Windhoek is the capital city of Namibia, the country with the smallest population in Africa due to its vast size, much of it covered by desert. For many travelers Windhoek is nothing more than a transit city, a place to fly in to, collect a 4 x 4 rental and leave for the attractions of Sossusvlei or Etosha Pan.
Set amidst rolling hills the city and suburbs span about 14 kilometers north to south and roughly 7 kilometers east to west. With a population of under 300 000 people, traffic is never an issue and getting anywhere does not take long. The city is clean, well structured and has a diverse range of cultural attractions, architecture and entertainment. Previously known as South West Africa, Namibia gained independence in 1990 and is since then has it has enjoyed uninterrupted peace and stability, a rare status on the African continent.
Hot days and warm nights make it a city worthy of a few days of exploration before or after a wild African experience.
Be a culture vulture.
Heroes Acre is situated on the southern outskirts of the city and it a celebration of all who played a role in the long and difficult road to democracy. Located on a hill in a rural setting it is a peaceful place for quiet contemplation and to admire the views as birds call, small creatures scuttle in the bush and the city is spread out in the distance. The imposing 8 metre high statue of the unknown soldier, and beneath it, the grave of the unknown soldier, serve as a memorial to all who died during the war of independence. The 36 metre tower represents a sword and symbolises the strength, bravery and dedication of the Namibian people, while the bronze frieze at the base depicts the history of the struggle. There is a restaurant on site for refreshments after climbing the multiple stairs in the hot African sunshine.
The Independence Memorial Museum in the CBD is a tall modern structure opened in 2014. The restaurant and shop have viewing decks on all 4 sides and the glass lifts show off the city perfectly. The lower levels showcase the history of colonial repression, the liberation struggle and the road to independence.
The Christuskirche is opposite the Independence Museum. It was built in 1910 and is one of the iconic landmarks in Windhoek. The architecture is neo Romanic with an art deco influence and the stained glass windows and decorative detail inside the church are part of the rich German history of the city.
In the same street as the church is the old fort, or Alte Feste. Now a national monument, it has been the headquarters of South African and German troops as well as a hostel for the local high school.
Katutura Cycling Tour.
Katutura is a township 8 kilometers north of the CBD. It was established before independence by the South African Apartheid government as part of their black segregation program which resulted in forced removals. Katutura means “we will never settle here”.
Today Katutura is a lively community that welcomes visitors to craft and food markets, traditional restaurants and recreational areas and Eveline Street, “the street that never sleeps”.
Shop till you drop.
The Carl List Mall is home to exclusive local boutique shops and international brands for the discerning shopper and lover of quality items.
The Old Breweries Craft Market is a collection of rather touristy curio outlets and restaurants set in the old brewery building. South Africans will not find anything they can’t buy at home, but for other visitors there is a wide variety of quality curios, mementos, clothing and books for sale. The Namibia Craft Centre in the complex is well worth a visit as they support crafters from far flung rural communities, providing life changing opportunities.
Bushman Art Gallery and Afrikan Museum has a fascinating collection of African masks, carvings, jewellery and domestic items on display and available to purchase. These items reflect the cultures of local tribes.
Windhoek has several fairly large shopping malls where you will find supermarkets, chemists, retail chains, restaurants and coffee shops. Maerua, The Grove, Wernhill, Town Square and Post Street and Khomas Grove Mall are the most popular ones to visit.
Eat, drink and be merry.
A drink or meal at Joe’s Beerhouse and evening cocktails at the Hilton Sky Bar are mandatory when visiting Windhoek, but there are many excellent restaurants and pubs dotted around the city.
Live like a local.
Meet the locals at these popular spots.
The Stellenbosch Wine Bar and Bistro for great food and excellent South African wines.
For fine dining indoors or on the terrace, the Am Weinberg Estate offers a sophisticated dining experience.
Andy’s Pub for excellent pizza and beer in a relaxed environment.
Slowtown Coffee for a great brew with breakfast or a snack while you watch the world go by on the main street.
For German style coffee and eats visit the Fresh n Wild coffee shop.
The Elisenheim Farmers kitchen is a 10 minute drive out of town. Family friendly it opens at 4 pm and is an excellent spot for a cold beer and hearty meal served inside or outdoors in an awesome rural setting.
The Sardinia Blue Olive restaurant is a firm favourite with locals for great Italian cuisine.
Fast facts about Windhoek.
Currency: Namibian Dollars and South African Rand’s are accepted in Windhoek. Most major credit cards are accepted in the city.
Water: The tap water in Windhoek is safe to drink.
Language: English is the official language, and German is spoken by many in Windhoek.
Cost of living: Windhoek offers excellent value for money for any visitor with BP, USD or Euros as the exchange rate ranges between 14 and 18 to 1.
Access: Hosea Kutako International Airport serves the city of Windhoek and is situated 45 kilometers east of the city. It handles daily international flights from Africa, Europe and the Middle East.
Climate: The climate in Windhoek is generally hot and dry although it can get humid during the summer months.The nights can be extremely hot in summer making air conditioned accommodation vital to anyone unaccustomed to the heat.
Summer is from October to April with temperatures ranging between 20 and 34 C. Winter is from May to September where temperatures fluctuate between 18 and 25 C during the day but can drop to 0 C at night.
All information on this blog page was correct at the time of publishing and may change at any time without prior notice. Travelstart will not be held liable for loss or inconvenience resulting from the use of out-dated or incorrectly noted information.