"ON MY WAY TO MAUN" Top 5 Page for this destination Maun by Sininen

Maun Travel Guide: 58 reviews and 87 photos

I was up in time and got ready. The man in the reception opened the gate and asked if I was going to walk alone to the bus station and I said I was. It was still dark but I was not afraid and it took me only five minutes to get there. There were some buses parked in the lot and suddenly a door to one of them opened and a man asked where I was going. That really scared me. I wasn’t afraid of him, but I didn’t expect that there were somebody on the bus at that ungodly hour. Later I realised that the drivers were sleeping on the buses. The disco on the other side of the main road was still open and lots of people, mainly men, were in front of it. I didn’t want to draw their attention so I stayed behind the buses in the shadows. Though it was 3.00 o’clock no sign of the bus, not at 3.30 either and I was beginning to think that it would not come. Quarter to four I saw two people approach the bus station; a white woman and a black man. The woman was also travelling to Botswana and the man was a security man from her accommodation. They were very surprised to hear that I had come there alone. The woman was German and she had been told that the bus would arrive at 4.00. Again I was able to wish that there would be a bus after all. It didn’t arrive at 4.00 but finally at 4.50! What a great sight! We got in and the bus left Livingstone. Almost immediately I fell asleep and woke up an hour later when we reached the border between Zambia and Botswana, which is probably the shortest international border in the world: 750 m across the Zambesi River. The bus left us at the customs and after having a stamp on our passports we took a ferry to Botswana side of the river and through another customs arrive in Botswana. As there was foot and mouth disease in Zambia we had to wash the soles of all our shoes before we were allowed to enter the country. Finally we were there standing in the warm morning sun and waiting for our bus. It took about three hours before the bus finally came through and I still don’t know why it took so long. Everybody waited patiently and didn’t look bothered at all so I guess it was common. I wasn’t impatient, but I would have appreciated if somebody had told us what was the reason of the delay.

The bus was going to the capital city of Gaborone and I was heading to the touristy capital of Botswana called Maun. I asked the driver where I should change the buses and he says: In Nata. We arrived there and it is as Lonely Planet describes it ‘little more than a dust hole’. The driver showed me where I should wait for the bus to Maun and added with a voice of concern: ‘I hope that there is a bus there today’. Very convincing indeed. There’s a petrol station and a post office and two or three houses, but I was not worried. This was an adventure and I was enjoying it. There was at least a shelter under which I could escape the sunshine. I asked the young man there if he knew about the buses to Maun but got some mumbling as an answer, which I figured out meant that he didn’t speak English. Another young man came and I asked the same question and he said that the bus would arrive at 1.00. Great! It was already noon then. I was reading a book while waiting, but as so often in Africa time was not relevant. It’s 1.00 and no bus, 1.30 and still no bus, 2.00 and you got it: no bus! In Finland I would have been furious but there it didn’t bother me at all. A woman arrived and we chatted a little. She was also going to Maun but didn’t know whether there would be a bus there that day. She stopped many cars and asked for a lift and I was prepared to go with her in case she got lucky. Suddenly she asked me if I was on the ferry from Zambia to Botswana that day and I said I was. I had thought that she looked familiar, but wasn’t sure. The bus arrived little before 3.00 and in we went.

It was getting dusky when we reached Maun and I was a bit worried especially since I didn’t have my guidebook (see my Namibia page for the reason) and couldn’t read about the accommodation. I walked the main street from one end to another and saw only one hotel, which looked very expensive so I didn’t even bother to go and ask for their prices. I asked two girls in their school uniforms if they knew any other hotel and they said that Maun Lodge was another option but I should take a taxi there. They suspected that it was quite expensive though. I decided to do something I usually never do. I took a taxi and told the driver that I was looking for a cheap accommodation. Maybe I am too suspicious but in general I think that telling a taxi driver that you don’t know where you want to go is asking for trouble and I very rarely do it. He recommended me Audi Camp, which according to him was 14 km from the city centre, and quite frankly didn’t sound very tempting at all. Anyway I decided that I could spend one night there and look for another place in the morning. We arrived there and when the driver left me he said that the cheapest way to get to and from Maun was to use mini buses, which charged 2 pulas. The lady in the reception told me that options in the camp were dormitory tents and tents with beds, fan and bedside lamp and though rather expensive I chose the latter. I had not spent much money on my holiday and thought I could have some ‘luxury’. The showers were roofless and made of reed. They were very spacey and clean. I had a shower and decided to have dinner in the Camp’s restaurant. I had not had proper meal for three days, though I had drunken a lot of water and juices. There were so many delicious fruit juices in Africa. Lichi being my favourite, but also some mixed fruit juices were excellent. I had delicious chicken with lots of vegetables and ice cream for dessert. It cost more than I am used to pay for food but for once it was ok. It had been a long day so I went to bed early. The night was bit chilly and I was grateful that I took my long underwear with me.

  • Last visit to Maun: Sep 2004
  • Intro Written Dec 8, 2005
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