Visit Maun, gateway to the Okavango Delta in Botswana and an essential stopover point for those who need to refuel bodies and minds after international flights. Then adventure forth on wildlife safaris into the largest inland delta in Africa.
A typical one-horse town, Maun was a place where locals congregated to share stories over a drink. Now international travellers meet here before embarking on unforgettable wildlife safaris into the Okavango Delta, Moremi Game Reserve and the rest of Botswana. Since 1915, Maun was the tribal capital of the Batawana people. Today it has the busiest airport in the country with daily flights to and from many international African cities.
Maun in the local dialect means ‘Place of the Short Reeds’, named after the reeds growing in the nearby Thamalakane River. One of the oldest hotels still in operation is Riley’s Hotel, built in 1910 by Harry Riley as a vital resting and drinking base for big game hunters. Today the Thamalakane River Lodge offers fresh facilities for business and leisure travellers. It’s one of many hotels, guest houses and chalets in this small Botswana town.
Most guests depart from Maun in small Cessna 206’s and Caravans. These lightweight, nimble aircraft are the workhorses of the skies as they transfer literally tens of thousands of people to the various camps around the country every year. Flying low and carrying between 3 to 12 people, they offer fantastic opportunities to see the stunning countryside below. View the delta, rivers, grassland and even wildlife from the sky. Part of the fun, you’ll also marvel at how they manage to land on seemingly tiny dirt runways in the middle of nowhere.
Back in Maun, sip sundowners by the Oldbridge and soak in the surrounding environment,or hike along the scenic Thamalakane River to see birds and small game. Visit the tiny Maun Game Reserve and attempt one of its many walking trails across the eight square kilometre space. This is the place to begin or end your safari in Botswana.