The Museum


HistoryThe Waterberg Living Museum began in 1997, as the Waterberg Environmental Centre, when Clive & Conita Walker, through the Rhino & Elephant Foundation and the Wilderness Trust of South Africa, undertook the renovation of the “Old” Melkrivier School and transformed it into the Waterberg & Rhino Museum.

Old Rhino Museum

The Waterberg Institute for Sociology & Ecology (WISE) also came into being in 1998 when the Foundation proposed the transformation of the Melkrivier Boarding School (adjoining the developing Waterberg Environmental Centre) into a multi purpose education & training centre.

Both the Museums and WISE grew from year to year and the introduction of a live component in 2005, with the relocation of an orphaned black rhino, transformed it into a Living Museum. The Museum housed the offices of the Waterberg Nature Conservancy as well as the Waterberg Biosphere Reserve and for many years was the hub of conservation activities in the Waterberg.

In 2002 the Clive Walker Foundation was formed as a registered Non-Profit organisation with the primary objective of managing the Museum. As a result of a Land Claim on the properties comprising the Centre, the Clive Walker Foundation was forced to close the doors of the Museum in mid 2008.

From 1997 until its closure in mid 2008 over 55,000 visitors passed through the Museum, many of them children. To continue the Environmental Education message the Clive Walker Foundation is in the process of relocating and will be re-establishing the entire Museum.



The Living Museum has entered a new phase in its evolution.  With the support of the Clive Walker Foundation, the Museum is moving to new premises. It is here that that the revolutionary concept of the ‘new' Living Museum will come into effect.

This will be achieved by building on the core values of the previous Museum, the primary of these being education, conservation and a new understanding of our natural world.  These will be expanded upon and enhanced by new and dynamic exhibits and facilities, as well as unique opportunities to interact with the natural world through living exhibits.


The Museums activities will range from guided & self-guided tours, on-grounds and outreach environmental education programs for school children and adults alike. The Museum will also support and actively pursue ecological, biodiversity and scientific research, and will serve as a showcasing platform of knowledge to the public.

The Museum will also provide a safe, natural environment for wild animals that have been unable to survive in a totally wild state due to illness, injury or being orphaned.  It is a safe place for them to recover and is the perfect haven for them to finally be released, once their health and wellbeing has been ensured.  The Living Museum success in rehabilitation and raising orphaned rhino is legendary and the legacy will continue through this Living Museum.

Eugene Marais

Other facilities you can expect at the new Living Museum will include a Main Centre which will house, amongst other things, the Clive Walker Gallery of Fine Art, a library, an archives room, a functions/meeting room, curio shop, offices and not least, the Waterberg Herbarium.  Perhaps one of the other most special features will be The Livingstone Lounge where Explorer Club members and visitors alike can meet and enjoy a selection of tea's, coffee's, fine wines, light meals and other licensed refreshments.


Phase One starts where the "Old Museum" at Melkrivier left off - Rhino!

The Rhino Facility is nearing completetion and once complete and secure the attention shall turn to the construction of Rhino Museum.