Neuras – Wine and Wildlife EstateJuly 17, 2018
This is my Namibia: Ginger MauneyJuly 18, 2018
A special hidden gem in the Namibia Wildlife Resorts portfolio is Hardap. Often overlooked, this sprawling resort lies along the banks of Namibia’s largest dam and boasts not only a wide array of accommodation options but also an enticing experience for visitors who love nature, water and views. The Travel News Team recently visited and came up with 10 reasons why Hardap should be added to your travel itinerary.
1. IT’S CLOSE TO THE HEART
Situated 250 km south of Windhoek, outside the town of Mariental, Hardap is not such a long drive from the capital. Weekend trips down south are all the more feasible if you take into account that the road there is completely tarred.
So what’s to stop you from popping down for a visit?
2. IT’S FOR THE ADVENTUROUS
Water baby? Well, this is definitely one of Namibia’s original destinations for water sports. These are few and far between, in a desert country. Hardap Dam offers a magnificent playground for those wanting to get wet and wild on its smooth surface. So pull the boat out of storage, dust off those water-skis, load the canoe, and why not pack the angling gear while you’re at it? Boat houses, conveniently positioned on the shore of the dam, are available for rent. The dam’s fish-rich waters make it a wonderful freshwater angling destination, with species such as kurper, barbel, yellowfish, carp and bass to be found. Make sure to obtain your angling permit from the office. Time your trip to coincide with angling competitions also organised here.
3. A NATIONAL PARK HIDDEN ON THE BANKS
Covering a surface area of approximately 25 000 hectares, the Hardap Game Reserve is split in two by the dam. In this nature’s haven, on the southern part one can tick off various species such as kudu, gemsbok, springbok, steenbok, Hartmann’s mountain zebra and ostrich. A guided game drive with one of NWR’s game viewer vehicles will give you the perfect opportunity to explore the area’s wilder side.
4. WILD WALKS
Want to really connect with nature? Well, we have the answer for you. Enjoy one of the two hiking trails – either the shorter route of 9 km or the longer one of 15 km. View game from up-close and discover the natural beauty of the dam and its surroundings, but make sure you get up early.
5. BIRDING ISN’T FOR THE BIRDS
If you’re visiting during the summer months you’ll note that the dam is flecked with white dots on its surface (see main photo above). No, those aren’t buoys or tiny boats, they are hundreds of pelicans! The dam is home to one of the three largest Great White Pelican breeding colonies in the country, with more than 800 having been counted at a single occasion. Eager birdwatchers can enjoy lots of sightings of their favourite feathered friends on and along the dam’s peaceful waters. With many inlets and small islands, this man-made lake provides a safe breeding place for flamingos, Fish Eagles, Goliath Herons, Reed Cormorants and Ospreys, to name just a few.
6. SUNDOWNERS AND EPIC SUNSETS
The view is breath-taking. No, really, be prepared. The resort’s main area is perched atop a rocky outcrop high above the surface of the water on the dam’s northern shore. It allows for a magnificent panoramic view of the wide expanse of water and beautiful nature surrounding. Enjoy the breeze and marvel at the reflection of dramatic technicolour clouds on the smooth water surface at sunset. Sip on your sundowner and take in yet another majestic Namibian sunset.
7. TAKE THE KIDS ALONG!
What makes the resort truly special is how family friendly it is, so pack the kids too. They’re sure to enjoy the space, the sightings of rock hyrax and beautiful birds all along the rock walls built between the chalets and the dam. The resort’s beautiful pool with a view and baby pool to boot, is a treat.
8. WATER WATER WATER
The Hardap Dam, the largest dam in the country, has a capacity of 320 million cubic metres and a surface area of 25 km2. When sluices are opened, it can discharge up to 5 500 m3 per second. This was last done in February 2000 to release the heavy inflow of water during an exceptionally good rainy season. In an arid land the sight of this much water is sure to quench your soul’s thirst and offer some reprieve. So take it in, live and love all the water and appreciate the significance of such a reservoir for this desert country’s inhabitants.
9. COMFY STAYS OR GROUP PLAYS
With VIP chalets, dormitories, family and bush chalets and even campsites to choose from, there really is an accommodation option for every type of traveller. The good news is that all the other facilities were recently refurbished. Enjoy the view from your room, dine at the restaurant that will make you feel as if you were in a giant ship floating on the water, or have a drink at the bar with the group of friends you brought along for the adventure.
10. DAY TRIPS
On your way somewhere else and only looking for somewhere to stop over? Feel like retreating into nature for a day? Visit the dam and nature reserve, make use of the picnic and braai facilities along the water’s edge and enjoy a self-drive through the wilderness. Alternatively, you can also pop into the resort’s restaurant and enjoy a lovely lunch from their à la carte menu. Enjoy your stay, even if it is just for the day!
This article was published in the Winter 2018 edition of Travel News Namibia.