Waterberg Biosphere

Need to get away from the office grind ……..

Vaalwater is the central village of the Waterberg area, the heart of the Bushveld region. The Waterberg has been described as South Africa’s best keep secret. Its rugged beauty, together with its diversity in plant and animal life, has led to the development of several exciting eco-tourism projects such as the biosphere reserve – the Waterberg Nature Conservancy – the amalgamation of conservation areas in order to protect more than 150 000 hectares of the Waterberg-habitat.

The Waterberg-range, incorporating many rivers, streams and swamps, stretches for 150 kilometers in a long arc from Thabazimbi in the West, Nylstroom in the center to Potgietersrus in the east. Apart from the spectacular scenery of the mountains themselves, there are many game sanctuaries, nature reserves and farms, many offering accommodation.

Waterberg Biosphere Reserve is situated in the Bushveld district in the Limpopo Province of South Africa and was established in 2001. The Waterberg, as the name suggests serves as a water reservoir for this arid region. The area consists of low mountain ranges and escarpments, (from 800 to 2000 meters in altitude) as well as a network of rivers, streams and lakes, which make the Waterberg so appealing.

The human population within the Waterberg Biosphere area is approximately 77,000. The area covers over 400,000ha, although this is divided into a core area of 115,000ha, a buffer zone of 150,000ha and a transition zone of 150,000ha.
The area has a long human history and is one of the most important San Rock Art areas in South Africa. The main economic activities for the area are, cattle, agriculture, hunting and tourism. Ecotourism and game farms have in the recent few years steadily increased. The reason and the goal for the biosphere is to balance 1) the need to generate economic benefits to the local community, 2) the pressures of the tourist industry and 3) the conservation of natural assets of the area.