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.
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.