Waterberg Plateau Park in Namibia is a beautiful plateau surrounded by amazing tall orange, red, yellow, and green rocks. In 1972, it was declared a nature reserve because the plateau provides natural protection from predators and poaching. The nature reserve was very successful and has healthy populations of different animals, including black rhinos, cape buffalo, eland, sable and roan antelope. Waterberg now supplies other Namibian parks with some of these rare animals.
We stayed two nights in a cabin at Waterberg Plateau Park. The cabins were just below steep rocks leading up to the plateau. We even went on a hike to the top of the plateau. The view at the top was spectacular. My brothers and I really enjoyed playing outside around the cabins. There were some interesting animals that came close to the cabins. We saw Damara Dik-Diks, banded mongoose, warthogs, and chacma baboons.
There were a number of antelope near the cabins, called Dik-Diks. Damara Dik-Diks are the smallest antelope in Namibia. They look like deer from Canada, except they are much smaller. They weigh up to 4.8 kg, and are only 14-18 inches tall. Dik-Diks have big oval eyes, and they are very skittish. When frightened, they start to run away, but they look as if they don't know where to go.
One of the first animals that we saw at Waterberg was the banded mongoose. We saw a pack of about twenty mongoose foraging for food. A pack of mongoose is called a mob. The banded mongoose twitter constantly while they forage for food. They mainly eat insects, but they would come right up to the cabins looking for human food. They were my favourite animal to watch around the cabins.
One of the funniest animals that we saw at the Waterberg camp was the common warthog. We saw them all over the camp, often eating the grass. It is interesting that they kneel down on their front legs to eat. We called them the local lawnmowers. Usually, we saw a lone male or a family of five to six warthogs. We discovered that a group of warthogs is called a sounder. They have large tusks coming out of their mouths, and they also have hair sticking out on the sides of their faces that looks like a beard. When warthogs are startled, they stick their tails straight up in the air and run away.
Chacma baboons were the scariest animal that we encountered in the Waterberg camp. Chacma baboons are one of the largest monkeys, and they have sharp teeth and claws. The first morning, my brothers and I were playing outside when a baboon surprised us by coming up to our cabin. We ran inside, but then realized he was only looking for food. They would go around to every cabin looking for food, and check every garbage can. One time a baboon ran into a cabin and stole a bag of peppermints. When he went back outside, he opened the bag. When we came a little closer, he started stuffing the candy into his mouth with both hands as fast as he could. He ran away with giant cheeks full of peppermints!
Waterberg Plateau Park was one of my favourite parks because there were a lot of interesting animals right in the camp.