The town of Maun is the third largest city in Botswana and it is also considered to be the tourism town of the country as it acts as a gateway for most of the tourist destinations in the country. The Maun town which was the capital city of the Batawana tribe was founded in 1915 but as time went on, the town started developing after tourism in the neighboring areas was boosted and the developing started from the road, buildings and the Maun international airport was constructed to ease the transportation of tourists to the different tourist destinations like the Okavango Delta and the Moremi game reserve.
Maun as a town is best visited during the months of May to October during the dry winter where the rains are not as heavy and the roads are easily accessible. The roads in Maun flood during the wet season making it hard for tourists to get to the different tourist destination and you will need a 4×4 car to easily drive through Maun and this is why it is advisable that you visit the town during the dry season.
There are several lodges and camps where you can stay in Maun and the tour operators will give you a list of what suits you best when it comes to accommodation and although Maun does not have a lot to offer to tourists, there are a few things that might interest you and some of these include the following:
Take a Mokoro trip in the Okavango Delta
A Mokoro is a canoe which is out wood using hands by the locals and is one of the best ways used by tourists to tour the Okavango delta during the wet season when it floods. It carries two passengers and is rowed by someone using a large pole. There are several local men who act as polers that is the men who push the Mokoro canoe and all you need to do is pay some little money to them and they will be able to take you around on their Mokoros. The way that the Mokoro is made with its flat surface area does not allow tourists to delve deep into the Okavango Delta due to the presence of crocodiles but you will still be able to see the bird species that habitate around the Okavango Delta, hippos, elephants and other aqua animals. A Mokoro ride is also one of the better ways to explore the Delta and wilderness in Botswana because it is extremely calm with no sound of an engine.
Explore the Thamalakene River
The Thamalakene River is located in Maun and it is a top tourist destination in the town. Many activities can be done when one visits the River are fishing, boat cruises, animal viewing especially for the water animals like crocodiles and hippos and the banks of the River offer tourists with an opportunity to take nature walks while enjoying the birding and animal viewing and when it gets too hot, there are trees along its banks where you get to relax from and avoid the overhead sun and heat. The river borders the Maun sanctuary and while on a boat cruise on the river, you can also drop in on the sanctuary and get to see some of the animals that habitate within the sanctuary.
Enjoy the local food prepared in Maun
The people living in Maun are known to be very welcoming and some of the places that you can visit are the restaurants that are found in Maun. These serve all the local Botswana food in the restaurants around the town plus some of the international cuisines and the best place for one to do this is at the Kana Jang restaurant.
Visit the Maun wild life educational Centre
The Maun life educational Centre which is sometimes used as a training Centre for the training of wild life rangers, tour guides and researchers. It was set up in order to educated the children and the people around Maun about the goodness that comes with conserving the wild life in the country although there have been some wrangles about who should run the park between the local community and the government. There is also a large number of wild life species that habitate within the park and some of these include crocodiles, zebras, giraffes, wild dogs, wildebeests, hippos, impalas and many more others.
The Nhabe museum
The Nhabe museum was constructed by the British colonialists in the year 1955 and it is a very good place for tourists to learn more about the culture that is practiced within the town and the Okavango Delta. The Nhabe museum sometimes displays art craft like hand woven baskets and paintings done by the locals and it is a go to place for both art lovers and cultural researchers.
Visit the ostrich farm
The Ostrich farm is located on the road that leads to the Moremi Game reserve and it is a new farm that has been set up for tourists to view these big birds at a close range. It does not open every day and therefore you will need to first find out form your tour operator when it opens and go find out how the birds live, their ways and take a few photos of the largest birds in the whole world.
Enjoy the helicopter scenic rides offered in Maun
Most of the helicopter rides that are offered in Botswana are operated from Maun at the Maun international airport and they have become a favorite for tourists as they get to visit different tourist destinations in the country in the short period of time. The helicopter ride across Maun takes about forty five minutes only and before you go for the rides make sure that you at least listen closely to what the pilots have to say. You will get to ride over Maun and explore it from an aerial point of view, go over the Okavango delta and the Moremi game reserve tracking animals from above before landing back at the Maun international airport.
Visit the Maun Game sanctuary
The Maun Game sanctuary is located in the north Eastern part of Maun town. It is a short a distance away from the city Centre and is bordered by the Thamalakene River which is the main water source in the sanctuary. During the dry season you will be able to see numerous animals loitering around the sanctuary in search of water and food and they normally line at the banks of the River Thamalakane. Some of these wild animals include baboons, monkeys especially the Vervet monkey, zebras, wildebeests, warthogs and many more other species whereas during the wet season, you will find that there are many bird species especially along the River and some of the birds include the swamp boubou, the lesser jacana and the red necked falcon.
Explore the Moremi game reserve
The Moremi game reserve is located just a few kilometers away from Maun and is one of the top destinations that you must not miss while on a tour to Maun. There are several activities that you can carry out in the Moremi and some of them include fishing, birding, game drives, wild life viewing and nature walks through the reserve and the only way for you to get to the reserve is by either driving or flying from Maun.
Explore the lodges in Maun
You must be wondering why this is on the list but you will be surprised to find out that the areas where the different lodges are located have beautiful sceneries that cannot be missed while in Maun. The beauty of these lodges will blow you away together with the surroundings in that you will be forced to at least tour each one of them and if not for the scenery you can still go for the good local food that is prepared at the different lodges.
Take a nature walk around Maun
Maun is not a very difficult place to walk around for as long as you have a tour guide with you. A nature walk around the town will be the best way for you to meet and mix up with the locals and get to learn their culture, pick out a few words and learn their language, traditions and get to taste their great food while listen to their history that is always told by their elders. When going for the walks around Maun, make sure you go with a tour guide especially those that love shopping as you will need to have strong bargaining skills because tourist tend to be overpriced on everything that they purchase.
A trip to Maun might seem to be not entertaining to most tourists but the calmness that it gives through its landscapes, the Okavango delta and other tourist attractions will keep you entertained and you will not regret packing up all your bags and heading down to this village.