Windhoek Travel Guide
Introduction to Windhoek
A green oasis in the interior of arid Namibia, Windhoek is its capital with a pocket sized population of just over 250,000 people. While most are content with simply flying in and out of here with little thought to what can be found here, you should know that there are a number of noteworthy attractions in this place.
Being the centre of government, museums telling this young countries’ story can be explored, surprisingly beautiful buildings influenced by this nation’s time as a German colony can be found, and a number of wilderness reserves are located within a short drive of downtown if you decide that you want to check out some wildlife one last time.
From streets named after 20th century dictators that supported this place when it was a South African possession, to the small town feeling that you’ll get from walking around this place, you’ll come away more impressed with this unassuming city than you ever thought you would.
Cultural Attractions in Windhoek
Start your time in Windhoek by learning about the nation it leads via exhibits within the National Museum of Namibia. There is a great deal of information on the trials and tribulations that Namibia has faced over its brief existence, but this place is also known for its collection of rock art.
In addition to that, there are a number of railway engines and coaches to go along with the usual assortment of indigenous artifacts and photos from olden times.
Next, be sure to check out the Christuskirche, or Christ Church. A Lutheran cathedral that was built after the wars between the Germans and regional indigenous tribes had come to an end, it came to symbolize the peace that all parties desired in the years that were to follow. Constructed as a Gothic Revival church with hints of Art Nouveau, this quartz sandstone gem is a standout building you won’t want to miss during your visit to Windhoek.
If you still have relatives to buy souvenirs for, be sure to drop by the Namibia Crafts Centre before boarding your flight back home. You won’t find any junky trinkets here – every piece of jewelry, leatherwork, pottery, etc is traced to an artist that lives within the borders of Namibia.
Other Attractions in Windhoek
Throughout the days of Apartheid, South Africa maintained the same system of racial segregation and discrimination in what is now Namibia that it imposed on the black majority at home. Katutura Township was where the black majority in Windhoek was forced to reside.
To this day, many still call this poor but vibrant neighbourhood home, despite the fact that its name literally translates to The Place Where The People Do Not Want To Live.
While tours take place during the day when it is much safer, it is advised that you do not walk around on your own, as safety can vary greatly from block to block. Guides know where they can go, so be sure to hire one if you want to see Katutura Township safely.
Want to check out some zebras one last time before heading home? Take a day trip out to the Daan Viljoen Nature Reserve, which is located a mere 18 kilometres west of Windhoek. The many trails located throughout this park will give you a chance to not only see zebras, but springboks, warthogs and birds such as the green-backed heron.
If you want to spend time out here, there are luxury lodges where you can stay, so be sure to inquire about them if you find yourself wanting to spend a night amidst the wildlife of Africa.
Finally, learn about the role of the railway in Namibia’s past by exploring the Trans-Namib Railroad Museum. Housed in Windhoek’s stunning former rail station (constructed in the Cape Dutch architectural style), highlights here include the locomotive known as Poor Old Joe.
It used to take passenger and cargo trains through this interior capital to the resort city of Swakopmund, though it has worn down considerably since its heyday.
Other exhibits contain a variety of railroad equipment, as well as information on aviation and seafaring in Namibia over the past century.