Mariental is the administrative capital of the Hardap Region in an area which has long been a centre for the Nama people. It lies near the Hardap Dam, the largest reservoir in Namibia.
Mariental was founded in 1912 designed as a railway stop between Windhoek and Keetmanshoop. The town was named after Maria, the wife of the Hermann Brandt, first colonial settler in the area. By 1920, Mariental had been proclaimed as a town and then a municipality in 1946.