Waterberg Wilderness Lodge
Waterberg - Namibia
Waterberg Wilderness is situated off the gravel road, 8kms north-east of Waterberg plateau. The 3,500ha wilderness area has gradually being transformed into a nature reserve, and improvements have included establishing additional watering places for game animals,and erecting high fences and gates to protect the wildlife from roaming and poachers. There is an exceptional diversity of plant and animal habitats in the region, including the plateau, mountain slopes, and the valley and surrounding plains.
The terrace is an ideal spot to relax, and a refreshing dip in the either of the 2 spring water swimming pools, offers a welcome relief to the hot Namibian afternoon sunshine. The sunbathing lawn is a favourite, as is the pavilion. The library offers an alternative, chill-out hideaway, where a fire will be lit on those colder days or nights. Before setting off on an afternoon venture, guests head to the garden, for tea/coffee and cake.
All meals are served in the dining-room, and lunch packs can be ordered for those on full-day activities. Typical Namibian farm cuisine can be ordered from the menu, and afterwards guests meet around the campfire to exchange travel stories and wildlife experiences over a drink.
Accommodation at the lodge is in double or family rooms. There are:
Wildlife such as buffalo, black rhino or sable antelope, can be found on the plateau. The slopes are home to klipspringers, rock hyrax and baboons, and the valleys and plain below are the habitat for giraffe, kudu, gemsbok and warthog to name but a few. This is a birdwatchers paradise, as around 230 indigenous species have been recorded, including Bradfield's hornbill, Rüppell's parrot, Hartlaub's francolin and the black eagle.
Morning hikes to the Waterberg Plateau are a favourite, and their guide will be able to show the fresh scent of leopard, rhino, buffalo and various antelope. Once on top of the plateau, hikers can enjoy the spectacular views of the fertile valley of the wilderness and across the Omaheke (or Sandveld.)
There are a number of other well-marked trails, that wind their way through the tree and shrub savannah of the reserve, and with the aid of a leaflet, a number of plants can be identified on the way. Ancient San Bushmen settlements, burial sites, the remains of a transit camp set up for the Herero in 1906, as well as the ruins of the house inhabited by the missionary Olpp, can also be visited.
Morning and afternoon scenic walking and vehicle game watching to the vast plains of the Omaheke (Kalahari) in the soft afternoon light can also be arranged. Depending on the time of year, a short detour to the clay pan, which collects the water from a spring is worthwhile, as the pan attracts a wide variety of waterbirds.
A cultural tour into Hereroland, is an ideal opportunity to learn about the everyday life, culture and tradition of the OvaHerero people. The tour finishes with traditional songs and dances performed by women from the community, all whilst enjoying some refreshments.
Waterberg Wilderness is within easy reach by aircraft, and is only a 10-minute drive from the nearest airfield to the reception. Transfers to and from the lodge for their guest can be arranged.
- Guided 'Waterberg Plateau' hikes
- These hikes take you into the grounds of famous Waterberg Plateau Park. Even though the park's four-legged inhabitants usually keep their distance, our hiking guide will almost always show you the fresh scent of leopard, rhino, buffalo and various antelope. From the plateau you enjoy spectacular views of the fertile valley of Waterberg Wilderness and across the Omaheke (or Sandveld), as this particular part of the Kalahari is called. Also discover striking sandstone formations, massive fig trees and our spring which bubbles abundantly. The hiking tours take about three hours. The difference in height that has to be managed on the way up, and again when coming down, is about 150 metres.
- Hiking trails
- Explore Waterberg Wilderness on your own steam; several well-marked trails wind their way through the tree and shrub savannah of our nature reserve. With the help of a leaflet you can identify numbered plants as you go. Ancient San (Bushmen) settlements and burial sites also wait to be discovered - as do the remains of a transit camp set up for Herero in 1906, as well as the ruins of the house inhabited by missionary Olpp who was in charge of the camp.
- Game watching on foot
- Accompanied by a tracker, our open-top vehicle takes you into the park until you come across interesting fresh scent. You now continue on foot. With a little luck you will not only spot the many different antelope that roam the reserve - so abundantly stocked with game - but also the two white rhino; they usually do not pose any threat to people. This is an activity for the physically fit as you might be in the bush for several hours and well into the midday heat.
- Scenic drives
- With an open-top vehicle we take you onto the vast plains of the Omaheke (Kalahari) in the soft afternoon light. Given a little luck you may encounter white rhinoceros, giraffe, Burchell's zebra, kudu, gemsbok, springbok, impala, red hartebeest, eland and Damara dik-dik, as well as ostrich and warthog in this part of Waterberg Wilderness. Depending on the time of year, a short detour to the clay pan which collects the water from our spring is quite worthwhile, as the pan attracts scores of waterbirds.
- Cultural tour into Hereroland
- This tour requires booking 24 hours in advance. For half a day you have the opportunity to get a glimpse of everyday life, the culture and tradition of the OvaHerero people. A local guide comes and meets you at Waterberg Wilderness to take you to his people's communal area nearby. You visit a traditional village where you can feel totally at ease taking photos and asking questions. At your next stop, the village of Okakarara, you are shown a marketplace, a school and the 'Okakarara Community Cultural Centre', which was built with EU funds. The excursion wraps up with traditional songs and dances performed by women from the community, while you enjoy coffee and cakes, wild grapes and nuts or perhaps even roasted termites.
- 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.
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