This Rate is valid until 01.12.2017
This Rate is valid until 01.12.2017
10 km out of Maun, the gateway to the Okavango, overlooking the hippo pool is The Old Bridge Backpackers.
Maun’s most friendly campsite is set in a riverine forest on the banks of the Thamalakane river.
The Old Bridge Backpackers have a limited number of campsites for travelers with their own tents, a few of which are drive in sites. There is one site for larger groups. The Old Bridge Backpackers have 10 furnished tents made up as either doubles or twins. Our 5 riverside tents have en-suite facilities. The 5 tents without en-suite facilities are set back from the riverside.
The Old Bridge Backpackers have a popular and sometimes festive bar set between old, weathered lead-wood logs. Evenings are dimly lit with good music floating through the air (the bar closes at 10pm). You will always find a fire on a cold winters night and a cosy TV lounge that may be used on request.
“The Bridge” provides a comfortable base from which you can enjoy the varied amazing sites and activities that this region has to offer.
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Maun is the fifth largest town in Botswana. As of 2011, it had a population of 55,784. 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.
Botswana’s tourism capital lies on the southern fringes of the Okavango Delta, and still, despite recent modernisations, carries the feeling of a dusty, frontier town. For many tourists, Maun is the point of entry into the Delta, and often into Botswana, with direct flights from both Johannesburg and Gaborone.
Maun is the administrative centre of Ngamiland District and the seat of power of the Batawana people. 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 of central African origins, who know the Okavango intimately, having expertly exploited and 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, or sit outside their traditional rondavels.
Frequently, the ‘people’ side of the Okavango is overlooked, with tourists merely using Maun as a transit point to embark for the Delta. However, exploring the traditional villages along the western fringes of the Delta, in the panhandle area, is worth the time and effort, and for many tourists, becomes a real highlight of their travels in Botswana.
The dramatic surge in the numbers 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 item – from champagne, French cheeses, and chocolates down to commonplace necessities – can be purchased.
Today you can enjoy wilderness and wildlife by day and watch high tech DvDs by night, or walk into old government offices straight out of the colonial era.
Meanwhile, the timeless Thamalakane River meanders lazily through the town, setting the scene and mood for what lies ahead.
Sports & natureNhabe Museum: Shows arts, crafts and artifacts of local Artists. Changes the theme of its exhibition every 6 months. Crocodile Farm: This community-run crocodile farm is basically all the encouragement you need to keep your hands and feet inside the mokoro while cruising through the delta.
Culture and history infoHistory: 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. Maun is today a thriving tourist town, infamous for its infestation of donkeys and to a lesser extent goats. These animals can be seen standing around town as the local farmers arrive in the innumerable taxis to sell their wares on the curbside. With the influx of tourism dollars, the typical traditional rondavels have been replaced by square, cinderblock homes roofed with tin and occasionally tiles. Mobile phone service in Maun is excellent out to about 20 to 25 kilometres (12 to 16 mi), depending on weather. Maun is also becoming a regional transshipment hub for materials and tradespeople who service both the local camps and safari centres and the burgeoning mineral exploration camps in northwestern Botswana. There are a wide variety of services in stores as well as many local entrepreneurs with welding ventures operated from the back of a cart. Tourists often fly into the Maun International Airport. Often, these tourists hire a fully equipped 4x4 for camping and game viewing in the parks, or otherwise fly to several tourist camps in the Okavango Delta or the Makgadikgadi. Maun, like most areas in southern Africa, has a protracted aviation history. Cultures: All of the citizens of Botswana are collectively referred to as Batswana (plural form) or Motswana (singular form), and can be grouped into two broad categories: the Setswana-speaking people and the non-Setswana-speakers. Over 60 percent of the population traces their heritage to one of the Setswana-speaking groups: The Bangwato, who constitute the largest of the Setswana-speaking groups, come from Serowe. The Bakgatla, Bakwena, Barolong and Bangwaketse come from the southern regions around Gaborone, Kanye and Molepolole. The Batawana, who broke away from the Bangwato, settled further north around the southern edges of the Okavango. The Babirwa come from the Tuli Block. The Batswapong come from the eastern regions around Selebi Phikwe. The Bakgalagadi, who are one of the oldest groups, live in the central regions of the Kalahari around Ghanzi and Kang.