View The Waterberg Area in a larger map

Few tourists know that just a short drive north of Johannesburg lies one of the country's most spectacular and scenic natural regions, known simply as the Waterberg. This 150km arc of land, which runs through the Limpopo province and earned it's name due to the abundance of water in this typically arid region, is teeming with wild animals. And, owing to this, a number of world-class lodges and safaris have opened up in the region over the last few years. There are now accommodation options to suit most budgets, and whether you're looking for a rustic campsite or a luxurious safari lodge, you'll find a spot in the region. Furthermore, a number of cultural and historical landmarks have been identified nearby, and a drive out to the Waterberg is now an attraction in itself.

A holiday cottage (left) surrounded by typical Waterberg beauty (right)

What this means, is that this region now offers those visitors who do not have the time or the inclination to travel further north to the world-famous Kruger Park, a chance to experience the true African outdoors. And while game populations are smaller here than in the Kruger Park and surrounding reserves, you will not be short of riveting sightings on a visit to the Waterberg. There are nearly 80 different species of mammals in the area, including all the big game that you'd expect to see - lion, elephant, black and white rhino, hippo, buffalo, and even the occasional leopard, and there have been over 300 different species of bird spotted in the area. And when you consider that this is all set against an awe-inspiring backdrop of vast green planes and undulating hills and rock formations, you'll struggle to find a better safari-based getaway so close to the city.