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Popa Falls Camp- Another Hidden Gem in Namibia

  
  

In the north east of Namibia, perched at the top of the Okavango and overlooking the uniquely beautiful Popa Falls you can find NWR’s Popa Falls Camp. The camp is the perfect place to use as a base for exploring Namibia’s Okavango Delta and Caprivi Strip.

The camp, which had fallen into disrepair, was recently re-opened by the Namibia Wildlife Resorts and is now welcoming tourists once more.  

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The falls, and the camp are nestled between Zambia and Botswana.
(Image courtesy of Namibia Bookings)

What are the Popa Falls?  

Rather than a classic waterfall the Popa Falls are a serious of unique and beautiful cascading rapids that run over a series of quartzite ledges. In the wet season the series of rapids is a must-see if you are in the north east of the country.

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A section of the rapids that make up the Popa Falls.
(Image courtesy of Dr Klaus Dierks)  

Because the Okavango is perennial, the region close to the falls is awash with diverse flora and fauna. Many different species of fish, birds, antelope and other large mammals have made their homes on the shady and lush banks of the mighty river.  

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It’s not always all about the fauna-
there is some astonishing flora along the banks of the Okavango.
(Image courtesy of Roxanne Reid)  

Exploring Mahango Game Park  

More than just a place to stay, the Popa Falls Camp is perfectly positioned to break your trip as you head north from the central or southern regions of the country. Close to NWR's camp you will find the Mahango Game Park. The park, much like the rest of the Caprivi Strip is home to a variety of fauna from large mammals to exotic birds. 

The park is famous for its collection of wetland birds; including egrets, cranes, herons, pelicans, storks and various birds of prey like Pel’s Fishing Owl and Montagu’s Harrier. The park has even been designated as an “Important Bird Area” by BirdLife International.

So if you are keen on birding and find yourself on a day trip through the park remember to bring a pair of binoculars and bird book to make a note of all the different species you spot.  

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The park has a large population of African Skimmers.
(Image courtesy of Loretta Aminus)  

Mahango is also one of the few reserves in Namibia, and by extension the world, that is home to a pack of African wild dogs. These notoriously shy and incredibly endangered animals are always a treat to see and the opportunity to catch a glimpse of them should not be passed up on.  

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Three wild dogs seeking some respite from the baking noon sun.  

Other large mammals in the park include bushbuck, reedbuck, tsessebe, sitatunga, and the rare and beautiful roan and sable antelope. There are also, according to reports, migratory elephants that pass through the park, but sightings of these majestic beasts are rare.  

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Herds of various antelope can be seen all over the park.

(Image courtesy of Roxanne Reid)  

**Note that the park is only open for day trips and there are no overnight facilities so it is best to stay at a lodge or a camp nearby if you wish to explore it.**  

Other things to do at Popa Falls Camp

The Okavango is a popular destination for fisherman as the river is stocked with abundant Tigerfish, Threespot and Greenheaded tilapia. Staying at the Popa Falls Camp will give you an excellent place to base yourself if you wish to launch a fishing expedition on the upper sections of the Okavango in Namibia.  

The camp is also a good place to just take a few days off and let off some steam by the riverside. Sometimes travelling around can be hard work and a day or two of solid relaxation can go a long way to making your trip around Namibia even more enjoyable.

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Have a refreshing drink at the Popa Falls Camp's jetty bar.

The Popa Falls Camp also offers safari cruises on the recently launched “Queen Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah” houseboat. On one of these excursions you may well spot some of the local fauna including hippos, crocodiles and the endemic antelope as you wind your way up and down the river.  

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Another striking sunset over the Okavango
(Image courtesy of Dr Klaus Dierks)  

Staying at the Popa Falls Camp

The camp has over 40 beds for sleepy travellers and these are divided across 10 river chalets and three family chalets. The camp itself has all the facilities you need including a restaurant and bar.  

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Pictured above: A traveller's best friend.

If you don't particularly like having a roof over your head then there is also space for you to camp, and there is also a designated area for overland tour operators where they can leave their overland vehicles as well.

**Note: SADC citizens get a 25% discount when staying at any NWR camp, while Namibian NamLeisure cardholders will receive a 50% discount. Internationals also get a 10% discount so be sure to enquire ahead before you get to the camp.**

For more booking information contact NWR here.

For a list of a few other places to stay in the region check out this link.

