Though only covering a small area, the patch of arid land that comprises the National Botanical Gardens provides welcome relief from the surrounding concrete. As long as you limit your expectations, you can easily spend a happy hour or two here. Although not landscaped – in part to save water – the “gardens” lay claim to over six hundred indigenous plant species, many of which are labelled, and around 75 bird species. The small desert house gives a taster of what to expect once you get out to the Namib itself, including many protected species that can otherwise only be seen in remote and inaccessible areas, while elsewhere you can find some splendid examples of candelabra euphorbia. Tucked away near the picnic area lies the grave of a Damara chief, who was allegedly captured and beheaded by the German authorities after opposing colonial rule.
The reception desk also has maps with plant listings for the Aloe Trail, a short, circular walking trail (2km), which affords nice views over the Klein Windhoek valley. The trail begins close to theentrance but you should only do it if you are in a group, as robberies have been known.