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Set within UNESCO’s pioneering biosphere reserve – a distinctive ecosystem coexisting with humankind – the Waterberg (water mountain) region consists of a vast mountain range surrounded by diverse biomes ranging from savanna to grassland. The area is located in the Limpopo Province of South Africa. Aside from the spectacular mountains, the Waterberg’s sprawling plains include game sanctuaries, nature reserves and farms. The expanse is blessed with perennial rivers, natural springs and a climate suited for the growing of citrus, table grapes and nuts. Bonsmara stud cattle breeding is a major industry here too, the Bonsmara species having been specifically bred to thrive under the hot Waterberg conditions.
More than 100 mammals have been recorded in the Waterberg biosphere and the area is the home of many water bird species.
The Waterberg is malaria free and a paradise for the safari lover. It’s also a playground for those seeking adventure such as hiking, horse riding and challenging 4x4 routes.
The Waterberg is somewhat of a well-kept secret where luxury lodges and other impressive accommodation facilities are your gateway to an unforgettable bush experience.
Top 8 reasons to visit Waterberg
1. Spend a day at Forever Resorts in Bela Bela to wallow in the hot springs, said to cure many ailments. The resort has many water activities that include a super tube, wave pool and water slide, to name a few.
2. The Euphoria Golf Estate and Hydro outside Mookgopong has a championship golf course and a cableway crosses an area known as Springbok Flats to reach a splendid restaurant on the mountain edge. There is an onsite spa and children’s play area. A mountain bike track is available and the estate hosts the annual Limpopo Windmill Festival.
3. There is a wide selection of game reserves to choose, here are a few: the 12500ha Mabalingwe Nature Reserve offers Big 5 (lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and buffalo) safaris, Welgevonden Private Reserve has one of the largest private populations of white rhino in Africa and Rust de Winter Nature Reserve has a large dam, attracting vast birdlife.
4. Go stargazing on a night sky safari with Dr Phil Calcott, the resident astronomer at Leobo Private Reserve in Vaalwater.
5. If you are in the Mabalingwe and Phala Phala Wildlife reserves area, stop in at L'abri Fountain Brewery to sample the various craft beers on offer, most welcome on a scorching hot day.
6. The Church of St John the Baptist in the dusty town of Vaalwater was designed by the renowned architect Sir Herbert Baker. The town has several arts and crafts stores, the most unusual being the Black Mamba.
7. Soar over the bushveld canopy on the 10 ziplines offered by Waterberg Zipline Adventures outside Bela Bela. The slides are between 70m and 230m above ground.
8. Stop off at the Modimolle (Nylstroom) Info Centre to arrange a tour of a groundnut factory to view the processes involved in the making of peanut butter.
Depending on where you are located in the Waterberg region, OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg is between 140km and 320km away. Lanseria outside Johannesburg is the nearest domestic airport, between 125km and 305km from the Waterberg area. The easiest and most practical method of travel is by car. Rent a car at the start of your journey at the airport, otherwise order online and collect from the airport or in the town of Bela Bela.
Did you know?
Thanks largely to 3 visionary land owners and their generosity, the Waterberg Nature Conservancy was established in 1989 with the aim of conserving and promoting the Waterberg region. The conservancy employs over 1000 locals, has helped to highlight the plight of endangered animals and removed alien plants, amongst other valuable contributions.
English is spoken in the Waterberg area, however, the most spoken language is Sesotho. Impress your hosts with a Hello greeting in Sesotho by saying Dumelang (pronounced Doo-meh-lung). If greeting one person, use the word Dumela (Doo-meh-lah).