Wine & Whiskey Jamboree, Botswana’s own edition of Durban July
They sauntered and sashayed into the venue dressed in their Sunday best, all looking vibrantly alluring, as they smiled carrying their expensive New Year’s pick-me-ups. While others dragged their cooler-boxes in tow with their besties, spouses, girlfriends or other half, some simply came swigging from their glasses and tumblers oblivious to the gazing eyes – in a typical “Take a picture; it lasts longer” fashion, to grace the annual Wine & Whiskey Jamboree held at Lek-A-Valley-Farm in Chanoga, just a few kilometres outside Maun.
The sweltering heat was unforgiving though, as the Maun sunshine unceremoniously blazed into the lush green venue, and one could see several merrymakers’ Black hairs glistening wet and rivulets running down their flawless painted faces and skins.
We suffered the same fate too, as we could feel the sweat squirting from our pores with each pace, and rivulets of it coursing down our back and flanks! However, our souls were pacified by the alluring sunlight reflected upon the glassy Boteti River casting dazzling flashes of lights resembling sparkling diamonds in the sea, illuminating the colourful and green aquatic rhizomatous perennial herbs (water lilies) bedecking the same waters. What a sight to behold this was!
Ok, just how did we get here! From Maun – we drove into Chanoga, looking for Drifters Camp Site, which we were told will be on the right. We took the turn and followed the road until the Drifters’ entrance before curving to our left past the gate until we arrived at the vibrant spot.
Being the first of the year, our colleagues at Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC) had courteously invited us to the annual Wine and Whiskey Jamboree held at Chanoga-Lek-A-Valley Farm, organised by one Mochaena Kepadisa, a fitting event that combines high fashion with tourism.
This place was teeming with a plethora of Maun natives and several Gaborone city slickers as they gathered en masse to welcome the brand new year 2018 in style. What a toast of a party this was.
The annual “Wine and Whiskey Jamboree” attracts Botswana’s most fashion-conscious crowds, and this year, they all came out.
“Me and my friends always come here for the ambiance, entertainment and fashion, we care less about wine and whiskey,” said one anonymous Gaborone socialite.
“We usually start planning for this day from August – the clothes to match perfectly, plus travel arrangements and entertainment,” she said. “It doesn’t require a lot of money either.”
The event, held at Chanoga-Lek-A-Valley Farm on the first day of the New Year, this year attracted a host of Botswana celebrities, socialites and politicians keen to be seen at one of Maun’s biggest social occasions.
At one point, Bessie Head’s book “When Rain Clouds Gather” sprang to mind, when out of the blue, a few rain clouds gathered, but it never rained. There was only a light liquid precipitation as the masses continued to party the brand New Year away courtesy of the Wine & Whiskey Jamboree which showcased a selection of wines and whiskies to suit every palate for the connoisseurs and enthusiasts alike.
Staying true to their previous events, the organisers went all out offering wine and whisky enthusiasts the opportunity to buy and sample whiskies from around the world, all of which were fully supplied by co-sponsors, The Cigar Lounge.
The revellers were also accorded an opportunity to taste, swirl and celebrate the best Gins and Vodkas on offer – with The Cigar Lounge bartenders (mixologists) on hand to share their knowledge and unique insights on their beloved tipples.
Proudly sponsored by BTC, the Wine and Whiskey Jamboree was dazzling as socialites and the hoi polloi correspondingly partied up a storm courtesy of the sizzling mixes from DJs; Shimrock, Chrispin The Drummer, Good Music and Trax.
Other activities at the venue included jumping castles, boat cruises and quad bikes for those yearning to experience Maun further.This place was jam-packed by the time we arrived around 1500hrs until 11pm when we decided to leave, scared of the massive traffic at the venue.
We left Maun the next day, truly smitten about the unprecedented evolution of indigenous tourism and how many Batswana have decided to holiday in Botswana – a welcome move if you ask me, and clearly a richly deserved booster to our local coffers! Until next time, well done Maun!