North of Johannesburg, the wide open plains of bushveld stretch as far as the wide Limpopo River bordering Zimbabwe. Rising out of these plains is the dramatic natural beauty of the Waterberg Mountains. Only 2½ to 3 hours drive from Johannesburg with its luxury game lodges. And the mystical rocky outcrops in the far north around Mapungubwe National Park and the Soutpansberg.
This area comprises of 2 quite different areas. The mountainous Waterberg region and the Limpopo region to the far north.
The Waterberg is primarily a safari destination. The attraction is that it offers malaria-free game-viewing within easy driving distance of Johannesburg. This is great for families who don’t want the hassle of flying to the Kruger. Or the more arduous drive to Madikwe.
The Northern Limpopo province is undoubtedly unspoilt Africa at its best. With sleepy country towns, ruins of ancient civilizations and the proud culture of the Venda people. The far northern part of Limpopo is a little known region of mountains, forests and holy ruins. You can enjoy adventurous safaris. The ruins at Mapungubwe National Park. Hiking in the Soutpansberg and Magoebaskloof or cultural visits to the Venda people.
Both these regions can be combined with a visit to the Kruger Park to the east.
Many clients begin their holiday with a safari at one of the lodges in the Waterberg. They then head either to the Mashatu Game Reserve just over the border in Botswana. En route you can visit South Africa’s newest National Park at Mapungubwe. Home to an ancient civilization which rivalled Great Zimbabwe in its time. Or they head to the pretty Tzaneen area. From there, they continue to the Kruger National Park or to one of its adjacent private game reserves.
Attractions of the Waterberg & Far North
• Malaria-free reserves suitable for family safaris
• Big Five game reserves
• Spectacular mountain scenery
• Venda culture
• Remote locations far from the madding crowds
• Mapungubwe National Park with its ancient ruins
• Adventurous safaris at Mashatu or The Outpost
Best time to visit
Both the Waterberg and Limpopo regions are in the Summer rainfall belt. With hot humid summers and dry sunny winters. So we’d recommend any time from April to December. The Waterberg and Tzaneen are upland areas. So can be very cold at night in mid winter (June/July). Whereas the Lowveld around Venda and northern Kruger remain warm throughout the year.