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I Dream Africa

I Dream Africa

Mariental

   

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.

This little town is situated about 260km from Windhoek.
It 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 its fair share of bird lovers and small boats enthusiasts. It's still a convenient place to refuel or to take an overnight break.


History

Mariental’s origins can be traced back to a farm, bought in 1890 by Hermann Brandt who called it ‘Einsamer Kameldorn’ (Lone Camel Thorn). A settlement started to grow around the farm in subsequent years, eventually named after Brandt’s wife Anna-Maria. Mariental received town rights already in 1920.

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 residents 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.

Highlights

   
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