The Ultimate Guide to visiting Windhoek
Sandwiched between the glorious Auas Mountains to the east and the majestic Khomas Hocland Plateau to the west, the city of Windhoek, the Namibian capital, serves as the desert nation’s cosmopolitan centre.
Boasting a magical mix of German-inspired architecture coupled with modern skyscrapers and all the amenities afforded by a modern metropolis, this small yet vibrant city is bursting with culture, cuisine and entertainment and is the perfect stopover point or launching pad for travellers embarking on their Namibian adventure.
With plenty to see and do in this charming city we’ve put together this handy guide that details all you need to know before you jet off to the Namibian capital. From things to do and sights to see, to cuisine, the best time to explore and more, here’s the Secret Namibia guide to visiting Windhoek:
When is the best time to visit Windhoek?
Windhoek has an altitude of over 1500m meaning that the capital manages to evade the really hot temperatures sometimes associated with other arid areas of the country. In fact, daytime temperatures rarely exceed 30 degrees in the summer, and barely dip below 10 degrees in the winter, so it’s a pleasant place to visit weather-wise all-year-round.
Although Windhoek is an all-year-round destination, typically most tourists tend to visit during June-October, known as the ‘Dry Season’ where rainfall is generally rare.
How to get there
Windhoek is situated slap-bang in the middle of the country, which makes it an ideal starting point for any tour of Namibia. The capital serves as the perfect stopover on the way to visiting some of the nation’s most incredible attractions, including Etosha National Park, the striking Sossusvlei and Deadvlei, Namib-Naukluft National Park, and the famed Skeleton Coast.
Windhoek is very well connected with Hosea Kutako International Airport located around 45 minutes’ drive away and the city boasts great road links to all of the destinations listed above.
Things to do in Windhoek
As you may expect from a vibrant capital, Windhoek is bursting full of dozens of activities and attractions for couples, families or solo travellers to enjoy. Stroll through the charming streets and you will be greeted by striking German-inspired forts, monuments, and churches, nestled amongst some incredible museums, open-air markets and European-style cafes.
For a slice of history swing by Alte Feste, the oldest building in Windhoek, which dates back to the late 1800’s. This majestic building was previously used by the German colonial troops but it now houses the National Museum of Namibia, a place where the country’s journey to independence is chronicled. You’ll even encounter some amazing fossils as you explore the museum as well as artwork by the revered Christine Marais, a South African illustrator noted for her stunning drawings of the Namibian environment.
Want to take a walk down Windhoek’s past? Take a tour of the inspiring Katutura, an area that once was the designated zone for black people during South African rule but is now a vibrant and dynamic neighbourhood that lies north of the city centre.
Further, make sure you head to Windhoek’s iconic Christuskirche- a German Lutheran church rich in art nouveau and neo-gothic design elements that must be seen up close to be truly appreciated. Finally, take a trip to Zoo Park and set your sights on some more German-inspired architectural wonders including Gathemann’s Complex, the Old Magistrate’s Court and the Turnhalle Building.
Where to eat in Windhoek
Windhoek is renowned for its vibrant and eclectic culinary scene and the city features a mix of excellent restaurants, bars and beer houses that offer scrumptious food and good times!
As you may expect from a former German-colonial town, European influence on food remains strong and you will find plenty of German restaurants as well as Italian and Spanish eateries scattered across town. Meat features prominently in many of the city’s most popular restaurants, although some vegetarian/vegan options are available, and you’ll find some of the best food spots over in Klein Windhoek.
If you are looking to sample some authentic Namibian food that large swathes of the locals eat, head to the Xwama Traditional Restaurant in Katutura or sample some street food as you explore the city on foot.
Where to stay in Windhoek
Visitors the Windhoek will be pleased to know that there are plenty of comfortable accommodation options available to suit all tastes and budgets, including an abundance of affordable family-run guesthouses, self-catering chalets and contemporary hotels.
Most of the luxury guesthouses, that feature amenities such as spas and swimming pools, are located in the charming eastern suburbs of Eros Park, Klein Windhoek and Ludwigsdorf- and all of these places are just a short drive away from the city centre (typically 10 minutes).
Mid-scale to inexpensive lodgings can be found in areas such as Windhoek West, which is located just west of the town centre.
Travellers use Windhoek as a launchpad for exploring Namibia’s natural wonders, including the incredible sand dunes of Sossusvlei, the African elephants of Damaraland and the eerie Skeleton Coast. Get in touch today with Secret Namibia today to book your bespoke self-drive safari tour, or private-guided holiday, which can include a visit to charming Windhoek.