REST: Saving Namibia's Vultures

  
  

The Rare and Endangered Species Trust is an organisation that operates in Central-Northern Namibia near the town of Otjiwarongo and the Okonkjima game reserve. Many of you may remember them from our post on Pangolin conservation, but REST also plays a leading role in the effort to conserve endangered vultures in Namibia. Read on to find out how you can help too.

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The Cape Griffon vulture, in flight
.
(Image courtesy of REST)

The vultures' plight

Most people are surprised when they find out about the plight of the various species of vultures in southern Africa. The fact is that vulture numbers are down across the region, and unless strong action is taken immediately we risk losing many of these species.

In Namibia Maria Diekmann decided to take action and many years ago founded REST. The trust now runs many programs to help save various species of animals in and around Namibia. Maria, along with her dedicated band of volunteers and permanent staff, hopes to educate the public on the plight of the vulture and in doing so illustrate just how vital these birds are for a functioning and healthy ecosystem.

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Maria preparing to release Diana, a White Backed vulture, into the wild.
(Image courtesy of REST)

What vultures do for us

Simply put, vultures are nature’s clean-up crew. These birds can eat just about anything, ingest any pathogen and remove it from the ecosystem. What this does is it takes this undesirable meat, and disease, out of the ecosystem.

Without vultures doing this, whatever disease is in an animal’s carcass will get ingested by other scavenging animals (wild dogs, jackals etc) and will eventually land causing a lot of harm to the entire ecosystem that has been robbed of its vultures.

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Wild White Backed vultures nesting.
(Image courtesy of REST)

What is happening to Namibia's vultures?

Poaching is a massive problem for vultures in southern Africa. These birds are the ultimate innocent bystanders in the bloody war that is poaching. This is what happens: A gang of poachers will kill an animal for its ivory, horn or pelt and will then discard the carcass in the bush. Once this is done the vultures, who have keen eyesight and a knack for sniffing out a meal, will circle and eventually descend down to feed on the dead animal.

Many game rangers and anti-poaching teams had begun to use the circling vultures as a way of spotting where an act of poaching may have occurred and could then begin to give chase to any possible poachers. But the poachers have gotten wise to this. Now these highly organised gangs of thieves and smugglers will poison a carcass that they have killed in the hopes that it will kill off the vultures in area and thus make it harder for the game rangers and authorities to find them.

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Nelson, a rescued Cape Griffon vulture who, unfortunately,
is too damaged to send back into the wild.

(Image courtesy of Linda Millington, via REST)

In August, this year, 600-1000 vultures were killed when one poached elephant carcass was deliberately poisoned in an attempt to rid an area in the north of Namibia of its vultures. Visit here to see if you can lend a hand to help lessen this crisis. It is estimated that every year nearly 2000 cultures are deliberately poisoned.

There are other problems facing vultures in our modern world as well. Loss of habitat, internal organs for use in traditional medicine, ignorance and even misguided farmers who pump their cattle and herds full of an anti-inflammatory drug that is as deadly as a poison to a vulture. We cannot stop all of these things at once, but we can begin to reverse the thinking behind each of these problems, one at a time.

The good news

The good news is that you now know about the problem. More good news is that through organisations like REST we can all lend a hand to making the world a little bit more vulture-friendly. And as with most conservation efforts it starts with education. By learning about the vital role, and by teaching this to young children REST fulfills an integral role in bringing awareness to the masses about the plight of the vulture, and you can help.

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Volunteers at REST tagging a Cape Griffon vulture.
This was the first time ever that this species had been tagged using telemetry.

What we can do

You can volunteer. Not only is this a fantastic way to get to learn about a variety of different animals that REST concerns itself with, but it is also a fantastic way to have a unique and moving experience in Namibia. Click this link to find out all the details on REST’s volunteer project.

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Volunteers at REST get the full hands-on experience.
(Image courtesy of REST)

There is accommodation for volunteers with running water and all the amenities you need to live comfortably in the bush. You won’t be finding a TV or anything like that though! The prices are reasonable and all the money paid is ploughed straight back into the trust’s efforts.

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A vulture, flying the coup.

If you do not have the ability, or time, to volunteer then you can always donate money to the trust. All money is directly spent on conservation efforts as the organisation is well streamlined to ensure that no money is wasted on needless bureaucratic expenses.

