Waterberg Plateau Park
Waterberg Plateau Park is located on the Waterberg Plateau in Northern Namibia. The nearest major city is Otjiwarongo about 68 kilometers to the west of the park, by conventional roads. The park is 40,549 hectares in area.
The park was originally set aside as a sanctuary for rare and endangered species. A variety of antelopes were relocated from other regions of Northern Namibia. In 1989, black rhinoceros was reintroduced to the area from Damaraland.
Waterberg was also the site of one of the major turning points Namibian history. At the foothills of Waterberg, the Herero people lost their last battle against the German colonial forces at the beginning of the century. The Herero were driven across the Kalahari desert into Botswana, then a British protectorate.
The term "Waterberg" refers to the fact that sandstone of the plateau absorbs moisture which runs off on the southeast side of the plateau as springs. Hence, the name "Waterberg" or water mountain.
Flora and fauna
The vegetation of the plateau is green subtropical dry woodland. This contrasts the acacia that grows at the base of the plateau. Typically, the north slope of the rocky formations have colorful lichen growing on them in contrast to the reddish color normally found.
There are approximately 200 species of birds located within the confines of the park. It is currently home to the only breeding colony of Cape vultures in Namibia. It is also the breeding ground of several rare game species including rhinoceros, buffalo, and sable and roan antelope.
Like all of Namibia, it is very hot in the summer with temperatures possible of 40C.
The main entrance to the park is at the Bernabe de la Bat Restcamp. Many trails extend outward from this restcamp.
Vehicles to view game leave in the early morning and mid afternoon. These are booked at the camp office and cost N$50 for adults and N$20 for children.
The four day hike on the Waterberg Wilderness Trail starts every second, third and fourth Thursday April through November. Only six to eight people are permitted per week. The cost is N$200 per person.
There are ten trails around the Bernabe Le Bat Restcamp. Maps are available through the reception office.
There is a restaurant on site in the Bernabe Le Bat Campground.
Bungalows can be booked through the Central Reservation Office (NWR)in Windhoek. There are facilities for camping as well. For reservations, see http://www.nwr.com.na/waterberg.htm
Located 8 kilometers beyond the Bernabe Le Bat campsite is the Waterberg Wilderness Lodge located just outside the park. Check their website http://www.natron.net/tour/wwl/main.html for more information.
Be aware that in the Namibian summer, temperatures can reach 38 degrees Celsius. Take appropriate precautions. Also, the temperature can drop considerably at night. Beware of the many troops of baboons. Be careful about leaving food out.