The South West Nature Reserve, better known as the National Botanical Garden, is located in the heart of Windhoek. The area was originally earmarked as a nature park, but lack of funding resulted in this project not materialising. In 1990, the National Botanical Research Institute (NBRI) moved into the buildings adjacent to the reserve and developed the area as a botanical garden funded  by the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, to which the NBRI belongs.

The garden is aimed at protecting and promoting the sustainable use of Namibian flora, with an emphasis on education and recreation. Most of the garden has not been landscaped. This is to conserve water and present plants in their natural environment, allowing visitors to learn about indigenous vegetation and water-wise gardening.

The Desert House, where fascinating plants from the Namib Desert are displayed, was added in 2007. Other features include a dense stand of the Windhoek aloe (Aloe littoralis), the symbol of the city of Windhoek and the Lily Walk, which attracts visitors when the plants are in bloom during April.

Park size: 0.12 km²

Proclamation: 1970

Natural features: Koppies characteristic of Windhoek with indigenous vegetation.

Vegetation: Tree and Shrub Savannah Biome. Vegetation type: Highland Shrubland. More than  200 plants species in the gardens, and 365 plant species in the Desert House. Quiver tree (Aloe dichotoma), bottle tree (Pachypodium lealii), stone plants (Lithops spp) Bushman’s candle (Sarcocaulon patersonii), Halfmens (Pachypodium namaquanum).

Wildlife: Rock hyrax, variety of small mammals and reptiles. 75 bird species recorded, including White-tailed Shrike, Monteiro’s Hornbill, Rockrunner.

Tourism: Self-guided walking trails, Common plants are labelled, Bird and plant  lists  available at reception. Picnic area. Open Monday to Friday, from 8:00 until 17:00 plus every first Saturday of the month from 8:00 to 11:00.