Maun, Botswana A True Frontier Town

The location of Maun, Botswana in southern Africa and an aerial photo showing Maun along the Thamalakane River

Maun, Botswana is a small African frontier town referred to as the gateway to Botswana’s world class safari circuit offering the best wildlife viewing you will ever experience. This dusty town has the atmosphere of a village but is actually Botswana’s fifth largest city with over 50,000 inhabitants and contains an eclectic mix of modern buildings and grass huts. Maun is situated at the southern end of the Okavango Delta, sprawling for miles along the wide banks of the Thamalakane River where red lechwe are sometimes seen grazing next to local donkeys, goats, and cattle. The Thamalakane River emanates from the Okavango Delta without a well defined beginning and is commonly dry, but has been flowing since 2009 and was filled with water during our visit. Every night of our stay in Maun we were serenaded to sleep by the chorus of 13 different frog and toad species that make their home within the river’s waters (see video at the bottom of this blog to hear the night chorus of frogs).

Old Bridge Backpackers, was packed with expats celebrating the holiday. It was a strange scene of old and young white Botswanans, safari guides, bush pilots, medical technicians, and such in various stages of inebriation. One crusty old bush pilot exclaimed how he wasn’t sure who Botswana had gained independence from since the country had never been occupied as a colony. Rather Botswana was a British protectorate, the Brits having been invited by the Botswana government to protect the county from Boer refugees fleeing South Africa during that country’s Boer Wars of the 1880s and 90s. The Boers were the descendants of the original Dutch colonists of South Africa and at the time were battling Britain for control of South Africa. Our holiday evening at the Old Bridge proved entertaining, and was full of colorful conversation with fascinating strangers.

Maun offers few adventures for visiting tourist, but if you find yourself in Maun with time on your hands consider hiring a guided trip into the Okovango Delta in traditional dugout canoes. It is a quest worth investigating. Visit us next week to read about one such exciting trip into the delta taken by GrassTrack Safaris.

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