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Funds are used to maintain things like REST's vulture restaurant.
(Image courtesy of REST)

Maria and REST rely on donations and sponsorships to allow them to continue doing the good work that they do, so once you have finished reading this article please consider donating some time or money to their cause.

The future

One of REST’s focuses is the critically endangered Cape Griffon vulture. There are only 12 breeding pairs left in Namibia of this majestic bird. That is not a big number, and it is even more shocking when you consider that 50 years ago there were over 2000 of these birds.

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Nelson having a bit of a pose for the camera.
(Image courtesy of REST)

But, if you visit REST you can see what is hoped will be the first successful breeding project of the Cape Griffon in captivity. Things are looking good right now and everyone is holding thumbs that this will be the start along the long road to recovery for these vital, and too often forgotten about, birds.

We need to support organisations like REST and we have to educate ourselves, and everyone we know, about the importance of vultures in the wild and by extension, our lives.

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REST is planning for the future by protecting what we have now.


The Amazing Birdlife of Namibia

  
  

Namibia is home to 676 of Southern Africa's 887 species and the whole country is littered with endemic and interesting birds. There are many great spots for bird watching in Namibia - here are just three of them to give you a glimpse into birding paradise. 

The Zambezi (formally Caprivi) Region

The Zambezi or Caprivi Strip can be found in the extreme north east of Namibia and this region alone is home to over 425 species of birds. The network of rivers and deltas formed by the confluence of the Kwando, Zambezi and Chobe rivers create an ideal space for avid bird watchers to catch a glimpse of some of the unique birdlife on offer in Namibia.

Here are just some of the species you can find there: 

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The African Pygmy Goose
(image courtesy of Adrian Binns via 10000 Birds)


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The African Marsh Harrier in flight.
(image courtesy of Trevor Hardaker)


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Pel’s Fishing Owl
(image courtesy of the Internet Bird Collection)


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African Wood Owls
(image courtesy of Bird Forum)

For places to stay in the Zambezi / Caprivi Region click here. Or if you'd like to find out more about the region, click here.

 

Etosha National Park

Usually, when people think of Etosha they think of spotting big game, and while that is fair enough (as you will discover by clicking here) there are other attractions at the massive national park. The bird life is fantastic and varied in the park and depending on whether or not it is a dry season you can find different species of birds making their homes in the park.

During the drier times two of the best places to go birding are near the rest camps of Okaukuejo and Halali. Not only do these two camps offer wonderful accommodation and facilities but they also will give you the chance to see some of Namibia’s 13 endemic bird species.

Okaukuejo Camp is renowned for its resident Southern Pied Babblers and Crimson-Breasted Shrikes. And if you are staying at Halali you may catch a glimpse of the Bare-Cheeked Babbler or even a Violet Wood Hoopoe. Be sure to keep an eye out for the Kori Bustard - its quite something to watch the heaviest living animal capable of flight launch into the air.

 

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Southern Pied Babbler
(image courtesy of the Internet Bird Collection)

 

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Crimson-Breasted Shrike - commonly referred to as "The German Flag" by the locals
(image courtesy of Outdoor Photo)

 

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Bare-Cheeked Babbler
(image courtesy of Rock Jumper Birding)


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Violet Wood-hoopoe
(image courtesy of the Flacks)


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Carp's Tit
(image courtesy of Wilkinson’s World)

The park really comes alive for bird enthusiasts after good rains because as the Etosha Pan starts to fill up with water thousands of birds make their way to the newly formed water source. You can expect to see Flamingos, Pelicans and maybe even some rare Blue Cranes following rain in the region.

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Flamingos on the pan.
(image courtesy of Kruger 2 Kalahari)

 

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Pelicans
(image courtesy of Doug Breakwell via Flickr)

 

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Rare Blue Cranes
(image courtesy of Frank Will via Flickr)

For a listing of the various places to stay in Etosha click on this link to read our comprehensive “how-to” guide for a visit to Etosha National Park.

 

The Waterberg

The Waterberg plateau has an amazing array of birdlife and is just stunning in so many different ways. Have a look at our blog post on it and you will get a sense of the beauty that awaits at this location. The area is home to over 200 different species and is home to the only breeding colony of the critically endangered Cape Vulture.

 

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Cape Vulture in flight.

Click here to find out more about REST, a Namibian organisation trying
to help these majestic creatures back from the brink of extinction.

