A Guide to Maun
Kaziikini Campsite is just a couple of hours’ drive away from Maun, the closest major town to the campsite, so we thought we’d fill you in on everything you need to know about the ‘gateway to the Okavango Delta’. You ought to visit after going to the inland delta for day as a break from being on safari.
Maun is the tourist capital of Botswana, as the northernmost town before the country’s biggest attractions – safari land full of game. If you encounter any issues there, Maun is the headquarters of various areas of safari. It is also the place to go to hire a 4×4 vehicles for self-driving into game reserves.
Most Kaziikini Campers travel to Okavango Delta from the town after staying for a night in Maun. The Thamalakane river flows through Maun, with its wide banks and grazing cattle, is another natural feature worth seeing. For game-viewers, the nearest commercial safari north of Maun is reachable via a 50-kilometre drive to Moremi Game Reserve underneath Chobe National Park.
The town stretches out over two kilometres. Maun may not have a centre, but there are plenty of ideal places to stay overnight. These include hotels if you would like a night of home comforts, but also tents and lodges if you still want the camping experience.
Small shopping centres in Maun sell just about anything you could wish to buy. Maun is one of the more developed places in Botswana with many modern buildings and roadways, yet native architecture is still present and provides an element of traditional charm.
It is clear Maun has moved on from being a sparsely populated town where tribes would farm cattle and hunt game. Now Maun is populated by over 30,000 people and has a growing tourist trade. Since a tar road was built from the eastern town of Nata, you can now easily travel from Maun to Bulawayo in Zimbabwe or to Polokwane in South Africa.
Places to go
Nhabe Museum is possibly the best place to learn about the history, arts and culture of northwest Botswana. Cultural artefacts from the Ngamiland craft-makers and basket-weavers are exhibited at the museum. Why not try Botswanan delicacies at the Kana Jang restaurant on the grounds of the museum? You will not be disappointed.
Just outside Maun on the Moremi road is Motsana Cultural Centre for more cultural education. The centre has an art café, a gift shop and a whole lot of traditional Botswanan character. Visitors can enjoy the bringing together of many strands of Botswanan arts and culture in one place.
The Maun Game Sanctuary is no longer open, but you can see giraffes, warthogs and zebras amongst others at Maun Wildlife Educational Park. The park was opened by the government to facilitate teaching young people about environmental and wildlife conservation. It is also open for the public and tourists to enjoy.
Taking a canoe, known as mokolo, down the Thamalakane river is one of the best things to do in Maun. It’s a great way to see animals on the river’s banks as well as crocodiles, though a river ranger will steer you clear of danger. If you want to see more, the Crocodile Farm off Sehitwa road south of Maun will teach you all about Nile crocs too.