Windhoek Travel Guide

Photo of Windhoek

Windhoek Overview

Windhoek, the laidback and captivatingly multicultural capital of Namibia, sits slap bang in the heart of the country, within the Khomas Highland hills region. At just over 100 years old, this German influenced city, encompassed by the stunning Eros and Auas Mountains, is relatively young, and yet still boasts an interesting history to compliment its modern emergence.

 
Being a comparatively small city makes Windhoek easily manageable for visitors. Independence Avenue, running north from Ausspannplatz, is where the main action takes place and its adjoining streets are home to some interesting works of architecture, counting the parliament buildings of Tintenpalast, the Old Magistrates Court and the Kaiserliche Realschule, the citys first German primary school on the corner of the uniquely named Fidel Castro Street and Robert Mugabe Avenue.
 
The multi-ethnic side of the city is forever open for the eye to see, with Europeans and coloureds mixing alongside Owambo, Kavango and Herero people, amongst others. Two places in the city where this mix is prominent are at Post Street Mall, a colourful shopping district of street vendors, and the Katutura township. At the north end of Independence Avenue, Katutura, founded in 1961, with its buzzing Soweto Market, is relatively safe as far as townships go. Seeking out a local to act as a guide is the best way to experience this unique area.
 
The city could not be more in the middle of the country if it tried, therefore domestic and international transport links are excellent. The train station, on Banhof Street, which, with its Cape Dutch style, is an attraction in itself, serves destinations across Namibia, including Gobabib, Keetmanshoop, Tsumeb and Swakopmund. For buses, the main stand, on Fidel Castro Street, sees departures for Cape Town, Johannesburg, and Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. Remember, travelling times can be long and gruelling in Namibia so think wisely when arranging trips. Finally, Windhoek has 2 airports, Eros, 2km south of the centre, for domestic flights and Chief Hosea Kutako International, around 40km east, for flights to South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe as well as weekly services to London and Frankfurt.
 

Windhoek is a pleasant city to enjoy on foot, with the majority of sights, restaurants, hotels and markets concentrated within the same area. The starting point for many Namibian safaris, it is a great city to explore and soak up the charming cosmopolitan feel often lacking in other African destinations.

Things to do in Windhoek

Christuskirche - Windhoeks most well-known monument, is this century old impressive sandstone Lutheran church, built in a gothic revival style and sitting at the top of, the perhaps bizarrely named, Fidel Castro Street.

 
Castles - South of the city centre and uphill from Robert Mugabe Avenue are 3 striking castles. Schwerinsburg Castle, built in 1913 is the biggest and today serves as the residence for the Italian ambassador. Heinitzburg Castle was constructed in 1914 and is now home to a hotel and restaurant. Sanderburg Castle, the smallest of the three and built in 1917, possesses certain medieval attributes and is a private residence.
 
Daan Viljoen Game Park - 18km west of Windhoek in the picturesque Khomas Hochland hills is this small yet delightful game park. With the absence of perilous animals, it is possible to wander at will within the hills and valleys, whilst spotting the likes of mountain zebras, gemsboks, springboks and a plethora of birdlife. A number of walking trails, of varying length and difficulty, weave their way through the park. Check for details with Namibia Wildlife Resorts.
 
Museums in Windhoek - Windhoeks rich heritage and historical roots are superbly portrayed in a number of museums around the city. Inside the Alte Feste, the oldest building in the city (1890-92), is the National Museum of Namibia, with indigenous artefacts and displays of colonial items, and the Owela Museum, concentrating on the countrys natural history. Also worth checking out is the Trans-Namib Transport Museum, detailing the history of Namibian transport.
 
National Art Gallery - Fantastic display of artworks, giving an insight into Namibias history and culture. Opening times are 9am - 5pm, Monday to Friday, & 9am -11am, Saturday.
 
Windhoek Nightlife - Windhoek boasts a good range of drinking and dancing establishments, all with an emphasis on African beats. Popular spots include, the Warehouse Theatre, Tal Street, for live African and European music, Chez Ntemba, Uhland Street, jumping to the sounds of Southern Africa, and Jose Beer Garden, a great place to mix with locals and fellow travellers. For the brave, Club Thriller in the Katutura township is one of the most happening joints in town.

Hotels in Windhoek

Budget Hotels Windhoek

Cardboard Box Backpackers - Ever popular hostel with great swimming pool and pool bar. Tel (264) (61) 228994.
Chameleon Guesthouse - Quieter backpackers option and just a short walk from the city centre. Tel (264) (61) 244347.
Puccini Guest House - Pleasant and comfortable lodgings with a nice garden. Tel (264) (61) 236555.
 
Midrange Hotels Windhoek
Haus Ol-Ga - Tranquil guesthouse away from the city centre. Tel (264) (61) 235853.
Rivendell Guest House - Welcoming guesthouse close to the heart of the city. Tel (264) (61) 250006.
 
Luxury Hotels Windhoek
Kalahari Sands Hotel - Luxury rooms slap bang in the city centre and with attached casino and small shopping mall. Tel (264) (61) 2800000.
Windhoek Country Club Resort - With all the services one could imagine, this flashy resort mirrors something out of Las Vegas. Tel (264) (61) 2055911

Windhoek Weather

Windhoek Travel Resources

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