Namibia’s capital city, Windhoek, isn’t exactly Cape Town with sprawling beaches or New York with a teeming night life. But Windhoek does have something different – dubbed as the “cleanest city in Africa” – it certainly provides a pristine environment in which to browse the many attractions including the Alte Feste Museum, Windhoek Craft Centre, Joe’s Beerhouse or the Penduka Craft Village.
Namibia’s Central Highlands are dominated by its small, German-influenced capital, Windhoek, which serves as the country’s geographical heart and commercial nerve centre. Set among low hills at an elevation of 1660m, the capital city enjoys dry, clean air, a healthy highland climate, and an optimistic outlook that sets an example for all of Africa. Whether enjoying the continental flair of Independence Avenue, browsing through the numerous shops, exploring the historical buildings or searching the markets for that special Namibian memento – we know that you will enjoy the harmonious blend of African and European cultures and traditions that make up our capital city.
Windhoek’s population reflects the country’s diverse ethnic mix: on the streets you’ll see Owambo, Kavango, Herero, Damara and Caprivian people, together with Nama, San and Europeans, all contributing to the hustle and bustle – but only during working hours. While Windhoek provides about as much action as Namibia has to offer, ‘vibrant’ probably isn’t the best word to describe this surprisingly orderly capital city. This however makes it perfect as the base from which to explore the country – giving you the opportunity to settle into the rhythm that Namibians live by, and to rest after a long overnight flight.
So what can one do in Windhoek? Windhoek offers a wide range of activities providing something for every interest. The four museums offer a glimpse into the history of Namibia – the Alte Feste, Owela, Geological Survey or the Trans-Namib Railway Museums all offer different themes. For those interested in art, why not visit the National Art Gallery for some contemporary and traditional art or the Craft Centre for a wide range of atifacts from all corners of Namibia. Post Street Mall is an open air market providing a variety of of crafts from all over Africa, and located right in the cente of the city, while Penduka Craft Village in Katutura is a non-profit making development project giving woman from rural and underdeveloped areas a chance in life.
Of course Windhoek also provides a few architectural higlights. From the beatiful old Christuskirche to the small St George’s Cathedral – you are bound to find something to soothe the soul. Forming a striking landmark in central Windhoek, the Christuskirche was built in 1907. Whether you visit this church on your own or as part of group – the experience will be memorable. The Catherdral Chruch of Saint George the Martyr, is the smallest cathedral in use in the southern hemisphere, and has a very quant atmosphere. Newer buildings in Windhoek worth stopping by are the State House or the Tintinpalast, both built high up on the hillsides, watching over the city.
For those more inclined towards the natural, visit Zoo Park, a small area in the centre of Windhoek, with green grass and fountains – a rare treat in this arid country. The National Botanical Garden on the other hand, strives to protect and promote the sustanainable utilisation of Namibian flora. It functions as both an educational and recreational nature faciltiy for Namibians and vistors alike, offering a variety of hiking trials to stretch those jet-lagged legs.
Windhoek also offers a variety of guided tours. A City Tour (3hours) visiting all the main attractions, view points over the citys, historic buildings and monuments, including the Katatura and Khomasdal suburbs is on offer, or perhaps enjoy a City Tour combined with the Penduka Project (half day). If your time to Namibia is limited and it prevents you from travelling to the Etosha National Park, the Big Cat Cabaret (full day), the Ombo Ostrich Farm (half day) or the Auas Game Lodge (full day) all offer a variety of animals and environments to be seen.
For the more adventurous traveller – a scenic flight to various destinations comes highly recommended to explore this beautiful, yet isolated country from the air.
Windhoek has plenty to offer on the accommodation front. If you prefer some old fashioned luxury – the Heinitzburg Hotel will answer your every need, while Olive Grove Guesthouse will entertain body and soul in its simply elegant accommodation. The Elegant Guest House and Bandamp;B both offer an intimate experience making it feel like your home away from home. Rivendell Guesthouse is walking distance from the city centre, with an always friendly 4-legged guard to make you feel at welcome. The choices are endless and the variety quite staggering.
Not to be forgotten is the wide array of restuarants in Windhoek – from the ever popular Joe’s Beerhouse to the much loved Am Winberg, Windhoek hosts a feast of variety.
Windhoek offers the perfect base to begin or end your Namibian journey. Settle into the Namibian rhythm and enjoy the city’s clear skies, hot summer nights and fresh winter mornings