Waterberg Platopark Things to Do

  • Sable antelope
    Sable antelope
    by CatherineReichardt
  • Damara dik dik - Namibia
    Damara dik dik - Namibia
    by CatherineReichardt
  • Made it to the top of the Waterberg plateau!
    Made it to the top of the Waterberg...
    by CatherineReichardt

Most Recent Things to Do in Waterberg Platopark

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    Schutztruppe graves from Battle of the Waterberg

    by CatherineReichardt Updated Feb 17, 2012

    (work in progress)
    A few lonely Schutztruppe graves in a small and little-visited military cemetery are the only tangible evidence of what was probably the largest battle ever fought on Namibian soil.

    The Waterberg region is the heartland of the Herero people, who rose up against German colonial rule in 1904. The largest battle of this conflict took place at the Waterberg in August 1904, when 1,600 Schutztruppe cornered about 40.000 Herero men, women and children. The Herero forces were no match for the well armed and highly organised German forces, and the resultant loss of life was considerable. Hereros lucky enough to escape alive fled eastwards into the desert, and were granted asylum in Bechuanaland (now Botswana) by the British on condition that they did not continue the revolt on British soil.

    Not long after the Battle of the Waterberg, the German commander Lothar von Trotha issued anextermination order, declaring that "Any Herero found within the German borders with or without a gun, with or without cattle, will be shot".

    The German-Herero war resulted in relatively small numbers of casualties in formal conflict (such as the Battle of the Waterberg), but most of those who fled into the desert died of thirst and starvation. There are reports of wells being poisoned as part of a systematic programme of extermination, as well as medical experiments being conducted on Herero prisoners in internment camps.

    Estimates of the Herero death toll during the war range between 24,000 and 100,000. Later in the same year, the Nama people also revolted, and met a similar fate - resulting in an estimated 10,000 Nama deaths. This must have been a staggering proportion of the indigenous population at the time (given that Namibia only has a population of just over 2 million over a century later).

    Sorry - no photos as the camera decided to malfunction at this point!

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    Useful information on walking in the Waterberg

    by CatherineReichardt Updated Nov 9, 2011

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    Made it to the top of the Waterberg plateau!

    One of the nicest - and most underrated - ways of exploring the Waterberg is on foot. This allows you to appreciate both the beautiful landscape and the wildlife as well as the poignant history of the Schutztruppe graveyard.

    Walking is an ideal way of appreciating the smaller wildlife that often gets overlooked when you're in a vehicle. Highlights of the Waterberg are the amazing variety of birdlife - including the Cape vulture colony - the smaller mammals, reptiles and insect life.

    The website below has a useful sketch map and short descriptions of the walking trails in the park - just scroll down and click on the tab titled 'Easy Waterberg walks'. As well as exploring the woodland on the flanks of the plateau, it's possible to hike up a cliff trail onto the plateau itself (which is otherwise only accessible on a fairly pricey guided tour).

    As ever in an arid environment, make sure that you have adequate sun protection (hat, sunscreen and preferably a long sleeved top in a lightweight natural fabric) and ensure that you carry - and drink! - plenty of water to prevent dehydration. Also try to time your hiking for the early morning or late afternoon: not only will the sun be less strong and the temperature cooler, but the animals are also likely to be more active.

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    Game spotting on Waterberg plateau is hit and miss

    by CatherineReichardt Updated Nov 9, 2011

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    Sable antelope

    The Waterberg plateau is a splendid sight to behold, rising up in sheer 200m cliffs from the flat surrounding plain. The physical isolation from the surrounding plain and the relative abundance of water that seeps out from the sandstone along the flanks of the plateau make it a very protected environment for wildlife.

    The only way to access the top of the plateau by vehicle is on a guided tour which can be booked at the main camp office. This is a popular thing to do, and can be a lot of fun.

    However, I would suggest that you are realistic in your expectations of what you're likely to see once you get to the top. Spotting game in the dense mopane bush on top of the plateau is much more of a challenge than identifying game on the open plains of Etosha, so although there is a wonderful range of game present, that doesn't necessarily mean that you'll see it.

