Maun, the Gateway to the Okavango Delta is one place that has stolen my heart. Upon arrival in Maun and finding food after a very long drive, I received a phone call from Thalitha Moutloatse, the director of Wild Walks Safaris. She had been following my travels for months so she offered us a day tour around Maun, which turned out to be very informative.

Scenic flight over Okavango Delta

The tour started with a visit to Sexaxa cultural villages, followed by a drive around the eastern side of the airport where residents have been removed to make way for the expansion of the airport. There was also an opportunity to learn the history of the Bayeyi, which is one of the dominant tribes in Maun, and their central origins.

Maun offers a variety of activities, but be warned, many of them do not come cheap, although different packages can be negotiated to suit one’s pocket. We later passed by Sankuya and visited a woman whose husband works for one of the hunting concessions. This is where I had an opportunity to taste some elephant biltong which  sure went down well. One can not visit this village and miss out on the Nhabe museum, I must say.

Delta delicacies..! CArrying Elephant bilton

Mosu is where Khama III, president Ian Khama Seretse Khama’s great grandfather was born. It is also the place where president Ian Khama has his holiday home, right on the edge of the great Makgadikgadi salt pans. One interesting thing about the president’s favourite holiday destinations is what the locals call him.  In Mosu he is fondly known as “Morena.” (Lord) while in Xai-Xai, another one of his favourite spots in the north west district, he is called Tona (the big one)

After visiting Gcwihaba caves we passed through Xai Xai and asked the locals if they have met Khama. The the first people to say yes were Keeme and Kqamxoo who told us that he usually arrived by helicopter and liked to walk around the village meeting the locals. In Mosu, the president is known for riding on motorbikes and sometimes cycling around the village playing hide and seek with bodyguards who would be seen searching for him all over  the village. We hoped to catch the big man at this destination but that was not to be. The main tourist attractions in Mosu are the Mosu Ruins, which are located on the hills which provided a home for Khama III. Other close by attractions are of course the unadulterated Makgadikgadi Salt Pans. One thing about Mosu, which tourists need to keep in mind is that the village does not  have a campsite, lodge or a single guesthouse, although the village is right on the edge of the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans.

The Boma is a restaurant within Maun Lodge premises and this is where we had our dinner. It was also here that we met Kgosi Tawana, the chief of the Batawana tribe of Maun by the fire and where the royal one regaled us with stories about politics and the ruling Botswana Democratic Party, which he only quit recently.

Kgosi Tawana, who is also the Member of Parliament for a constituency in Maun is definitely an interesting character and a prolific story teller. It is however unfortunate that what he shared with us is simply too controversial to be revealed in this article. Should you ever get a chance to sit down with him by the Boma, don’t miss out on this opportunity to be entertained and informed at the same time. I sit in the office and laugh while remembering the chief’s funny stories about life as a politician.

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