings from paying event organisers,” she said.
Amidst positive news on vaccine developments and successful trials, the coronavirus is surging in Europe with some countries announcing partial lockdowns to control the spread. On the 16th November 2020, through his formal missive noted that COVID-19 remains a concern in the country as infections continue rising. “As of 11th November 2020, Botswana had recorded 9103 cases.”
So far 30 people have died due to complications linked to COVID-19. Most of the deaths have been recorded in the Greater Gaborone area with the COVID-19 task team analysis depicting that Botswana records one death for every 250 positive cases detected.
Botswana currently has 837 active cases and 6801 recoveries.
BY:MAUNGO MASIAPETO Have you been drooling over stunning make up looks posted by models, artists and influencers on social media? Have you tried to copy their looks, used the products advertised on their post, but your make up isn’t the same as theirs?
Here is the thing, you can devote hours blending out your foundation, crafting a flawless eye shadow look and mastering the perfect dewy highlight but your makeup will only be as good as its base. What do I mean by that? Well, prepping your skin correctly can make a world of a difference when it comes to applying your makeup.
Follow these steps for a flawless skin prep routine:
Step1: Cleansing has so many benefits for the skin. Not only does regular cleansing help retain pore size, but it also aids to create supple-looking and healthy skin. If you have oily skin, perhaps try the double cleansing trend as this can prevent the production of excess oils. For the best makeup application, cleanse in the remove any toxins built up from the night.
Step 2: Exfoliate, alongside your morning cleanse, it is vital to also exfoliate your skin. Not only will this get rid of any dead skin cells on the surface of your skin, but it will clear the skin of any accumulating sweat, bacteria and dirt. Alongside providing the ultimate smooth base for makeup application, it will help to minimise your pores for flawless looking makeup.
Step 3: Toner is the intermediate step, but it is a step that should not be overlooked. It is a great addition to your skincare routine because it prevents ingrown hairs, refreshes the skin and shrinks pores. For maximum hydration to the skin, toner should be applied after cleansing and before moisturising. Hydrated skin will result in a smooth, plump complexion, and therefore better-looking makeup.
Step 4: Moisturize, Lightly massaging your skin with a moisturizer will hydrate your skin, improve blood circulation and brighten it instantly. Choose a moisturizer that works well for your skin type, anything that does not absorb well or isn’t too hydrating for your skin is of no use. Opt for oil-free moisturizers such as the Ponds Super Light Gel Oil Free Moisturizer for oily skin. Dry skin should be moisturized with cream or oil-based moisturizers such as the Simple Kind To Skin Replenishing Rich Moisturizer.
Step 5: lip prep If you have ever applied lipstick on dry, chapped lips, you have probably noticed your lipstick flaking off. To combat this, use a lip scrub to ensure the best lipstick results and to get rid of any dry skin. An added benefit to using a lip scrub is that it prevents any discolouration on your lips, so you look your best makeup- free too. Be sure to use a lip balm immediately after to keep your lips soft and supple
Step 6: Prime, It is rare that your skin will always look flawless. Naturally, we all occasionally get acne, enlarged pores and imperfections. However, a primer can really help to provide a good base for your makeup. Primers fill in the pores on the skin, smooth out blemishes and provide a natural glow to the skin. Not only do they help to prevent your makeup sliding off your face, but there is now a primer for almost every skin condition. For example, if you have uneven pigmentation in your skin, you can opt for a colour correcting primer whereas if you suffer mainly from enlarged pores, try a blurring prime.
Now that you’ve let your primer sink into the skin, you’re ready to proceed with foundation. If you would like a rundown of how to get the best make up tips let me know! Go checkout a few detailed classes on our social media pages