Windhoek is the capital of Namibia. With a population of less than 400,000 you would only call it a city by Namibian standards. It is quite a laid-back, clean and easy going place. There are a few sights, good restaurants and lively bars. In short it is a great place to start exploring Namibia.
Set at the geographical heart of Namibia , Windhoek serves as the road and rail crossroads and the nerve center of the country's business and commerce.
At first glance Windhoek looks clean and pretty but a little dull, and dry, empty mountains surrounding it seem much more interesting. By Namibian standards it's a big town about 350,000 people live here. But town is in the word, rather than city, for this clean, new-looking capital; even the old buildings look new, as there's almost no rainfall to make them decay. But, like most southern African cities, Windhoek has a distinct life and culture that becomes more fascinating the more time you spend there.
Windhoek has only existed for just over a century. The modern name Windhoek, or 'windy corner', originated from the original 'Winterhoek' during the German colonial occupation. At the time, it became the headquarters for the German Schutztruppe, which was ostensibility charged with brokering peace between the warring Herero and Nama. For over 10 years around the turn of the century, Windhoek served as the administrative capital of German South West Africa.
Any of the several banks in the city center can exchange foreign currency cash and traveler's cheques into Namibia dollars. There is no black market in Windhoek and outside of banking hours your only options are the hotels or the international airport.
The former Kaiser Street is the heart of Windhoek. Straight cord leads from Ausspannplatz through the city and flows into the main road heading north. So wide, that once neunspännige oxen teams were in their turn, it is of high-rise buildings and those lined with historic buildings, so much to the German ambience remember. All important offices and shops can be found here.
It has several fascinating historic buildings to explore, most of them conveniently located in the city centre. One of the main attractions in Windhoek, the beautiful Neo-Romanic style Evangelic-Lutheran Christuskirche was built in 1910. Tintenpalast (Ink Palace) is the seat of chamber of the Namibian Parliament, the National Assembly and the National Council. In the National Gallery of Namibia you can admire works reflecting Namibia's rich cultural heritage. The oldest building in Windhoek, the Alte Feste (Old Fortress) serves now as a National Museum of Namibia exhibiting Namibia's cultural history.
Shopping & entertainment. Windhoek is the business and transportation hub of Namibia. The Windhoek city centre is dotted with smalls shops and shopping malls and an ideal place for shopping in Windhoek. The city is home to numerous bars, discos and clubs with live African and European music.
Joe’s Beer House
Similar to Carnivore's in Nairobi, Joe's Beer House is a popular tourist spot where you can indulge in a game-meat-oriented evening meal (such as oryx, kudu, springbok, crocodile, zebra, eland) - with prolonged drinking until early in the morning. Sure, it's touristy, but there's a lot of fun to be had here, especially on a warm evening when you can kick back a few cold ones underneath a faux African hut. Reservations are recommended.
Luigi & the Fish
This famous Windhoek restaurant specialises in reasonably priced seafood (fish, shellfish, seafood paella, calamari etc.) as well as steaks, game, pasta, chicken, cajun dishes and vegetarian cuisine.
The best place in town for genuine Portuguese and Angolan dishes, including numerous seafood options. There is also a good selection of wines.
This locally popular cheap Chinese restaurant is a good choice, especially if you're just coming back from (or heading out to) a long stint of bush cooking.
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