Hardap no fuller than 70 percent - Namibia Safari and Lodges - Gondwana Collection

Namibia with Heart and Soul: Take our hand and let us introduce you to this awe-inspiring country. Come and stay with us, experience Namibia.


Where the Namib Desert stretches languidly from the Atlantic Ocean and wild land extends into infinity, dreams become real. At this place where fantasy meets reality, you'll find the Gondwana Collection safely positioned.

Take our outstretched hand and let us introduce you to our extraordinary country, Namibia. From the massive chasms of the Fish River Canyon, the fossilised dunes of the Namib Desert and the red sands of the Kalahari Desert to the waterways of the Kavango and Zambezi, there are countless marvels to behold. Explore this awe-inspiring wilderness from the warmth of our lodges, created with conservation cognizance and ample character. And return to relax after an exciting day of discovery.

This is the Gondwana feeling: Namibia with heart and soul.

Come and stay with us, experience Namibia.

About us

Namibia2Go Car Rental

Experience Africa like never before. Explore Namibia your way with our well-maintained and fully inclusive rental vehicles. Easy. Hassle free. Unforgettable.

We offer a comprehensive travel service including car rental, accommodation, safaris and self-drive itineraries and day trips. Interested?

Boxed2Go Self-Drive Safaris

Let us spoil you with Gondwana Collection’s exceptional self-drive safari packages including accommodation, vehicle and a detailed route map guide. Make use of our comprehensive travel services to book an unforgettable safari. Discover the spectacular secrets Namibia holds. more

GO EPIC - Experience Namibia’s famed locations (11 days)
GO BIG - Discover Namibia's main attractions (13 days)
GO WILD - Track Namibia's awesome wildlife (12 days)

Safari2Go - The easiest way to travel the country!

10-Day Namibian Highlights Tour
Enjoy Namibia’s most popular destinations on this compact guided tour that incorporates visits to the Kalahari and Namib deserts – including the famed Sossusvlei dunes, the intriguing coastal town of Swakopmund, the Twyfelfontein rock engravings and Etosha National Park. more

3 Day / 2 Night – Sossusvlei Safari Shuttle
Exciting adventures await those who partake in this exhilarating safari to Sossusvlei, one of the most spectacular sites in the world. The magnificent star dunes are a photographer’s dream and the spectacular landscape will leave memories to last a lifetime. more

Namibia Road Map 2019/20

Anyone touring Namibia should definitely take our road map along. It is available from Gondwana free of charge, or as pdf download. This map features fascinating experiences plus recommended accommodation. At the same time it is an ordinary road map with all the essential information of the official Namibia road map by Prof. Uwe Jäschke and the Roads Authority of Namibia.

Gondwana's Newsroom

Hardap no fuller than 70 percent

Avatar of inke inke - 24. February 2017 - Weather

Along the main street, at the crossroads to the eastern part of the town, stood a motorboat with which locals had to visit their houses that were located in the western parts of town. No vehicles could use the main road, the B1 highway or the minor roads in the western areas of Mariental during the 2006 floods. Photo: Dirk Heinrich

On 23 February 2017, the Hardap Dam, near Mariental’s sluices were opened for a second time in this rainy season, 2016/17. At first, only two sluices were opened at 8 o’clock for an hour, 1.2 metres and 224 cubic metres of water was drained per second. At 9 o’clock a third sluice was opened, 1.2 metres and 336m3/sec flowed into the Fish River below the dam wall. 11.5 million cubic metres of water was drained within nine hours, to reduce the dam’s level from 75 percent (218 million cubic metres) to 72 percent of its capacity. On 20 February 2017, two sluices were already opened for the first time, when the dam passed the 70 percent mark and further inflow reached the reservoirs. For eleven hours, 200m3/ sec flowed from the dam, into the  - at times – kilometre wide, dry river bed filled with rime (reeds).

It took a few hours before the water reached Mariental 29 kilometres downstream, because the water’s flow was hindered by the dense vegetation in the river. Hours after closing the sluices, water flowed past Mariental. 

Since the flood in 2006, when half of Mariental was almost a metre under water, the Namibian Cabinet decided in 2007 that the Hardap Dam cannot be allowed to pass the 70 percent capacity mark. This is done to avoid that more water is drained than the Fish River can hold.

On 25 February, eleven years ago, a total of 122 houses and 78 shops in Mariental were flooded. No vehicle could pass the town or go down the main road. Instead, residents navigated the main road and a few side streets with a motorboat. On the Saturday afternoon of 2006, the water from the Hardap Dam that moved into the Fish River had already surpassed the flood marks from the year 2000, when the town was flooded for the second time since 1972. The situation got worse when the state-owned water company, NamWater, opened the sluices at 11:00 pm on 25 February 2006. This released 3500m3/sec, as 4000m3/sec flowed into the other end of the dam. In the days before, water had already been released from the dam, after the water level stood at 96 percent (7 February 2006). On 2 February 2006, the Hardap Dam stood at 84.4 percent.

For the first time in the 2006 rainy season, the sluices of the largest artificial lake in Namibia were opened on 26 February, after the dam was filled well over 80 percent. Unexpectedly high precipitation of over 100 millimetres in two days in the Hardap Dam catchment area, led to more water than the Fish River could hold, to be drained from the dam. This resulted in the flood of the small settlements, fields and western part of Mariental on 25 February 2006.

Plans for the construction of the dam were developed in 1908, during the German Colonial period. The Hardap dam was planned between 1949 and 1960. Construction finally began in 1960, and on 16 March 1963, the then Administrator of South Africa, D.T. du P. Viljoen declared the Hardap Dam officially open. The first major flood in Mariental took place on 16 March 1972, when the sluices had to be opened because 6393 cubic metres of water per second flowed into the Hardap Dam. The second flood was triggered by an inflow of 3387m3/sec into an almost filled dam on 19 February 2000, and the sluices had to be opened.

After the floods in Mariental and the small settlements lying between the town and the dam, damage to urban and private infrastructure reached into the millions. There were problems with the water and electricity supply and fuel tanks at petrol stations were flooded and partly drained of fuel. Insurance companies had to pay out millions. As a consequence, the insurance companies refused to continue insuring Mariental’s inhabitants and the surrounding farmers against flood damages.

In order to avoid future flooding and the resulting damages, the Namibian Cabinet decided in 2007 that the Hardap Dam is not allowed to reach more than 70 percent of its capacity, in order to absorb high inflow and allow for low outflow through the sluices.

Dirk Heinrich

Comments are disabled for this post.


Explore the Gondwana Blog

Subscribe to our blog and receive email notifications of all our latest articles & stories.

View the Blog

Romantik Hotels & Restaurants

200 hospitality establishments in the most beautiful locations in Europe - enjoy, relax and experience.

Read more

Stay up-to-date with our monthly 'Gondwana Tracks' Newsletter Sign up Today