- 1 [dead link] Maun Airport (MUB IATA). Air Botswana operates regular services from Francistown, Gaborone, Kasane, and the South African city of Johannesburg. The airport passenger terminal is right in town, about two blocks from the major shopping centre.
You can get to Maun using the highway from Francistown. At Nata, take the A3. (It is well sign-posted.)
There are daily buses from the bus rank in Gaborone to Maun at 05:30, 07:00, and 11:30 (recommend catching the 05:30 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 2011 the bus fare was P150 per person. 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 9 to 10 hr. Buses from Francistown cost about P90 and take 5 to 6 hours, departing Francistown about once an hour from 07:30 to around 15:30.
If you're traveling from Namibia, smaller buses between Maun and Ghanzi cost about P50 and take about 4 hours; in Ghanzi you can connect with another bus 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 (08:30) 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.
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, ~1.5 km). 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 (~2.5 km), and thence to the popular camps, to Moremi, and to Shorobe.
Taxis and combis have blue licence plates. (Expect to pay P30 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.
- Route 1 north to the airport, and the camps north of town
- Route 7 southeast to Maun Educational Park
The following companies offer cars for hire. 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.
- Maun Self Drive 4x4. Kitted out 4x4s equipped for camping at affordable rates. Backed up by in-country support, with extensive unparalleled knowledge of onroad and offroad routes, campsites and accommodation within Botswana.
- Avis (Opposite the airport, on street corner next to Kalahari Kanvas), ☏ , , fax: , email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org. Local office of the international chain. 4x4: P550/day plus per-km charge and insurance.
- Budget (Opposite the airport, next to Delta Air), ☏ . Local office of the international chain.
- Holiday Safari 4x4 Hire, ☏ , fax: .
- Self Drive Adventures (Self Drive Adventures), ☏ . Fully safari equipped 4x4 vehicle hire including satellite phone, GPS, logistical & mechanical support and unlimited mileage.
- Travel Adventures Botswana, ☏ . Low mileage Toyota Landcruiser or Toyota Hilux, fully equipped for 4X4 safari rental. Competitive rental prices include satellite phone, double roof top tents, medical evacuation insurance and mechanical support. Drop off and collections available in Maun, Kasane, Gaborone and Windhoek.
- 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 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 flightsEdit
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 P50/person. Contact the operators in advance for a specific and updated quote, or to ask about charters to other destinations.
- [dead link] Delta Air, Mathiba I Rd (Office is across from Maun airport), ☏ , , email@example.com. Daily 8AM-5PM. A fleet of seven aircraft flies 5,000 passengers per year. Has ties to Delta Camp and Oddballs. P1250 (5 pax) +P50/pp.
- Kavango Air, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Price is for a flight in the 4-seat Cessna 172. P1,500 (3 pax) +P50/pp.
- Moremi Air (1st Floor, Maun Airport Building), ☏ , fax: , email@example.com. Based primarily in Maun, they also have one plane in Kasane. Their charter and sightseeing range includes Livingstone, Victoria Falls, Lusaka, Windhoek, Gaborone, and Johannesburg. US$290 (5 pax) including tax.
- Mack Air, Mathiba I Rd, ☏ , fax: , firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com. A well-regarded operator, independent of the camps. Also offer charter service to Kasane, Windhoek, Livingstone, Francistown, and Gaborone.
- Sefofane, Mathiba I Rd (In the Okavango Wilderness Safaris office block, near the airport gates), ☏ , fax: . The largest of the air operators. They are affiliated with Wilderness Safaris, and thus fly most of Wilderness Safari's clients. Sefofane also gives flight instruction. P2,000 (5 pax) +P50/pp.
- Helicopters Horizons, ☏ , fax: , firstname.lastname@example.org. M-F 8AM-5PM. Offers flights in helicopters instead of fixed-wing aircraft. This is a great experience!
- Merlin Air Services, Mathiba I Rd (Just outside airport gates), ☏ . Not an air operator themselves, Merlin has a long history as a booking agent and communications relay for tour and aircraft operators.
- Safari Air. Primarily does the transfers for Desert and Delta Safaris lodges.
Maun is a prime take-off location for mobile safaris into the Okavango Delta, Parks and Game Reserves.
- Moremi Game Reserve, a world class game reserve, is 80 km away. It offers undisturbed game viewing in varies woodland plains environments.
- Afro Trek Safaris. Operates from Maun. Trips generally range from overnight to 10 days.
- Bush Camp Safaris. It is another excellent mobile safari company. Many travelers consider mobile safaris the best way to see Botswana and the big game it has to offer.
- Mokoro trip. A mokoro trip in a traditional dugout canoe with a poler that pushes you through the waterways of the Okavango delta is combined with an overnight stay, camping or hiking. Any travel agency can arrange this. Depending who you book this with, the price varies.
- Gym: 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).
- There are several souvenir stores right around the airport, including Bush Telegraph, and Jazella's.
