Gateway to the Delta
Botswana's tourism capital lies on the southern fringes of the Okavango Delta and still, despite recent modern developments, carries the feeling of a dusty, frontier town. Maun is the point of entry into the Delta for many tourists, with direct air connections from Johannesburg, Cape Town and locally from Kasane and Botswana's capital, Gaborone.
Maun is the administrative centre of Ngamiland District and the tribal seat of the Batawana tribe. The Batawana are an off-shoot of the Bangwato of Serowe. Following a chieftainship dispute in the late 18th century, Kgosi (chief) Tawana and his people left Serowe and settled in Ngamiland, first establishing their capital at Lake Ngami, then Toteng, then Tsao and finally, in 1915, in Maun. Ngamiland District comprises a fascinating variety of ethnic groups: the Hambukushu, Basubiya and Bayei – all with central African origins, who know the Okavango intimately, having expertly utilised its abundant resources for centuries. There are also the Banoka – the River Bushmen, who are the Okavango's original inhabitants, the Bakgalagadi, and the Baherero, who originate from Namibia, and whose women can be seen wearing brightly coloured Victorian-style dresses as they stroll along the town roads.
The dramatic surge in the number of tourists coming to Botswana in the 1980s brought equally dramatic changes to Maun. Safari companies abound, and their signposts dot the sandy parking lots. Modern malls, shops, hotels and guesthouses have sprung up everywhere, and now virtually any food items – from French Champagne, French cheeses, and chocolates down to common necessities can be purchased locally.
Meanwhile, the timeless Thamalakane River meanders lazily through the town, setting the scene and mood for what lies ahead.
Maun Lodge is situated on the banks of the Thamalakane River. It is located only 4km from Maun International Airport and 2.5km from the village center. Maun Lodge boasts a conference room which seats 500 delegates, complimented by two smaller meeting rooms, seating up to 40 people. Secretarial services and Internet access are available at Maun Lodge.