Is the Untouched, Untamed, Unknown Waterberg Biosphere an Alternative to the Classic Kruger Park Tours in South Africa?

Vast, peaceful and incredibly beautiful, the Waterberg Biosphere of Limpopo is a fascinating destination with a rich cultural legacy and a natural splendour — missed by African bush safari enthusiasts on-route to Kruger Park for centuries…

The magnificent diversity of the Waterberg is evident both in the natural environment which incorporates a range of habitats and in the facilities and attractions available. The region boasts an abundance of wildlife — including the Big Five — and many ecotourism adventure opportunities.

Only in the last six to eight years has it been discovered by mostly European investors turning old bush farms into privately owned, exclusive Game Reserves.

Says Dutchman Ton Jansen (recent owner of Kololo Private Game Reserve): “When I stand on the terrace of the lodge overlooking the plains of Welgevonden with roaming elephant in the distance. I am living a scene from the film, Out of Africa”

Amongst the Private Game Reserve investors who have been attracted to the Waterberg is Golf legend Jack Nicklaus who surveyed the site of his latest design earlier this year: Waterberg, the Jack Nicklaus, Ernie Els Golf and Game Reserve.

The development not only represents the first design collaboration between Nicklaus and Els, but also it is the first project in South Africa in which Nicklaus has taken an equity stake.

“I am delighted to be able to work with Ernie,” Nicklaus said. “We are going to have a lot of fun together. This is a great project, and the idea of combining a golf course and a game reserve is unique and something exciting to me.”

The Waterberg as we know it today is more than three million years old. Archaeological finds and San paintings are just glimpses of lives that have been played out in the region. Part of a pit prop from an Iron Age mine shaft found in the Rooiberg area west of Bela-Bela gave a radio-carbon date of approximately 1500 AD. More recently, the histories of the Bapedi, Tswana and Basotho people are gradually being uncovered, while the lifestyle of the Voortrekker settlers is also evident in many of the towns.

The greatest draw-card of the Waterberg remains the extraordinary natural attractions. The Waterberg, a geographical wonder supporting a biome of some 14,500 square kilometres – offers scenic vistas – exciting game viewing – and a holiday in the mountains – rustic and close to nature – or in splendidly opulent surroundings.

The Nylsvlei wetlands are home to the largest number of water birds in southern Africa and the bird species list for the entire area numbers over 400, of which more than 200 can easily be spotted in a single day.

Bird watchers will also thrill to the sight of Cape vultures as they effortlessly ride the currents, looking down on yellowwood trees, huge cycads and tree ferns in the Marakele National Park near Thabazimbi. The park is home to around 800 breeding pairs.

The main towns of the Waterberg region are Bela-Bela (Warmbaths) Lephalale (Ellisras, Modimolle (Nylstroom), Vaalwater, Mookgophong (Naboomspruit) and Thabazimbi.

Situated only two to three hours from the hustle and bustle of the densely populated Gauteng, the Waterberg is easily accessible – even for weekends… The knowledge that the area is malaria free adds to the allure of the region.

The Waterberg Biosphere is an exciting alternative destination in South Africa – the best in African wildlife, malaria free, child-friendly and still relatively undiscovered. Whether you want to invest in a Private Game Reserve or book your next South African holiday in the Waterberg, contact Jacques de Bruin. For more information on Kololo Private Game Reserve in the heart of the Waterberg visit

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