The Waterberg Biosphere Reserve represents a considerable area of the savannah biome of Southern Africa. The savannah biome, or wooded grasslands, has a rich biodiversity with thousands of plants, many of which are endemic to Southern Africa. But what makes the Waterberg truly special is the wonderful abundance of animal life in every taxon group.  However, it is probably the diversity of mammals and birds that really stands out to any visitor to the Waterberg. The reptile, amphibian and insect life is also amazingly diverse, just probably a little less popular.

The Waterberg also contains some of Africa’s most charismatic and unusual wildlife as well as most of the large megafauna species and the Big Five.

South Africa is one of the most biodiversity rich countries in the World and the Waterberg is a significant area within the country for its Savanna biodiversity richness.

Biological diversity – or biodiversity – is the term given to the variety of life on Earth. It is the variety within and between all species of plants, animals and micro-organisms and the ecosystems within which they live and interact.

Vegetation types in the Waterberg

These vegetation types along with the micro-habitats of wetlands, ravines, and rocky hillsides provide the foundations for the abundance of species in the Waterberg. These all stem from nutrient poor, sandy soils, illustrating the importance of ecological communities and the relationships and connections between all species that form intact ecosystems which then provide services such as fresh water, clean air as well as food to people.

Species richness of the Waterberg

Species numbers will increase as new species are found and added to the every growing biodiversity list for the Waterberg. Below gives an indication of the species richness for various groups of species.

The Waterberg Big Five Area


The Waterberg is a significant area for the wildlife industry and most game species can be found here. Many reserves that are large enough have introduced the Big Five species which help to attract international and national tourists to the area and also contribute to establishing fully functional ecosystems and habitats that have the full complement of species.

Secretive Mammals of the Waterberg


The Waterberg is home to many elusive and secretive creatures and the area features as a critical conservation area for many these animals. For example the pangolin is now the most illegally trafficked animal in the world, and the Waterberg is now the only place where free roaming wild dog packs occur.

The mammals below are often on visitors wish lists but can be hard to find. Nonetheless, they will help to attract visitors to the area helping the local economy.

For more information on biodiversity of the Waterberg check out Waterberg Bioquest.



Office: +27 71 160 6446

Mobile: +27 78 7960699



209 Corner Sandrift Road and Waterberg Street, Vaalwater, 0530



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The Waterberg is an escarpment of massive sandstone buttresses and outcrops, incorporating many rivers, streams and wetlands, stretching for 150 km in a long arc from Thabazimbi in the West, past Modimolle to Mokopane in the east.

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