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The Waterberg Plateau forms part of the Waterberg Nature Reserve, situated about 68km south east of Otjiwarongo. Waterberg and the surrounding area were proclaimed a nature reserve in 1972. The plateau itself is a particularly prominent feature, elevated high above the plains of the Kalahari Basin. As the table top like plateau is largely inaccessible from beneath, in the early 1970’s several of Namibia’s endangered species were relocated there to protect them from predators and poaching to extinction. Among the animals relocated were black and white Rhino, buffalo, and antelope such as the eland, sable and roan. The programme was very successful and today Waterberg supplies other national parks with surplus species.
Ecologically, the park is diverse and currenly has more than 200 bird species and 25 species of mammals including smaller rare species of antelopes that can be viewed from the lower hills of the mountain.
Geologically , the oldest rock stratum is over 850 million years and here dinosaur tracks were left behind. It is believed that the first humans to live in the area of Waterberg were the San, as eveidenced by the presence of rock engravings, some of which are said to be several thousand years old. The last group of San people still lived there traditionally until the late 1960’s.
The previous residents of the Waterberg plateau were the Hereros, who lost their greatest and last battle (The battle of Waterberg) against the Germans colonial forces in 1904. This became the major turning point in Namibia’s history and subsequently, thousands of Hereros lost their lives and about thousand escaped eastward to neighboring British bechuanaland now Botswana. Many also lost their lives and cattle during the escape in the barren and inhospitable Kalahari desert due to lack of water and food. It is estimated that nearly two thirds of the Herero population lost their lives during this period.
The Waterberg Park is an excellent stop over point for visitors travelling to and from the northern regions of Namibia including Etosha and the Caprivi Region.
© Chameleon Safaris 2018