(image courtesy of Avian Leisure)

 

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Bradfield’s Hornbill
(image courtesy of Brian Scott via Flickr)

 

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African grey Hornbill
(image courtesy of Biodiversity Explorer)

If you want to stay overnight at the Waterberg Plateau park then click this link and read all about the different accomodation options available.


Go Namibia, Go Birding!

So there it is! A list of just three top birding spots in Namibia, where you can stay and what you can expect to find. While we haven't come close to describing all of the hundreds of species of birds you can find in Namibia (you can download a Namibia birding checklist for that) we hope its given you a taste of what's in store. One thing is for sure though, if you come to Namibia and want to do some bird watching, you will not leave disappointed.

 

What interesting bird species have you spotted in Namibia? Share them with us!

#BirdingInNamibia

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Namibia Tourism on Facebook

 

 

More on Birding in Namibia

Download a Namibia birding checklist

 

Get a full list of great places to go bird watching in Namibia 

BIRDING CHECKLIST    MAP17

Rest Camps in Namibia

  
  

Namibia is a very, very big country and driving from each location to amazing location can take hours. As a result of this, many intrepid locals have set up small rest camps along the national roads where travellers can break their long drives and rejuvinate. These lodge-style establishments can be found all over Namibia, and in this post we’re going to tell you what you can expect from a rest camp and where you can find a few of them.

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Rest camps are character filled and unique and each one has something different to offer explorers. Above is a picture of Roy's Rest Camp where we spent a night

Our rest camp experience

After travelling up to Etosha for some game viewing, we were next going to visit Rundu. We decided we would rather break our long drive with a stay at a rest camp. After looking at the map and the available rest camps along the B8 we eventually settled on a place called Roy’s Rest Camp.


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The entrance to Roy's Rest Camp

The accommodation at your typical rest camp is simple and clean and Roy’s is no exception, but each rest camp in Namibia also has its own character and vibe. Roy’s Rest Camp, for example, has been painstakingly decorated by its owners.

Derelict classic cars and all manner of Namibian inspired homemade décor can be found hanging in the trees, at the restaurant and in the rooms.

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We found this old car just by the camp's reception.

Our stay at Roy's was very typical of a rest camp in Namibia. The staff are friendly and interested in your stories and always have time to sit around and chat about what's going on around the camp and the country as a whole. Places like this afford you an opportunity to swap notes with other travellers and get some ideas on what to do while you are in Namibia.

What you can expect from a rest camp

These small camps are unpretentious and unassuming and the people who run them are almost always friendly, welcoming people. Rest camps can also be excellent place to meet up with fellow travellers and maybe make a few new friends by sitting round the fire or poolside.

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Rooms are typically simple, clean and comfortable

Some of the rest camps have other unique features such as farm tours and bird walks, or even game viewing, and so it is always a good idea to ask at the camp's reception if there are any recommended activites for visitors to experience while staying at a particular rest camp.

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Another beautifully rusted out car at Roy's Rest Camp

Some of the camps are self-catering and others have a more typical travel lodge setup. The whole point of a rest camp is to allow a weary traveller to lay down their head for a good night’s rest so that in the morning they can carry on with their journey refreshed and impressed.


Many of the rest camps you will find in Namibia will give you the option of either staying in built chalets, or camping in your own tent. Roy's Rest camp is one such place that offers both, but it is not the only one. So, if you and your travel buddies are up for some outdoor camping then a rest camp may make even more sense for you as you travel through the vast countryside of Namibia.

A short list of rest camps in Namibia

Below is a list of several rest camps situated around the country. As already mentioned, rest camps can be found all over Namibia, so when you are planning your trip consider breaking up some of the long distances and travel days.

 

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Roy's Rest Camp

 

Roy’s Camp is perfectly situated on the B8 main road from Grootfontein to Rundu, 55 km north of Grootfontein.  At ideal stop over to Northern Namibia, Zambezi (formerly known as Caprivi) and Bushman land.


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 Brandberg Rest Camp

 

Located in Damaraland, the Brandberg rest camp has a restaurant, bar, pool and internet facilities.

The camp also offers guests some climbing, exploring and hiking activities.

 

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  Ombo Rest Camp

 

70km North of Windhoek on the Hochfeld road, Ombo Rest Camp has a restaurant but has self-catering chalets as well.

