Waterberg

Waterberg
Close to Johannesburg, mild climate and malaria free, this is a great first or family safari option. I helped out at  at Welgevonden when it was being set up, and i think it's one of the most scenic safari areas - mountains, plains and treed valleys. Lots of rhino, the others of the Big 5 are there but leopard are elusive, and herds are small. Camps are usually cosy under thatch, with pools, a/c and all the trimmings. South Africa.
Best time: Pleasant temperatures September to May, nights are cold from June to August.
Access: Drive from Joburg (3 hrs) or charter flight (45 mins)
Combine with: Madikwe

I recommend these camps

57 Waterberg (5 suites) Airy & contemporary style under thatch, it’s very lux at surprisingly good value. Formerly MolenVliet Lodge. Welgevonden Private Game Reserve, South Africa. Private villa. Child friendly. $$$. Read more.
Leobo Observatory (3 suites) Built as a private home, architectually eye-catching with a built-in star-gazing observatory. Many other activities on site, game drives in neighbouring reserves. Leobo Private Game Reserve, South Africa. Private villa. Child friendly. $$$$$.
Marataba Mountain (5 suites) A new style of camp – off grid & focused on walking safari (although they’ve introduced evening drives too) and with sensational views of magnificent mountains. It’s small and highly personalised, with a great team and an emphasis on healthy food. Best for fit people! Half hour transfer from Marataba Safari Lodge. Marakele National Park, South Africa. Member of MORE. $$$$. Read more.
Marataba Safari (15 tents-en-suite) Tented camp combines canvas with solid structures and stylish decor. Views of the mountains give a wonderful extra dimension to game drives. Dedicated team pay attention to details and food is excellent. Marakele National Park, South Africa. Member of MORE. Child friendly. $$$$. Read more.
Ant’s Hill (5 suites) Relaxed, family orientated stone cottages very comfortable and private. In a small reserve which isn’t big five, but that does allow for excellent horseback safaris. Ant's Hill, South Africa. Child friendly. $$$.
Ant’s Hill & Nest (5+6 suites) In a small reserve with buffalo, sable & roan but not the Big 5 – which allows for horseriding, mountainbiking and walking. Relaxed, family orientated, comfortable and private. Ant's Hill, South Africa. Child friendly. $$$.
Ekuthuleni (5 suites) Thatched rooms overlook plain with waterhole which draws game. Family friendly, small enough to book it out exclusive use. Welgevonden Private Game Reserve, South Africa. Member of Dark Giraffe Marketing. Private villa. Child friendly. $$$.
Leobo Lodge (10 suites) Impressive camp with complete privacy, only available exclusive use. There’s game but the experience is more about the wide variety of activities available. Leobo Private Game Reserve, South Africa. Private villa. Child friendly. $$$$$.
Mhondoro (6+3 suites) Newly rebuilt in a spacious, contemporary style. A special feature is an underground hide at a waterhole, accessed by a tunnel from the lodge. Welgevonden Private Game Reserve, South Africa. Private villa. Child friendly. $$$. Read more.
Nedile (5 suites) Huge views northwards from the rocky ridge it’s built on, well located within the reserve, warm staff. Décor traditional safari but well presented. Good value. Welgevonden Private Game Reserve, South Africa. $$$. Read more.
Shambala Zulu Camp (8 suites) Domed, reeded roofs inspired by Zulu huts, reserve stocked with rare animals like sable, black rhino, and black impala. Sister to The Saxon in Johannesburg, but lacks that reputation. Shambala Private Game Reserve, South Africa. Member of Leading Hotels of the World. Child friendly. $$$.
Tshwene (5 suites) In a valley surrounded by trees, this snug & romantic camp has a big honeymoon suite with jacuzzi, stone bath and privacy. Welgevonden Private Game Reserve, South Africa. Member of Dark Giraffe Marketing. Child friendly. $$$. Read more.
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