The Toyota Botswana 1000 kilometre desert race is renowned for boosting the local economy as well as attracting all kinds of people, but most importantly supporters of different types of expensively-assembled racing vehicles.
This year was no different as thousands of such patrons took on all sorts of transport, some not even suitable for the terrain but still could not resist to travel to the greater part of the world’s largest diamond producing mining town of Jwaneng - the starting and finishing point of the race.
However, what perhaps is worth noting is that unlike in the past, this year it was different terms of the organisation.
This year, instead of doing the usual thing of building a marquee at the starting point and feeding their invited guests and stakeholders which comes at a great cost, race organisers and license holders Botswana Tourism Organisation (BTO) saw the need to boost the economy by calling for tenders and, or empowering Batswana youth owned businesses to cater.
In the past, government through BT0 spent largely through inviting stakeholders and catering for them in terms of beverages , food, merchandising that ranged from windbreakers, scarves and head gear, but this year they outsourced the services to private companies owned by Batswana.
A local company Incite led by an ambitious Motswana youth Alimah Matsheka won the tender. Incite did not disappoint on their first assignment as service providers, from their choice of staff which included the elegantly dressed well built bouncers, quality of merchandise sold at reasonable prices, the size of the marquee and set up were extraordinary, décor, meals and beverages, the seating arrangement, choice of restaurant named DPN Duo Pennotti, and choice of the DJ and music provided inside the marquee- made the likes of BTO Spokesperson Keitumetse Setlang occasionally stand up and show her dancing skills.
All these enabled patrons to relax so much that they could easily simply forget that they are in the bush where the competitors were rumbling the dust scrambling for points and, or finishing in a respectable position. Good as it may, the Incite charge price for the platinum marquee ticket was not for mere mortals, and a day package cost P1750, while the two days had a tag price of P3000, per head.
But make no mistake it was worth the while as it was the best way to mix business and pleasure in a friendly mode as it provided sheer comfort. The meals provided were delicious and tasty. On Saturday the appetising meals for breakfast were mini blue berry pancakes, yoghurts with granola and honey, selection of muffins, Danishes and croissants, wraps with scrambled egg, pork sausage and bacon, smoothies, magwinya stuffed with spicy mince meat and sliced fruits. The egg station had different types prepared to one’s taste such as scrambled, friend, egg Benedict with hollandaise sauce boiled and omelette as well as assorted juice.
For lunch Incite provided salads composed of beetroot and coriander , roasted pumpkin, Greek with dressing, with main course being vegetable rice, pap and gravy, grilled beef with peppercorn sauce and mushroom sauce, marinated chicken peri peri, beer battered fish and tartar sauce, fresh French fries and seasonal vegetables. While the desserts were bar one cake, warm apple crumble custard, fruit salad and ice cream.
There were also the afternoon snacks made of spicy hot wings, assorted samoosas with dips, peanuts and samba chips. The Sunday breakfast meal was the same save, for the fact that there were no mini blue berry pancakes, while lunch composed of Pork ribs, beef lasagne, chicken curry, grilled fish with tartar sauce, savoury rice, different types of salads. Dessert was made up of malva pudding, carrot cake and custard.
Prominent personalities in their own right who bought the ticket and enjoyed themselves included Attorney Patrick Matlho and his family, businessman Dr Thapelo Matsheka, Permanent Secretary Jimmy Opelo, Director of Civil Aviation Authority Botswana, Dennis Mushabesha, CEO of NDB Lorato Morapedi and husband Reuben, Gaborone Mayor Kagiso Thutlwe, Meshack Tamocha and wife, BTO executives, senior police officers amongst them, Deputy Commissioner Bruno Paledi, Kgosi Mosielele and McJohn Mosenene to mention, but a few.
Their choice of attire was great too as it suited the occasion except for one government official who was wearing a suit and tie on Saturday. Speaking to BG Travel, the impressed Lorato Morapedi described the set up as being sheer and premier comfort in the middle of the bush and indeed a good value for money.