It’s amazing how two weekends spent camping in the same area can be so different. We recently revisited the Waterberg about 280 kms north of Windhoek as we particularly wanted to hike up to the plateau with a guide. Although we enjoyed our first visit to the Namibian Wildlife Resort of the Waterberg, it was marred somewhat by a noisy busload of students who partied the whole weekend. Not wanting to be caught a second time, we opted to camp at a private nature reserve called the Waterberg Wilderness Lodge, a short way up the road. This proved to be an excellent choice.
The campsites were a fair distance from each other and were well equipped with a shelter, a barbeque area and a private, albeit very rustic, bathroom. Firewood was provided and on arrival we were offered a number of activities to choose from. We opted for a guided walk up on the plateau and an exorbitantly priced game drive in the afternoon.
Our guide for the hike was a friendly young man called Wesley, who turned out to be very knowledgeable about the flora and fauna in the area. He took time to stop at the more interesting plants and trees to describe their uses to the indigenous people of Namibia. His first plant of interest was the sansevieria, similar to a mother-in-law’s tongue, which the Bushmen used for making bow-strings.
He gave Rob a quick lesson on how it was done.
The hike up to the Waterberg plateau wasn’t too strenuous as we stopped often to photograph the trees or discuss our surroundings. Lots of wild animals live up there, but we were only privileged to see two little klipspringers peeping at us through the trees before they made off at great speed.
Whenever we take a guided hike I like to ask about the spiritual beliefs and traditions of the African people. Wesley belongs to the Herero tribe, who often combine Christianity with ancestral worship. His family commune with their paternal ancestors through dreams. He was delighted that we had taken an interest in his community and their traditions and explained at length about life in their village. I will write more about this in a blog dedicated to the Herero people of Namibia.
The views from the top of the plateau are amazing. We stretched our eyes for miles and miles over the plains of the Kalahari sandveld.
Just being at the top of the mountain with the air so fresh and our bodies invigorated by the climb up there, was wonderful. We almost had to drag ourselves away as we had already overrun our three hour time for the hike.
That afternoon we joined the game drive for a tour around their massive ranch. We saw lots of giraffes, kudu and other little animals, but the highlight of the trip was seeing a pair of white rhinoceros. Our guide and Rob left the vehicle and tracked these two enormous animals on foot in the bush, managing to get really close to them. I had my camera poised and ready in case Rob came haring back with a rhino on his tail!!
This beautiful Spotted Eagle Owl was flushed out of the bush as we drove past and settled on a tree just long enough for us to get a nice photo. It’s not often that birds are so obliging.
It was a thoroughly enjoyable weekend. The June weather was perfect and we were treated to a beautiful full moon – always lovely to have that when one is out camping.