August 2018

Spectacular Waterberg scenery in Marakele National Park.

The Waterberg Mountains are only about two hours’ drive from Pretoria making the area well-suited for weekend exploration trips from the big cities.

It was also the ideal place for me to begin my journey of exploration.

The Waterberg (Northern Sotho: Thaba Meetse) covers an area of approximately 654033 hectares. The average height of the mountain range is 600m with a few peaks rising up to 2000m above sea level.

Vaalwater is the most central town of the area and offers a wide choice of eateries, shops and accommodation.In the south, the range begins near Thabazimbi where the spectacular Marakele National Park is situated and extends in a north easterly direction for approximately 180Km.

Imposing cliffs of the Waterberg near Vaalwater.

In the south, the range begins near Thabazimbi where the spectacular Marakele National Park is situated and extends in a north easterly direction for approximately 180Km.

A circular drive on the backroads north of Vaalwater reveal some beautiful scenery. Intriguing place names such as Vier-en-Twintig Riviere, Grootwater and Melkrivier attest to the origins of the Waterberg’s name and entice the traveller to go and explore.

Extensive rock formations shaped by hundreds of millions of years of riverine erosion.
Spectacular bluff and butte formations are a feature of the landscape.
Vegetation is characterised by typical bushveld trees and grasses.
Large tracts of former cattle farms have reverted to game farms and wildlife is abundant in the area.

Taaibos River Camp

A few Kilometres west of Vaalwater, huddled on the banks of the Taaibos River is a hidden gem where explorers can base themselves. Taaibos River Camp offers both peace and tranquility or exciting adventure, whichever you choose. Accommodation consists of rustic cabins or a camping site.

Many activities are available but I’d like to highlight the two hiking trails on the farm. Starting from the camp, the Leopard and Kudu trails take hikers on circular routes of about 5Km each up into the surrounding mountains and offer breathtaking views from above.

The dam on Taaibos was built by Italian prisoners of war.
Leopard hiking trail.
Views on the Kudu hiking trail.

Bushmen came to this area around two thousand years ago and on the Kudu Trail at Taaibos one can see a large and well-preserved panel of rock art depicting the lives of these ancient people.

The large panel of ancient rock art.
Numerous paintings adorn the rock.

The rather unexpected but beautiful Kloof Pass on the R518 to Mokopane en-route to my next destination at
Blouberg Nature Reserve.

Blouberg.


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