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This small agile predator caused a debate among experts which lasted for decades; only in 2008 was it granted status of a species: the black mongoose. It is considered very rare. However, in the Waterberg Plateau Lodge black mongooses are often seen milling around between the rocks.
In 1928 the black mongoose was described scientifically for the first time, but it was not until 80 years later that it was granted the species status under the name Galerella nigrata ("Introducing the Black Mongoose" by Sara Tromp). Previously, zoologists had repeatedly referred to it as subspecies of the slender mongoose (Galerella sanguinea), which is widespread in Sub-Saharan Africa – most probably because you find slender mongooses in Namibia which have very dark coloured fur.
According to Tromp, the true black mongoose only occurs on granite Inselbergs north of Spitzkoppe. However, it is also to be found at the Waterberg, as a photo on Wikipedia proves. The mountain mainly consists of sandstone, but is also a kind of Inselberg and offers similar living conditions: boulders, between which the black mongoose can seek shelter and dig dens, and a rich food supply – from insects to small reptiles and birds right up to small mammals. It is usually looking for prey during the day. Its black fur, so experts assume, serves as camouflage in the shadow of the rocks.
With a bit of luck guests of Waterberg Plateau Lodge can spot this small black predator as it scurries around between the boulders near the chalets. It is not easy to take pictures of it, though, as it is constantly in motion. If it keeps still, then preferably in the shade. Therefore, experts could argue that it may be a very dark slender mongoose until we or one of our guests succeed in a clear evidence photo...
Waterberg Wilderness broadens the view into the joint history of Namibia and Germany on its History Path. For this theme trail, two additional information boards have been compiled that explain developments before and after the Battle of Waterberg 1904...
One of the panels is about the growing conflicts between Herero and Germans in the then colony of German South West Africa, leading to the colonial war. The second board explains why the relations between Namibia, which has become independent in 1990, and Germany, which reunited in the same year, are influenced by the events until today.
The history theme trail in the Waterberg Wilderness private nature reserve now includes seven information points. In the centre are the skirmishes between the Herero and the German Schutztruppe at the Waterberg. Walking along the History Path, the visitor also passes two sites where one of the skirmishes took place in August 1904 and where a refugee camp for scattered Herero was established in January 1906.
While having dinner, guests of the Waterberg Wilderness Lodge now enjoy the view of the bush and the trees at the foot of the reddish cliffs of the Waterberg: The new dining room was opened end of June. In place of the previous restaurant there are now two new guest rooms.
The new dining room is not only situated at the edge of the garden, but also closer to the kitchen, so the waiters have a shorter distance to cover. With the two new rooms, the lodge now features a total of 14 rooms. Four of them are family rooms with three or four beds.
Another aim of the alteration was to separate the guest rooms even better from the general facilities of the lodge such as the library and the dining room, thus giving all guests more privacy.
Great concern in the private nature reserve: One of the two rhino cows was suddenly not seen anymore. You can't help to think of poaching which is a problem in Namibia, too. But then the rhino rangers came back with good news: The cow was fine – and not alone anymore!
The rhino cow had retired into the bush to give birth. Photos clearly show that it is a bull calf. Newborns of white rhino weigh about 50 kilograms. The baby was conceived already in December 2015, because white rhinos carry about 16 months. For Waterberg Wilderness, the offspring is a great joy on two accounts: After years of waiting, doubts arose about the fertility of the animals.
By the way: At Ghaub Nature Reserve and Farm, our partner, the rhinos had young ones, too.
Guests can experience the rhinos close up on a Rhino Drive and a Rhino Tracking Tour. However, in the first few weeks, the tour guides keep a significantly greater distance to avoid stress for the cow and the calf.