The Waterberg Biosphere in Limpopo is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, one of the few in the world. This 8 000 km2 area includes a number of different habitats and, by extension, an amazing array of different animals all in one small area. The combination of rolling bushveld, scenic vistas and hidden valleys make it the perfect place to unwind away from the more populous tourist areas.
There is conclusive proof that the area has been inhabited for over a millennia. The Waterberg Biosphere also contains archaeological evidence of Stone Age people as well as evolutionary fossil evidence of mankind's earliest ancestors. One of the reasons why the area may have attracted these early people large amounts of groundwater in the area that allowed not only animals, but early human settlements to thrive. The Bantu and Nguni tribes were the first to enter the area in about 1300 and 500 years later, the first Europeans made their way into the area from the south.
|The crystal waters that give the Waterberg its name
One of the amazing characteristics of the Waterberg Biosphere is the range of different sub-habitats that it contains. There are few places that contain as many different habitats in a small contained area. The biosphere contains a high-plateau savannah, specialised shaded cliff vegetation, a riparian zone habitat and nearby marshlands. This diversity of habitats makes the area the ideal home for an enormous diversity of mammal, bird and reptile species.
What makes the Waterberg Biosphere such an important conservation area is the many red-listed insects, birds, reptiles and fish that can be found in the area. Many of the plant species in the area are only found in this one area of the world making the protection of this area very important.
Visitors to the Waterberg Biosphere will likely take residence in one of the many game farms or reserves in the area. These reserves range from the ultra-luxurious to the simple. Many of the reserves offer guided game drives that allow visitors to see many of the animal species that call the area home. Self-drive reserves are also available for people who want to take exploration into their own hands. Visitors can also take unguided hikes of the area or explore the bush up close from horseback.
The reserves in the Waterberg Biosphere are unique in the sense that they are run by a combination of private owners and local people. The goal is to create a sustainable environment for those people who live in the area but that also focuses on the conservation of the rich wildlife of the area.
There are few places in the world with the breathtaking beauty of the Waterberg Biosphere. Here, it seems, humanity and nature are living in harmony once again. For the ultimate get away far from the rush of tourist hotspots, the Waterberge is the place to go.
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