National Botanical Garden
An interesting tourist attraction and centre for environmental education, the National Botanical Garden of Namibia (NBGN), was opened in Windhoek during 2000. The garden, which extends over an area of 11 hectares and is managed by the National Botanic Research Institute (NBRI), can be seen on the right (before the cutting) when driving from Klein Windhoek along Sam Nujoma Drive towards town. It is accessed from the NBRI at 8 Orban Street, and is open to the public from Monday to Friday during office hours (8:00 to 17:00).
Visitors can explore the garden along a number of self-guided trails, along which the more common plants are clearly marked and identified. The emphasis is placed on how the plants grow in their natural environment, serving to educate students and the general public on Namibia's vegetation, particularly the way it grows naturally in the surroundings of Windhoek. Namibia's densest stand of Aloe littoralis, the symbol of the city of Windhoek, can be seen in the garden, the bright orange-red flowers providing a vibrant display during April and May.
Art and culture
Windhoek has an active and lively community of art and crafts people. Galleries where exhibitions are held regularly and art can be viewed and purchased are the National Art Gallery of Namibia (NAGN) on the comer of John Meinert Street and Robert Mugabe Avenue and the Yebo Gallery in the John Muafangejo Art Centre (JMAC) in Katutura. JMAC offers a lively annual programme of courses in disciplines such as basic and advanced printmaking, basic and live drawing and ceramics. The NAGN's Permanent Collection is well worth viewing, as it contains a wide spectrum of historical as well as contemporary Namibian art and crafts. Numerous and varied cultural events take place in the Main Gallery, Studio, Upper Studio and foyer.
Commercial galleries that display and sell local art and crafts are Atelier Kendzia at 14 Volans Street in Windhoek West, House of Art in the Maerua Mall shopping complex, and the Omba Gallery in the Namibia Craft Centre in the Old Breweries Building in Tal Street. A large number of curio shops stock local crafts as well as work from other African countries.
The National Library of Namibia has a wide selection of reference books on the history and other aspects of the country. The Namibia Scientific Society also has a well-stocked library for specialised reading, as well as the full range of its own publications, which can be purchased at a modest price. A special service performed by the National Archives of Namibia is the compilation of source publications on various
aspects of the country. These can also be purchased. The Windhoek Public Library offers special lending facilities for visitors.
The Warehouse in the historical Old Breweries Building is an avant-garde theatre that presents plays and live music, including jazz. blues and cabaret. Performances by the Windhoek Symphony Orchestra, as well as ballet, opera and theatre, also from South Africa, are staged by the National Theatre of Namibia at the NTN theatre in Robert Mugabe Avenue.
The NTN collaborates closely with the Franco-Namibian Cultural Centre, which imports internationally acclaimed theatrical productions from other African countries, Europe and the island of Reunion. The College for the Arts and the Performing Arts Department of the University of Namibia (UNAM) present programmes ranging from music recitals to art, drama, ballet and experimental theatre.
Windhoek has numerous bars and several nightspots where music is played until all hours of the morning. For film enthusiasts, the Ster Kinekor complex at Maerua Park has five small auditoriums. Also at Maerua Park is an entertainment centre for children, video outlet, several restaurants and Virgin Active, with its squash courts, fully equipped gymnasium and heated indoor swimming pool.