Windhoek Budget Travel

Namibia's capital city, Windhoek is the cultural, economic and social centre of Namibia.

About Windhoek

In Windhoek a rich mix of African and German elements blend together to create a unique and interesting city.

Old colonial German buildings stand side-by-side with modern structures  in the city centre. 

Windhoek's colonial German influence is present in the cuisine too, with sausage and sauerkraut on offer, along with locally-brewed beer. Visiting Windhoek you will also encounter the vibrant and colourful African cultures that meet here.

The largest city in Namibia, Windhoek is a small capital city by global standards and is known as a clean and safe travel destination.

Windhoek Today

Windhoek is home to around 200 thousand people, despite a marked population increase over recent years.

Namibia's only international airport is located in this small capital city, another reason Windhoek is the most popular starting and ending point for travel in Namibia

This is not a typical African city with the European influences and numerous colonial German buildings found in Windhoek's city centre. 

Namibia's diverse ethnic mix can be seen on the streets of Windhoek, where Owambo, Kavango, Herero, Damara, Caprivian, Nama and San people go about their daily lives.

During the day the city bustles with activity as people of all ages and walks of life make their way through the streets.

Windhoek has a European cafe culture, good restaurants and a growing nightlife. German cuisine can be enjoyed along with local dishes, such as seafood from Namibia's west coast and venison or game steaks.

Namibia's brewing industry is in Windhoek, known as an extremely clean and by a large trouble free city. 

Windhoek Attractions

Windhoek offers a variety of sightseeing attractions, most notably the historic colonial sites and architecture in the city.

Windhoek Attractions include:

  • Windhoek Central Railway Station 
  • Alte Feste (old fort)
  • Heroes Acre
  • Old Prison in Goethe Street
  • College of the Arts in Fidel Castro Street
  • Old Government Survey Office (Oude Voorpost)
  • Turnhalle Building 
  • Old Brewery 
  • Tinten Palast (Ink Palace)
  • Elizabeth House (Polytechnic of Namibia)
  • Schwerinsburg (Sperlingslust) Castle
  • Sanderburg Castle
  • Christuskirche (Christ Church)
  • St Georges Cathedral
  • Old Location
  • State House
  • Old Supreme Court
  • Zoo Park

Eating out in Windhoek is a feast for carnivores as Namibian food is characterized by the big quantities and high quality of meat.

Windhoek's nightlife has grown as the population has expanded and there are now various good restaurants, bars and night clubs in the city centre, suburbs and townships.

Windhoek Location

Windhoek is located at the epicenter of Namibia, making it the ideal starting and/or ending point for Safaris in Namibia.

The city is situated on the northern slopes of the Khomas Hochland Highland Plateau in central Namibia, at an elevation of about 1700 metres (5600 feet) above sea level.

Windhoek is surrounded by rocky mountains to the south, east and west, with underground aquifers lying to the south. This geographic setting limits city expansion to northern areas.

History of Windhoek

Windhoek’s early settlements developed at the site of a permanent spring used by indigenous pastoralists. 

Windhoek grew rapidly after 1840, when Jonker Afrikaner, Captain of the Oorlams community from the Cape Province of South Africa, settled near one of the hot springs and built a church. After years of political turbulence, war and neglect, along with the death Jonker Afrikaner in 1861 Windhoek was abandoned.

In 1884 Namibia was declared a German protectorate and in 1890 Windhoek was re-established formally, when colonial troops under the command of Major Curt von Francois settled in Windhoek. Upon arrival German colonial settlers built a fort overlooking Windhoek, to serve as the headquarters of the Schutztruppe. Today the old fort known as The Alte Fest is the oldest surviving building in Windhoek.

Windhoek developed slowly until 1907 when migration from within Namibia, from Germany and South Africa accelerated.

South African troops occupied Windhoek during World War I, bringing the German colonial era to an end. Under South African rule, development in Windhoek and Namibia (then South West Africa) came to a halt.

In 1990 Namibia gained independence from South African administration and Windhoek once again started growing.

Windhoek serves as the provincial capital of the central Khomas Region, as well as the capital city (since 1990) of the Republic of Namibia.

When to go to Windhoek

Anytime of the year! 

In Windhoek you can expect sunshine almost every day and enjoy warm to mild days (even in winter).

The summer months can get very hot, reaching up to 31 °C (88 °F) in January. Summer (from December to March) is off-peak season, given the higher temperatures and rainfall.

If you prefer milder weather visit during the winter months - June, July and August.

In winter the nights are usually cool, given Windhoek's location in the Central Highlands, but temparatures seldom dip below 0°C.

Windhoek lies in a semi-arid climatic zone, experiencing low rainfall, especially in winter when it rarely rains.

The average annual temperature is just below 20 °C (68°F), despite Windhoek's high altitude.

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Google Map of Windhoek

Use the Google map to explore Windhoek. Feel free to Print the Street Map when you're ready.

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