Waterberg in South Africa

Accommodation in Waterberg

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Bateleur Tented Safari Lodge Bateleur Tented Lodge from: ZAR 0

Waterberg

The Waterberg - so named by the early Trekkers for its bounteous supply of clear water - covers an area of some 15 000 square kilometers in the Northern Province/Limpopo.The past decade has seen great changes in the region. From being largely a farming area for many generations starting with the Trekkers, the Waterberg now embraces game ranching and conservation. In spite of the area being known for its high rainfall it has also experienced times of extreme droughts. The vegetation is largely sourveld (a weak type of bush and grass species with slow regrowth) which made farming difficult. Farmers began to realise that conventional farming would not work and that it would be more costly than profitable to work lands. Hence the conversion from conventional farming to game ranching and conservation. Although there has been farming, the Waterberg has by and large been untouched over time, an unspoilt expanse of land, which we should admire and respect.

Facts about the Waterberg

Even though game was eliminated during the farming era, the species that once roamed the area have been reintroduced to once again give the Waterberg a considerable diversity of fauna and flora.

The average annual rainfall is 625mm. In summer both days and nights are warm, with maximum temperatures reaching about 38 degrees centigrade. Winter months have warm days, but evenings and early mornings can be extremely cold.

During spring (October, November), spectacular lightning storms may be seen in the region. The Waterberg landscape is both breathtaking and mystical with perennial streams that flow through the area sustaining the diverse and lush fauna & flora.

The main African tribe of this area is the Bapedi; also called the Northern Sotho and the languages spoken here are Sepedi or Northern Sotho, Afrikaans and English.Welgevonden Private Game ReserveWelgevonden is one of the largest privately owned reserves in South Africa, covering 33 000 hectares of land.Pienkies du Plessis, the owner of the original Welgevonden farm, had the idea of acquiring neighbouring farmlands and establishing a nature conservancy that would return the land to its original state of wilderness.With the idea proving feasible Rand Merchant Bank provided development support for the project in 1993 and Pienkies' dream became a reality. Welgevonden became the first bushveld development in which each owner has freehold title to 500 hectares of pristine bush, traversing rights in perpetuity over the entire 33 000 hectares and custodianship of wildlife on the sanctuary.Welgevonden is controlled by its land owners, who elect a board of trustees. The day-to-day running of the reserve is in the hands of the on-site management team, which is responsible for roads, anti-poaching, security, general administration, field studies and research. The team also ensures that the rules of the reserve, in particular, those related to conservation, are adhered to. Welgevonden is pro-conservation and strict rules have been drawn up to preserve, and minimise impact on, the natural environment for future generations.Major game species have been reintroduced into the reserve since 1994. All these reintroduction projects have been a major success, trebling the game population over the past five years. From an original pride of 5 lions, 22 now roam freely within the reserve's boundaries. We have also had remarkable success with elephants: from fewer than 50 released into the reserve, there are now 74. Other major reintroduction projects include white rhino (for which Welgevonden is renowned), buffalo sable and gemsbok. Other species, which were already on the farms when Welgevonden was established, have been allowed to flourish. These include leopard, antelope, giraffe, warthog, bush pig, aardvark, pangolin and many more. Black-backed jackals and the very rare brown hyena have also prospered in the conservancy.Within Welgevonden, 270 bird species have been recorded. For those who love trees or simply enjoy scenery, Welgevonden's magical landscape has much to offer.