The focal point of Hardap Game Reserve is the placid Hardap Dam, located on Namibia’s longest river, the Fish River. Hugged by low conical-shaped hills, the sapphire dam provides a welcome respite from its arid surrounds. The dam is a drawcard for water sport enthusiasts that revel in the boating, canoeing and fishing opportunities. Hardap is Namibia’s largest dam and occupies a large section of land, predominantly dwarf shrub savanna and thorn trees. The environment is ideal for a wealth of species to thrive.
The Hardap Game Reserve surrounds the southern sector of the dam and supports typical Namibian antelope species, the rare black rhino and a wealth of birdlife. Wildlife is best viewed on foot while exploring one of the many trails within the reserve. But the main attraction? That would have to be angling! There are plenty of international fishing competitions held at the dam.
Located roughly 250 kilometres from the buzzing capital of Windhoek, and 24 kilometres from the town of Mariental, the Hardap Game Reserve is easily accessible for self-drivers. There are accommodation and camping options in the area.
There are mainly resorts and bungalows in the reserve, but the more adventurous visitors are encouraged to go wild camping.
The period between May and September is the most popular time of year to visit when the threat of malaria is low.
The Hardap Game Reserve is a sanctuary for herbivores and small predators. The black rhino is a common species in the area. Large predators are missing in action in the region, making it safe to walk and hike around the reserve. There are dense populations of giraffe, gemsbok, springbok, Hartmann’s zebra, kudu and black-backed jackal in the area.
The dam supports over 284 species of bird, including flamingoes, great white pelicans, yellow-billed stork, osprey, African fish eagles, spoonbills, Bradfield’s swift and Goliath herons.
The dry season in Namibia is from May to October, and the humidity is low during this period. In winter there is not much rainfall, and wildlife flocks to the edge of the dam to replenish their thirst. May to September is the most popular time of year to visit when the threat of malaria is low. Namibia is quite dry throughout the year, making it the perfect year-round destination.
Sitting in the heart of the reserve is the glimmering Hardap Dam. A flurry of birdlife and plains game thrive in the environment, making it an ideal destination for hiking and walking safaris. The calm waters also attract keen water-enthusiasts, eager to try their hand at canoeing, boating and fishing.
There’s a 15-kilometre hiking loop at the dam and 80 kilometres of gravel road, ideal for self-drive game drives. The reserve lacks the presence of marauding predators, making it safe for hikers. There are a few major picnic sites on the shores of the lake, easily reachable on foot from one of the many trails.
Hardap Dam is ideal for freshwater anglers and plays host to annual competitions where sporting fisherman descend upon the area to try their hand at catching mudfish, barbel or carp. There is a rest camp with a restaurant and tourism centre where activities and fishing permits can be arranged.
There are mainly resorts and bungalows in the reserve and plenty of accommodation options just outside the reserve. The accommodation options within the reserve have swimming pools, restaurants and bar areas. More adventurous visitors are encouraged to go wild camping.