This post will take you for a hike in the Waterberg Plateau Park, in Namibia. A trip to this part of Southern Africa is a unique opportunity to discover an exceptional and beautiful protected nature reserve.
Here’s what we discovered.
1. What is Waterberg Plateau Park?
This national park is a wild place located in central Namibia where a rare ecosystem has thrived. The Waterberg Plateau is a natural geological site, 31 miles long, located 190 miles northeast of Windhoek, the country’s capital. At a height of 660 ft, it overlooks the Kalahari Desert.
This massive table is made of red sandstones that gives a flamboyant color to its steep cliffs. Moisture is absorbed by the rock and rejected in springs that flow at the base of the plateau, hence the name of water (water) berg (plateau).
Then, because of the presence of water, the park houses a wide variety of animal species (various families of antelopes, impalas, kudus, and others) some of which are endangered (white rhinos, black antelopes, roan antelopes, cape vultures).
Besides, a lush flora like nowhere else in Namibia can be observed.
2. What to do in Waterberg Plateau Park?
Many outdoors activities are offered. They allow to discover the preserved nature of the park and its wildlife.
- First, climbing the plateau and hiking with a guide during a few hours.
- Then it is possible to trek for several days, with a guide (the Waterberg Wilderness Trail, 26 miles) or without (the Waterberg Unguided Hiking Trail, 31 miles).
- Finally, the park offers game watching tours and rhino tracking.
3. Hiking is the best way to discover this unique ecosystem
We settle at the Waterberg Plateau Park Camp and then leave for a guided hike of a few hours.
To reach the top of the plateau, we take a rocky trail along its steep slopes. After a pleasant climb of about forty minutes, we arrive at the summit, at Mountain View.
From the Waterberg Plateau, the view on the infinite savannah, monotonous and flat is striking. It is just lined by straight tracks. No houses in sight, no roughness holds the eyes. At the foot of the Waterberg Plateau, the gray-green hardwoods contrast with the redness of the rocks that overhang the Namibian plain.
After contemplating this lonely landscape, we walk along the cliffs, on a sandy path. Hundreds of damans give a benevolent eye on us while basking in the sun.
4. Discover the flora in the Waterberg Plateau Park
The vegetation is lush, dense and diverse, composed of an estimated 400 plant species. Indeed, the Waterberg Plateau Park is the perfect environment for endemic plants to grow: different species of acacias, lilacs, figtrees, weeping willows and many varieties of lichen.
This vegetal luxuriance contrasts with the aridity of the Kalahari desert.
At the curb of the path, we see a dick-dick busy eating foliage. Then we walk past many termite mounds, real animal works of art that can reach several feet high.
5. Waterberg Plateau is home of rare game
Further, a family of striped mongooses, looking for insects in the red sand, cross our way to rejoin their burrow.
We meet many antelopes, kudus, warthogs, but no trace of any white rhinoceros despite the “tracking” lessons of our guide.
It is true that the time, already quite late, does not allow to meet this rare and protected animal. We are not disappointed, as the Waterberg Plateau Park offers incredible natural and wildlife shows.
6. Admire the sunset over the Kalahari plain
After a few hours of hiking, we come back down to the camp at the foot of the Waterberg Plateau Park.
In the evening, at dusk, as we prepare a fire, a visitor burst between the tents. This is a harmless warthog. It might be attracted by the dinner fumes or the animal is just on its way to its burrow.
The night settles and offers a superb show with a dark sky only illuminated by the stars.
What a great adventure today!
Hiking in the Waterberg Plateau Park is an opportunity to discover nature in the wild.