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Windhoek

What can I expect from Windhoek?

Windhoek is the capital city of Namibia, and our hometown, it is conveniently situated in the geographical middle of the country. Most tourists arrive via the Windhoek (Hosea Kutako) International Airport, and the city serves as the ideal place to arrange logistics before departing on your holiday.

If we’re honest, Windhoek is not the most exciting city in the world. It has its share of restaurants, shopping malls and a few historical buildings. But, although we love the laid back lifestyle living here affords us, we won’t feel offended if you use it as a base to collect your rental car, purchase provisions, catch up on some sleep and then head off on your Namibian adventure.

Things to See and Do in Windhoek

Visit the beautiful Christus Kirche Church
See the TintenPalast (Houses of Parliment)
Buy provisions (be sure to stock up on biltong!)
Discover out divided history on a township tour
The National Art Gallery is well curated
Drink a Windhoek Lager (or 5!)
Visit the Craft Centre for local handicraft and art
The National Museum is in the AlteFeste (Old Fort)
Have dinner at Joe's Beer House
Windhoek skyline

Windhoek skyline

Windhoek railway station

Windhoek train station

The Basics

Accommodation – Windhoek has a good variety of accommodation establishments encompassing large hotels, castles, older German Pensions (small hotels) & excellent guest houses.  For those on a bit of a budget the city is a good location to save on accommodation which can be used to upgrade in a more spectacular location.

Food – The variety of cusines available has increased dramatically in recent years. Typically Namibians eat a LOT of meat and most restaurants cater accordingly.  Several years ago we wrote that ‘Vegetables are not popular amongst the majority of Namibians, and are viewed as the poison of the cultural imperialists.’- on the face of it this view has mellowed slightly, but we like to beleive it is still largely valid.

Drink – More than we love our meat, Windhoekers love a drink.  Beer is a perennial favourite as this is a hot, dry city surrounded by vast deserts. No visit is complete without downing a few cold Windhoek Lagers (or draughts – we’re not fussy!) For the wine lovers most restaurants (and bottle stores / off-licenses) have an excellent selection of South African wines.   The usual spirits are available and nothing beats a Gin & Tonic after a long day of holidaying (or writing blog posts, please excuse me as I go and pour myself a G&T)

Transportation – Public transport is abysmal. Nearly everyone has a car and uses it. Windhoek is still a place where if you can’t park outside the location you want to visit; you drive around the block until a one becomes available.  If you’re walking  – then odds are you are a tourist!   If you don’t have a car there is no bus or train service; your options are limited to taxis of which there are three varieties:

Local Taxis - these work a lot like a bus service (in sedan vehicles) - they run along a route, stop at will to collect passengers, everyone shares the taxi, and charge for the distance travelled
Radio Taxis - you can phone for a cab and sometimes it will come and collect you.
LEFA - our local version of Uber. Sponsored by the Namibian Breweries and currently very reliable. Download the App - be warned it is cash only
Paradise whydah in Windhoek

Local Tips

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Stay Safe The risk of becoming a victim of crime in Windhoek is not usually serious as long as you take some precautions. Don't leave valuables in your vehicles, don't carry your camera and large sums of money around the city centre and don't walk after dark (use a taxi or drive).
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Enjoy our Diversity Windhoek is a melting pot of cultures – Namibia's eleven different ethnic groups and a vast array of foreign cultures collide in Windhoek. Unfortunately, many of us are insular and tend to hang out in our own circles, but you're not from Windhoek so get out there – meet people, go to weird parties (invariably these will involve meat being cremated) and shabeens (bars!). The one thing all Windhoeker's all have in common is a friendly disposition and eagerness to make everyone feel at home.
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Dine Alfresco Dine Alfresco - we may not have mentioned it, but the weather here is pretty terrific. Yes, it gets a little hot in summer, and we complain its cold in winter – but in global terms, few cities offer better all-year-round weather. If you book a table at a restaurant and they offer you a table inside or outside – don't think book outside. If they cannot provide you an outside table – go somewhere else!
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Enjoy the Birdlife there are over 300 species of birds found around Windhoek. Many of them are endemic, and most are bright and beautiful. Avis Dam, just outside town on the airport road is a birding hotspot (and has a resident aardvark – amongst other animals). If you ask nicely, Rachael may take you out there on a walk with the dogs.

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