3 Many days later haha!
Anyway I hope you had a grand time enjoying the holidays with family and friends. Even if you don’t celebrate Easter, “Happy all the chocolate bunnies are on sale” day.
Here in Botswana we had Friday April 3rd and Monday April 6th off from work. Do you guys remember what I did Easter? Yea my friend Nadine came to visit me from America and we traveled to Barcelona and Bilbao Spain.
This year one of my closest friends here and I decided to go visit Maun. I was really excited because I’ve heard so many great things about this small town located in Ngamiland right on the cusp of the Okavango Delta. Even one of my coworkers gloated about his home village and all the animals that awaited me for viewing pleasures.
I left my site at 7am to catch the combi. I took the shorter ride (versus going all the way to Francistown spending 2hours of my time and 37pula) and got dropped off by the a veterinary checkpoint nearby. The ride was about 20minutes and cost 7 pula :). I waited there with some other folks for the “Maun” coach bus.
The wait wasn’t very long, maybe about 35-40 minutes. The cost was 76pula (say $7.60) and it took about 4 hours. I stood in the aisle for 2.5 hours waiting for an available seat.
When we pulled into Maun it was POURING RAIN! And it was cold 🙂
Did I already mention I tried to pack light and also forgot to take some sort of jacket…no…well I did!
The bus rank was not what I pictured. For a supposedly tourist destination I expected it to be in the middle of everything. But it was somewhat behind all the shops and eateries.
I met up with my travel companion and we took a taxi to “the center of town”. The ride was about 10minutes and we found ourselves dropped off near a “strip mall” with all the usual stores. “Pep”, Spar”, KFC, and an assortment of china shops.
*cue my unimpressed face*
We decided to head over to Nandos, our reliable spot for clean bathrooms, decent services and air conditioning. We walked in and I was immediately met by a sea of white people ha ha.
Maun is a tourist spot of a lot of white South Africans and the like.
We ate and chatted catching up on all the PCV antics of the last few weeks. After lunch we headed to our “hostel”. We stayed one night at the Maun Rest Camp and one at Old Bridge Backpackers hostel.
The Maun Rest Camp tent was covered in carpet which I thought was really strange. The tent was big and spacious and supposedly had electricity. The smell of moldy mildew’ness was suffocating. And it was still raining so that didn’t help much. I was so happy I brought my sleeping bag because the thought of my skin toughing those smelly sheets made me gag.
Here is a look at the tent situation:
After we got situated we took advantage of the free shuttle to the Old Bridge Backpackers for dinner.
Did I mention that is was raining?..Yes…OK…but think TORRENTIAL DOWN POUR!
We arrived and walked over to the bar/lounge/reception area. The place was really nice and reminded me of a beautiful hostel I once stayed used in Flores, Guatemala.
There weren’t many options of activities since it was raining and the place was packed with stranded tourist. The best plan was to order dinner and chill.
I didn’t feel like eating much and ordered french fries.
What is it about french fries…it is becoming like an addiction…seriously.
The bartenders and staff were quite lovely at both venues. I believe they are owned by the same people.
The prices for tours are a bit outrageous on a Peace Corps Volunteer allowance. But they are not catering to our kind. The tourist that I mentioned earlier…that’s their niche.
At the end of day one it was nice to retreat back across the river to Maun Rest Camp because it was very quiet. Taking a shower was a feat in itself. The night watchman had to assist us in fixing the hot water geyser. The bathrooms were clean enough but it was too cold and rainy to deal with freezing water in the showers.
Once that was sorted we headed back to our tents for a peaceful sleep. I had to stuff myself into the bottom of my sleeping bag to cover my face. The mildew smell was overpowering.
Thankfully my allergies stayed at bay. I couldn’t wait to get up the next morning.
Up at 5am we decided to watch the sunrise. Because the sky was overcast it was not as glamorous as anticipated. Seemed to be a running theme in Maun. The great thing however was the fact that there was no rain.
We quickly got dressed and headed back across the bridge for breakfast.
My breakfast was so freaking good! It was just a simple cheese and onion omelet but it was delicious and fresh! I wish I were still eating it right now.
My friend had the “full breakfast” which she enjoyed as well.
The price was reasonable for both. About 42-55 pula. So think $4-6.
The second night we moved camp and stayed at the Old Bridge backpacker hostel. It was just a standard tent with two beds and more moldy smelling sheets. The place is more developed and caters to more people. The grounds were really pleasant. And there is a self service kitchen if you choose to bring your own groceries.
As I mentioned before the packaged tours were really expensive so we did not indulge in that life. But the strange thing is that no one could give us an alternative of activities to partake in if you were not on a tour. After breakfast we explored the city and it proved to be quite underwhelming.
If I may quote myself” A small town in Spain, is a small town anywhere.” There was nothing interesting to see in Maun. I’m not sure why I fell for all the hype. And no…I didn’t see any animals, except the typical cows, donkeys, stray dogs and chickens.
Would I go back to Maun? Probably not.
Unless Botswana Tourism wants to show me a good time (wink wink ^_^)
But I wouldn’t necessarily pay to go back there since it was quite expensive to not have any interesting activities to do.
That said, take my advice with a grain of salt. I mean I only have about 23,000 readers of my reviews on Tripadvisor but the decision will always lie with you!
Either way have fun! Until next time.