Waterberg Plateau, Namibia
The Waterberg Plateau Park is a great place for hiking. The best trail leads up to the ridge, with astonishing views on the surrounding country. This hike is easy, with some scrambling at the very end. If you have only time for one hike, I recommend you do this trail. The other (often intersecting) hikes are for the most part short and can easily be combined. The Aloe trail has interesting plants, good views on the Waterberg Mountains and if you are lucky, you can spot a Duiker Antelope or a Warthog (as we did).
The Waterberg Plateau east of Otjiwarongo towers over the surrounding plains, being about 200 metres higher.
The 20 kilometre wide and 50 kilometre long table mountain massif consists of porous sandstone. Rainwater trickles through the permeable stone and collects on top of a impervious clay layer. Whilst the plateau is arid on top, there is a lot of surface water and strong permanent springs at the foot of the mountain. The vegetation is, therefore, quite lush and green and diverse.
In 1972, the Waterberg area, was put under the protection of nature conservancy. Endangered species like the Black and White Rhino, Sable Antelope and Blue Wildebeest were introduced here.
There is also an excellent restcamp with restaurant, beautiful and affordable holiday chalets, a swimming pool and a camping ground. There are great views of the surrounding countryside from the lodge. The countryside is as flat as a pancake which makes the plateua all the more magnificent rising out of nowhere.
The Waterberg Plateau near Otjiwarongo rises 200 m above the surrounding plains.
Since 1972 this area is under nature conservation. The Waterberg Plateau Park invites to beautiful and relaxing walks.
There is also a very tragic history to the Waterberg: in August 1904, the Herero people was encircled by German colonial soldiers at the Waterberg and in a heavy battle was almost wiped out. Only few Hereros were able to escape through the Kalahari desert to Botswana. A military cemetary is still reminding of the tragic events.
What is special about the Waterberg (water mountain) can be best felt when exploring it by foot.
The Waterberg has a very special rock. Red stone, but covered with lichen that is quite colorful.
There are several Trails around here. From Barnabe de la Bat Restcamp there are also some shorter ones:
Very good and the shortest is the Mountain View Trail. This climbing-path goes up to the edge of the Waterberg.
To (up) and back it can be done in 1 hour. But it is strenuous anyway, since it is quite steep.
Take with you good shoes and something to drink. Also your Camera, for the view from the top.
What you can also do (I haven?t):
The other trails take more than one day. In the nights you need the tent.
Waterberg Trail takes 2 days and goes for 40km at the edge of the Mountain.
Waterberg Wilderness Trail is only with an accompaigning Ranger, takes 4 days.
Stay at the Waterberg Plateau.
Great camping spot or stay in one of the comfy bungalows under the huge shady trees at the foot of the plateau. Babboons abound and will you amused if not a little alarmed. The rare Damara dik-dik also wanders about the camp so keep the camera handy for great shots. Put your hiking boots on and head on out for a few days.
Jump on the back of the safari vehicle and the rangers will take you out game viewing then head home to chill out around the braii with a beer or hit the restaurant for a great meal.
Waterberg Plateau Park is one of the most beautiful natural areas in a country full of natural beauty. The plateau itself is like something out of Jurassic Park, and the guest bungalows at its base are surrounded by lush (by Namibian standards) vegetation, making for a relaxing experience. Just be careful of the Baboons that sometimes climb on the roofs of the cabins and reek havoc!