Hardap National Park is located a short distance outside Mariental and is somewhat of a hidden gem. Having visited over 20 years ago, it was time for us to make a return and what a surprising visit it was!
We definitely didn’t make the most of the venue and hopefully you can learn from our mistakes. Here’s our City Slicker’s Guide to Hardap Dam Resort:
Game Park Included
While we had read there were black rhinos near the dam, we didn’t realise there was a whole game park next door that is included in the resort fee! In fact, it’s compulsory to pay to enter the resort, which also includes access to the neighbouring game reserve with black rhinos, gemsbok and giraffes, to name a few (no big cats).
Make sure you arrive early enough to enjoy a visit to the reserve, either before checking in or the following morning.
Hardap Opening Times
- Opening Times: 6am
- Check in Time: 2pm
- Check Out Time: 10am
Visitors leaving after 10am will be required to pay N$100 extra per hour that they run late.
Prep for the Sunset
We were walking around the resort taking in the sites when the light started to fade. Because we had arrived late, we hadn’t plugged in any of our tech to charge up. We had to subsequently run around trying to grab as much footage as possible, with low batteries, as the colours were UNREAL! Be prepared, these sunsets are exquisite! Make sure you’re prepared to be in awe!
We hadn’t realised that our accommodation included meals in the restaurant. This was a mistake on 2 counts: 1) We ran late as we were braai (BBQing) shopping in Keetmanshoop. 2) We braaied that night instead of enjoying the restaurant’s fare and relaxing!
Check your booking to confirm whether meals are included so that you can make the most of the resort. (We did visit for breakfast and had a very enjoyable meal watching the colours rise above the dam.)
Hardap Restaurant Opening Hours
- Breakfast: 7am – 9:30am
- Lunch: 12pm – 2pm
- Dinner: 6pm – 8:30pm
While collaborating with NWR we stayed in their two bedroomed executive suite. This offers the most modern accommodation with 2 bedrooms, uninterrupted dam views, kitchenette and small lounge.
The bed in the main room was HUGE! And extremely comfortable. Possibly the biggest bed we’ve ever slept in. The bathroom is not en suite, but shared between the two rooms. The lounge has a small TV with limited DSTV (reception was a bit bad and didn’t work on all channels though).
What To Pack for Hardap Dam
The weather was spectacular while we were in Hardap, however, we do recommend the following:
- Warm jacket for the morning – walking to breakfast was freezing!
- Insect repellant – we used Peaceful Sleep at the fireplace and bedroom.
- Plukkies – Sandals or slippers are useful when popping out to the car at night.
We had a teeny tiny bit of internet at the suite, however, there is no wi-fi. Reception does sell internet vouchers though, which can be used in the restaurant. . It’s pricey (I think about R100 for 50mbs), but allows you to connect to do the basics.
TIP: I recommend turning the “mobile data” off on ALL your apps before loading your voucher, as this will avoid the data being used to update unnecessary apps.
I only used it for WhatsApp (don’t watch any videos) and to use online banking to buy more airtime so that my roaming would work. On how to get a SIM card, check out our City Slicker’s Guide to Road Trip Namibia.
Things To Do a Hardap Dam
Honestly, this is a bit of a tricky question because we arrived just before sunset and left just after sunrise. Al-John definitely felt we could have done an extra night here as he was so blown away by the colours of the dam and the night sky.
In terms of practical things to do:
- There is a swimming pool for residents at the main restaurant.
- Explore the game reserve next door, since you’ve already paid for it.
- Enjoy viewpoints, which can be accessed via gravel roads within the park.
- Braai at your chalet.
- Definitely don’t miss the sunset!
How Long To Stay at Hardap National Park?
We only stayed one night to break up the journey to Etosha and because Al-John has severe allergic reactions (so I’m anxious to be anywhere too remote for too long), but it really was so beautiful and I 2 nights could be easily done.
Al-John often goes into anaphylactic shock while we’re away and it can be extremely scary. I was very anxious while at Hardap (hence only booking one night), but I have confirmed with them that they do have a security guard on site, 24-7, to open the gates for visitors to leave in an emergency situation.
Mariental is just down the road and they have ER services, however, we always carry an epipen with ourselves for safety.
Hardap Dam Contact Details
If you’d like to stay at Hardap Dam, please be sure to only use NWR’s contact information as they are the official website when booking for NWR resorts.
Rates are really affordable, starting from R300 per night, plus NWR card holders can enjoy exclusive discounts. (Details in our road tripping guide linked above). There are even specials on at the moment for R860pp for bed & breakfast! So check our the Hardap National Park rates.