a village in Namibia
Mariental is the administrative and commercial capital of the Hardap Region in southern Namibia, and supports several economic industries, including ranching, an ostrich abattoir and large scale irrigated farming. (Thanks mainly to the Fish River and Hardap Dam.) Crops grown in the area include cotton, wheat, lucerne, (alfalfa) maize, grapes, tomatoes and a variety of garden vegetables.
The town stands on the edge of the Kalahari Desert, in an area which has long been a centre for the Nama people, who are of mainly Khoi-Khoi descent. Unfortunately for the town as yet, it has failed to make the mark as a tourist destination, although the nearby Hardap Dam does attract it's fair share of bird lovers and small boats enthusiasts. It's still a convenient place to refuel or to take an overnight break, but don't expect any excitement whilst you're here. (Perhaps you don't want any!)
Mariental's original name was Zara-gaebia (dusty) but the current name was that of the farm of the area's first colonial settler, Herman Brandt, who named it Marie's Valley, after his wife, Anna Maria Mahler. He'd purchased the land from Nama chief Hendrik Witbooi in 1890.
From 1903 to 1907, the area was a battleground between colonial and Nama forces, and quite a few German civilians died in guerrilla raids. After the advent of the railway coming through in 1912, Mariental's resident's petitioned for village status, but their hopes were dashed with the German surrender to the South African Defense Force in 1915. This wish was granted in 1920, with the construction of Namibia's first Dutch Reformed Church
As this area of Namibia receives very little rain, traditional farming techniques are being abandoned and farming is moving towards game animals. Mariental is also the centre of Namibia's ostrich farming industry, as these birds cope well with the arid conditions. The ostrich abattoir has been established in Mariental to process the meat for export around the world. Ostrich feather dusters are an excellent household cleaning aid, and are particularly handy for cleaning tiny specs of dust from your laptop!
Mariental lies approximately half way between Keetmanshoop and Windhoek, and most people driving this route stop to stretch their legs, fill-up with petrol and refreshments, and proceed as quickly as possible. This phenomena has spawned another lucrative business for the traffic police in the town, who frequently fine motorist for speeding through the town.
Accommodation in the area includes the Camelthorn Kalahari Lodge, the Zebra Kalahari Lodge, and the Suricate Tented Camp, all on The Intu Afrika Kalahari Private Game Reserve. Watersports enthusiasts should head for the Hardap Dam Resort, and 30km north-east of Mariental, is the Kalahari Anib Lodge. On the edge of the southern Kalahari, and around 50mins drive from Mariental, is the Bagatelle Kalahari Game Lodge.
10 bedroom guest house near the main B1 road in Mariental
Large; budget friendly lodge.
Excellent lodge in the Kalahari Desert, offers accommodation in units made of straw bales or wood. Bagatelle proves to be consistently popular with guests
Interested in gliding? Then this is the lodge for you
On the private Intu Afrika Kalahari Game Reserve.
Really only suitable for fisherman - until renovations happen it is probably best not to subject yourself to this.
Tends to cater for larger groups, but the low rates make it attractive for those looking to save some money.
Small self catering establishment in the Kalahari town of Stampriet
New addition to the area - small well run lodge in an attractive area
A 12 room lodge situated in a nature reseve and set amongst the red dunes of the Kalahari Desert
The meerkat or suricate is a small mammal which inhabits the Kalahari - we do not know why this lodge is named after them. Perhaps if you stay here and find out you can tell us and then we can make this slightly more descriptive.
A tented lodge, built on the small red dunes of the Kalahari Desert.
The third lodge on the Intu Afrika Kalahari Game Reserve (along with Suricate & Camethorn Lodges). The Kalahari is absolutely magnificent and really should be a part of any visit to Namibia.