The Waterberg Biosphere Reserve (WBR) has an understated natural beauty with wide open skies, rolling hills and amazing diversity of wildlife. Located in western Limpopo Province, the area has few towns, no major infrastructure and few people in the mountain plateau with the majority staying in the villages around the core and buffer areas of the Biosphere Reserve. It has an important wildlife industry which forms the basis of the local economy. The area's geology formed two billion years ago and covers 1.4 million hectares. This was modified through millions of years and formed a rugged landscape full of springs, streams and rivers. Today this forms an important water resource that feeds the Limpopo River and the surrounding rural and agricultural lands.
The Limpopo Province - Youth Environmental Services (LP-YES) Project was implemented in partnership with the National Department of Environmental Affairs from April 2013 to June 2016 with over 300 unemployed youth taking part in the programme. The overarching goal of the project was to build capacity among unemployed youth by providing required accredited skills in the tourism and conservation industries which included: Wildlife Security, Chef Training, Housekeeping and Nature Guides. Many of these young people moved on to get employment in the Waterberg as well as other provinces in the country. The WBR has contributed a great deal in promoting community tourism and creating a recognisable brand. The Waterberg Meander provides visibility to many local community enterprises and creates jobs for tourist guides. The Waterberg Meander currently includes 13 community projects, 22 sites of interest and 32 private enterprises. The area offers a wide range of ecotourism experiences, whether on foot, by car, bicycle, or on horseback and provides many scenic views and a sense of wide open spaces. Tourism opportunities include the only National Park in the region, (Marakele National Park), historical rock art sites, Iron Age pottery, remains of ancient walled settlements and the World Heritage Site (Makapan's Valley) containing ancient fossilised remains. Visitors to the area have the choice of overnighting in tourist-orientated bush lodges or staying with African rural communities in their authentic settings.
UNESCO Designation: 2001
Management Entity: Waterberg Biosphere Reserve Non-profit Company
Total Area: 417 406 ha
Core Zone: 121 249 ha
Buffer Zone: 146 157 ha
Transition Zone: 150 000 ha