There are times when the countryside beckons and we feel drawn to it, especially if we can stay overnight. Buruundi is just such a place that is quickly gaining the attraction of people looking near enough for an excursion yet far enough in ambiance and the rustic touch of the Botswana outback. Staff Writer GOSEGO MOTSUMI has checked it out
After the turnoff to Bokaa towards Rasesa lies, just a stone’s throw from the city along the A1 Highway to the north, a grand double storey property with “Buruundi” emblazoned at the top emerges.
It is to this new cool spot that people come to soak up nature when they take a break from the buzz and hustle of the city. The property is currently gaining traction for hosting social events from birthday parties, small lunches, meetings and even corporate events.
“Buruundi is a name I just came up with. It has some connection to a territory in Morocco and means ‘meeting place’ in Arabic slang,” the owner of the property, Peter Kgomotso, said in an interview. “So Buruundi is essentially a meeting place. I played around with the letters to have the double ‘Us’ when it should have been two ‘Is’ to spell Buriindi for a meeting place. I have interacted with people of Arabic origin of Egypt, Morocco and Algeria for whom meetings and social gatherings are very important. It is a part of their lives.”
The idea of Buruundi started in July last year after Kgomotso realised that he was underutilising the place because he was using it for residential purposes. He says people driving along the A1 used to stop and knock at his door thinking the place was a lodge, some of them only interested in viewing the property.
But COVID-19 came along and life as we knew it changed, the economy took a downturn and people were struggling. This prompted Kgomotso to turn the place into something that could generate income. “I relocated back to the city and started renovating the place to turn it into something attractive,” he told Time Out. “It took me three months to renovate and we had our first booking in January this year.”
“It is currently used as a getaway because we haven’t obtained a tourism licence and it is not officially a lodge yet. It’s a lodge in registration with CIPA but it still operates as a private place being used to host events. We are hopeful for a proper licence this month and we will turn the place into a proper lodge that will host patrons overnight.”
What really makes the property stand out is the greenery, manicured lawns and aesthetically pleasant architectural design of the standalone building that emerges in the middle nowhere and is yet strategically located on a prime spot beside the A1 Highway from which it is visible and accessible.
“The response has been quite amazing,” said the proprietor. “We have bookings for social events of up to August 2022. There is much demand because people are increasingly interested in the countryside.”
Being in the countryside and yet only a stone’s throw from the capital and Mochudi and its environs, Buruundi is ideally located for an excursion and/or a couple of days’ getaway. The native of Lotlhakane near Kanye had this in mind when he decided against the contemporary interior design look in favour of the rustic aesthetics in the living room, providing the perfect combination of a comfortable, fuss-free and functional décor to create a warm interior. Natural materials work as the foundation of the design, celebrating the authentic beauty of natural materials to create a cosy, beautiful space.
Said Kgomotso: “Countryside living has a lot to do with antique accents. We wanted to bring that element in there to show people that this is not an ordinary town dwelling, although we are setting it up as a lodge in the future.”
Kgomotso is not oblivious to the fact that he operates within communities whose members often need a helping hand. With the pandemic having worsened the quality of life, Buruundi actively contributes what it can to society. The five-member team has made a conscious decision to contribute at least 10 percent of profits to the development of the communities.
“I would like to encourage Batswana to use this opportunity because we are living in unprecedented times of COVID-19,” he said. “It is time to reinvent and come up with ideas that will put you on the map.”