Just north of the Swakop River are the sulphurous springs the Herero – the area’s first settlers – called Otjikango, meaning “big fountain”. On most tourist maps, however, the place is marked as Gross Barmen, a name given to it by Rhenish missionaries, after the small German town where the mission had its headquarters. The reason to visit is to indulge yourself at the NWR-run Gross Barmen resort, which boasts two glorious thermal pools fed by the springs: an expansive outdoor one that stays at a pleasant 250C, and an indoor one that can exceed 400C, depending on the time of day, and should only be experienced in small doses. There’s also a spa offering a variety of treatments, and the resort’s location by a dam makes it prime birdwatching terrain. After a four-year closure and a multi-million-dollar refurbishment, the place is once again a popular weekend and holiday getaway for Windhoek residents (with chalets and camping available), so aim to visit midweek and off-season.

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