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Maun is the fifth largest town in Botswana. As of 2001, it had a population of 43,776. It is an eclectic mix of modern buildings and native huts. Maun is the "tourism capital" of Botswana and the administrative centre of Ngamiland district. It is also the headquarters of numerous safari and air-charter operations who run trips into the Okavango Delta.

Although officially still a village, Maun has developed rapidly from a rural frontier town and has spread along the Thamalakane River. It now has shopping centres, hotels and lodges as well as car hire, although it retains a rural atmosphere and local tribesmen continue to bring their cattle to Maun to sell. The community is distributed along the wide banks of the Thamalakane River where red lechwe can still be seen grazing next to local donkeys, goats and cattle.

Maun is 30 kilometres (19 mi) distant from Toteng.


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.

Maun is today a thriving tourist town, infamous for its infestation of donkeys and to a lesser extent goats. These animals can be seen standing around town as the local farmers arrive in the innumerable taxis to sell their wares on the curbside.

With the influx of tourism dollars, the typical traditional rondavels have been replaced by square, cinderblock homes roofed with tin and occasionally tiles. It has resulted in rise of many building materials shop like A to Z Hardware. Mobile phone service in Maun is excellent out to about 20 to 25 kilometres (12 to 16 mi), depending on weather.

There are three major chain supermarkets, Shoprite, Spar, and Choppies and few leading retail auto parts store such as Motor Parts Sales and Services owned by Pakistan originated Motswana. It is located just at the hospital junction, along the Tsheko-Tsheko Road, which takes one to the northwestern part of Botswana bordering Namibia.

Maun is also becoming a regional transshipment hub for materials and tradespeople who service both the local camps and safari centres and the burgeoning mineral exploration camps in northwestern Botswana. There are a wide variety of services in stores as well as many local entrepreneurs with welding ventures operated from the back of a cart.

Tourists often fly into the Maun International Airport. Often, these tourists hire a fully equipped 4x4 for camping and game viewing in the parks, or otherwise fly to several tourist camps in the Okavango Delta or the Makgadikgadi.

Maun, like most areas in southern Africa, has a protracted aviation history.

Etymology and logistics

The name Maun is derived from the San word 'maung', which translates 'the place of short reeds'. The village started in 1915 as the capital for the Tawana people. The capital was transferred from Toteng after victory over Ndebele King Lobengula.

It could be that one of the main reasons for Maun being the tourist capital is Colin Dandridge’s famous riverboat which plies its trade along the Thamalakane River’s banks as a ‘booze cruiser’ called “Sir Rosis of the River.” The boat leaves at Okavango River Lodge, a famous watering hole in town. In a broader sense Maun is a gateway for exploring much of northern Botswana; for example it is the natural hub for visitors from outside the region to explore the Tsodilo Hills and the Makgadikgadi Pans. The Thamalakane River discharges to the Boteti River, whose seasonal high flow reaches the Makgadikgadi.

Commercial Development

(2008) Maun has Barclays Bank, First National Bank and Standard Chartered Bank. Maun also has Super Stores like Choppies, Spar, Score and Shoprite, and shops like Cosmos (specialising electronics, household goods and cosmetics).

Maun Industrial Park is located as you enter town on the Francistown Highway . It is home to such businesses as Aliboats, Mullbridge Transporters and United Development.

Maun has three main hotels – Sedia Riverside Hotel, Riley's Hotel and Maun Lodge. There are many other accommodations and campsites, oriented towards the safari business.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


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