Traveling by bus between Maun, Botswana and Windhoek, Namibia can be a bit tricky. There is a direct bus the operates once per week so if you can catch that, it will you save a lot of hassle. If you miss that bus, the only option is to take a series of minibusses and hitchhiking. This trip can be done in one long day but I recommend you plan for 2 days to make it a bit less stressful.
Starting From Maun, Botswana
Make your way to the main Maun bus station in the morning. If you are making this trip in two days, you won’t have to arrive too early as there will be a couple of buses leaving per day. If you attempt to make the trip in one day, get to the bus station as early. 6 or 7 am would be ideal.
Get on the minibus that is heading to Ghanzi, Botswana. The bus leaves when it is full so you may have to wait several hours if you are unlucky. The bus costs around $5 and the trip takes 4-6 hours. You can stay the night in Ghanzi. It is a small town with a budget hotel and camping available. Expect to pay around $25-30 for a hotel room or $10 for camping if you travel with a tent.
From Ghanzi, Botswana to the Namibia-Botswana Border
Head to the Ghanzi bus station when you arrive. You are looking for a bus to the border. The ride costs about $5 and takes about 4 hours. This bus actually stops in a small town about a mile from the border.
You have a few options to get to the border. The easiest is to offer the driver a bit more money to take you all the way to the border. You can also look for a taxi. Worst case, you can just walk. You will arrive at the Trans Kalahari border post between Botswana and Namibia.
Check out my African visa guide for more information on African visas.
Hitchhiking From the Trans Kalahari Border Post Between Botswana and Namibia
After crossing the border, you will need to hitchhike. There are no regularly operating buses. You can ask around at the border if anyone is heading to Windhoek. Ask the guards as well. Maybe they or someone they know is heading in your direction. There is also a gas station where you can get drinks and snacks and use the ATM. You can walk there from the border and ask around for a ride. Eventually, you’ll find one.
If you can get a ride all the way to Windhoek, that’s great. You really only need to hitchhike as far as Gobabis, Namibia. From Gobabis you can catch a shared taxi to Windhoek for about $10. Taxis leave periodically all day. Gobabis is a decent-sized town with grocery stores and hotels if you need to stay there. If someone wants to charge you for a ride from the border to Windhoek, I would say that $25 or less is fair. To Gobabis should cost $15 or less.
For more info on hitchhiking in Africa, check out the Hitchwiki.
My Experience Hitchhiking in the Kalahari
There are a lot of truckers making the drive from South Africa to Namibia and Angola that use this border post. Most likely one will give you a ride eventually. My friend and I were lucky enough to be picked up by a Namibian trucker doing a run from Johannesburg to the Angola border. He drove us from the border to Gobabis free of charge.
Climbing into the truck from the Kalahari desert was surreal. The driver kept the cab of the truck comfortably cool. Trance music blasted through the speakers. It was like watching a movie as we flew over the Kalahari sitting high up in the cab of the truck. We had been waiting in the 100 degree heat for about a half an hour before getting a ride.
Taxi From Gobabis to Windhoek
After arriving in Gobabis, ask around for a taxi to Windhoek. They leave periodically all day. You will have to wait for the car to fill up before it leaves. The ride from Gobabis to Windhoek takes about 2 hours.
My friend and I went into a gas station and asked a few drivers if they knew where to catch a taxi. Some friendly drivers pointed us in the right direction.
Final Thoughts: Maun to Windhoek by Bus
This route is a bit of a hassle because of all of the bus changes and the hitchhiking. Not to mention the heat you have to deal with when crossing the Kalahari desert. The nice thing is that Botswana and Namibia are fairly developed. Every town you pass through has a decent hotel and very nice grocery stores available for you to stock up on food and drinks. Roads are in good condition and the minibusses are new and comfortable.
For a list of all of my step-by-step bus guides, check out The Ultimate African Bus Guide.
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