The Botanical Garden here is tomorrow offering many a city dwellers who appreciate nature the opportunity of a few hours of joy-walking with fellow walkers to take a closer look at its wonders.
Led by knowledgeable guides, the walk aims to inform people about our natural vegetation with points of interest including medicinal and traditional uses of plants by Namibian people. According to Andy Callesen from the Botanic Garden, a small group (usually, depending on the day) walk into the garden from the National Botanical Research Institute (NBRI) building in Orban St (on the hill behind Windhoek High School) at 08h00 in the morning and will be informed about significant plants as they walk, especially pointing out plants in flower and visitors also get the chance to ask questions.
The popular attraction is the Desert House, which is a covered garden representing Namibia’s desert biome and popular walks in the Garden include the “quiver tree forest”, the aloe walk and the grave of a Damara Chief (Chief Gaob Xamseb).
A number of self-guided walking trails lead through the garden. The most common woody plants are labelled and bird and plant lists are available at the reception. The garden boasts one of the densest stands of the Windhoek Aloe (Aloe littoralis), the symbol of the city of Windhoek. The quiver tree forest and bottle trees too, are well worth a visit. They were planted here in the early 1970s and are of exceptional size and beauty. Early in the year, after good rains, you can admire some of our lilies flowering along the Lily Walk. Be sure to visit the Desert House, where some fascinating plants from the Namib Desert are displayed.
The Garden is also home to a variety of mammals, birds, reptiles and insects. “Our function is to improve awareness of Namibia’s indigenous vegetation and to support the NBRI. We have a number of young Unam students who have been involved in the events organised by BotSoc. On our guided walk days, interest comes from all different spheres – from dedicated environmentalists to those who need a morning’s outing. Get to know more about our indigenous vegetation while enjoying a gentle walk with a knowledgeable guide,” says Callesen.
The National Botanic Garden is open every day to visitors, and it regularly get tourists who make the effort to find the Garden and discover more about Namibia’s natural heritage. It is open on weekdays during office hours, while over the weekend it is only open on the second Saturday of each month, between 8am and 11am for the guided walk. The guided walk starts at 08h00 and entrance fee is N$10. The guided walk is informal and visitors are encouraged to ask questions as they go. Good walking shoes are recommended, though the walk is not long, the surfaces are uneven. Books, T-shirts, card and novelties are on sale.
The National Botanic Garden of Namibia is a 12 hectare nature reserve in the heart of the City of Windhoek, where you can see and learn about Namibia’s fascinating plants.