S ituated 178 km south of Rehoboth off the B1, Mariental is a small, quietly flourishing market town.
The nearby Hardap Dam is the largest reservoir in Namibia and provides water for irrigation, enabling the cultivation of animal fodder, as well as some fruits and vegetables. A local ostrich abattoir caters for this increasingly important industry, and what survives of the karakul trade in the south is centred around Mariental. Sitting astride the main route into the Kalahari and Namib deserts, Mariental also services the needs of farmers in these areas. Mariental is home to a large number of Nama-speaking people, descendants of the early Khoi inhabitants of Namibia.