The Waterberg is a stunning area of natural beauty, a dramatic forested plateau dissected by ravines and waterfalls with panoramic views over the plains below. Home of many malaria-free game reserves.


The Waterberg region, only an easy 3 hour-drive from Johannesburg, is a stunning area of natural beauty and wildlife.

Ravines and waterfalls dissect this dramatic forested plateau, which also offers panoramic views over the plains below. It is rich in wildlife, including rarer species such as brown hyena not seen elsewehere. And of course a Waterberg safari is malaria-free and so very popular with families.

The attraction of the Waterberg is the winning combination of big five game-viewing and beautiful landscapes. However the Waterberg comprises a number of discrete wildlife areas:

  • Welgevonden Private Game Reserve
  • Marakele National Park
  • Lapalala Wilderness Reserve
  • Entabeni Private Game Reserve

As well as these are several other private safari lodges, many of which are focus on family-friendly safaris such as Ants Nest, Ants Hill and Kololo.

The different reserves and Waterberg safari lodges, vary as to their game-viewing. Welgevonden, Marakele and Entabeni are Big Five game reserves with good predator sightings on offer. However the game lodges around Vaalwater offer more plains game. Here hHorseback safaris are a particular speciality at these lodges. They cater for both beginners and experienced riders.

Horse-riding in Waterberg

The Lapalala Wilderness Reserve, with Lepogo and Moka Camps is a pristine wilderness reserve. Here the speciality is walking safaris.

Centuries ago, the Waterberg was the hunting ground of the San (Bushman) people. And so one can still find fascinating Bushman paintings and archaeological sites all over the Waterberg mountains.

Walking game from your deck in Welgevonden


Why you may love it

  • Spectacular mountain bushveld scenery – dramatic mountain gorges & spectacular sunsets
  • Welgevonden and Entabeni game reserves offer Big Five safaris
  • Horse-riding safaris
  • Easy drive from Johannesburg
  • Family-friendly game lodges as it is a malaria-free area
  • Rare antelope such as roan, sable, mountain reedbuck, as well as brown hyena

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Milandi’s review of Clifftop Lodge

Clifftop lies within the Welgvonden reserve which is 34,000ha with the Big Five. It sells itself as a romantic lodge and in that it doesn't disappoint. It has a spectacular setting on cliff with views over ridge and river (which always flows).

A lot of focus on exclusiveness and romance & they do it well.  It is a small camp with only 7 rooms. The rooms are beautiful with bath, aircon, inside and outside shower, plunge pool, outside shower.

Everywhere there are beautiful airy, open spaces with views - all very inviting. There's lots of focus on romance with many fireplaces around main area.

It's very tranquil and relaxing. There's no phone reception which may be con for some people.

Fantastic staff - attentive & friendly. Tanya is part of management team and she's a great host. (Ex Jao camp in Botswana).

Ideal for couples and people who want to get away from the crowds. But it is not family friendly, nor is it good for the elderly as as there are plenty of uneven steps and steep slopes.

The game drive was one of the best I have ever had. William, our guide was extremely knowledgeable and informative; great communicator. We saw zebra, waterbuck with baby; white rhino with baby, close encounter with elephant, cheetah with four young, and a lion kill. Absolutely topnotch. They allow 3-4 vehicles per sighting which is more than in the Kruger private reserves of Sabi Sands and Timbavati (max two vehicles at a sighting).

The only real negative is that some of  the decor in the rooms was a little dated

Cedarberg : Milandi Joubert
Did you know
  • Malaria-freeOne of the top areas for malaria-free safaris
  • Waterberg EcosystemLush deciduous forest or Bushveld

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Natasha Jantjies

Africa Travel Specialist

Hi I’m Natasha, I’m here to help you plan your ideal holiday experience

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