The Gateway to the Okavango Delta
Today Maun is the tourism hub of Botswana, and as the 5th largest city in the country, home to roughly 56,000 inhabitants (2011, Wikipedia). Although it retains a rural atmosphere it has a shopping centre, supermarket, petrol stations, a bank, ATMs, restaurants and is the ideal place to start or even end a safari. In Maun you can rent a car, go on a daytrip, or fly to your preferred lodge at any of the tourist destinations.
Unless you have other reasons to spend several nights in Maun, it usually only serves as a start or endpoint to a safari. Maun is the gateway to the Okavango Delta and also provides easy access to Moremi Game Reserve, Khwai, Linyanti as well as the Central Kalahari and Makgadikgadi & Nxai Pans. If you have booked a fly-in safari, one would traditionally only land at Maun airport and connect straight onto a charter flight to the relevant lodge. Others collect their vehicle rental in Maun, or meet with their local tour operator to start a safari.
Things to do in Maun:
You will find that most of the activities on offer are daytrips, heading out of town to the nearby Game Reserves for game viewing or mokoro trips. Day or overnight trips for wildlife viewing can be arranged to Moremi Game Reserve, or perhaps enjoy a mokoro safari and/or boat cruise in the Okavango Delta. If you wish to explore the city, there are a few things you can enjoy such as visit the Nhabe Museum, a stop at the curio stores across the road from the airport, or enjoy a meal at the Motsana Cultural Centre. It is also standard to enjoy a sundowner drink at one of the lodges or backpackers, based along the Thamalakane River.
How to get to Maun:
By aircraft: To Maun airport (MUB), which is located in the centre of town (arrange a transfer with your accommodation before arrival). There are several charter airlines that have regular connections to/from Maun, to connect you with lodges in the surrounding regions. As for scheduled flights, Air Botswana offers direct flights from Kasane and Gaborone to Maun. NB: The flights do not depart daily. In addition Air Botswana, South African Airways as well as British Airways offer daily connections between Maun and Johannesburg.
By car: All access roads are tarred and you can arrive with the vehicle of your choice. If you are driving in a sedan, do double check with your accommodation whether their private access road requires a higher ground clearance or 4x4. If this is the case, you can park your car at Maun airport and arrange a transfer to your accommodation in Maun instead. You enter on the A3 tar road if arriving from Ghanzi/Namibia as well as from Gweta/Nata.
By bus: N/A
By transfer: There are no regular scheduled road transfers from any of the surrounding destinations. Some of the lodges in Khwai, Moremi and Gweta, offer road transfers from/to Maun. Transfers to Nata and Kasane are available upon request, and can be booked with a select few transfer companies.
Where to Stay in Maun:
There is plenty of accommodation in Maun near the hustle and bustle of the city centre. My preference does however lie in choosing something a few km's outside of the city, where you can have dinner at lodges, such as Thamalakane River Lodge.
Please click here for a list of accommodation.