Things to see and do in Windhoek, Namibia
Windhoek is Namibia’s capital and largest city. It is located on the Khomas Highland plateau area almost exactly in the middle of the country.
The population of Windhoek is well over 300 000 people and continues to grow as people flock to the city’s businesses and industries for employment. Almost every enterprise, governmental body, educational and cultural institution in Namibia has its headquarters in the capital city.
As such, Namibia is a progressive, modern city with a good infrastructure.
History of Windhoek
The first settlers to Windhoek arrived in 1840 when Jonker Afrikaner established an Orlam settlement near the hot springs in the area. He constructed a stone church at its heart and for a while the fledgling city thrived. The springs allowed for the cultivation of crops and gardens and life was good for the Orlam (Nama) settlers to begin with.
However, these fertile lands became the subject of ongoing conflict between these settlers and the neighbouring Herero tribes. Eventually, this warfare led to the destruction and abandonment of the settlement. By 1873, this once prosperous place was visited only by wild animals passing through.
Although Britain annexed Walvis Bay in 1878, they did not venture into the interior and in 1884, Germany declared a protectorate over most of this area. When these German colonial borders were defined in 1890, Major Curt von François established his base at Windhoek – using it as a strategic buffer between the warring Herero and Nama people.
Windhoek was on its way up again and formally established on 18 October 1890, when von François laid the foundation stone of the Alte Fest (Old Fortress). With the reliable springs at its heart, Windhoek once again became a thriving community, attracting immigrants from the nearby countryside as well as from Germany and South Africa.
During World War I Germany lost the city to South African troops acting on behalf of the British Empire, and was administered by South Africa until independence was achieved in 1990.
Windhoek is the obvious choice for travellers arriving and departing the country via the Hosea Kutako International Airport located just 40 km away. On the other side of town, the smaller Eros Airport is just 5km from the CBD and is a hub for chartered and domestic flights.
Thanks to these two entry points, many visitors to Namibia spend a night or two in the capital before and after their journeys around the country.
Windhoek offers a wide variety of accommodation establishments to cater to these travellers. You will find no shortage of hotels, bed and breakfast accommodation, self-catering apartments, travel lodges and campsites in the capital city.
Restaurants offer a taste of traditional Namibian, German and international cuisine as well as all your favourite steakhouses and fast food outlets. Malls and shops are in no short supply and you will find a few places to party the night away or enjoy a pint or two with the locals.
All the major banks are represented in Windhoek and you will find that everything you need is easy to come by. Car, motorbike and camping gear can be hired to use during your holiday from several outlets. All the basics such as medical facilities, pharmacies and filling stations are easily accessible in Windhoek.
Things to See and Do in Windhoek
The city has many interesting facets for tourists to enjoy. Historical sites include those dedicated to the days of colonial rule, including the original Alte Feste, as well as home-bred cultural icons.
Many of Windhoek’s buildings are beautifully preserved examples of European architecture. The city has no less than 3 castles to admire and many immaculate old churches and government buildings.
Art galleries and museums can be enjoyed both indoors and out in Windhoek and there are beautiful gardens for strolling in at the Parliament and Botanical Gardens.
Other amusements include a lush 18-hole golf course on the outskirts of town close to Arebbusch Travel Lodge. Nearby, a go karting track, laser tag and a water park offer outdoor fun for all ages.
Being centrally located, Windhoek is the perfect starting point for visiting the Skeleton Coast, Fish River Canyon, Sossusvlei, Etosha National Park and all the other incredible destinations that this interesting country has to offer.
Please Note: The details shared herein were correct at the time of publishing. However, with time some of this information may change. We recommend confirming information with suppliers prior to making final travel arrangements. If you do happen to find an issue with any information we’ve shared here, please feel free to contact us so that we can make the relevant changes.