Located in the heart of the country, Windhoek is a city of contrasts, blending modern development with colonial architecture and African culture. The city is known for its friendly locals, bustling markets, and stunning natural surroundings, offering visitors a unique and unforgettable travel experience. Whether you’re interested in history, culture, adventure, or just soaking up the lively atmosphere, Windhoek has something for everyone. So come and discover this vibrant and exciting city, where modernity meets tradition, and natural beauty abounds.
Best Time to Visit Windhoek
The best time to visit Windhoek, Namibia is during the months of May to September, when the weather is mild and dry. The temperatures are pleasant during the day and can drop significantly at night, so it’s important to bring warm clothing. This is also the high season for tourism, so it’s advisable to book accommodations and activities well in advance. The months from November to March are hot and humid, with occasional rain showers. However, this is also the time when wildlife is most active, making it a great time for safari adventures.
A Few Facts About Windhoek
- The city was founded in 1840 by Jonker Afrikaner, a Nama leader, and was initially named Ai-Gams, which means “hot water” in the local Khoekhoe language.
- Windhoek is known for its German colonial architecture, which is visible in many of the city’s buildings, such as the Christuskirche and the Alte Feste Fort.
- The city is situated at an elevation of 1,700 meters above sea level, making it one of the highest capital cities in Africa.
- Windhoek is home to the Namibia Breweries, which produces the popular Windhoek Lager, a beer that is exported to many countries around the world.
What to do in Windhoek in 24 Hours
If you have 24 hours to spend in Windhoek, Namibia’s capital city, here are some must-see sights and activities to add to your itinerary. There’s also a guided tour in case you are short on time.
Start Your Day at Independence Memorial Museum
Check in to your hotel and start your day with The Independence Memorial Museum in Windhoek, Namibia. It is a must-visit attraction for anyone interested in the country’s history and culture. The museum commemorates Namibia’s struggle for independence from South Africa and provides visitors with a wealth of information about the country’s past, present, and future.
At the museum, you can explore exhibits related to Namibia’s history and political struggles, including apartheid and colonialism. There are also displays of traditional clothing, musical instruments, and other cultural artifacts, providing a glimpse into the daily life and traditions of the country’s different ethnic groups. One of the highlights of the museum is the ‘Heroes Acre’ memorial, which pays tribute to the Namibians who fought for independence. There is also a gift shop where you can purchase books, art, and other souvenirs related to the museum and Namibia.
Head to The Christuskirche Lutheran Church
Christuskirche, located in the heart of Windhoek, is one of the city’s most recognizable landmarks and a must-visit attraction for anyone visiting the capital of Namibia. The church was built in the early 1900s and is a stunning example of German neo-Gothic architecture. The church’s interior is equally impressive, with stained glass windows, intricate wood carvings, and a large pipe organ. Visitors can also climb to the top of the tower for panoramic views of the city.
But Christuskirche is more than just a beautiful building – it has an important place in Namibia’s history as a symbol of German colonialism. The church was built during a time when Namibia was under German rule, and it remains a reminder of the country’s complicated colonial past. Today, the church is a popular spot for visitors to take photos and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere. It is surrounded by gardens with benches and shade trees, making it a lovely place to sit and relax after a day of exploring the city.
Amble Trough The Parlament Gardens
The park features a variety of trees and plants, including many indigenous species, and is home to several monuments and statues, including a bronze statue of Namibia’s first president, Sam Nujoma. Take a leisurely stroll through the gardens, enjoying the shade and the sounds of birds and other wildlife. In addition to the natural beauty of the park, Parliament Gardens is also home to several historical buildings, including the Old Supreme Court Building, which now houses the National Gallery of Namibia.
The gallery features a variety of contemporary and traditional Namibian art and is a great place to learn more about the country’s cultural heritage. The gardens are also a popular spot for picnics and outdoor gatherings, with several shaded areas and benches available for visitors to relax and enjoy the scenery. It’s a great place to take a break from sightseeing and enjoy a peaceful moment in the heart of the city!
