The region known as the Waterberg
has been described as one of South Africa's best kept secrets. This
region, situated in the north-west of South Africa, in the Limpopo
Province, stretches 150 kilometres in a long arc from Thabazimbi
in the West, Modimolle (Nylstroom) in the centre, to Mokopane (Potgietersrus)
in the east. Vaalwater is the central village of the area. The Waterberg
region is in the heart of the Bushveld, with low mountain ranges
and escarpments. The Bushveld vegetation is dominated by different
veld types, which are characteristic in mountainous savanna areas.
It is usually characterised by African Beechwood ( Faurea saligna
), Common Hookthorn ( Acacia caffra ) and Red Seringa ( Burkea africana
, Terminalia sericea and Peltophorum africanum ).
The name Waterberg refers to
the fact that the mountains in the area serve as water reservoirs
for the arid region. The area has been inhabited over hundreds of
thousand years and is also one of the most important San Rock Art
areas in South Africa. The Waterberg region incorporates many rivers,
streams and swamps as well as about 75 mammal species. These include
big game such as elephant, lion, white and black rhino, hippo, leopard
and buffalo. African python and the Nile crocodile are also resident.
Small wonder the area is known as one of the country's premier wildlife
areas. The Waterberg is also a birdwatcher's paradise, with more
than 300 bird species to be spotted. Although best known for its
game and nature reserves, the area is also rich in minerals such
as iron, coal, tin, platinum, zinc, titanium and vanadium and crops
like tobacco, groundnuts, maize, grain sorghum, sunflower seeds,
wheat, cotton, citrus fruit and rice are grown here.
The exceptional abundance of wildlife
species, together with the mosaic of scenic landscape and the fascinating
cultural heritage, has led to many nature-based tourism destinations
that can be explored.