The garden land was donated to the Government by the City Council of Windhoek in October 1969 and was originally earmarked as a nature reserve. Initial development started in the early 1970s with the construction of walking trails, a stormwater system, and a dam. Unfortunately, due to a lack of funds, the then Department of Nature Conservation had to terminate all development activities and the garden was abandoned. When the National Botanical Research Institute (NBRI) moved to the buildings adjacent to the reserve in 1990, the idea was born to develop the area as a Botanic Garden. The Botanic Garden strives to protect and promote the Namibian flora and to function as an educational and recreational facility for Namibians and visitors alike. It is the only one of its kind in the country and focuses exclusively on Namibian plants. Unlike many other botanical gardens, the larger part of the garden has not been landscaped. The reason for this is to conserve water and emphasise plants in their natural environment, thus allowing students and visitors to learn more about the vegetation around Windhoek, known as highland savanna.
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