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Hardap Dam

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The Hardap Dam provides a colour change to the landscape  © P8313244, License

Hardap Dam

Hardap Dam

It's been a long road for tourism at Hardap Dam after the Hardap Recreation Resort was closed for renovations in 2011 after a fire burnt down the restaurant. But a statement that was released by Namibia Wildlife Resorts in October 2014 has set the reopening of the resort for December 2014. The dam itself which is close to the Hardap Region town of Mariental is the largest dam in the country. Created in 1962 while Namibia was still under South African occupation, Hardap dams the Fish River with an 86.2 metre long dam wall and has a surface area of over 25 square kilometres.

Hardap got its name from the Nama word which means nipple or wart. This describes how the early inhabitants saw the surrounding area of low conical-shaped hills. There are fishing spots at various points along the northern shore of the lake. Permits, and a map of permitted fishing areas, are available from the resort office, or from the magistrate's office in Mariental. Due to the fact that there are no dangerous predators at the dam, visitors can walk freely around the area and there is a 15km hiking trail, which can be shortened to a 9km loop (As with all hiking in Namibia, it is important to take along a minimum of 2 litres of water per person). Some of the tourism facilities at Hardap Dam, include a restaurant which overlooks the dam, an aquarium, a fresh water fishing farm, and conference facilities. The Hardap Game Park is on the southern side of the dam and the route to the park offers picturesque views of the dam. The park is home to rhino, gemsbok, Hartmann's Zebra, kudu, ostrich, springbok and steenbok to name but a few. There is also a large variety of bird species that can be observed in and around the dam. Pelican, cormorant, darter and spoonbill can be seen on the dam, as well as fish eagle and a small number of osprey. One of the three largest great white pelican breeding colonies in the country is found here, and more than 800 pelicans have been counted at one time.

Hardap Dam is a paradise for water sport enthusiasts and all types of water sports, such as canoeing and boating etc, are permitted on the dam, although boats are prohibited in certain areas of the dam. Fishing is exceptionally good and kurper, barbel, yellow-fish, carp and bass can all be caught in the dam. Angling competitions are a regular feature and angling permits can be obtained from the camp office, just remember bring your own fishing tackle.

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