Waterberg Camp is situated at the base of the cliff of the Waterberg Plateau.
Waterberg Camp: Our full report
Waterberg Camp is the new name for the government-run restcamp which used to be called Waterberg Plateau Resort. It was originally known as the Bernabe de la Bat Restcamp, and in many ways the description of 'rest camp' is much more accurate than either the new term 'camp', or the label of 'resort'.
The camp nestles, as it has always done, along the base of the cliffs of the Waterberg Plateau, inside the Waterberg Plateau National Park. It is the only place to stay in this national park – unless you're booked onto one of the self-guided treks, in which case there are a few camp-sites on top of the plateau.
Until 2007, the Waterberg Camp was, like most of the restcamps in Namibia's other national parks, pretty basic. Designed for South Africans and local visitors, they'd changed very little in the previous 20-30 years.
However, as part of the 100th anniversary of Etosha National Park, most of the camps and resorts run by Namibia's parastatal 'Namibia Wildlife Resorts' (known almost universally as simply 'NWR') have undergone extensive upgrading, and these include Waterberg Camp – which was one of the first to be changed, in early 2007.
The wildlife at Waterberg is as big a draw here as the scenery, as the high cliffs of Waterberg have long been used to protect its population of rare and endangered animals. White rhino, roan and sable antelope all have good populations here, thriving for some years, whilst they were rare or absent from elsewhere in Namibia. There's a colony of fairly rare Cape vultures here, and a really good mix of birdlife – about 200 species are on record.
Visiting on a short 1-2 night visit, you'll be struck by the number of diminutive steenbok who seem to live around the rest-camp – along with the rather less welcome troops of baboons. Although the game drives can sometimes be productive here … I'd advise visitors to come in search of the scenery – and let any wildlife sightings here be a bonus.
The accommodation here is now much more comfortable here. All the rooms at Waterberg Camp now have ceiling fans, new comfortable twin beds with crisp white bedding and very comfortable pillows. Plus bedside lamps, a wardrobe, a dressing table with a big mirror, one or two comfortable chairs, a tea/coffee station and even a mini fridge – which when we last visited in September 2007 was brand new and working well.
Each room had an en suite bathroom – and although these varied in size, all had quite interesting, innovative designs. We found star-shaped shower heads, wrought iron vanity units with ceramic basins, complementary toiletries and new, soft towels. It's all quite modern and very lovely indeed.
Big sliding doors lead from each room to a private porch area, where there is a wrought iron table and chairs; some of the rooms also have barbeque facilities.
The restaurant & bar at Waterberg Camp are still housed in the old, historic Rasthaus, which was originally built in 1908 and used as a police post for several years. The food and service here are much improved – although Waterberg always did have the reputation as one of Namibia's best restcamps. The open-plan restaurant is quite big with pictures from the early days lined up against the back wall. Big chandeliers hang from the ceiling but other then that the interior is quite simple.
The adjacent bar is open during dinner but closes early.
There is a shop, a swimming pool with newly built pool bar and camping sites. The pool bar is open throughout the day, and serves light meals as well as drinks. A few tables and chairs with big umbrellas surrounded by a few trees have been set up just outside the restaurant where you can relax with a drink after dinner or during the day if the pool bar does not appeal.
Activities at Waterberg vary; there's quite a choice. Daily guided 4WD game drives are offered to the plateau. These use normal safari 4WD vehicles, and are led by a park ranger. (Typically these guys have a wealth of knowledge, but they're not always forthcoming in sharing it unless you interact with them and ask lots of questions!)
There are a number of shorter walking trails around the camp that you can explore by yourself, in a morning or afternoon. If you're relatively fit, then we recommend one that goes up to a look-out point on the top of the plateau.
Ideal length of stay: 2 nights
Food & drink
Usual board basis: B&B
Food quality: Breakfast is served at Waterberg Camp between 06:30 and 08:30 and consists of a buffet offering cereals, fruit, yoghurt, breads, cheese, meats and hot options. We found it quite strange that you could not order breakfast after 08:30 – it seemed to be a very early time to stop breakfast!
Tea and coffee is available in the restaurant throughout the day.
That said, if you have missed breakfast, then the pool bar opens from 09:00 to 18:00. It has a short menu from which you can order soft drinks, and snacks like burgers, salads and chips. The pool bar is also the only place for lunch.
Dinner is served between 19:00 and 21:00 and you can choose from the à la carte menu.
Dining style: Individual Tables
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Drinks included: No drinks are included at Waterberg Camp
Attitude towards children: Children are welcome with their parents
Generally recommended for children: Yes
Power supply: Mains Electricity
Communications: There is mobile reception at the Restcamp. There are no phones in the rooms, but the camp has a public pay phone should you need it. You can also purchase phone cards from the small shop. The Restcamp has email and fax facilities but only at reception; it is not for the use of guests.
TV & radio: There is no TV or radio in the rooms.
Health & safety
Malarial area: Yes
Medical care: The closest doctor or hospital is in Otjiwarongo – perhaps a 90-minute drive.
Dangerous animals: Moderate Risk
Security measures: There is 24 hour security at the Restcamp but the camp is reasonably safe.
Laundry facilities: There are no facilities for laundry to be done – and no washing powder is provided for you to do your own.
Money: Currency exchange is not possible at the Restcamp