To Unesco home page

To sitemap

To MAB home page title2.gif (2287 bytes)
      Biosphere Reserve Information

South Africa


  General Description   Waterberg Biosphere Reserve is situated within the Bushveld district in the Limpopo Province of South Africa. The Waterberg, as the name implies, serves as a water reservoir for this arid region. It is an area consisting of low mountain ranges and escarpments with poor soils and a relatively low level of economic activity. The vegetation is dominated by different veld types, which are characteristic in mountainous savanna areas.
Some 77,000 people live in the biosphere reserve (1999), which covers an area of about 400,000 hectares. The area has been inhabited over hundreds of thousand years and is one of the most important San Rock Art areas in South Africa. Tourism is the major source of income. However, people also practice cattle rising, crop production and are increasingly switching over to game farming for eco-tourism.
The biosphere reserve concept will help a balance to be struck between the pressures of the tourist industry, the need to generate direct benefits to the local communities and the conservation of the natural assets. Attaining this balance is the goal of the Waterberg Biosphere Reserve Committee which was set up after a five year consultation process with all stakeholders concerned. A series of technical action plans have been elaborated among which also environmental education programmes play an important role, led by the Lapalala Wilderness School.
  Major ecosystem type   Tropical grasslands and savannas
  Major habitats & land cover types   Sour Bushweld characterized by African Beechwood (Faurea saligna), Common Hookthorn (Acacia caffra), Red Seringa (Burkea africana, Terminalia sericea and Peltophorum africanum) etc.; steep slopes and cliffs, bare rock including the same tree species as mentioned above and with Albizia tanganyicensis and Combretum molle characteristic of the rocks; river-bank and freshwater habitats including wetlands, characterized by Mimusops zeyheri, Clerodendrum glabrum, Ficus thonningii etc.; cattle raising and game farming; irrigated tobacco cultivation; human settlements
  Location   2310' to 2440'S; 2730' to 2840'E
  Area (hectares)    
  Total   414,571
  Core area(s)   114,571
  Buffer zone(s)   150,000
  Transition area(s) when given   150,000
  Altitude (metres above sea level)   +830 to +2,085
  Year designated   2001
  Administrative authorities   The Waterberg Biosphere Reserve Committee The provincial Department of Land, Agriculture and Environment who coordinates the Provincial MAB Programme
  Brief description   Monitoring of precipitation
Weather information
Research on the Laphalala and Mokolo Rivers
Annual or bi-annual grass monitoring
Bi-annual game census
Carrying capacity studies
Butterfly surveys
Bird and fish studies
Roan antelope, leopard and black rhinoceros
Stingless bees
Insect studies
Tree and plant identification
Rock art
Cultural, history and archaeological studies
Socio-economic studies
Studies on the local skills, capacity and training needs in the rural communities within the biosphere reserve, where micro-enterprises need to be developed within the rural tourism industry (planned)
Sustainable utilization of natural resources monitored by the manager of the Provincial nature reserves
  Specific variables...    
  Abiotic   Meteorology, monitoring/methodologies.
  Biodiversity   Birds, fishes, freshwater/inland water, invertebrates/insects/spiders, methodologies, natural resources, plants, vegetation studies/plant cover, wildlife.
  Socio-economic   Archaeology/Paleontology, capacity building, cultural aspects, small business initiatives, social/socio-economic aspects, tourism.
  Integrated monitoring   Carrying capacity/Sustainability, monitoring/methodologies, rural systems, sustainable development/sustainable use.
  Contact address   Rupert Baber
Klipfontein Farm
P.O. Box 907
0530 Vaalwater
South Africa
  Telephone   (27.14) 755 40 02
Mobile: 08 33 95 08 33
  Fax   (27.14) 755 44 18

Last updated: 03/10/2002

To topTo MAB home pageTo UNESCO