Maun

Maun is an important village (with town status pending) in Botswana, and major gateway to the Okavango Delta.

Get in

By plane

Air Botswana operates regular services to Francistown, Gaborone, Kasane, Maun and the South African city of Johannesburg. The airport passenger terminal is right in town, about two blocks from the major shopping center.

By car

You can get to Maun using the highway from Francistown. At Nata, take the A3. (It is well sign-posted.)

By bus

There are daily buses from the bus rank in Gaborone to Maun at 5:30AM, 7AM, and 11:30AM (recommend catching the 5:30AM one, if you wish to get to Maun before dark). However, it’s a good idea to double check with the locals if the departure times have changed. As of June 2011 the bus fare was P 150.00 pula per person (about $23 USD). There are no ticket counters at the bus rank, so the tickets cannot be purchased ahead of time. The ticket payment is collected right on the bus. The bus ride takes about 9 to 10 hrs. Buses to/from Francistown cost about 90 pula and take about 5 to 6 hours, departing Francistown about once an hour from 07:30 to around 15:30.

If you're traveling to/from Namibia, smaller buses between Maun and Ghanzi cost about 50 pula and take about 4 hours; in Ghanzi you can connect with another bus to/from the Namibian border at Charles Hill/Mamuno (P40, 3.5 hours), but there is no organised transport from there towards Windhoek so you will have to resort to (probably paid) hitchhiking. If you get the first (8:30AM) bus out of Maun you will probably make it through to Windhoek in one day. There are also buses from Maun towards Shakawe and the Caprivi Strip.

If you want to travel from Maun to Kasane, it's best to get a Francistown/Gaborone bus and get off at Nata, where you can catch a northbound bus towards Kasane. The same thing works in the opposite direction; either way you'll need to start out as early as possible to be assured of making the connection.

The buses on major routes are pretty nice compared to many other African countries, but still not exactly luxurious: 5 non-reclining seats in a row, little leg-room and no bathrooms (however, they generally make frequent stops that are long enough to use a bathroom at the bus station). Smaller buses are even less comfortable and more likely to fill up completely. If travelling during the winter (Jun, Jul, and Aug) make sure to dress in layers, since it is freezing cold in the morning and toasty hot in the afternoon.

Get around

The core of Maun, say from Riley's Hotel to the airport, is walkable, but usually hot. Further out than that — and a number of popular camps are to the north-east of town — you will want to get a ride.

There is a roundabout just a few hundred metres northeast of Riley's Hotel and the Tourist office. It is a useful reference point. From here, Tesheko Tsheko road runs southwest past Riley's to the bus station and market (at Tsaro St, ~1.5km). Sekgoma Road runs southeast, crossing the Thamalakane River, past the Maun Education Park, and on to Francistown. Moeti Road runs northwest. And Sir Seretse Khama Road runs north to the Maun airport (~2.5km), and thence to the popular camps, to Moremi, and to Shorobe.

Taxis and combis have blue license plates. (Expect to pay BWP 30 for a taxi to the camps north of town.) In this area, especially on relatively high-speed roads, available taxis will honk gently once to see if you are interested. To show that you want a taxi, stick your arm out parallel to the ground, perpendicular (and towards) the road, palm-down, and flap your fingers. (Raising your hand will probably also work, but the finger-flapping is the way the locals do it.)

Note that taxis do not have a central dispatch system. Thus, if you want to call a taxi to fetch you from somewhere a bit remote, you need to have the mobile number of a taxi driver. Also note that driving after dark is dangerous (due to animals on the road), so there will be fewer taxis running after dark.

Combis (vans) run from the bus station along ten specified routes.

The following companies offer cars for hire. Note: car hire typically carries a per-km charge. If you are coming from outside Southern Africa, you may be able to get unlimited km allowance by making your reservation with an international company on their website.

See

Maun Education Park is easy walking distance from downtown and well worth 2 to 3 hours either early morning or late afternoon. It is the hidden jewel of Maun - with over 10 giraffes, wildebeest, kudu, impala, zebras, lechwe, warthogs and great birding.

Nhabe Museum has regular exhibitions and friendly staff to answer your questions or give advice. Don't miss their gift shop.

There is an ancient bridge that is supported by living trees in Matlapaneng,on your way to Moremi Game Reserve. The bridge is in a poor state and you might be the last to see it.

Okavango scenic flights

There are several small operators on or near the Maun airport. They provide a combination of transfers of tourists between Maun and safari camps in the Okavango, plus sightseeing flights, plus charter flights to other points. They mostly fly small, piston-engine propeller planes carrying three to 10 passengers (Cessna 206, Cessna 210, Cessna 172, and the like). Prices given here are a flat rate for a generic one-hour scenic tour in an aircraft carrying 3 or 5 passengers ("pax"); add a departure tax of BWP50/person. Contact the operators in advance for a specific and updated quote, or to ask about charters to other destinations.

Do

Maun is a prime take-off location for mobile safaris into the Okavango Delta, Parks and Game Reserves.

If you want to work out, there is a gym with day passes behind Hilary's (or rather, behind the naturopath next door to Hilary's).

Buy

There are several souvenir stores right around the airport, including Bush Telegraph, and Jazella's.

Baskets @ P50
Tswee - a local vegetable

Eat

Drink

Sleep

There are a couple of hotels (most notably Riley's) and some unimpressive B&B's in Maun proper. A number of campsites and hotels popular with travellers are clustered on the road to Moremi and Shorobe, about 6-10 km north-east of Maun Airport. The landmark for this cluster is a roundabout on the south side of the Thamalakane River, just after the road crosses from the north side. A combi ride into Maun costs about BWP 3, while a tax costs about BWP 30.

Go next

Maun is known as the gateway to the Okavango Delta and this is a must see when in Botswana. Many tour operators are available and from Maun, self-drive in a 4x4 is possible to either Khwai community area (booking office in Maun) or Moremi with careful research and planning. Other beautiful national parks in Botswana are :

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Sunday, September 06, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.