Waterberg Biosphere Reserve


Waterberg Biosphere Reserve is a UNESCO conservation project that is part of the greater ecosystem. The conservatory area is home to various species of wild animals and offers a comprehensive game viewing experience.The Biosphere operates in collaboration with different settlements and reserves to restore wildlife habitat and human development. For tourists, the region offers various game reserves such as the upmarket Welgevonden private game reserve, highly regarded Lapalapa wilderness area and Marakele National Park, along with various other reserves and lodges.

Why Go:

  • The region offers a beautiful and rugged scenery
  • Various lodging options, which include private reserves, bush camps, and parks to choose from
  • Tourists are offered a range of outdoor activities, such as mountain biking and horseback riding
  • Tourists have a self-drive option at the Waterberg Meander route
  • Excellent place for bird viewing along with hundreds of species
  • The region is safe for children, as it is Malaria-free


Wildlife viewing is diverse in the region and offers a mix of domesticated and wildlife animals. The largest reserves in the region are Welgevonden and Marakele that offer big-five safaris. Welgevonden is an ideal private game reserve with plenty of big five safaris, while Marakele is primarily a self-drive destination. The two reserves are separated by a fence, which may be removed to progress the conservation agenda. Tourists can explore the various farms and reserves and view different species of animals. However, some reserves only have grazing animals with outdoor activities such as horse riding and mountain biking.

More About the Wildlife


The large plains have three types of habitats that include wetlands, sour bushveld, and mountain slopes. It is commonly referred to as the ‘Waterberg Moist Mountain Bushveld Savanna’.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Waterberg Biosphere Reserve is during the winter-dry season, which is from May to September. The vegetation is thin and dries, causing a concentration of animals around waterholes.

More About the Best Time to Visit

Weather & Climate

Waterberg Biosphere Reserve’s weather and climate are quite similar to the weather of South Africa.

More About the Weather and Climate

Wildlife & Animals

Many large animals have been introduced, including lion and buffalo, but numbers are still low. White rhino is spotted regularly, and black rhino is present, but rarely seen. Several interesting antelope species can be encountered, including the rare tsessebe.
Abundant Common Occasional Rare None
  • Elephant


  • Giraffe


  • Hippo


  • Buffalo


  • Zebra


  • Wildebeest


  • White Rhino

    White Rhino

  • Black Rhino

    Black Rhino

  • Lion


  • Leopard


  • Cheetah


  • Hyena


  • Wild Dog

    Wild Dog


Best Time to Visit

The best wildlife viewing in Waterberg is during the dry winter months from May to September. At this time animals gather around predictable water sources and are therefore easier to spot.
  • Best Time to GoMay to September
    (Dry season)
  • High SeasonNever
    (The park is little visited)
  • May to September

    Dry season

  • Never

    The park is little visited throughout the year

  • Never

    The park is little visited throughout the year

  • April to May

    Mild weather and little rain

  • September to October

    Mild weather and little rain

  • May to August

    Chilly mornings and nights

  • December to February

    Hot and afternoon rain

May to September
- Dry Season – Winter
October to April
- Wet Season – Summer

Weather & Climate

The wet summer months (October to April) are hot. Dry winters (May to September) are moderate during the day, but cold at night and in the morning, making the packing of warm clothing essential.
Climate Chart
- 807-2,100m / 2,648-6,890ft
Averages based on 50 years of monthly climate data, taken from 1km² (0.39mi²) interpolated climate surfaces.
© chart & park data: SafariBookings. © climate grid data: WorldClim project. All rights reserved.
Dry season
- May to September – Winter

The dry winter season is from May to September, which is also the best time to visit Waterberg Biosphere Reserve.

Wet season
- October to April – Summer

October to April is the wet summer season and temperatures can increase to uncomfortable levels.

Getting There

The Waterberg is located about 250km/124mi north of Johannesburg. Your point of entry into South Africa will most likely be O.R. Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg, where you can rent a 4WD and drive on to Waterberg.

Getting to the Waterberg Biosphere Reserve by air

There are multiple flights to O.R. Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg. If you want to check ticket prices, you can log on to:


Charter flights are generally arranged by your tour operator as an inclusion to your safari package.

Getting to the Waterberg Biosphere Reserve by road

After a major rehabilitation project of the road network in the park in 2016, most of the roads are now passable in a 2WD car. The trip from Johannesburg will take you about 3 hours.

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