The DBGN is situated just off the C26 road on a tourist route that begins in Windhoek and winds down the Gamsberg Pass south-west of Windhoek, past the farms and lodges found in the foothills of the Gamsberg highlands in an area known as the Pro-Namib.
The pass is one of the most scenic in Namibia, with the spectacular and unspoiled landscape below stretching towards the horizon and the Namib proper. In addition, given the distance from Windhoek, the absence of light pollution also makes the Gamsberg region one of the best nightsky watching destinations in the world.
The propagation of wild plants for the development and maintenance of botanical collections (ex situ conservation), is now well recognized as a complementary part of in situ conservation. The nursery at DBGN is an essential part of our program and one of the key resources in the recovery of species at risk and contributing to plant diversity in the Living Collection. Conservation is always evolving and the observation of the developmental process of seedlings, from their germination to their establishment is, without doubt, a method of experiential learning which is ideal for acquiring knowledge that can be applied and shared with other conservationists.
With the illegal trade in protected Namibian flora on the increase, the Desert Botanic Garden of Namibia works closely with the National Botanic Research Institute and the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism to mitigate the effects of this trade by making the necessary resources and expertise available when such instances come to light.
Confiscated plants are rescued at the DBGN’s own cost and are either added to its permanent collection or relocated to other recognised institutions. Its living collections enable the DBGN to play a custodial role in Namibia's flora by making plant material available for research and enabling the restoration of native ranges, and ultimately providing insurance against the loss of wild populations.
Increasingly instances arise where, as a result of development, endemic plants are under threat. Thankfully, a greater awareness exists of the fact that plants can be removed and relocated, rather than just removed and destroyed. Whether it applies to an endemic plant that has outgrown its location in a residential garden, or the need to move plants prior to earthworks being done, the DBGN has the necessary means and expertise to assist.
Seeing that some of these plants become really sizable when they reach maturity, relocating them requires structural support for plants in transit, which the DBGN can supply.
A seed bank is a facility where seeds are cataloged and stored in order to preserve genetic diversity. Seed banks are another line of insurance against catastrophic events in the plant world, as they offer a means of preserving genetic diversity in under threat plants that are ex situ. The seeds are stored in a low temperature, low moisture environment.
A herbarium is a storage facility for cataloging and systematically housing dried and pressed preserved plant specimens. The purpose of doing so is so that these specimens are available for taxonomic studies in the future. The specimens are usually mounted on to acid-free paper, but can also be stored in boxes or be preserved in alcohol.