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Introducing Windhoek: the charming Namibian Capital

Namibia in Southwest Africa may be synonymous with gigantic dunes, world heritage sites like Namib Sand Sea and national parks teeming with wildlife but that shouldn’t overshadow the endless charm of the cosmopolitan capital Windhoek.

Encircled by the glorious Auas Mountains to the east, and the Khomas Hochland Plateau to the west, Windhoek is a thriving city bursting full of vibrant restaurants, contemporary hotels, modern shopping plazas and incredible historical attractions.

With a warm and comfortable climate (temperatures rarely top 30 degrees in the summer) it’s a destination that can be visited all year round. If you’re passing through the capital on a Namibia safari then check out our guide bellow for details on where to stay, what to do and more.

Where to stay

From large guesthouses and fancy hotels, through to self-serving chalets and traveller hostels, Windhoek has an accommodation option to suit all tastes and budgets.

Head to the affluent suburbs of Ludwigsdorfs and Klein Windhoek where you’ll find a range of upmarket hotels, many of which boast excellent restaurants, indoor swimming pools and a whole host of other luxury amenities.

If you’re a backpacker, or you just want to find a relatively cheap bed for the night then check out the lodges at Windhoek west, which is a short walk away from the city’s main streets. Pioneers park, which is a short drive away from the capital is also a budget-friendly accommodation option. Here you’ll find comfortable rooms and and you’ll find plenty of places close by to grab dinner or breakfast nearby.

Attractions and Activities

Parliament Gardens

Located in the heart of the city centre you’ll find the delightfully landscaped Parliament Gardens. Pack up you picnic blanket and head to the Tintenpalast, the home of Namibia’s parliament, and from here you’ll be able to access these beautiful grounds.

Lunchtimes, and weekends, get quite busy here given that the students from the nearby University flock to the lawns after class. However, if you don’t mind sharing the grass with the locals, you’ll have a great time killing a few hours and watching the world go buy.

Be sure to take a few photos of the thatched clubhouse which is totally charming, and you can even have a game of bowls on the bowling green nearby.

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Khomas Hochland Hiking Trail

From a walk in the park to something a little more challenging; do you have what it takes to complete the epic Thomas Khomas Hochland hiking trail?

Covering an area of 91km, this trail-which typically takes six days to complete- will transport you through Namibia’s iconic landscapes. Trek through thornbush scrubs, dense grasslands and rocky mountains as you explore some of Namibia’s famous natural landscapes.

Although the trail is physically demanding you’ll be glad you made the effort. During your hike you’ll encounter an abundance of fascinating wildlife without having to travel to the famous Etosha National Park. Stop to admire animals including mountain zebra, baboons, kudu, oryx and springbok. You’ll also get the chance to marvel at some incredible views from an array of different vantage points.

The hiking trail entrance can be found a short drive from Windhoek; make sure you pack plenty of essentials including food, water and hiking gear.

The Gibeon Meteorite

If you’re a history or geography buff make sure you check out the Gibeon Meteorite Fountain sculpture, a simply awe-inspiring monument that contains genuine lumps of iron-rich meteorite which are thought to have derived from the biggest meteor shower to ever hit earth.

Six million years ago a meteorite landed in a place called Gibeon, from which the name derives, and over the years many native Namibian tribes used to fashion weapons and utensils out of these space rocks. 

In 2004, the Namibian government banned the removal of meteorite material but still plenty make their way out the country. In fact, ‘meteorite smuggling’ is big business, and samples from the site have been known to fetch thousands of dollars on online auction sites.

Food in Windhoek

After a long day shopping in the capital’s many markets, or strolling around Parliament Gardens, you may have worked up a bit of an appetite. The good news is that Windhoek boasts a plethora of brilliant restaurants that cater for a variety of different culinary preferences.

Owing to its German colonial roots, modern European food is widely served in lots of the capital’s restaurants- with German staples easy to find. In a nod to neighbouring South Africa, meat also features prominently on the city’s restaurant scene, and you won’t be hard pressed to find a decent steak.

Most of Windhoek’s best food spots are in Klein Windhoek, where you can dine alfresco or retreat to the comfort of an air-conditioned restaurant. If you’re after a tase of traditional Namibian cuisine, then head to Xwama restaurant in Katutura or try some street food at the capital’s bustling markets.