Hiking in the Waterberg

A SPECTACULAR MOUNTAIN WILDERNESS TO EXPLORE

The amazing thing about Waterberg is that it is unique in terms of the variation in the vegetation and geological makeup. Add to this the fact that its wonders are basically all to be seen at the top of the plateau and you have one of the most pristine conservation areas in the world. Kaiporo Kandji, warden, waterberg

The Waterberg Plateau is a brick-red sandstone formation that rises 200 metres above the surrounding savannah. Its lush green vegetation and large diversity of animal life make the park a haven waiting to be explored. Such an exploration is a must especially for keen hikers when visiting this northern area of Namibia.

Catching a glimpse of black and white rhinoceros, Cape buffalo, tsessebe, sable, roan antelope or carnivores such as leopard, cheetah and jackal is always a distinct possibility, although sightings (especially of the predators) cannot be guaranteed.

Hikers can take on the challenge of hiking the park with or without a park ranger as guide. The Waterberg experience includes nine different trails that have been set out along the base of the plateau. Adventurers can choose between a three- day guided hike, known as the Waterberg Guided Wilderness Trail, or the four-day Unguided Wilderness Trail, which covers 42 km. Both trails are open from April to November.

The guided hike takes hikers and their accompanying park ranger on a 50-kilometre route through spectacular rock formations, interesting vegetation and an abundance of wildlife. The route consists of natural and cleared trails and dry riverbeds. Hikers have the opportunity to explore the unique landscape as well as participate in relaxing activities such as bird watching.

Basic overnight trail shelters equipped with water and toilets punctuate the route, but hikers are expected to be self- sufficient and responsible for their own food and sleeping bags. Fires are not allowed within the park and hikers should be fit and able to take evasive action should they unexpectedly encounter wildlife.

Groups should consist of six to eight hikers on the guided hike and reservations are made with Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR). The unguided trail takes four days to complete. Groups should consist of three to ten people and, as with the guided hike, hikers are responsible for bringing their own food and camping equipment.

NOTE: Due to growing concerns of poaching in the area, hikes on top of the plateau have temporarily been suspended. Nature walks along the base of the plateau in the NWR camp area are still open to visitors. The only way to access the top part of the plateau park is with a guided nature drive, which can be booked directly through NWR.

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