This camp is unique in that it has a wateringhole on its property for game and sunset viewing.

 

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  Kamanjab Rest Camp

 

3km from the village of Kamanjab this quirky camp has a restaurant, bar and can be reached via a nearby landing strip for private planes.

This camp has unique game watching oppurtunities and is home to several friendly giraffes.

 

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 Quiver Tree Forest Camp

 

13km Northeast of Keetmanshoop the Quiver Tree Forest Camp has a swimming pool, a choice between either self-catering or you can use the a la carte restaurant.

Near the camp are incredible geological formations, birdlife and a veritable forest of quiver trees.

 

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Khorixas Rest Camp

 

Situated nearby the Damaraland capital of Khorixas this camp has everything you need to relax when you are halfway thorugh a long journey.

The surrounds in this part of Damaraland are famed for unusual geological formations and ancient rock engravings.

 

As mentioned above this is not a complete list of rest camps in Namibia and no matter where you are travelling in this wide open country you should be able to find a rest camp where you can split up your journey and have an extra mini-adventure.

Each little place that you find in Namibia has something unique and interesting about it and these small establishments give you a chance to experience some of that first hand.

Safaris and Conservation in The Waterberg

  
  

The Waterberg is a vast and tremendously steep plateau in Central Namibia near the town of Otjiwarongo. The Waterberg plateau has stood fast and has silently watched as the land around it has been submerged in water, choked in massive sheets of ice and eroded over the millennia. The plateau is made of a much harder rock than all that surrounds it and as result it now rises 200 meters above the surrounding savannah. 

The plateau

The symbolism of the Waterberg Plateau is important to note. It has stood against time’s greatest tests and remains steadfast. It is fitting then that this plateau and the national park that sits atop it now stand steadfast in the battle for the conservation of some of Namibia’s most endangered species. 

namibia geology

The Waterberg Plateau seen from the savannah.

The plateau and 405km2 of the land around the plateau were declared a national park in 1972. The plateau’s steep cliffs make it an extremely difficult region to access so the government at the time decided to designate the plateau as a space for the preservation of endangered species. In this newly formed park it was felt that at-risk and endangered species could recuperate and eventually flourish safe from the threat of poachers and human encroachment.

 namibia savannah

A view of the surrounding savannah from the top of the plateau.

The government officials were right. In the Waterberg Plateau Park populations of black rhinoceros, Cape buffalo, and antelope such as tsessebe, sable and roan are all on the increase. These species are being brought back from the brink of extinction thanks to the geological features of the plateau and the never failing hard work and dedication of the park officials.

Rhino conservation

Black rhinos are some of the most endangered animals in Namibia and the world and their proliferation in the Waterberg is one of the major conservation success stories in recent times. There are only about 3,610 Black Rhino still left in the wild and thanks to programs such as those run in the Waterberg Plateau Park Namibia has 1,750 of them. The Namibian Ministry of Environment and Tourism does regular censuses in the Waterberg but keeps the numbers confidential to deflect any potential interest from high-level and well-organized poachers.

black rhino

Black rhino taking a dip in the Waterberg.
(Image courtesy of Africa and Beyond

You may not drive, but you can walk

Access to the Waterberg is strictly controlled and is only possible through a series of checkpoints. As a result one cannot simply hop in one’s car and drive around the Waterberg Plateau Park. If you want to drive through the park you will need to book a place on one of the twice daily safaris the park offers (see below).

The Waterbeg Plateau Park is however accessible in ways other national parks are not. A visitor to the park can choose from any of the many walking trails found all over the park. These trails crisscross the plateau and extend from its base to its summit. A map of the trails can be found at the NWR reception near the entrance of the park.

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Map of the park's many walking trails.
(Image courtesy of African Reservations)

The big advantage of being able to walk through the park is that you are able to experience the wildlife in a way that is totally different from other national parks in Namibia. By foot not only do you get to get up close to some of the animals that live in this park but you also get to experience the varied and beautiful flora of the park.

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Our guide Makondjo had an expert knowledge of the local flora.

Weeping WattlesKalahari Christmas Trees and the protected Leadwood Tree, can all be found in the park, growing alongside the trails and even on the face of the plateau.

waterberg, plantlife, namibia
Much of the plateau's face is dotted with trees like this one.

