The Desert Botanic Garden of Namibia (DBGN) is a not-for-profit organisation located on Farm Berghof in the scenic Gamsberg area, about two hours outside of Windhoek. It was established in 2021 and work is well under way on building what is the backbone of any botanical garden, namely the Living Collection which will showcase the amazing diversity of Namibia’s plant life.
Education about the importance of Namibia’s biodiversity in global context is an important goal of the DBGN, particularly as the illegal trade in endemic desert-adapted plants continues unabated. Namibia’s floral resources are under increasing threat, be it due to economic development, climate change, or unscrupulous trading in rare specimens, and by educating visitors the DBGN aims to create awareness of these threats and inform visitors about how they can contribute towards safeguarding Namibia’s floral kingdom. To that end, construction is currently ongoing of accommodation and restaurant facilities that’ll make it possible for visitors to stay at the garden and enjoy the floral splendour around them.
As part of our intention to secure Namibia’s plant biodiversity, accommodation is also being built so that research botanists are able to do their work at the Garden. We are also in the process of creating a seed bank which is a critical component of our activities as it means that, besides growing our own collection, we will be able to repopulate depleted ranges and that endangered plant species are not lost forever. Conservation is always a matter of collaboration, and to that end the DBGN works closely with institutions such as the National Botanical Research Institute and the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism, particularly when it comes to mitigating instances of illegal trade in endemic plants. When notified by the authorities of such instances the DBGN goes out and retrieves the confiscated plants, and either adds them to its own Living Collection or distributes them to other designated facilities. It is a stewardship role that we willingly have taken on in collaboration with the aforementioned authorities.
Our job at the DBGN is to show the public how diverse and rich our desert-adapted floral kingdom is, and just how precious it is, too. At the DBGN visitors are able to experience the collections up close in a spectacular setting that perfectly highlights Namibia’s unspoiled beauty. Our corner of the globe is remarkable for many reasons, among them because of the way that our biodiversity has had to develop in order to thrive in some of the harshest conditions on earth. As a result, these desert-adapted plants have a delicacy and beauty that is uniquely theirs, one that seemingly defies the extreme landscape to which they are native.
We invite you to see them for yourself and look forward to sharing our wonderland with you.