There are two resorts close to Okahandja, both run by the NWR. These are primarily used as weekend get-aways by the local urbanites – though if you are passing and need somewhere cheap to stay, they are fine.
Von Bach Recreational Resort
Von Bach Dam supplies most of the capital's water, and is surrounded by a nature reserve. It is signposted a few kilometres along the D2102 just south of Okahandja, and 1km south of the bridge over the Okahandja River. The environment here is thorn-scrub and particularly hilly, supporting game including kudu, baboon and leopard, as well as Hartmann's mountain zebra, springbok, eland and even ostrich. However, with only one road through the park they are all very difficult to spot. Don't come here just for the game.
If you are camping, then there are campsites and a couple of very basic two-bed huts, without bedding or facilities (you must use the campers' communal ablution blocks). Reservations can be made through the NWR in Windhoek, and day-visitors must phone 062 501457 in advance if they want to drop in.Rates: camping N$110 per pitch. The huts are N$120 per hut. Entrance fees: N$10 per adult (N$2 per child) per day, plus N$10 entry per car. Open: all year – though gates open at sunrise and close at sunset.
Gross Barmen Hot Springs
This busy resort has a shop, restaurant, filling station and tennis courts, as well as the mineral spa fed by the hot thermal springs. It is built around a dam about 25km southwest of Okahandja, on the banks of the Swakop River, and is easily reached from the town's southern side along the C87.
What to see and do
Gross Barmen's main attraction is its mineral spring, and swimming baths. The fountain here, clearly visible, wells up at about 65°C. It feeds the inside 'thermal hall' with its sunken baths for overnight visitors, as well as the cooler outside pools (for children and adults) which are used mainly by the day-visitors, who are especially numerous at weekends.
Additional attractions are some gentle walks in the surrounding hillsides and, especially for birdwatchers, a good little path cut right through the reedbeds. These all make pleasant strolls, and a couple of benches make good vantage points over the dam whilst you rest.
Where to stay
Accommodation here includes five-bedded bungalows, two-bed bungalows or rooms, and campsites. All have a fridge/kettle, hot-plate, en-suite shower and toilet, and linen and bedding is provided. The two-bed bungalows also have field kitchens.
Book these through the NWR in Windhoek, and note that day visitors must phone 062 501091 in advance, to arrange their visits.Rates: N$360 for a 5-bed and N$220 for a 2-bed bungalow, N$140 for a 2-bed room, or N$690 for a luxury suite. Camping sites N$110 per day, for up to 8 people. Entry fee: N$20 per adult (N$10 child) per day, plus N$10 entry for a car. Open: all year – gates always open for those with reservations.