With a surface area of about 25km², the Hardap Dam is considered the largest reservoir in Namibia. It was built to dam up the Fish River in 1962. The name means "nipple" or "wart" in the local Nama language, referring to the low hills dotting the area. The dam is well known for various water sports such as boating, canoeing as well as fishing. The International Triathlon as well as numerous fishing competitions are showcased year round. With a nature reserve supporting numerous game species such as steenbok, Hartmann’s zebra and springbok and with various types of accommodation to choose from, the Hardap Dam also provides wonderful relaxation and restoration opportunities for the soul. Bird species include pelicans, cormorants, spoonbills and fish eagles. Due to an abundance of rain in its catchment area, the Fish River has caused the dam to open its sluices on numerous occasions, flooding the below region and causing damage to buildings in the town of Mariental.