Waterberg Plateau National Park

The Waterberg plateau Park got its name due to the presence of springs that flow from the rock and this is where the name Waterberg came from meaning Water Mountain. It is located in the central part of Namibia and when you get to the peak of the Mountain, you will be able to get a clear view of the Kalahari Desert and the surrounding areas. The Waterberg rises to a height of 660 feet and when you get to the peak, you will be rewarded with the beautiful sight of the famous Kalahari Desert which is not very far away from the Waterberg Park.

The strategic location of the Waterberg plateau is one of the many things that makes it a top tourist attraction in the country. It has a strong history especially with the German colonialists and is famous for the Waterberg war where the Herero people under the leadership of Maharero fought against the German colonialists in the year 1904. And although the Herero did not win the battle and most of them migrated into the Kalahari Desert and died due to the harsh conditions whereas others went into the British ruled land and stayed there, the battle point is still there in Waterberg and the history has been kept ever since.

The Waterberg plateau Park is used as a conservation area for most of the endangered animals in the country and the government has been relocating most of these species here in order to avoid them into going into extinction especially the black rhino. There are several outdoor activities that are carried out when one visits the Waterberg plateau Park and some of these include hiking, visiting the locals, camping, Rhino tracking, game drives and birding.

Go for a cultural trip with the Herero people

Organized cultural walks to the Herero community are some of the best experiences you will get while on a tour to the Waterberg plateau park and these are known to take about three to four hours before they are completed. The Herero people are famously known for the Waterberg war that took place between them and the German colonialists and even though they lost the fight, their history and culture are worth the experience it at first hand and get a chance to also taste the local food that is prepared by the locals.

Hiking through the Waterberg plateau

The Waterberg plateau is one of the best places for a hike within Namibia and this is because of the presence of the many hiking routes that are found in the area and all these cannot be accessed if you do not have a tour guide with you. Some of these hike trails are longer while others are shorter and it will all be up to you to decide which one to take but it is better if you try all of them out before your safari comes to an end. Some of the hike routes in the Waterberg plateau include the following:

  • The unguided hike trail in the Waterberg plateau normally goes for four days and runs for about 50 kilometers long. The trail begins at the office of the resort and three nights are spent along the way that is all the nights are spent at the different shelters that were set up along the way and when you reach the peak, you make a U-turn and return to the resort. While on this unguided hike trail, make sure that you carry the necessary things that you will need and note that the maximum number of people allowed on this trail is only ten people.
  • The Panorama trail starts at the camp and goes up to the peak and it only takes about 45 minutes for this trail to be completed. It is one of the many nine short hike trails that are located within the plateau and one of the easiest.
  • The long hike trails within the plateau take on two sides that is the southern side and the western part of the plateau. These are organized twice a year and one of the best ways to explore the park and the animals that live within it. The long hikes are better if you book in advance and remember that these are carried out during the dry season because when it comes to the wet season, some hike routes are not accessible and they become slippery making it hard for tourists to complete the hikes.
  • The wilderness trail takes about three days to be completed and also helps you understand more about the Plateau Park as you walk through it. The hike route is about 42 kilometers long and not for the faint hearted and if you want to complete this hike it is better if you make your own pace while hiking but do not forget to go with an experienced tour guide to help you out.

Before you head out to the plateau for a hike, you should inquire about what is best for a hike especially if you are going to spend more than two days while hiking. Some of the essential things that you can take include good hiking shoes, warm clothing for use especially at night when the weather becomes cold and do not forget to carry lots of water and food on your hike because you might not be able to get it along the way.

Game drives through the Park

Game drives in the Waterberg plateau Park are only possible if you have a tour guide with you otherwise you cannot be allowed to drive yourself through the park. The game drives are mostly organized in the mornings and afternoons and these can easily can easily be booked at the offices in advance so that the tour guides that are to help you out are ready by the time you get there. The drives normally take about three to four hours and some of the things that you will get to see while on your drive include porcupines, the black rhinos, zebras, kudus, baboons, leopards, warthogs, cheetahs, the brown hyena, the black backed jackal, bush baby, giraffes and many more other species.

