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Our Story


The DBGN is situated in an area of outstanding natural beauty, one ideally suited to hosting the Garden’s Living Collection of desert-adapted plants.


Our focus is on education and the conservation of Namibia’s endemic flora through seed banking and propagation, as well as the prevention and mitigation of the illicit trade in endangered plants. Above all, our aim is to share Namibia’s incredibly rich and diverse floral bounty not only with the public but also the scientific fraternity, and so invite visitors to come and experience the Garden in all its wonder. 

Desert Botanic Garden Mission

Establish a botanic garden that is valued for its carefully-curated collections and the opportunity it affords visitors to experience them up close.

Safeguard Namibia’s plant diversity through the creation of a seed bank and make the garden available to botanists for study.

Contribute to greater awareness of Namibia’s plant diversity through education and outreach programmes. Entice Namibians to care about the county’s floral kingdom.

Create awareness about the illegal trade in endemic Namibian plants, and be recognised as the go-to institution when it comes to rescuing illegally traded plants.

Create a destination and asset of national importance.


The Desert Botanic Garden of Namibia (DBGN) aims to showcase Namibia’s distinctive desert-adapted flora in a distinctive setting and promote its conservation by enabling visitors, both local and international, to experience their beauty first-hand. 

The DBGN aims to be a facility recognised for its efforts in plant conservation and seed banking, plant propagation and rescue, and land restoration.

The DBGN aims to educate Namibians about the significance of the country’s floral resources, and turn visitors to the garden into DBGN ambassadors.

Desert Botanic Garden of Namibia Vision

Meet our team

Meet the team
Ivor Powell, Desert Botanic Garden of Namibia

Ivor Powell


Ivor is the owner of Namib Trees in Windhoek, Namibia’s first indigenous nursery. Having grown up on a farm in the Dordabis area, Ivor relishes nothing more than escaping into nature and experiencing the best of what Namibia has to offer: open spaces, big and bright skies, and an

abundance of wildlife and plants. Truly, so many magnificent plants!

Never one to sit still or shy away from challenges, as a successful and lifelong entrepreneur Ivor is always on the lookout for ways in which to challenge his creativity, as well as channel it — and that, in short, is how the DBGN came to be. His bold vision for the garden is not only accompanied by a skill set shaped by a lifetime of getting stuck in and making things happen, but also a boundless energy and drive to succeed. So, whether it is sourcing the smallest Lithop, rescuing a massive Cyphostemma currorii, or relocating a soaring tree aloe into the perfect location, it’s been Ivor leading the way - all the way.

While a lot of the work that goes into creating a facility such as the

DBGN isn’t as Instagram-worthy as a plant rescue or relocation is, it’s no less important in ensuring that this project is sustainable in the long run. Ivor has brought together a team able to help him translate his vision into reality, forged solid cooperative relationships with other role players in the Namibian botanic world, and invested much time, effort, and personal financial resources into creating a solid foundation on which to build the DBGN, one that ensures it's long term sustainability.


Above all, though, it is his desire and determination to create something meaningful for all Namibians, his commitment to the project, and how generously he shares his love for the plants that will ensure that the DBGN becomes an asset of national relevance and importance.

Silke Rugheimer, Desert Botanic Garden of Namibia

Silke Rügheimer


Silke is a botanist (BSc Hons in Plant Taxonomy) and former curator of the National Botanical Garden of Namibia - altogether she spent 18 years at the National Botanical Research Institute collecting, identifying, and propagating indigenous plants. She believes that the DBGN will put Namibia on the map botanically-speaking, as it will create not only awareness among locals and visiting tourists alike of Namibia’s unique flora, but also make a significant contribution to the conservation of Namibian

indigenous plants through its propagation programme for rare and threatened species.


Personally Silke has a special interest in Aloes, Euphorbias, Crassulas and vygies, and over time these are what she replaced the fruit trees and non-indigenous plants in her garden with. In true plant devotee style, an extensive and lovingly potted collection of succulents in her garden proves that ‘more’ definitely is the perfect number of plants to own.

Frances Chase, Desert Botanic Garden of Namibia

Frances Chase

Frances is currently the head of Projects at the Namibia Nature Foundation.

She is a botanist (MSc Plant Diversity) and independent researcher who spent five years with the National Botanical Research Institute of Namibia, and during which time she was Head Curator of the National Herbarium in Windhoek (WIND).


Prior to that she spent nine years working as a botanist and curator at the Royal Botanic Garden, Kew.

Elaine Thompson, Desert Botanic Garden of Namibia

Elaine Thompson

Elaine is an experienced journalist and editor with a background in both consumer and trade publishing, and a specialisation in business journalism.


The best part of her job is the extraordinary people she gets to meet, and hearing the stories they have to tell. Stories inspire us and spur us on to do great things — as the DBGN perfectly illustrates. 


Elaine is responsible for the DBGN’s marketing, and this is a story she can’t wait to share.

Hannelie Turner, Desert Botanic Garden of Namibia

Hannelie Turner

Hannelie is a Public Relations and Marketing practitioner who brings with her a wealth of experience across a range of industries and NGO landscapes, most recently in conservation and community development. A project planner and proposal developer extraordinaire, Hannelie is responsible for fundraising for the DBGN, and keeps the rest of us in line. Outreach and connection building is her passion, and as the owner of


of the wildest and most exuberant garden in Swakopmund, she is thrilled to be thinking and talking about plants all day.

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