Waterberg Plateau Park and Namibia Thoughts


Waterberg Plateau Park was the group’s last stop on the Namibia itinerary before returning to Windhoek. Waterberg is a sandstone mountain that rises over 600 feet from the surrounding plains and is Namibia’s only mountain game park. The area is under the protection of nature conservancy and there are many endangered species like the Black and White Rhino, Sable Antelope and Blue Wildebeest, all introduced here. (Saw none of these.)

The Plateau is also arid on top but there is a lot of surface water and permanent springs at the foot of the mountain. Waterberg Plateau is around 35 miles long and glowed a brilliant red late in the day. The Herero people originally settled in this area and during 1904, 40,000 Herero men, women and children were surrounded by German colonial soldiers and almost annihilated. Only a few Herero escaped through the Kalahari desert to Botswana.

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Waterberg Plateau, Namibia

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glowing red rock on Waterberg Plateau, Namibia

I thought the abundance of game was sparser here than in Etosha, but we did manage to see some jackals…

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jackals in Waterberg Plateau Park, Namibia

…a majestic male lion moving slowly across the barren land…on one of our game drives…

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male lion in Waterberg Plateau Park, Namibia

…and many zebras…View image…including the cutest baby zebras…

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baby zebra in Waterberg National Park, Namibia
 

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…and somewhere along the Namibia trip, was a humungous weaver bird nest. It could have been considered a Donald Trump condominium for weaver birds…

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the mother of all weaver birds nests in Waterberg Plateau Park, Namibia

Mokuti Lodge was the most luxurious of all the accommodations this trip with its multi-level restaurant and main area. Too bad it was only for one night. Mokuti also had walking trails to search for the shy Damara Dik-dik and observe birds.

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The trip was over and we headed back to Windhoek for one last night. Some of our group had wisely added on Explore’s “Cape Escape” in South Africa. ex-Marine and I had already visited the majority of the sites included in the Cape Escape and just headed to Capetown for a few days since our flights home went from Windhoek-Capetown-Johannesburg-Frankfurt-Chicago.

This was an excellent, easy trip and introduction to Africa. No food or water worries (the food was good throughout), not overly strenous with a variety of sights. I would like to revisit Namibia, perhaps combining it with Botswana’s famous Okavango Delta, and see:

- the Kalahari Desert region. The Kalahari covers an area of 360,000 square miles. The great majority of this desert lies in Botswana but also occupies portions of Namibia and South Africa. It was crossed by the British explorers David Livingstone and William C. Oswell in 1849. Although the region has no permanent surface water apart from the Boteti River, it supports trees, low scrub, and grasses as well as abundant wildlife. It includes the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park and the Gemsbok National and Bushmen people.

- Return to Swampkomund and spend a little time.

- Visit the North section of the Skeleton Coast.

- Fish River Canyon, the largest canyon in the southern hemisphere and second in size only to the Blue Nile Gorge in Ethiopia.

- Perhaps, even work on another Earthwatch Institute project, Meerkats of the Kalahari, even though it takes place in the South Africa section of the Kalahari.

Namibia is worth seeing and with winter 2007-2008 coming before you know it, a reasonable (price-wise) place to consider… There are also many other options for visiting Namibia. Luxury fly-in safaris or take the opposite tack and camp or rent a “caravan” (motor home). If it was good enough for Angelina, Brad (the luxury end) and all those cute Meerkats burrowing in the Kalahari, it’s certainly good enough for you…. Have a great time!

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