15 июля / 2018

Botswana nationals visit Russia to attend FIFA World Cup

14.06.2018 - 15.07.2018 - Botswana nationals visit Russia to attend FIFA World Cup

In all honesty, when FIFA  confirmed my ticket for the world cup, I was excited yet anxious at the same time. With all that I've read, heard or even thought about Russia, still I did not know what was ahead of me. Firstly, FIFA made a mistake with my Fan-Id and that really frustrated me. However, I managed to get a tourist visa as a backup. 

It came as a pleasant surprise when I arrived and was met with warm smiles as when we got to the airport, FIFA had a desk in the airport building and I was assisted with a smile and so I now had my Fan-Id. Immigration also was on point as I did really feel welcomed in the country. The drive to the city Moscow was amazing, and our hotel was beautiful with a very helpful staff. I was truly wowed by the history of the city, the people and the food. It was really easy to move around as Russia has an advanced transport system, though language was a bit of a problem, thanks I had Google translate to help. Nonetheless, the people were so welcoming that moving around was breeze. 

Through all the cities I visited, Moscow, Kursk, Saint-Petersburg. Sochi took my breath away. I instantly fell in love with the city. I went up to the mountains and even left Sochi having made friends. 

Through all my journey around Russia, there was never a threat to my security or did I feel racially discriminated against or anything remotely associated to discomfort. The people were amazing, mostly interested in taking pictures with us and we gladly did. I know for sure that Russia would be a place to visit if I do get the chance again and I would like to explore more of the places I didn't have the chance to visit. 

All the misconceptions about Russia in my opinion are just that, misconceptions! I found it to be an amazing country with so much history and a misunderstood people. Russia is a wonderful place to visit and I do recommend for people to go see it for themselves. 

Just want to add, I was so surprise why Russia is still not in our bucket list of Tourist destinations. It is an amazing country with a Rich history, great architecture and wonderful nature, just the size of the land is wonder on its on. I would definitely recommend to my fellow Botswana citizens to take a Tourist trip to Russia, as specially St.Petersburg, Moscow and during winter to visit Sochi amazing and very sophisticated sky resorts. Great Holidays for the whole family.

Mbulelo Thongola

My name is Ruth Moore. Proud mother to Belton Francis JJ Moore. Who is a student at South West State University in Kursk, Russia, for the next coming 4 years. In June 2018, I was blessed to have an opportunity to go on holiday to Russia and attend FIFA World Cup.

We arrived in Moscow to a rainy welcome, though it’s summer and we had expected a sunny day, but it only rained for 2 days so it didn’t dampen our excitement. Being in Moscow for 5 days we toured that beautiful city, went on a boat ride, even saw President Putin’s official Residence, went to the Red Square which is a big tourist attraction. There were thousands of football fans and we joined in the excitement and danced. Everyone was very friendly.

Next we went to Saint Petersburg. Wow, another beautiful place where all the buildings are a work of Art, they look like museums.   The three days we were there we had an out of this world experience as we realized that the sun does was not setting, and we heard this is called white nights, there was absolutely no darkness. Another boat ride site seeing. We visited the Palace of Catharine the Great, which has been turned into a museum.

Our next stop was Kursk, my son’s city, a city which is a thousand years old. I fell in love with it. Old buildings in every other corner. My son also took me to the new malls where we listened to beautiful live Jazz.   I also visited his University and met some of his colleagues, teachers and some officials. It was so touching to be with him so far away fr om home. Hearing him speak very good Russian just brought tears of joy to my eyes.

After Kursk we headed for the pictures to Olympic City of Sochi, but on the way we stopped between Kursk and Belgrog wh ere we went to see the monuments. It was a somber moment.

After the other cities, I never thought any other place could be more beautiful, but Sochi was to die for. (When I die I wouldn’t my ashes to be scattered there, at the beautiful mountains). The place is very hot and humid but I loved it. You can walk in your bikini and it’s fine, more like a bigger Cape Town. Actually I never thought any place can be hotter than Botswana. But it was the best place to be. I met so many lovely people who would talk to you and compliment you even though they don’t know you. We went to the beach and managed to dip ourselves in the Famous Black sea, which until now, I had only read about. It is perceived to have some healing powers.

I am afraid of heights, so never in my life did I ever think I would be comfortable going on the mountain cable. I did, and it was the most awesome experience. We were even told we were the first Batswana to visit that lovely place. Nice to be first.

In conclusion I loved my holiday in Russia, I love Russian people and the high level of Hospitality they offered to us. And I am going to visit it again. I would recommend it anyone. I found Russians to be friendly people, contrary to the perception that they are racists. I think it is because of the language barrier (most don’t speak English)

I felt very safe, walking the streets even at 3am without any problem, the Police are always visible, which gives one a sense of security. The whole time I was there, I never experience any resentment or animosity. Though the food was different from what I’m used to here at home, it was interesting to sample some Russian cuisines and I did find some familiar salads that I loved like carrots and also Beetroot salads. All the cities I visited are very clean and my photos tell the story…

Ruth Moore