The Hardap region stretches the entire width of Namibia, from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to Namibia’s eastern national border. In the northeast, it borders the Kgalagadi District of Botswana, and in the southeast, it borders the Northern Cape Province of South Africa.
Mariental is the administrative capital of the Hardap Region. The area has long been a centre for the Nama people. It lies near the Hardap Dam, the largest reservoir in Namibia.
The town was founded in 1912 as a railway stop between Windhoek and Keetmanshoop and named after Maria, the wife of the first colonial settler of the area, Herman Brandt. It was proclaimed a town in 1920 and a municipality in 1946.
Mariental is home to a large number of Nama-speaking people, descendants of the early Khoi inhabitants of Namibia. The people of Mariental are known for their big smiles and hospitality.
With its strategic location, Mariental is the gateway to discover the jewels of the south of Namibia such as the international acclaimed tourist destinations Sesriem, Sossusvlei, Namib Naukluft Park and the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.
The Fish River flows in a southerly direction past the town. It caused severe floodings in the western side of the town on a number of occasions, most recently after persistent rain during February 2006 .