Maun is the capital of the tourism industry of Botswana and the gateway to the legendary northern game parks of the country.
© Donkeys are the main wildlife of Maun
By Leigh Kemp
Pleasing to the Eye
There are many more 'pleasing to the eye' places in Africa but few have a more colourful history than this frontier town on the edge of the Okavango Delta. I had read of Maun in a number of records of the early days of the country before I saw it for the first time.
In the 1980's the town was still relatively untouched by development but by the late 1990's the access road from the south had been tarred
, allowing access for two wheel drive vehicles and all manner of humanity suddenly had access. Gone was the frontier town charm, although donkeys and stray dogs still wander the streets and raid the rubbish bins.
My first visit to Maun left me enchanted
. This is not the prettiest town in the world. In fact it can be said that Maun may be one of the dustiest and dirtiest provincial capitals on earth, however the luxury tourism market gives the town a strange sort of sophistication.
In the days before the access route was paved
there was only a small section of tar in the town and the 300 km drive from Nata was a marathon in shocking road conditions. Huge potholes and soft sand were prevalent on the road.
In the town itself I recall getting bogged down in the thick sand in front of the bank in a 4x4 vehicle.
Maun into the Future
The future of Maun is secure as long as the tourism industry in Botswana is strong and as if to indicate the future success of the town
the Thamalakane River, which overflows from the Okavango, has begun to flow freely again after many years of been dry, giving Maun some sense of revival.
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