Where to eat
Of the hotels, Riley's and Maun Lodge both have competent restaurants, though neither is really inspired and prices are relatively high. The Sedia Hotel's open-air restaurant beside its pool at the back can be fun with a good atmosphere, but the food isn't anything special.
Crocodile Camp always used to have the reputation for the best food. Whilst their set meals remain very competent, I don't think that they are now worthy of a special journey unless you're staying north of town – and they do need booking in advance early in the day. When full, Island Safari Lodge's bar can have a great mix of people. Again the food here is fine, but nothing amazing.
A few places are worth singling out that you might not otherwise find:Bull & Bush
Mathiba I Rd; tel: 6864250
On the road beside the airstrip, and within a short walk of the airport building, this is a lively spit-and-sawdust bar that is a fun place to eat and drink. It serves (often slowly) substantial bar meals at reasonable prices; expect steak-and-chips (P35), ribs with sauce (P35) and pizzas (P30). As this goes to press the news is that the Bull & Bush has been taken over by a chef of local renown with a reputation for trendy dishes, so it's certainly a place that's worth trying.
The locals know it as the 'Bullet & Ambush' – after its opening night, which was something of a gala event in Maun. Lots of the people in the safari industry turned up from all corners of the bush and, towards the end of the evening, someone was shot. Its nickname is a little unfair, as it's not by any means an unsafe place; quite the opposite, I'd recommend it.The Power Station
Mophane Rd; tel: 6862037
Round the corner from the Bull & Bush, the Power Station is a modern complex of quite radical design, incorporating a small theatre, various offices (including Okavango Tours & Safaris), a craft centre, Maun's first beauty salon and a fairly trendy small restaurant. In the evening there's also a lively bar which may continue late into the evening; it can be a busy spot. The restaurant here serves inventive salads (P25) and a good range of modern, light dishes (around P30–40) and juices; it's especially good for lunch.Hillary's Coffee Shop
Located behind the offices of Okavango Wilderness Safaris, Hillary's is reached by taking a small side turning off Mathiba I Road, just before the Avis office. It's on the left as you walk from the airport's entrance gate towards the Bull & Bush.
Hillary's has been serving since about 1995, and is one of the more interesting and reliable places to eat in Maun.
Seating is either outside amongst mopane trees and pot plants, and the owner, Hillary, makes everything herself, from the mayonnaise and salad dressing to the bran muffins. Expect the best home-cooked breakfasts in Maun and tasty wholesome lunches all day long. Breakfast is P15–30, sandwiches and salads around P10–20, and amazing desserts and cakes for P10–20. Hillary's home-baked wholewheat bread is to die for, and with a little advance notice she can make this to order for a camping trip if you ask nicely… The Sports Bar
Shorobe Rd, Sedie, P Bag 272, Maun; tel: 6862676
This is a long-standing favourite, though a little out of town, to the north, and so you'll need transport to get here. Just head towards Chobe and turn right to it just before you cross the Thamalakane River. It's about 7km past the Engen Filling Station.
The Sports Bar serves food in the evening only, for dinner, but it's now probably the restaurant in the area – helped by speedy service and the frequent presence of the owners. The whole complex is spread over two levels, but the restaurant is downstairs and separate from the bar and pool tables.
The menu is fairly extensive, but it's known for great pizzas (P28–32), the best spare ribs in northern Botswana (P35), and a fine line in specials (around P35) and steaks (from P42). As you'd expect, the 'bar' area is well-stocked. Come here on a Friday night when the place rocks; there's usually a live DJ and no cover charge. It's here that Maun's younger and more affluent residents (including lots from the safari industry) and expats dance the night away.The French Connection
This new café/restaurant has just opened next to BGI Liquor – around the corner from the power station. It's run by a couple of French/Dutch origin who used to run Crocodile Camp, and promises a modern and stylish range of sandwiches, baguettes and croissants. Expect smoked salmon and rocket on the menu, with costs around P20-30. It is licensed and has seating indoors or out.Rendezvous
Is a new restaurant that opened in early 2002, near the Ngami Toyota garage. The author would welcome detailed reports, but I believe that it serves Indian and Chinese meals, at around P35–40 for a main course, and that they often have karaoke shows.
Maun's not really a town for fine dining, but there are a few reasonable venues, including some of the hotels and camps. There are also numerous fast-food places in town, including Nandos, Steers, Chicken Licken and many more. Expect a decent burger to cost around P10 – and remember that you're in a country which counts beef as one of its main exports