The Waterberg is a wild and wonderful area about 3 to 4 hours drive north of Johannesburg. Situated on a high lying plateau, it has rather unique flora and a wide variety of game. One of the major advantages is that it is malaria-free. Many of the farms in the Waterberg area have banded together to create a large conservancy.
Accommodation ranges from simple self-catering camps to very luxurious lodges. As well as the standard game drives, clients can do walking safaris or a horseback safari. This was, for many years, cattle farming country and some ranches still operate although many have switched over to game.
The Waterberg includes game such as; Elephant, Lion, White and Black Rhino, Hippo, Leopard and Buffalo. African Python and Nile Crocodile can also be seen, and more than 300 bird species. It was in the Waterberg that Eugene Marais, an insightful naturalist working way ahead of his time, studied baboons and termites and laid the foundation of his two masterpieces 'The Soul of the White Ant', and 'The Soul of the Ape'.
The region known as the Waterberg has been described as one of South Africa’s best kept secrets.
This region, situated in the north-west of South Africa, in the Limpopo Province, stretches 150 kilometres in a long arc from Thabazimbi in the West, Modimolle (Nylstroom) in the centre, to Mokopane (Potgietersrus) in the east. Vaalwater is the central village of the area.The Waterberg region is in the heart of the Bushveld, with low mountain ranges and escarpments. The Bushveld vegetation is dominated by different veld types, which are characteristic in mountainous savanna areas. The area has been inhabited over hundreds of thousand years and is also one of the most important San Rock Art areas in South Africa.
The Waterberg region incorporates many rivers, streams and swamps as well as about 75 mammal species. These include big game such as elephant, lion, white and black rhino, hippo, leopard and buffalo. African python and the Nile crocodile are also resident. Small wonder the area is known as one of the country's premier wildlife areas. The Waterberg is also a birdwatcher’s paradise, with more than 300 bird species to be spotted.The exceptional abundance of wildlife species, together with the mosaic of scenic landscape and the fascinating cultural heritage, has led to many nature-based tourism destinations that can be explored.
The Waterberg is home to a number of reserves, both private and national, which offer a variety of accommodation options and some superb game viewing:
The Welgevonden Game Reserve lies in the north western section of the Waterberg and covers 37 000 hectares of pristine malaria-free, Big 5 bushveld and home to a number of commercial game lodges.
The Ant Collection Reserves are situated on an escarpment looking out over the Waterberg Plateau in the Limpopo Province.
The Waterberg Biosphere Reserve. The reserve has led to the amalgamation of conservation areas in order to protect more than 150 000 hectares of the Waterberg-habitat. The Entabeni Safari Conservancy, “The Place of the Mountain”, is part of this biosphere and less than a three-hour drive north of Johannesburg, this 22 000 ha malaria-free reserve boasts five eco-systems.
The Marakele National Park is 67 000 ha and is set in the heart of the Waterberg. Contrasting majestic mountain landscapes, grass clad hills and deep valleys are characteristics of the Park. The biggest birding attraction is the second largest colony of Cape Vultures in the world (around 800 breeding pairs).
The Marakele Contractual National Park (Marakele Park) is situated in the south-western corner of the Waterberg region of the Limpopo Province of South Africa.
The Waterberg region lies in the summer rain zone of South Africa. The summers are hot and humid with almost daily thunderstorms. The winters are dry, often cold at night with temperatures below zero. The annual rainfall ranges between 500 and 700 millimetres.