Gross Barmen Resort is located around 100 km from the capital city of Windhoek, nestled on the banks of a tributary of the Swakop River. Set between rows of palm trees, green lawns and many pleasant walks, the resort is ideal for all ages. Gross Barmen includes facilities for spa & wellness, fitness, recreation, and leisure. The main attraction of the resort is the health and hydro/ medical spa centre, featuring thermal springs and providing a full range of treatments, massages, and health activities for relaxation.

History

Originally known as Otjikango (Otjiherero: “large fountain”), the site was inhabited by the Herero people. When Wesleyanmissionaries arrived in Windhoek in 1844 at the invitation of Jonker Afrikaner, Rhenish missionaries Carl Hugo Hahn and Franz Heinrich Kleinschmidt, already resident there since 1842, feared conflict and moved on to Otjikango. Here they established the first Rhenish mission station to the Herero in late 1844. They named the place Barmen after the town Barmen (today part of Wuppertal) in Germany where the headquarters of the Rhenish Missionary Society were located. The ruins of the missionary house are still visible.

At that time the road network in South West Africa was being developed under the supervision, and at the initiative, of Jonker Afrikaner. Hahn and Kleinschmidt initiated the creation of a path from Windhoek to Barmen via Okahandja, and in 1850 this road, later known as Alter Baiweg (Old Bay Path), was extended via Otjimbingwe to Walvis Bay. This route developed into an important trade connection between the coast and Windhoek and was in use until 1900, when the railway line from Swakopmund was commissioned.

Hahn taught Western farming techniques and tried to settle the Herero in Otjikango, but the Herero left the area to escape the recurrent attacks of Jonker Afrikaner’s Nama in 1850, especially following his victory at Okahandja in August 1950. Hahn was ordered to report back to Germany, but he was reassigned to Kaapstad in November 1852. Since the Wesleyan missionaries had abandoned Windhoek to Jonker’s raids, Hahn was hired to take their place but failed to secure it and arrived back in Barmen on September 13, 1853. In early 1856, he returned, but this time he settled in Otjimbingwe where the Herero had taken refuge.

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