- Motsana - Matlapaneng (On the Moremi road before Audi Camp turnoff), ☏ . Motsana is a cultural centre in Maun that boasts 7 shops, 2 dance studios, a coffee shop, stage & open air courtyard. Its strives to provide locals and tourists with entertainment, shopping, food & drink within the walls of a unique yet spectacular piece of architecture!
- Botswana Quality Baskets, ☏ , email@example.com. Buy some baskets or learn to weave.
- Bon Arrivee is just across the street from the airport. International breakfasts, lunches, dinner and a full range of refreshments await you.
- Audi Camp has a great open kitchen, where you can watch your meal being cooked. You eat under one of the largest thatch roofs you may ever see.
- Try Hilary's Coffee Shop near the airport - cheap and cheerful, a regular lunchtime spot for locals because the menu is full of delicious homemade dishes. The menu shows real imagination. Whether planning to eat outdoors on the verandah or inside get there early to enjoy the greatest selection.
- Sports Bar is good for a more formal, European style dining experience.
- Try local dishes such as papa (maize meal- the staple food), magunya (Fried dough balls- available for around 50 thebe), seswa (shredded meat- usually beef or goat), morogo (green, leafy vegetable similar to spinach). These foods are available ready made at most supermarkets or at local eateries such as "Choice" across from Riley's Garage. If you're feeling adventurous, in season, mopane worms (the caterpillar of the mopane moth) are also available in many different forms- dried and salted, stewed or fried.
- Food is also available at River Lodge, The Bridge Backpackers, Tamalakane Lodge, and Crocodile Camp all of which, along with Audi camp, are popular places to stay for backpackers.
- French Connection on Mophane Avenue serves bistro style food, croissants, etc. Don't be put off by the simple-looking entrance and sign - this place is awesome. The owners are very friendly, and they grind all their own herbs and spices and prepare all food from scratch. Their shawarmas are to die for and coupled with their home-made lemonade there is nothing better you could ask for in the sunshine. The eating area is well shaded and relaxed, with basic furniture and serene atmosphere.
- RAW serves smoothies, wraps and other healthfood. Nice, different concept for Botswana, doesn't feel like it is in the middle of an African village.
- Sedia Riverside Hotel. Have a delicious meal either in the Dining Room or relax at their Poolside Terrace
- Arts Cafe, Motsana - Matlapaneng (on the Moremi RD before Audi Camp turnoff), ☏ . Petite coffee shop offering a variety of food and drink. Patrons sit in an open courtyard set in the center of a unique piece of architecture, Mauns Castle.
- Trekkers Nightclub - It is popular primarily with the locals. Ex-pats will warn you not to go, but is perfectly safe if you're reasonably cautious.
- Bar 2000
- Wine and Dine. Great way to try a lot of different local dishes at one time! As well as a Mopane worm if you are up for the challenge!
There are a couple of hotels (most notably Riley's) and some unimpressive B&Bs 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 P3, while a tax costs about P30.
- 1 Sedia Riverside Hotel, Shorobe Road (on the road to Shorobe and Moremi, 6 km NE of airport), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com. In large grounds on the banks of the Thamalakane River. The rooms have ensuite bath but also colourful African decor. Chalets have one or two bedrooms with air conditioning and satellite TV. There is also a campsite. They also offer the largest swimming pool in town, a terrace bar, an indoor bar, and a dining room. Plenty of birds to watch. camping P120/person; discounts for locals.
- Audi Camp, ☏ , fax: , firstname.lastname@example.org. Offers camping, bedded tents, and a self catering house for larger groups. Restaurant on site. Makes an effort to employ local businesses and return wealth to the community. Transfers to town, safaris, and excursions available. Skype: okavangocamp camping P45/person; tents P150-300/2 people (including breakfast); ensuite tents P490/2 people (including breakfast); house for 2, 4, or 10 people at P200/person (including breakfast).
- Okavango River Lodge, email@example.com. Simple accommodation, camping, trips into the Okavango Delta. Good if you enjoy a party but can be noisy.
- Back to the Bridge Backpackers, firstname.lastname@example.org. A unique, comfortable and historic surrounding and friendly owners. Bar can be noisy. dorm P155.
- Crocodile Camp, ☏ , email@example.com. Beautiful chalets, peaceful atmosphere and campiste for overlanders/backpackers.
- Motsentsela Tree Lodge. Perfect if you are looking to get away from it all. In a bush setting, peaceful, luxurious and pristine.
- Riley's Hotel. Maun's oldest hotel is centrally located and ideal for the business traveller with conference rooms etc. it has a small pool with an abr and plenty of seating. The restaurant does amazing traditional meals and also the regulars. Oxtail and pap or chicken mayo sandwiches with chips - absolutely delicious. There is also a curio shop at reception, and the hotel is close to Riley's garage and a couple of the local shops.
- Motsebe Backpackers Hostel, Plot 11159 Koro Road Wenela Maun, ☏ . Camping with own tent and dorm beds. P100/180.
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:
- Central Kalahari Game Reserve
- Chobe National Park
- Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
- Khutse Game Reserve
- Makgadikgadi Pans National Park
- Mokolodi Nature Reserve
- Nxai Pan National Park