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The Waterberg is a spectacular sandstone massive spelling in the central region of the country about 70 km from the town of Otjiwarongo. This is the only breeding site of the Cape Vulture in Namibia, and the Ministry of Environment and Tourism has a vulture feeding scheme here. The Waterberg Plateau Park is also the centre of the Ministry’s breeding programme for rare and endangered large mammals in Namibia. There are sizeable numbers of black and white Rhino within the park, as well as Roan and Sable Antelope and Buffalo.

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Specials

The specials to the Waterberg include Rockrunner, Hartlaub's Spurfowl, Rüppell's Parrot, Violet Wood-Hoopoe and Bradfield's Hornbill, Orange River Francolin, and Tinkling Cisticola. It is also the only area that Booted Eagle has been found breeding within Namibia, and Rufous-bellied Tit have been recorded.

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Habitat

The habitat varies considerably from below the plateau to that on top, with huge sandstone cliffs surrounding the entire plateau. The lower areas have predominantly acacia woodland and scrub except for the gorges and valleys that sometimes have well-developed acacia, wild figs and huge Combretum Imberbe. The vegetation on the plateau has very little acacia, but is dominated by Combretum, Burkeia and Peltaphorum woodland.

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Facilities

The Waterberg facilities are good with excellent accommodation and campsite. There are daily game drive excursions to the plateau on reservation as well as organised hikes with experienced guides. From the main campsite there are also several self-guided walks that can be done.

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Birding

1. The fig forests and reed beds around the main accommodation are excellent for most of the specials, especially Rüppell's Parrot and Bradfield's Hornbill. Rockrunner are tame and confiding around the bungalows.

2. On the sandstone cliffs a variety of rock-loving species are found including Familiar Chat, Speckled Pigeon, Peregrine Falcon, Verreauxs' Eagle, African Hawk-Eagle, and Short-toed Rock-Thrush.

2. The bush below the cliffs is good for Monteiro's Hornbill, African Grey Hornbill, Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill, Red-billed Hornbill, Golden-tailed Woodpecker, Bennett's Woodpecker, Cardinal Woodpecker, Crested Francolin, Red-billed Spurfowl, Swainson's Spurfowl, Rüppell's Parrot, Pririt Batis, Burnt-necked Eremomela, African Red-eyed Bulbul, Green-winged Pytilia, Violet-eared Waxbill and Golden-breasted Bunting.

3. With special pre-arrangement, visits to the vulture feeding hides on the plateau are possible. Orange River Francolin, Tinkling Cisticola and Neddicky all occur in the open sandveld habitats on the top of the plateau.

4. For those people with more time and a special interest the MET runs weekly trails in the Wilderness Area on the plateau. These are 3-4 day trails based at specific camps and are generally well run. This is one of the best ways to experience the area and Hartlaub's Spurfowl are virtually guaranteed.

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General

There is a range of accommodation available, from well-appointed self-catering units, smaller “bus-quarters” (no catering facilities) to a beautiful campsite. There is a swimming pool and a restaurant which produces adequate food.

Waterberg Website

Chris Hines and Steve Brain 2002.



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