The Waterberg, Limpopo
Did you know?
The Waterberg Rhino Museum, a Limpopo Waterberg attraction, is Africa's only rhino museum.
The Waterberg district offers up a fantastic tourism experience that combines some of South Africa's best features. Mountains, Big Five game viewing and exploring a captivating pre-historic past are just some of Waterberg's attractions.
A major Waterberg drawcard is the UNESCO Waterberg Biosphere Reserve. It is the only savannah biosphere reserve in southern Africa and features a mix of rock formations, formed over millions of years, significant San (Bushmen) rock art sites and abundant bushveld plains that support a diverse array of fauna and flora.
The Waterberg district is renowned for its spectacular views, which are most evident within the sprawling biosphere reserve. Its pristine bush environment has also precipitated the rise of eco-tourism in this area. There are now a number of game reserves that offer authentic safari experiences, including Big Five game viewing.
Visit the Mabula and Mabalingwe Game Reserves or the Marakele National Park with what is regarded as the world's largest colony of endangered Cape vultures, to see Africa at its finest.
While the Waterberg mountains speak of San existence here thousands of years ago, the nearby Makapans Valley points to human presence in the region millions of years before. The valley is regarded as one of the country's most significant archaeological and palaeontological sites, as it has yielded hominid fossils dating back 3m years.
Make sure you visit Mokopane and book a guided tour of the valley and its intricate network of caves, which have been declared a national monument.
Other outdoor pursuits that can be enjoyed in the Waterberg include excellent fishing at the Mokolo Dam at Lephalale, bird watching at the exquisite Nyl floodplain in the Nylsvley Nature Reserve at Modimolle and hiking at Mookgophong.
The Waterberg is also known for its hot mineral springs - many of its towns actually developed around these natural phenomena, which can still be enjoyed today at Bela-Bela and Mookgophong.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Limpopo Tourism and Parks:
Tel: +27 (0)15 290 7300
South African National Parks:
Tel: + 27 (0)12 428 9111
How to get here
Fly direct from Johannesburg to Polokwane, and then take the N1 south to Bela-Bela. If you’re driving, from Johannesburg take the N1 north motorway directly to Bela-Bela.
From Cape Town, take the N1 motorway through Johannesburg and continue north to Bela-Bela. From Durban, take the N3 to Ladysmith and then pick up the N11 to Mokopane. At Mokopane, take the N1 south to Bela-Bela.
Best time to visit
Waterberg is an all-year-round destination due to its warm climate. Summer (October to February) can get very hot.
Tours to do
Waterberg Rhino Museum at Melkrivier; Arend Dieperink Museum at Mokopane; Rust De Winter Nature Reserve; Waterberg Biosphere Reserve; Makapans Valley; Mabula and Mabalingwe Game Reserves; Marakele National Park; Nylsvley Nature Reserve; Bela-Bela hot springs.
Where to stay
Mabula Game Reserve; Marakele National Park; Mabalingwe Game Reserve.
Bela-Bela Lion Man Mountain Bike Race at Bela-Bela in May; Lephalale Bushveld Festival at Lephalale in July; Thabazimbi Agricultural Show at Thabazimbi in July/ August.