Waterberg trip planner

Posted by Anton Crone on 11 September 2020

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Getting there and around

The small town of Vaalwater, the hub of the Waterberg, is 2½ hours from Joburg. Head north on the N1, turn left on the R33 and drive for another 72 km to reach the town.

Some of Getaway’s recommended stays and activities – Kololo Game Reserve, Summerplace Farm Stay, The Ant Collection and Lekhalo Zipline – are accessed via dirt road. A four-wheel-drive is not necessary but a vehicle with good clearance is advised.

When to go

Waterberg is a year-round destination.

The best wildlife viewing is in the drier winter months from May to September. The vegetation thins out as it gets drier in winter and animals tend to congregate around water sources.

Bird watching is best in the wet months from November to April, when summer migrants are present.

Do this first

Stop by Waterberg Tourism office in Vaalwater to catch up on all the latest information and find additional recommendations for your trip.

Eat and shop here

Grab a delicious bite at Seringa Café next door to Waterberg Tourism Kiosk. Stock up on fuel and supplies at Total and Spar – all in the same precinct. Black Mamba is a wonderful gift store that captures the wild spirit of the Waterberg with outstanding art and crafts created by locals.

Stay at these recommended spots

The Ant Collection

Ant’s Hill has five cottages perched on the edge of a cliff with views over the plains. They differ in design to appeal to all travellers from families to honeymooners and their varying budgets. We recommend World’s View which can comfortably accommodate a family of five or two couples. It has its own pool and an outdoor bath with a view.

Ant’s Nest, the original homestead, has wide verandahs and a relaxed ‘African farm’ atmosphere. Wildlife frequent the waterhole in front of the house which has six suites. A separate rondavel is perfect for couples wanting a romantic escape. Both lodges offer horseback riding, guided walks, game drives and cycling. From R6 000 per room. 083 287 2885 waterberg.net

Summerplace Farm Stay is ideal for mountain bikers   wanting to explore a great variety of trails for all disciplines and ages. We stayed in Marula Cottage which sleeps four in two separate bedrooms. The Shed sleeps 10 in three separate units. Summerview is a large house with four bedrooms featuring a swimming pool and wonderful views. From R450 pp self-catering. 083 302 5123 summerplacefarmstay.com

Lindani has a tented camp and a range of bush homes from two to 18 sleepers. A Farm Kitchen delivers freshly prepared food or you can self cater. There are a variety of mountain-biking and walking trails along which you can see a large variety of plains game and birds. Bikes can be rented or bring your own. Game drives, cycling and walking guides can be booked in advance. From R310 pp. 083 631 5579 lindani.co.za

Kololo Game Reserve has a large variety of plains game and various natural habitats linked by well-marked walking and cycling trails. Guests can also book game drives and walking safaris in neighbouring Welgevonden Game Reserve to see the Big Five. Accommodation ranges from two-sleeper to six-sleeper chalets. From R1 900 per unit 014 721 0920 kololo.co.za

Marakele National Park is the most mountainous part of the Waterberg. It’s home to more than 280 bird species and more than 800 breeding pairs of endangered Cape vultures. We recommend Tlopi Tented Camp situated in a picturesque valley. It has 10 units (sleep 2) with a bathroom, separate kitchen and veranda overlooking a dam from R1 540. There are 36 campsites at the foot of the mountains from R305 per site, as well as 10 tented units (sleep 2 – 4) with fully equipped kitchens from R1 380. Daily conservation fee is R112 pp. 012 428 9111 sanparks.org

Marataba is a private concession in northern Marakele attracting large herds of game including elephant and buffalo and as many as 40 lions. The secluded Mountain Lodge has seven luxury eco-suits (sleep 2) with outstanding views down a deep valley. Safari Lodge has 15 luxury tented suites including family units on the edge of a river often frequented by wildlife. Game drives, river cruises and guided walks in the mountains or plains are some of the highlights. From R9 265 pp. 010 109 4900 more.co.za/marataba/  Two new Conservation Camp – Founders Camp and Explorers Camp – offer enriching experiences in nature and participation in conservation projects.  From  R10 720 per night  for 4 guests (minimum two nights). 021 201 3869, marataba.co.za

Mabalingwe Nature Reserve is a holiday destination with family and nature at heart. Think Eco-tainment for the kids, game drives, 4×4 routes, walking trails, and more. Book a three-night weekend breakaway from R1 350pp.

014 001 7011 mabalingwe.co.za

For the adventurers

Fly over the Waterberg with Lekhalo Zipline.

A two-hour tour with six exciting lines over a valley with beautiful views. Maximum 10 people per group. Be sure to enjoy the best burgers in the Waterberg and other tasty refreshments after your sky high thrills.

R350 for adults, R200 for kids. Make reservations on 082 484 8622 lekhalo.co.za

 

Stay here for mountain bike trails

Summerplace Farm Stayhas an incredible range of trails designed for beginners as well as competition cyclists. Large groups can be catered for; beginners can practise and improve their skills on an obstacle course and the racing snakes and downhillers can get their thrills and more.

Lindani is ideal for those wanting to ride alongside wildlife such as zebra, wildebeest and other plains game. Trails are well marked and stretch across the entire reserve with challenging sections in the rocky hills.

Stay here for horseback riding among wildlife like giraffe, zebra, rhino and sable:

The Ant Collection All riders from beginners to advanced level are welcome. Ant’s has about 90 horses on their property and experienced guides will select the best for your skill level. An absolute must is to swim with the horses in the local dam.

For the birds

The Waterberg plateau is a wonderful birding area, particularly November to April when the summer migrants appear. Be on the lookout for blue crane, barrow’s korhaan, Stanley’s bustard and eastern clapper lark. There are over 485 breeding pairs of Cape vulture in the Marakele National Park, and you can see buff-streaked chat, Gurney’s sugarbird and striped pipit on the highest peak, accessible by tar road.  On the slopes of the north-eastern escarpment, you’ll find Verraux’s eagle, lanner falcon, African hawk eagle and shored-toed rock thrush. Don’t forget your bins’!

Must see

Waterberg Living Museum for the full understanding of this remarkable biosphere. Set in the veld where animals roam, the six exhibit halls cover natural and cultural history including rhino conservation and prehistoric man. Contact: 078 187 7782.

The spectacular views at the top of the Waterberg at the highest point in Marakele National Park. Access is by tarred road up Lenong Drive.

The Seven Sisters Mountain Range as you enter the Waterberg on the R33. A beautiful sight, particularly at sunrise and sunset.

 

Pictures: Anton Crone






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