    My personal experiences of game viewing in the Waterberg have been very mixed. On one visit, we were staggeringly fortunate and arrived at a hide just in time to watch a herd of about 20 rare sable antelope come into a water hole - still one of the most amazing game viewing experiences of my life. On a subsequent visit, the only large mammal we saw was a kudu sprinting across the road in the middle distance!

    This isn't mean to discourage visitors from taking the guided tour, but rather a gentle warning to temper your expectations: the less you expect, the more pleasantly surprised you'll be (and, wildlife apart, it's worth doing it just for the wonderful views)!

    At the time of writing (November 2011), the cost of a tour was a rather steep N$450 per person.

    The birdlife is excellent and usually a whole lot easier to spot than the large mammals: the sandstone cliffs of the Waterberg is the only nesting spot for Cape vultures in the whole of Namibia, and the juxtaposition of forest, cliff and plains habitats makes for excellent birding that will get bird enthusiasts 'twitching' in anticipation!

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    One of the easiest places to spot a Damara dikdik

    by CatherineReichardt Updated Nov 9, 2011

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    Damara dik dik - Namibia

    For fear of alliterating beyond your tolerance levels, the diminutive Damara dik dik is a dinky little darling ... and the smallest buck (antelope) in Southern Africa.

    Because of their tiny stature (40cm at the shoulder and only about 5kg in weight) and furtive nature, they are often hard to spot in the open. However, they seem to have become unusually habituated to humans at the lovely Bernabe de la Bat camp at the Waterberg, and if you're lucky (and quiet), you'll come across one tiptoeing daintily through the camp.

    Dikdiks can easily be mistaken for other small antelope such as steenbok, but are distinguished because of their smaller size and more elongate muzzle. The dark patch at the lower end of the eye is a scent gland used to mark territory - they may be small, but they're
    highly territorial.

    Unlike many other buck, dikdiks mate for life, and males (such as the one in picture) are recognised by their tiny pronglike horns.

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    The Hike - don't get lost :)

    by Edla Written Aug 7, 2006

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    The various hiking trails
    1 more image

    The various hiking trails are marked with various symbols, so just keep a lookout for your trail. Also, all the way to the top of the mountan there are little white footprints to show your the direction and so you know you're still on track.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Mountain Climbing

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    Mind the pachyderms !!

    by Bigjones Updated May 23, 2005

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    Rock dassie

    Many animals can be seen in the park and especially rare and threatened species such as the sable and roan antilopes and both black and white rhinos. We missed all of them but other interesting animals such as the rock dassie ("daman des rochers" in French) which is in fact a pachyderm even if it's not bigger than a rabbit ;-)

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Camping
    • Safari

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    Climbing on top of Table Mountain

    by Bigjones Written May 3, 2005

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    Our guide climbing the mountain

    Climbing on top might not be easy but it really worths it. There are several walking tracks so you can pick the one that suits you better. On the pic, you can see the track we took : a short but intensive walk !

    Related to:
    • Camping
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Mountain Climbing

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    Impressive Table Mountain

    by Bigjones Written May 3, 2005

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    Aloe at the foot of the mountain

    The Namibian table mountain is much bigger and more impressive than the one in Cape Town : it's a 50km-long and 16km-wide colourful plateau consisting of porous sandstone. The top is arid but there's a lot of surface water and permanent springs at the foot of the mountain. Therefore, there's a lot of vegetation but also a lot of animals.

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Mountain Climbing
    • Camping

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  • Edla's Profile Photo

    Get away from it all - Camp at H2Oberg

    by Edla Updated Aug 7, 2006

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    Camping out
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    The park provides camping facilities but you can also stay in one of the bunaglows if you're not a hardcore camper :)

    Related to:
    • Camping
    • Family Travel

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  • Edla's Profile Photo

    Replace your stepmaster: Hike up Waterberg

    by Edla Written Aug 7, 2006

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    At the top - the Edge of Waterberg
    1 more image

    There are a number of trails you can choose to hike along. I chose the mountain view trail because I find it most scenic.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Mountain Climbing

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