Birding in the Waterberg plateau Park

According to the Namibian government and the tourists who have visited the plateau, this is one of the best birding places in the whole country not with the many breeding spots that are found within the Waterberg plateau Park. It has about 200 bird species that habitate within it and some of the most commonly seen birds in the Waterberg plateau park include the violet wood hoopoe, the rock runner, the Orange River francolin, the Tinkling Cisticola and the booted eagle. The birding habitats act as homes to the birds and some of the famous birding spots in the Waterberg plateau include the following:

  • The bush that surrounds the cliffs is one of the best places where you can get to enjoy birding and some bird species include bennet’s woodpecker, the crested francolin, the African red eyed Bulbul, green winged Pytilia, southern yellow billed hornbill, the cardinal wood pecker, the golden breasted bunting, the red billed spurfowl, African grey hornbill and many more others.
  • The fig forests are also a good place for one to do birding from and some of the bird species that habitate here include the Ruppell’s parrot, rufous billed tit, the rock runner, Bradfield’s hornbill, the tinkling Cisticola and many more other species.
  • The sand stones that are located within the Waterberg plateau Park are also a good place for tourists to go for birding and some of the bird species that habitate around the sand stones include the Verreaux’s eagle, the African hawk eagle, the short toed rock thrush, the familiar chat, the peregrine falcon and the speckled pigeon.

Visit the Waterberg headstone

The headstone was built to commemorate the fight that took place between the Herero people and the German colonialists in the year 1904. The battle against the Germans was led by Samuel Maharero and the head stones that are found within the plateau are to remember the German colonialists that were killed during the battle. There will be guides who will tell you about the plateau’s history and will take you around the plateau.

There are several accommodation facilities around the Waterberg plateau where you can rest after your excursions within the plateau and you will be able to choose the best accommodation facilities that fit within your budget and your liking. Getting to the Park is quite easy and you can hire out a 4×4 car that will take you there and around the park with ease. The best time for tourists to visit the Waterberg plateau is between May and September during the dry season and this is because this is the best time for game viewing as many animals can be seen moving around the plateau in search of food and water since during that time both are scarce.

This Namibia Game park was gazetted as a national park in 1972 first as only a wildlife sanctuary to protect some of the Namibia wildlife endemic species and also act as a breeding ground for the threatened species such as the eland, black rhino, sable and roan antelopes.

The park is located at the foot slopes of the mountain which was named after the springs flowing below on a plateau rising to roughly 1700m above sea level. This part of the country is a truly fascinating destination and an important geological site in Namibia. Some features such as dinosaur tracks and petrified dunes make it almost a must stop for travellers on the way further north.

The plateau region is actually the largest part of the park growing a diversity of 500 different species of flora not seen any where in Namibia. The park’s vegetation is mainly comprised of shrubs, dense broad leafed tree forests with verdant undergrowth, riverine forests and other unique species. The broad-leaf woodlands of the sandy plateau are typical of the sandveld of eastern and north-eastern parts of Namibia. There are also striking silver cluster-leaf with its silver grey foliage, wild syringa and Kalahari apple leaf.

The best time to visit Waterberg for its plants and trees is during the months of September to December when the plants are at full bloom.

Wildlife

Regular sights in the park include rhino, buffalo, rock dassie, klipspringer, giraffe, tsessebe, roan, sable antelopes, wild dog, lesser bush babies, impala, klipspringer, steenbok, gemsbok and impala. The only Cape vulture colony in Namibia lives in the Karakuwisa Mountain on the western edge of the Waterberg plateau.

The park is home to several nocturnal predators such as leopard, cheetah, lion, spotted hyena, caracal and black-backed jackal. Small mammals are also part of the fauna in the park-Damara dik-dik is found near the Bat rest camp as well as the mongoose and the lesser bush babies.

Accommodation

This Namibia national park is located 280 km north of Windhoek and is thus easily accessible from the capital. Accommodation is available at the former Rhenish mission rest camp housing more than 200 people in dormitory accommodation with a fuel station and a canteen for supplies. Camping is also allowed at this rest camp. Attractions near the camp include tombs of German fighters in the Nama Herero uprising of 1904.

Bernabe de la Bat Rest Camp is another option for safari accommodation in the park. This eco-friendly rest camp was named after the first director of Namibia’s Department of Nature Conservation. Accommodation ranges from four and three bed bungalows to deluxe rooms sleeping two people. Bungalows are equipped with a hotplate, refrigerator and kettle, but no crockery, cutlery or cooking utensils. There are also shaded camp sites with communal ablutions and field kitchens.

Other amenities include a swimming pool with a superb view of the cliffs, a restaurant, shop which stocks frozen meat, tinned goods and curios, and a filling station where only petrol is sold.

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