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.