There is even a chance that on one of these walks you will come across some of the mammals that have taken up residence in the park. Kudu, cheetahs, leopards and water buffalo are just four of the 26 species of large mammals that can all be found in the park. If you are attentive (and quiet!) you may spot and/or hear some of these animals as you traverse the park on foot. Keep a look out for tracks in the sand as you make your way along the trails and you may get lucky.

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This dik-dik was kind enough to pose for us as we made
our way along the Mountain View trail.

The bird life of the Waterberg is nothing short of astounding. With over 200 species of birds it is a birdwatchers dream. Numerous raptors such as peregrine falcons and tawny eagles are found in the park and chances are high that you will see one up close. Various vultures, including the critically endangered Cape vulture nest within the park's boundaries. According to our guide Makondjo the best walk for avid bird-watchers is the Fig Tree walk.

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Follow these signs for the Fig Tree walking trail.

All the walking trails are all clearly marked by route markers and none of the trails require you to be an expert hiker. Being in good physical condition is advisable but many patrons of the park, young and old, can navigate most of the trails with ease. If at any point you feel the going is getting too tough then simply turn around and head back the way you came. 

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When on any of the trails up the plateau just follow these painted feet.

For those who are more adventurous (and are in better shape) than most check out some of the longer multi-day hikes that the reserve has to offer.

 

9 GETTING TO THE TOP IS EASY

Getting to the top of the plateau is easy, leaving the views behind is not

Safari drives

If walking and hiking is not really your thing then fear not! You can take a guided safari drive led by the resident game rangers. There is both a morning and a late afternoon drive. All you have to do is let the NWR reception know that you wish to book a place on one of these drives.

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Giraffe seen from the road whilst on the late afternoon safari drive

The drives include a visit to some of the park’s seven watering holes. These watering holes are specifically designed to be non-intrusive areas from which to watch animals in their natural environment.

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Looking out of a watering hole hide deep in the park-
patience and silence are needed if you want to capture some of the rarer game

The Waterberg's multifaceted history 

The Waterberg’s attractions are not limited to its flora and fauna. There are both anthropological and archaeological sites of interest as well. The Waterberg was the site of a major battle during the Herero uprising against the German colonial forces. There is a graveyard near the entrance to the park which commemorates soldiers lost on both sides of the conflict. The exact location of the park is on the map you can pick up from reception. 

A little harder to find are the dinosaur footprints found in the surrounding area. You will need a guide in order to find these and enquiries in this regard can be made at the NWR reception.

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Dinosaur footprint
(Image courtesy of Richard Desomme via Panoramia) 

You can stay at the NWR lodge or the private Waterberg Wilderness lodge both these lodges have the advantage of being located in the national park. The NWR lodge also has a rich history closely associated with the early German settlement in the area and is definitely worth checking out. Many of the buildings found in the park are from the early 1900's. Besides these two options there are many other options that will put you within striking distance of the park as well.

 NWR lodge, accomodation namibia

The Waterberg Plateau Park's NWR run dining hall is a former police station that has been
reconditioned and aesthetically preserved

Why you should visit the Waterberg

The Waterberg’s unique blend of flora and fauna, and its sociological, anthropological and archaeological points of interest make it a must visit for anyone touring around Namibia. It is a bastion of conservation and relaxation. It is also a hideaway from the crowds of the bigger and more over-visited safari spots in Namibia. This park is suited for the traveller who is looking for something a little out of the ordinary on their journeys around Namibia.

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A massive tree that has grown into the rock and formed a natural slide

Conservation hero – J.A. (Albi) Brückner

  
  

wolwedansSpace. Vast, open, endless.  Namibia is known for this quality; however, it is not something to be taken lightly. Space needs protection and even a purpose.  Decades ago, Albi Brückner recognized this and began buying livestock farms in the Namib Desert, adding a few at a time and convincing others to join him.  Today this collection of private farms, which have all been rehabilitated and turned back to nature, is dedicated to sustainable conservation and covers 172,000 hectares (425,500 acres). 

Known collectively as the NamibRand Nature Reserve, it is one of the largest private nature reserves in the world.  For his pioneering spirit and dedicated vision towards conservation, Albi Brückner is a true Namibian Conservation Hero. 

