The Waterberg is an outlier of the fauna and flora found much further to the north-east, pushed deep into the thornbush of the sandveld. Species from both worlds mingle here to create an astounding variety of lifeforms. This unique biodiversity, and the fact that the steep-sided mountain with its extensive plateau creates a natural refuge, motivated its protection as a state park. The favourable conditions on the mountain soon turned the park into a conservation haven for rare species, relocated here to ensure their conservation. Healthy populations of both rhino species, as well as buffalo, roan and sable are protected here.
Yet the Waterberg is much more than a natural marvel. It is steeped in human history, some of it gruesome and still painful today. The interminable conflict between colonial rulers and African communities came to a climax here in a standoff between the German Schutztruppe and the Herero. After terrible losses, the battle turned when the Herero decided to retreat to the east into the harsh, waterless Omaheke, were countless died. The Waterberg remains a symbol of resistance against colonial rule.
The glimpses of history that the Waterberg provides reach much further back through time via intriguing rock art, past marvellous dinosaur tracks, once left in mud and now preserved in sandstone, back to the striking geological features of the formation of the landscape itself.
Isolated mountains, especially those in vast, flat landscapes, hold a special magnetism – for both people and animals – and for good reason. They usually provide water, lush vegetation and shelter. They were a wellspring of myths and legends for hunter-gatherer communities; a haven for livestock herders; a sanctuary from pursuit and a fortification for battles… The Waterberg was all of these. Today it is a fount of natural and cultural wealth for travellers.
TRAVEL TIPS - WATERBERG:
WHEN TO BE THERE:
• Waterberg is open all year; unguided access is limited to the resort & surrounding trails
• The summer months can be very hot; the resort pool provides cool relief
• Access roads can become boggy during the rainy season
• Game viewing from the hides on the plateau is best during the dry season
WHAT TO DO:
• Go for a guided game drive on the plateau & enjoy great sightings from game-viewing hides
• Explore the many walking trails & the excellent birding they offer
• Climb up to the viewpoint on the plateau rim via the Mountain View Walk
• Visit the cemeteries & other historical sites to gain insights into the past
WHAT TO REMEMBER:
• Don’t feed any animals, no matter how adorable or inquisitive they might be
• Baboons are a major problem at the resort; don’t leave any food unattended;
ensure that car & chalet doors & windows, as well as tents, are securely closed
• Stick to demarcated walking trails
Lodging located on the property used by the Heetah Conservation Fund, this is an excellent option if you want to learn about cheetah conservation.
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.
The French naturalist Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire collected this species in Egypt during the Napoleonic wars.
Geoffroy's horseshoe bat are a highly gregarious creature that occur in colonies of several thousand if suitable roosting sites exist.
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