City of Windhoek, Namibia
Windhoek City is the capital of Namibia and is situated in the Khomas Hochland Region. It lies very much in the centre of Namibia and has a population of approximately 300000 people. Windhoek is the starting point for most international travelers holiday in Namibia with Hosea Kutako International Airport located approximately 45 km’s to its east.
Accommodation in Windhoek caters for every possible traveler – from budget and affordable accommodation to up market, exclusive and luxury accommodation. Give some thought as to what kind of accommodation in Windhoek will be suitable for you and your budget. Many visitors to Windhoek prefer their accommodation to be central – the advantage is that one is reasonably close to attractions, restaurants and shops. Other visitors prefer to immediately immerse themselves in the African bush and choose their accommodation outside of Windhoek. Accommodation with spa facilities in Windhoek has also become increasingly popular for international tourists on a safari tour to Namibia.
Things to do in Windhoek:
Windhoek is a melting pot of ethniticities and cultures. Windhoek is also a blend of old colonial German architecture and modern day buildings. One just has to take a walk along Independence Avenue and one will immediately see one of Windhoek’s best known landmarks the Christus Kirche (Christ Church) which was officially completed in 1910. Directly opposite this Lutheran Church one will immediately see the relatively new Independence Memorial Museum. It contrasts starkly to the old church in that it is a modern and chic five-story triangular glass structure. Both are worth visiting especially for those tourists who want to learn more about Namibia’s national liberation struggle. Also nearby is the Alte Feste Museum which is one of the oldest buildings in Namibia. It was declared a national monument in 1957. It now houses the state museum, where the historic independence collection, reflecting events leading up to the Independence of Namibia can be seen. For those with an interest in flora a visit to the National Botanical Gardens is a must. Take a relaxed stroll through the gardens where you can see and learn about Namibia’s fascinating plants. When we last checked the entrance is for free during the week.
The ‘Tintenpalast’ is the seat of both chambers of the Parliament of Namibia, the National Council and the National Assembly. It is situated directly across the traffic circle on which the Christus Kirche is located on.
One can see quite a lot of the attractions & points of interest in Windhoek by taking a walk from Independence Avenue. You may also want to include a stroll down Post Street Mall which is just off Independence Ave. There is a host of informal traders that are scattered along this walkway selling all kinds of artwork, curios and clothing. Of particular interest is the display of meteorites from the Gibeon meteor shower. At some stage in the distant past 21 tonnes of mostly ferrous extraterrestrial boulders were deposited around the town of Gibeon in southern Namibia.
Day Trips in Windhoek:
Windhoek offers a good selection of day trips whether you want to explore the City of Windhoek or visit one of the nearby game lodges for lion feeding or game drive trips. For self-drive tourists to Namibia one can quite easily drive oneself in a hired car or 4×4 vehicles (don’t leave any valuables in the car). Take a day pack/bag with you and place whatever you require for your day trip in your bag. Windhoek is considered a safe city however like any city in the world it is advisable to take precautions. Tourists wanting to take a half or full day tour in Windhoek can also contact one of the established and reputable tour companies and they will gladly transport you and take you on the tour of your request. This also allows the traveler to Namibia to not have to concentrate on driving and one can sit back, relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings that Windhoek has to offer. One is able to view the lions being fed just outside of Windhoek at Okapuka Game Ranch. Another popular day trip is to Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary which is situated about 45 km’s to the east of Windhoek. You will be able to see a wide range of wild animals that have mostly been rescued and provided a safe sanctuary. Harnas Wildlife Foundation near Gobabis is another popular day trip and you will get a guided tour and experience lions, cheetahs, baboons, wild dogs, leopards and caracals. Don’t forget your camera.
Shopping in Windhoek:
Namibia offers many unique products for the tourist and there are many specialty shops that one can visit. For Namibian arts and crafts we strongly recommend the Namibia Craft Centre. It is centrally located in Tal Street in the Old Breweries Complex. This centre offers an enormous variety of different products and one can quite easily spend a few hours browsing the numerous different stalls.
Another worthwhile shop on Independence Ave is Bushman Art which offers a wide range of souvenirs and gifts for the loved ones at home like wood carvings, modern African Art, bronze castings, indigenous and modern jewelry. Visitors to this shop can also view the exquisite Private Museum which has been established over half a century with love and the spirit for the African Art and Culture.
If it’s leather goods that you are seeking just take a stroll down Independence Ave. Nakara offer a variety of high-quality leather garments such as belts, wallets, ostrich bags and game skins (springbok, oryx, kudu, zebra). They have built up an excellent reputation internationally and one can arrange a tour of their factory premises which is an interesting half-day tour.
Diamonds! Namibia is known internationally as producing some of the best quality diamonds in the world. It is not surprising that many international visitors to Windhoek do so with the intention of buying some of these precious stones. The Diamond Works should be your first port of call…they are located in the same complex as the Namibia Craft Centre. They also deal in Tanzanite. Well worth a visit.