Namibia destination information: Sossusvlei, Sesriem, Namib Desert, Kalahari, Naukluft Mountains, Namib-Naukluft-Park, Rehoboth

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Destination Info: Regions - Hardap Region - Part 1 >>

     

Related pages: Adventure - Art - Birds & Wildlife - Experience - History - Landscapes - Museums - Sightseeing - Towns

 

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Sesriem and Sossusvlei in the southern Namib Desert, some of Namibia's most famous tourist attractions, became synonyms for the Hardap Region. The region was however named after Namibia's oldest and large fresh water dam on the Fish River that is the lifeline of these desert-dominated lands, providing water for human consumption, for livestock, ostrich farming, and agricultural irrigation schemes. The Hardap Dam is situated near the small town of Mariental, the region's administrative and economic centre.

Major roads providing access to the Kalahari in the eastern as well as to the Maltahöhe area and the Namib-Naukluft-Park in the western parts of the region respectively, meet with Namibia's main north-south axis in the vicinity of Mariental.

 

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Caprivi

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With  two distinctively different deserts, the majestic Naukluft and Zaris Mountains, the eastern and western escarpments, as well as many important historic sites situated within the Hardap Region, it is one of Namibia's most scenically diverse and entertaining regions to travel. There is something outstanding to experience in every area of general and special interest - from taking in awe-inspiring landscapes that are home to a broad kaleidoscope of wildlife and many endemic plant species, on comfortably accommodated self-drive and guided tours, to soft adventures and "roughing it" in the great outdoors, on fly-in safaris and camping trips on your own. The glider flight enthusiast will even find here one of the world's gliding hot spots, on the edge of the Kalahari, a short drive north-east of Mariental.


The Hardap Region's central parts are situated on the central highlands that are flanked by escarpments on two sides keeping apart the two deserts, the Kalahari and the Namib. While the eastern escarpment can only be easily identified in places where it has a clearly visible step-like appearance of comparatively small elevation, the landscapes along the western escarpment are truly dramatic:
In the northern half of the region, two of the country's steepest and most demanding gravel roads lead through the Remhoogte and Spreetshoogte Passes - for close to 100 km nothing but breathtaking vistas and rugged mountainous terrains that peak at about 2140m above sea-level.

 
 


The German
population of
Namibia call these
delicate paper-like
desert flowers
"Namibian Edelweiss".
Like its cousin from the European Alps the miniature plant
is rare, and only grows in a few isolated spots in
the Namib Desert.
 
Photo: I. Ohm

The southern half of the western escarpment stands in a like-wise stark contrast to the seemingly endless plains of the Pro-Namib but in a completely different way -  here it manifests itself in a nearly 100-km-long, straight, vertical cliff of black rock aptly named "Schwarzrand" (black edge) through which there is only a single east-west passage.

Even though being one of the two regions that span the entire width of the country, the Hardap Region is almost as sparsely populated as its southern neighbour, the Karas Region. Most of its inhabitants belong to the Nama, an ethnic people of as yet to be determined origins. Another distinctively different indigenous population group are the Rehoboth Baster, descendents of the Doorslandtrekkers who founded the Hardap Region's most northern town of Rehoboth.                                                                                                                              - to be continued

 

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Last Update:  August 2010