Waterberg Plateau Park Safari Guide

safarigo   Namibia  

The Waterberg Plateau is a scenic wildlife viewing destination. The park consists of a sandstone massif which stands out impressively from the surrounding savannah grasslands. It was established as a breeding ground for threatened species, including white rhino, roan, sable and tsessebe. Self-drive is prohibited, but game drives can be booked through the Namibia Wildlife Resorts office. There are nine short, self-guided walks available.



Pros & Cons


Great wildlife viewing, including some rare species
Game drives and short, self-guided trails available
Several accommodation options in the park
Self-drive not allowed
No lion and sightings of other big cats are rare


Wildlife & Animals

The isolated nature of the plateau makes the park an ideal refuge for threatened species. Both black and white rhino are protected here. You’re also likely to see giraffe and buffalo. Predator sightings are hit-and-miss, but cheetah, leopard and brown hyena can all be spotted. There are no lions or elephants.

Wildlife Highlights


The Waterberg Plateau plays a vital role in breeding endangered species for the restocking of other parks and conservation areas. Both roan and sable antelope fall in this category and they thrive on the plateau. Other antelope include eland, tsessebe, Damara dik-dik and greater kudu. The most common predator is the side-striped jackal and there have been some sightings of wild dog as well.


Birds

The Waterberg plateau is an excellent birding destination. The park has more than 250 species recorded in a relatively small area. This is due to the different habitats; broad-leafed woodland on top of the plateau, thornbush savanna below the plateau and cliffs. Nine self-guided walking trails are very productive for bird watching. The park is home to Namibia’s only breeding colony of Cape vultures. Migratory birds are present from November to April.

Best Time to Visit

For wildlife viewing, the Dry season (in particular July to September) is the ideal time to visit the Waterberg Plateau. Animals seek out water during this time and tend to stay around those sources. Foliage also routinely shrinks back in the hotter months making wildlife watching easier.

May to October – Dry Season


Ideal wildlife viewing as animals gather at water sources and foliage is less dense
Warm weather, but not hot (September and October can get hot)
It is high season and the park gets busy
Dry conditions and heat makes the air dusty


November to April – Wet Season


Little rain that occurs is a relief
Scenery is more attractive with plenty flowers
Wildlife is healthy and newborn animals are around
Ideal birding as migrants arrive
Low season rates apply
Wildlife is more dispersed and difficult to spot in thicker vegetation
It tends to be very hot


Weather & Climate

Waterberg Plateau has a warm, semi-arid climate. Like most such climates, there is a significant contrast in temperature between night and day. Annual rainfall is mainly low and, when present, comes in the form of heavy thundershowers. November to April constitutes the Wet season. Rain is absent during the Dry season, which occurs in the winter months of May through October.

Dry Season – May to October – Winter


Rain is absent during the winter. This is the coolest time of the year.

May, June, July & August – Warm clothes need to be packed at this time of year, since early mornings can be very cold (5°C/41°F). Throughout most of the day it is sunny and dry. Afternoon temperatures average approximately 24°C/75°F.
September & October – Daytime temperatures increase to an average of 30°C/86°F, and the mornings are milder (although you may still need those warm clothes) at around 12°C/54°F. October or November brings the start of the rains.


Wet Season – November to April – Summer


The wet season falls in the hot summer months. Rainfall is moderate and comes in the form of occasional thunderstorms.

November & December – The rains, a relief after the long dry winter, usually start in November and begin to pick up in December. Occasional thunderstorms are to be expected. Afternoon temperatures average 30°C/86F, making this the hottest time of year.
January, February & March – This is the wettest time of the year, though the sun still shines most of the day. Rains tend to cool the temperature, averaging from 15°C/59°F during the morning to 29°C/84°F in the afternoon.
April – Fewer days with precipitation occur as rain decreases throughout the month of April. Temperatures cool to a daily average of 27°C/81°F.


Getting There

Waterberg Plateau National Park is located 300km/187mi northeast of Windhoek and 320km/200mi southeast from Etosha NP. The driving time from Windhoek is about 3½ hours and about 4 hours from Etosha.

The park can be visited on an organized tour or independently on a self-drive safari, but self-drive within the park itself is not allowed. Game drives can be booked in advance through the Namibia Wildlife Resorts office. The road to the park is usually accessible for normal 2WD cars.

Many visitors start their self-drive or organized safaris by way of 4x4 vehicles in the capital city of Windhoek. Hosea Kutako International Airport (WDH) is located 40km/25mi east of Windhoek, and is the primary entry point into 
Namibia.