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, only 3 hours drive from Johannesburg, is a stunning area of natural beauty. This dramatic forested plateau is dissected by ravines and waterfalls with panoramic views over the plains below. It is rich in wildlife and one of the prime areas for malaria free safaris in South Africa.

The attraction of the Waterberg is the winning combination of big five game-viewing, beautiful landscape and easy driving distance from Johannesburg.

However the Waterberg comprises a number of discrete areas:

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

The game lodges vary as to their game-viewing. Welgevonden and Entabeni are Big Five game reserves and offer the chance of predator sightings. However the game lodges around Vaalwater offers more plains game. Horseback safaris are a particular speciality at these lodges, with riding on offer for both beginners and experienced riders.

Centuries ago, the Waterberg was the hunting ground of the San (Bushman) people and so fascinating Bushman paintings and archaeological sites are still to be found all over the Waterberg mountains.


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.
  • Relatively easy drive from Johannesburg.
  • Plenty of 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
  • ArchaeologyFinds dates back to the Stone Age
  • EcosystemA dry 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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