This is an outstanding safari destination surprisingly close to Johannesburg – but no less wild for it. Just three hours from the city, the Waterberg Wilderness Area is conveniently positioned halfway to Botswana.
More than three million years old, the vast, peaceful, mountainous Waterberg Wilderness Area in the Limpopo Province is a place of rolling savanna bushveld, forested mountain gorges and a network of rivers, lakes, wetland and streams, all home to a rich plant and animal life.
The harsh Waterberg terrain is exceptionally beautiful, with fascinating geology, hot-water springs and a striking biosphere stretching over 15 000km2. The diverse habitat supports Africa’s famous Big Five (lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant and Cape buffalo), as well as numerous mammal species including brown hyena, caracal, African wild cat, black-backed jackal, honey badger, aardvark, pangolin, blue wildebeest, Burchell’s zebra, giraffe, kudu, eland and numerous other species. Birders enjoy prolific sightings of over 250 bird species, and enthusiasts can spot a large number of reptile species.
Game viewing is rewarding in this hidden gem, where you certainly won’t encounter crowds, and can soak up the astonishing views over the surrounding hills and valleys from high points in the area. Active travellers enjoy the Waterberg’s beautiful walks exploring the impressive gorges with natural streams and pools, as well as mountain-bike trails. Numerous hot springs are a great way to soothe tired muscles.
Things to do
• Big Five game-viewing safari drives
• Visit the Waterberg Living Museum for an insight into local, natural & ancient history
• Birdwatching, including the Cape vulture colony at Marakele National Park
• Night-sky safaris
• Shop for unusual African crafts & curios at The Black Mamba in the village of Vaalwater
• Visit local farmstalls to stock up on fresh fruit, cheeses & preserves
Waterberg Wilderness Area