My family and I recently wanted to escape Gaborone for some quality time. So we looked for family-friendly options within a short drive of Gaborone. If you ask your friends for recommendations, most of them are minimum of 3-4 hours drive away. You’ll get tons of suggestions for Goo-Moremi Gorge, Khama Rhino and Lower Tuli Block. You’ll also have a lot of folks tell you about all the fun places in South Africa. Such as Mafikeng (boasting two McDonald’s and the closest to Gabs), Rustenburg, Groot Marico, Sun City, and Pilanesburg among others.
We were neither in the mood for crossing the border nor for driving more than 1-2 hours away. So, I turned my search to Lobatse as a place a bit off the beaten path for a weekend getaway.
When I Google searched, “ Accommodation”, I found several options in the area! We were looking for something that wouldn’t break the bank, allowed us to enjoy nature, and self-catering. That’s why we chose to book with: Phuduhudu Safari’s.
They have two 4-sleeper chalets with thatched roof, electricity, hot and cold water. They supplied a fan in the room as well as extra blankets. There were two single beds and a king bed in the room, as well as a mini-fridge and a sink/shower. We found the beds were firm, but comfortable and the rooms were clean and tidy. The thatched roof lends to a cozy environment in the winter.
– Landscaped paths/sidewalks and a dam
– Thatched lapa
– Fully-stocked community kitchen with a gas stove, refrigerator, hot water kettle, and all the cookware, crockery, cutlery you would need. Insider tip: bring a coffee plunger if you don’t want instant coffee
– Basic supplies such as sugar, tea, creamer packets, instant coffee, salt/pepper
– Outdoor bar area
– Braai area with a fire pit (firewood available: P 20 per bag)
– Director’s style camp chairs
– Swimming pool
– Slide/metal play equipment
– Seesaw (teeter-totter)
Besides the above amenities, they do offer facilities (showers, toilets, outdoor kitchen, braai) for people want to caravan or camp. Also, if the adults are into hunting game, they are completely outfitted for this as well.
Finally, the best attraction of Phudhudu is Gina the Giraffe. She was rescued and brought to the farm about 3-4 years ago. The owners nursed her to health and released her into the game farm to join other giraffes. Gina comes every morning to greet the guests and she loves carrots if you have some to spare. My children loved the climbing the ladder on the fence and leaving food in Gina’s bowl. She will let you take a photo and pet her, but she does have moods where kids shouting spooks her. She’ll occasionally kick to the front, so you have to keep children away from the fence.
-Toilets outside the room on the porch (brrr in winter!)
– No net on the pool so I don’t recommend taking toddlers/children who cannot swim
Other Accommodations in Lobatse:
-The Cumberland Hotel
Since our accommodation was self-catering, we made breakfast in the morning, and dinner over the braai both nights. For lunch, we ventured into town to The Kalahari Kofi Co, which is on the road to the Pioneer Gate border in Lobatse. They’re a coffee shop and tea garden with a playground. They pride themselves in the quality of their coffee and it did not disappoint. The barista, Mpho, created hearts in the foam of the Café Mocha my husband and I ordered. You can get your coffee in a short or tall mug, or short/tall takeaway cup.
The menu includes options for kids with the typical fare of pancakes (sweet or savory), burgers, nuggets and chips. They have baked cakes as well. My husband ordered the honey mustard chicken pancake (crepe) and is still talking about how delicious it was. I ordered the chicken with a side salad. My salad was delicious! It was filled with broccoli, cauliflower, purple cabbage, tri-colored bell peppers, tomatoes, feta, pineapple, carrots and red onion! It was like eating from the rainbow!
My children loved the heart shaped bowls their kiddies meals were served in. The playground also was a huge hit! There was slides, swings, climbing structure and an old car they could sit in and pretend to drive. We happened to be there on a Family Fun Day hosted by Valley Academy as a fundraiser. They have them from time to time, so follow their Facebook page should you want to do something fun with your kids. We met a lot of lovely people and learned that the coffee shop and school are part of the outreach of Word to Africa in Lobatse. Insider Tip: Kalahari Kofi is cash only (no swipe) and closed on Sundays.
Other Dining options in Lobatse:
Chicken Licken, Barcelos, The Braai Place, The Cumberland Hotel restaurant and Manong Game Lodge Restaurant
Beware: If you try to dine at the restaurant at Manong Game Lodge they charge a day visitor fee! We decided to skip this as the entrance fee to the lodge was BWP 70 per adult and BWP 35 for children under 12. The fee would be worth it if you plan to use their facilities, take a game drive and make a day of it.
There aren’t many activities for children in Lobatse, but the purpose of our trip was to connect as a family and relax. My kids played a ton outside at Phuduhudu. They loved sitting around the fire roasting marshmallows. We also brought card games, books and coloring activities to keep them entertained when outdoor play was growing old.
The 2-day trip was wonderful and we’d recommend families to check it out! Are there any other gems in Lobatse we should know about? Let us know in the comments below if so!