Removing farm fences to allow for the seasonal migration of game, the NamibRand Nature Reserve protects a rich diversity of desert habitats. From dunes to desert plains sprinkled liberally with fairy circles; to mountains and inselbergs, the area attracts cheetah, oryxk, springbok, hartebeest, ostrich, zebra and leopard, as well as many smaller desert denizens such as the endemic golden mole, geckos, snakes, beetles and an abundant variety of birds, including Namibia’s only true endemic, the dune lark.

To ensure the long-term sustainability of the reserve, tourism concessionaires and exclusive safaris are offered on sections of NamibRand. Each collects a park fee from guests on behalf of the Reserve and this revenue is used to cover operating expenses, conservation expenses such as game re-introduction and research expenses such as satellite monitoring collars for wildlife.  The Namib Desert Environmental Education Trust (NaDEET), an exceptional centre for sustainable development and education, also has its home on NamibRand.

wolwedans2The NamibRand Nature Reserve offers a plethora of tourism experiences. Those seeking adventure can soar over the beautiful landscapes in a hot air balloon, or get a closer look at the wildlife and geology by taking a hike with Tok Tokkie Trails and spending a night at the NamibRand Family Hideout. If you prefer to relax in five-star luxury while soaking in your surroundings, the Wolwedans Collection and Sossusvlei Desert Lodge offer seclusion at its finest! And finally, if you are looking for a rewarding experience working to ensure the sustainability of the wildlife, the N/a'ankuse Foundation offers volunteer experiences assisting the Reserve in re-introducing cheetah and leopard in the area.

Albi Brückner purchased his first farm in the Namib Desert in 1984, and though much has changed, what is most striking is how much has remained the same – the view of vast, open, endless space.  For the protection of the desert and the inspiration we draw of it, we owe a debt of gratitude to the partners in NamibRand Nature Reserve and to its visionary founder, Albi Brückner, our Conservation Hero.

Albi Antje Brueckner

Discover the Khaudum National Park

  
  

khaudumHidden away in Namibia’s north-eastern Kavango Region, the Khaudum National Park is not to be taken lightly. Rarely visited, very large, extremely wild and with only a rudimentary tourist infrastructure, it could be described as Namibia’s ‘forgotten wilderness’. If you have an adventurous streak, however, forgetting it would be a big mistake!

A visit to the Khaudum National Park is all about adventure, discovering a true African wilderness and perhaps a bit of self-discovery. Master the challenging and rugged 4x4 trails that weave through plains and thick Kalahari forests. The trails may come as a shock to those used to ‘the path well travelled’ – the park receives fewer visitors than elephants in a year. Relax at one of the state-of-the art hides and enjoy watching the wildlife that congregates around the 12 established waterholes. The Khaudum National Park is home to large herds of elephants, the African wild dog, Africa’s most endangered large predator, rare sable antelope, and over 320 species of birds. Listen, not only to the sounds of the wild, but also to the voices of the local people, conservancy members and Ministry of Environment and Tourism personnel. In their stories of spirits, rescues, ordeals, struggle and strange events; the park comes alive.

Namibia Country Lodges group has recently taken over the Sikereti and Khaudum camps within Khaudum National Park and have made extensive upgrades to the sites. They are also in the final stages of building two small lodges at both Sikereti and Khaudum. They don’t want to tame the park, though. The lodges will be built away from the campsites, which will remain rustic and wild. It would be impossible to tame this place anyway.

Just south of Khaudum National Park is Bushmanland. The Historic Living Museum at Grashoek village offers visitors the opportunity to meet traditionally dressed Ju/’Hoansi-San people and learn about their culture through demonstrations of what it takes to survive in the wild armed with only a bow and arrow, a digging stick and an intimate knowledge of the environment passed down for generations.

Have a look at this video blogger's experience....

Meet Dara the Tern

  
  

describe the imageTweet! I’m Dara Tern, I’m like, um, two and a half weeks old, but so far I’ve spent my whole life inside this cozy egg, mostly just, like, playing Angry Birds on my  smartphone, so there’s not too much to tell.

But I’m ready to face the outside world. When I crack out of this egg in a few days, its not going to be easy. Chirp! I’m about to be in the fight of my life, literally. I need to make sure I don’t get eaten by jackals or scary gulls – only, like, a third of us doesn’t end up as dinner to predators.

The odds may be stacked against me, but with a little determination and a fighting spirit I’ll be happily soaring over the ocean and making the annual journey north in no time. Tweeeeet!!!!

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