Maun - although officially still a village - is the fifth largest town in Botswana. It is an eclectic mix of modern buildings and native huts. Maun is the "tourism capital" of Botswana and the administrative center of Ngamiland district. It is also the headquarters of numerous safari and air-charter operations who run trips into the world-famous Okavango Delta.
Maun has developed rapidly from a rural frontier town and has spread along the Thamalakane River. It now boasts good shopping centers, hotels and lodges as well as cars and 4-wheel-drive vehicles for hire. It still retains a rural atmosphere and local tribesmen continue to bring their cattle to Maun to sell. This community is now distributed along the wide banks of the Thamalakane River where red lechwe can still be seen grazing next to local donkeys, goats, and cattle.
Since Maun's founding in 1915 as the tribal capital of the Batawana people, it has had a reputation as a hard-living 'Wild West' town helping the local cattle ranching and hunting operations. However, with the growth of the tourism industry and the completion of the tar road from Nata in the early 1990s, Maun has developed swiftly, losing much of its old town character. It is now home to over 30,000 people.
With the influx of tourism dollars, the typical traditional rondavels of yesteryear have been replaced by square but modestly sized cinderblock homes roofed with tin and, rarely, tiles. It in not unusual to see mud rondavels with satellite dishes. Likewise, mobile phone service in Maun in excellent out to about 20 to 25 km, depending on weather.
Maun is also becoming a regional transhipment hub for materials and tradespeople who service both the local camps and safari centers and the burgeoning mineral exploration camps in northwestern Botswana. Tourists fly into the Maun International Airport, opposite the famed Cafe Bon Arrive, and stay at the local lodges including Maun Lodge, Rileys Garage, the Crocodile Lodge, or other safari lodges in the immediate vicinity. Often, these tourists take the road to Nata, or otherwise fly to several tourist camps in the famed Okavango Delta.
JOURNEYS trips that include Maun:
Information based on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maun