Reaching high over the plains of Namibia is the Waterberg Plateau, a 20-kilometer by 50-kilometer table mountain massif made of porous sandstone that soaks up moisture. Rainwater that drips through the stone top collects on a solid layer of clay beneath, and the water that runs off creates springs on the southeast side of the plateau. Although the top of the plateau is dry, there is surface water as well as the springs from the runoff along the bottom of the mountain. The varied vegetation in the area is luxurious and abundant, and fire lilies, coral trees and wild fig trees are just a few of the selections found there. Animal life is also abundant in the area.
Nature conservancy has provided protection for the approximately 400 square kilometer Waterberg area since 1972, and endangered species are brought there for their preservation. A guided drive to the plateau may reveal animals like the blue wildebeest, black rhino, white rhino, hyena, leopard and sable antelope along with the area’s amazing scenery.
A recently updated rest camp, lovely holiday chalets, campground, swimming pool and restaurant are located in the Waterberg Plateau Park, the only mountain resort in Namibia. The park is an immense wilderness area with unique cliffs of red sandstone. Visitors are allowed to take walks or long hikes in the area, and guided drives to the plateau are provided daily. A park ranger guides three-day hikes along the Waterberg Wilderness Trail from April through November, and hikers are likely to see leopards and rhinos as well as some of the 200 types of birds that live there. Among the birds on the Okarakuvisa Cliffs at the plateau’s top is a colony of Cape vultures, the only such colony in Namibia.
The beautiful foothills of Waterberg witnessed the tragic battle between German Colonial forces and the Herero people in 1904. The Germans killed many of the Herero as they retreated, and many others died of starvation and thirst. Only a small remnant escaped through the Kalahari Desert and fled to Botswana. The military cemetery, where the German soldiers that were killed in the battle were buried, is located near the Waterberg Rest Camp.