. Named by local Rhenish (German Lutheran) missionaries, The town was founded in 1912 as a railway stop between Windhoek and Keetmanshoop and named after Maria, the wife of the first colonial settler of the area, Herman Brandt. It was proclaimed a town in 1920 and a municipality in 1946. Mariental is home to a large number of Nama- speaking people, descendants of the early Khoi inhabitants of Namibia. The people of Mariental are known for their big smiles and hospitality.
The Fish River which flows in a southerly direction past the town caused severe flooding in the western side of the town on a number of occasions, most recently after persistent rain during February 2006 when the Hardap Dam's sluices had to be opened and severe flooding occurred on the weekend of 25–26 February 2006.
Since Hardap Dam was built in 1962 floods also have taken place in 1972 and twice in 2000 with previous floods (before the dam was built) recorded in 1923 and 1934.
Mariental has a desert climate (BWh, according to the Köppen climate classification), with hot summers and cool winters (with mild days and chilly nights). The average annual precipitation is 194 mm (8 in)