Waterberg National Park
|Waterberg National Park|
On top of the Waterberg plateau
|Governing body||Ministry of Environment and Tourism|
- This article is about a national park in Namibia; for the biosphere in South Africa, see: Waterberg Biosphere
The Waterburg Plateau is a particularly prominent location, elevating high above the plains of the Kalahari of Eastern Namibia. Waterburg Park and some 405 km² of surrounding land were declared a Nature Reserve in 1972. The plateau is largely inaccessible so in the early 1970s several of Namibia's endangered species were soon translocated there to protect them from predators and poaching to extinction. The programme was very successful and Waterberg now supplies other Namibian parks with rare animals. In 1989, Black Rhinoceros was reintroduced to the area from Damaraland.
The Waterberg Plateau National Park is ecologically diverse and rich and has over 200 different species of bird with some rare species of small antelope on the lower hills of the mountain.
Geologically, the oldest rock stratum is over 850 million years old and dinosaurs tracks were left there some 200 million years ago.
The first human inhabitants were the San people, who left rock engravings believed to be several thousand years old. A small tribe of the San were still living their traditional lifestyle on the plateau until the late 1960s.
The foothills were the site of one of the major turning points in Namibia's history. In 1904, in the Battle of Waterberg, the Herero people lost their last and greatest battle against German Colonial forces. Subsequently, in the Herero and Namaqua Genocide, nearly two thirds of the Herero population lost their lives, and about one thousand could escape to British Bechuanaland (now Botswana), where they received asylum. The graves of German soldiers who lost their lives at Waterberg can still be viewed near the Bernabe De La Bat rest camp at the base of the park.
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