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The Waterberg

South Africa’s hidden safari gem

If you are looking for a completely different wildlife experience, the Waterberg may be the place for you. Amidst the dramatic landscapes are a collection of fantastic wildlife reserves, each offering a unique safari. From Marataba Trails Lodge, for example, there are no game drives at all; you explore the area on foot with expert guides to lead you through the ever-changing habitats and ecosystems of this big game reserve.

There are also opportunities for horse riding; since the horses graze and roam among the big game, including buffalo, giraffe, kudu, and rhino, the wildlife’s familiarity with the horses mean you get up close and your encounters with them are relaxed.
 
There’s a strong cultural component to Waterberg which should not be overlooked. Travelling along the Waterberg Meander, a 350 km route through the heart of the biosphere, there are compelling vistas, handmade crafts, and you can immerse yourself in the food and traditions of the Pedi ethnic group, in the company of local women. There are plenty of opportunities to combine cultural encounters with wildlife viewing, and doing both will give you a well rounded perspective on the region.
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Accommodation:
Mhondoro
It’s the rhino tracking experience which really sets Mhondoro apart. You’ll have an unforgettable, incredibly personal encounter which will no doubt leave you speechless. And as there are fewer and fewer white rhino in the wild, such opportunities are increasingly scarce.
Accommodation:
Marataba
The Marataba Safari Lodge sits within the Marakele National Park, a private reserve in the foothills of the Waterberg Mountains. We love the property’s quirky design, in particular the two-storey Thabametsi Treehouse which is run entirely on solar power and has impressive views across the park.
Accommodation:
Leobo Lodge
Leobo Lodge is set up so you can have an action-packed day from dawn to dusk and beyond. That said, if you do want to skip the activities and take a siesta or read, there are plenty of peaceful spots to do so.