Waterberg Guest Farm
Waterberg - Namibia
Many self-drive tourists in Namibia use Waterberg Guest Farm as a first or last stopover on a tour of the region. It is a natural halfway break between Namibia's capital city Windhoek and the country's most visited tourist attraction Etosha Park. The guest farm is set at the foot of the picturesque Waterberg Plateau on a 42,000ha private cattle farm called the Ranch 'Okosongomingo' with the impressive plateau as a picturesque backdrop. The town of Otjiwarongo is only 63km away and many guests day trip across the farm to the Cheetah Conservation Fund. A stay of 2 or 3 nights is recommended if you wish to spend a little more time in the company of big cats.
From here you can head east to the Zambezi Region, Victoria Falls and the Okavango Delta. Alternatively a north-westerly direction beckons for desert-adapted elephant excursions in Damaraland, a cultural curiosity revealing the secrets and the way of life of the nomadic Bushmen, or the silence and dramatic beauty of Kaokoland.
Conservation is a top priority of Waterberg Guest Farm, the hub of the Waterberg Conservancy. This valuable organization, which includes Waterberg Plateau Park, totals a combined area of over 180,000ha and is committed to the conservation of regional flora and fauna eco-systems. The farm has also gained a reputation for breeding wild Arabian horses.
The main homestead offers a spacious dining room, library and a comfortable lounge. Next to the swimming pool is a traditional 'lapa' and bar, ideal for outdoor wining and dining. The wooden deck and floodlit waterhole are a popular after-dinner meeting place.
Accommodation is in either the original 1930's manager's house or bush bungalows built entirely of natural, local materials. There are:
- Double twin/rooms: en-suite bathrooms, private entrance and veranda. There is a bathtub in 1 of the rooms.
- Bush bungalows: the secluded bush bungalows: This alternate style of lodgings have been sited 160m away from the main homestead, ensuring privacy and peace. They are equipped with en-suite facilities, contemporary African decor and inside or outside shower with complementary breathtaking views.
Leopard, giraffe, jackals, kudu, oryx, steenbok, klipspringer, dik-dik, caracal, baboon, hartebeest, warthog and a free-roaming eland herd can all be found here. Activities include visits to Namibia's Cheetah Conservation Fund and the 'little serengeti' game drive, both of which are often combined into one educational and wildlife viewing experience. An additional and fascinating occurrence at Okosongomingo is the annual wildlife census.
- As the guest farm is located at the foot of Small Waterberg a hike to the plateau can be organized. It includes a brisk walk to a natural spring with several lookout points en-route.
- 'Little Serengeti'
- A 1,600ha grassland has been converted from a vast maize field to provide antelope with a free-roaming site to graze without restriction or fear of injury from game fences or outside interference. Sundowners in an open-sided safari vehicle, accompanied by their knowledgeable game guides, can be arranged. This tour is often combined with a visit to the CCF's Education Centre.
- Waterberg Plateau Park
- On the eastern slope of 'Big Waterberg' is the 'wilderness area' called Bernabé de la Bat Camp, 21 km from Waterberg Guest Farm. It is ideal for a day visit. A game viewing drive on top of the plateau can be arranged with possible sightings (not guaranteed) of rhino, buffalo, sable and roan antelope.
- Cheetah Conservation Fund
- The natural habitat of Cheetah in the wild has shrunk dramatically all over the world. Thus the fastest terrestrial animal on the planet has become a highly endangered species. With about 2,500 animals, Namibia boasts the largest Cheetah population on earth. In order to protect Cheetah in Namibia, the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) was founded in 1990.
The CCF information centre is as entertaining as instructive and definitely worthwhile. Cheetah which no longer can be released into the wilds for various reasons, are kept in large enclosures next to the centre. You will be able to take stunning pictures of the big cats. On certain days visitors are also welcome to watch Cheetah at full speed during their sprint-training.
- Vulture Restaurant
- The Rare and Endangered Species Trust (REST), established in 2000, is mainly concerned with protecting the Cape vulture which is an endangered species in Namibia. Once there were seven colonies of about 2,000 birds in the country. Now, only one colony of eleven Cape vultures remains in the cliffs of Waterberg. For observing and studying the birds, REST set up a vulture restaurant with an observation screen. Carrion is regularly laid out at the restaurant, which does attract Cape vultures and hundreds of White-backed and Lappet-faced vultures.
The screen is very suitable for taking good pictures. Visitors can also get acquainted with Nelson, a flightless vulture which is kept in a large aviary. A host of interesting facts about these useful scavengers can be learnt at REST's research and study centre.
- Waterberg Plateau
- Thanks to rich springs, the eastern cliffs of 'Water Mountain' are characterised by an almost subtropical abundance of flora. The plateau of this table mountain was proclaimed a nature reserve in 1972. Animal species in need of protection - such as Sable Antelope, Buffalo and Rhino - were resettled there. Furthermore, Rüppell's parrot and other rare types of birds can be spotted. From the semi-state rest camp a path leads up to the rocks at the edge of the plateau where Rock Hyrax and Klipspringer are found. The historic police station now houses a restaurant with numerous pictures from the olden days.
- OvaHerero cultural centre
- Farm Hamakari is situated east of Waterberg, close to the little town of Okakarara. At Hamakari OvaHerero fighters suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of German troops in 1904. At the historic site a cultural and tourism centre is now being established, which will house an exhibition on the history and culture of the Ovaherero people; local arts and crafts will also be sold there.
A small private safari lodge north of Otjiwarongo
Lodging located on the property used by the Heetah Conservation Fund, this is an excellent option if you want to learn about cheetah conservation
A friendly well run guest house in the town of Otjiwarongo
Self catering units on a large, well stocked, private game reserve
Mid sized hotel in Otjiwarongo offering both lodge & hotel style accommodation. All the usual facilities including a pool, air-conditioned rooms and a restaurant
A large, well stocked, privately owned game reserve. Excellent for sightings of wild dogs and other endangered species
Situated to the north of the Waterberg Plateau (which is unusual as most lodges are toward the south) this highly recommenced lodge offers spacious comfortable rooms and plenty of activities
One of the oldest lodges in Namibia, Mount Etjo has seen several historic events including the signing of an agreement pivotal to Namibia gaining independence. Still offers good quality accommodation and game drives
Without a doubt one of the best lodges in Namibia, add leopard and cheetah viewing to stunning accommodation and well prepared meals and this place is a complete winner
A private two bed room suite, comes complete with own swimming pool, lounge and kitchen. Private chef and meals can be arranged or guests can visit Bush Camp
The 'entry level' camp at Okonjima offers all the same great cats experiences as the other lodges in the portfolio. A one of a type not to be missed Namibian experience
Large private complex, includes all modern luxuries. Enjoyed by international movie stars and corporate moguls - but available to any group wanting to stay!
a variety of accommodation options - ranging from large self catering villas to double rooms. Just a few kilometers south of Otjiwarongo
A large game farm which numbers the rare White Rhino amongst its species.
Small 8 room guest farm with an emphasis on conserving the natural eco-systems
The NWR run camp situated on the slopes of the plateau. Fairly standard and slightly overpriced accommodation, the old police station which has been converted to a restaurant is a scenic (if not taste) highlight.
Excellent choice for walking and visiting the highlights of the area
On the same property aw the Waterberg Wilderness Lodge but situated higher up the mountain offering excellent views
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