Waterberg Plateau | Namibia

Cheetah at the Okonjima Lodge Afri-cat FoundationCheetah at the Okonjima Lodge Afri-cat Foundation

Nothing can prepare you for the sight of a gigantic 600ft (200m) slab of orange rock, with sheer sides and a flat top. This natural edifice glowing gold in the late afternoon sun, is the astonishing Waterberg Plateau.

The Waterberg is like a lost 'Garden of Eden' where animals are unable to escape down the steep sides (or through the fence guarding one manageable slope), and just roam the lush tableland in innocent bliss. It is as though time has stood still atop this plateau and although you may only see a few antelopes on a game drive, you feel the eyes of a Leopard staring at you from a concealed rocky hideaway.

Perhaps the animals went to the top of the Waterberg Plateau for safety against larger predators and they don't get any bigger than dinosaurs. They left evidence of their presence in the form of several three-toed footprints imbedded in rock at a Waterberg farm. The Waterberg Plateau National Park has a charming resort at the base of the rock, with chalets, a tree shaded campsite and a gloriously large, clean swimming pool. They also provide game-viewing vehicles for drives around the plateau, or you can hike to the top on self-guided wilderness trails. As you stare up at this magnificent bastion, stop and wonder at the geological forces that formed such a singular edifice.

Near to the Waterberg is the Okonjima wildlife sanctuary for Cheetah and Leopard, where you can get 'hands on' experience with these exquisite animals and stay in a luxury bush lodge. Many farmers see these beautiful cats as a threat to their livestock and Okonjima is a lifesaver for many of these creatures. This area is home to the Herero tribe, whose distinctive Victorian-style head to toe dress and wide hat cannot be mistaken for any other tribe.

They adopted this impractical clothing after being influenced by missionaries, but don't seem to feel the heat which regularly climbs to 38C (100F). In 1904 the Herero fought their last great battle against the Germans at the Waterberg and were almost wiped out. They fled into the Kalahari Desert to Botswana. At the Waterberg a graveyard of the German soldiers who lost their lives, reminds us of this period in time.

Climate:

Dry Season:
It is dry from April to October which cuts right across the winter period. Daytime temperatures are nicely warm to hot, but nights are cold with temperatures sometimes dropping below freezing.

Rainy Season:
This is an area of summer rainfall, and it is hot from November and March with mid-summer temperatures hitting 40C (104F) and over. Average rainfall is 500mm (20inches), and this creates high humidity.

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