Maun is a rural town on the Thamalakane River in northern Botswana where it is not unusual to see local tribesman walking their cattle, donkeys and goats through the town centre. It is Botswana's primary tourist hub as the gateway to the Okavango Delta. Maun has good accommodation options, and the ambience is usually fun as the town gets a good mix of bush pilots, tourists, campers, volunteers, and luxury-safari-enthusiasts. Most travellers spend their time in the camps and lodges within the Okavango Delta, only using Maun as a stopover for a day or two.
A vehicle is a necessity for getting around, but taxis can be hailed from the street if you do not have one. If you want to pre-book a taxi for a specific reason, you will need to phone to order one in advance.
Minibuses also drive up and down the main road all day, costing very little (about P10) and are very easily accessible!
Does the town have an airport?
Yes! The airport in Maun is located on the north side of town and is easily accessible by taxis and shuttle buses. This airport is well connected, with scheduled Air Botswana flights from Gaborone, Johannesburg, and Kasane. Maun airport may be a small airport, but it is one of the busiest in Southern Africa when considering the number of arrivals and departures per hour. Much of the air traffic is associated with ferrying travellers to the many lodges in the area.
Most places in town accept credit cards; some will even accept travellers cheques. Most banks in Maun have ATM’s where travellers can draw money using international cards, including Visa and MasterCard, which is usually the easiest, quickest, and cheapest way to get Pula. If this is not an option, you may visit Barclays Banks or Standard Chartered Bank and cash travellers cheques – this will mean spending time in queues.
There are a few Bureau de Change around town – Sunny’s Bureau de Change, located above Steers Restaurant, being the most obvious one.
The currency in Botswana is the Pula (BWP). Travellers can draw Pula out of ATM’s dotted around Maun; they can swipe using their bank cards or exchange foreign cash and travellers cheques for Pula at the banks or the airport. The US Dollar is also widely accepted.
Maun has large shopping centres, garages, banks, bars, camping shops, and so much more! Regular provisions of almost everything can be bought in Maun. These shops are perfect for the 4×4 self-drivers and are suppliers for the surrounding hotels, lodges, campsites and tour operators.
Maun’s main supermarket is the giant Shoprite on Tsheko Tsheko Road and the two newer and well-stocked Spar shops. The local market is on Tsaro Street and has a variety of small stalls and local sellers and is worth visiting if shoppers want to find some good fruit and vegetables. You can also find more unique foods such as Mopani worms!
Curio shops are not hard to come by in Maun, but some of the better ones to visit would be: The General Trading Company, Bushman Curio Shop, The Craft Centre, and African Arts & Images.
Hours of Business
Most businesses’ working hours are from 08:00 – 17:00 on weekdays. Supermarkets are open from 08:00 – 19:00 on weekdays, 08:00 – 17:00 on Saturdays and 08:00 – 13:00 on Sundays.
Botswana is both a malaria area and a yellow fever area, which your doctor should explain. You will need to take precautionary measures against both, which, again, your doctor will guide you through.
We have listed a few (but not all) facilities that travellers can visit if they feel the need to whilst they are in Maun:
- Delta Medical Centre – Along the main road, offering 24-hour emergency service.
- Maun General Hospital – Approximately 1 kilometre southwest of the town centre.
- MedRescue – for evacuations in the bush.
The most common plug used in Botswana is the plug type M (three round pins), and sometimes, but less often, the plug type G (three square pins).