Head Out to Namibia Craft Centre
Located in the city centre, this multi-level complex showcases the work of local artisans and offers visitors the chance to purchase handmade crafts and souvenirs. The Craft Centre features a variety of traditional Namibian crafts, including wood carvings, pottery, baskets, textiles, jewellery, and more. All of the items on display are handmade by local artists using traditional techniques, and the quality and craftsmanship are truly impressive. In addition to the crafts, the Namibia Craft Centre is also home to several art galleries, featuring the work of some of Namibia’s most talented contemporary artists.
The galleries showcase a variety of styles and mediums, including painting, sculpture, photography, and mixed media. Whether you’re looking to purchase a unique souvenir or simply want to experience the vibrant arts and culture scene in Windhoek, the Namibia Craft Centre is definitely worth a visit. It’s a great place to support local artists and artisans and to learn more about the rich cultural heritage of Namibia.
Enjoy a Traditional Namibian Lunch at Joe’s Beerhouse
Joe’s Beerhouse is a must-visit spot for anyone looking to enjoy a delicious traditional Namibian lunch in Windhoek. Located in the suburb of Eros, this popular restaurant is known for its hearty portions, friendly service, and lively atmosphere. The menu at Joe’s Beerhouse features a variety of Namibian specialties, including game meat such as kudu, oryx, and springbok, as well as traditional stews, seafood, and vegetarian options.
The portions are generous, and the prices are reasonable, making it a great value for the money. In addition to the food, Joe’s Beerhouse is also famous for its impressive collection of Namibian beer and wine. The beer list includes a variety of local brews, as well as international favourites, and the wine list features some of the best vintages from the nearby vineyards.
Visit The Katutura Township
This neighbourhood, located just a few kilometres from the city centre, is the cultural heart of Windhoek and home to many of the city’s residents. Katutura is a fascinating blend of old and new, with traditional homes alongside modern buildings, bustling markets, and street vendors selling local foods and crafts. It’s a great place to sample traditional dishes such as kapana (grilled meat) and mopane worms, as well as to shop for handmade crafts and souvenirs. You can also visit the Katutura Community Art Centre, which showcases the work of local artists and offers workshops in traditional crafts such as pottery and basket weaving.
One of the highlights of a visit to Katutura is the lively open-air market, where you can find everything from fresh produce and spices to clothing and household goods. It’s a great place to soak up the energy and atmosphere of the community and get a glimpse into daily life in Windhoek.
End the Night at The Casino
If you’re visiting Windhoek and looking for something to do, consider stopping by the AVANI Windhoek Hotel & Casino. This centrally located hotel features a casino and gym and is a great spot for grabbing a drink or meal. The Dunes Restaurant offers a buffet and shaded terrace, while the Oasis Bar and Lounge and the Casino Bar are both great places to grab a drink.
For an even better view of the city, head up to the Stratos Rooftop, which offers a bar, restaurant, conference facilities, and a plunge pool. Whether you’re looking to relax or have a bit of fun, the AVANI Windhoek Hotel & Casino is worth checking out and ending your 24 hours in Windhoek with a fun night in the casino!
Where to Stay In Windhoek
Tenbergen Pension Hotel
C/O Robert Mugabe and, Lazarett Street, 9000 Windhoek
Tenbergen Pension Hotel, located in Windhoek, offers comfortable accommodations within walking distance of popular attractions. Guests can enjoy a meal at the on-site restaurant or take advantage of the free WiFi and complimentary private parking. The hotel is conveniently located near Alte Feste Museum and Reiterdenkmal Windhoek, just a short walk away. Other nearby attractions include the National Botanical Gardens Windhoek, National Theatre Namibia, and Windhoek railway station. Guests can enjoy room service and concierge service during their stay. Start your day with a delicious breakfast, which includes à la carte, Full English/Irish, and American options. Popular attractions such as the Curt von Francois Statue, Warehouse Theatre, and National Museum of Namibia ACRE are also nearby.
22 Heinitzburg Street, 9000 Windhoek
Hotel Heinitzburg is a beautifully restored castle located on top of a hill in Windhoek, boasting unique architecture and stunning views. The hotel features a serene pool area surrounded by manicured gardens, a wine cellar, and two restaurants. Each of the gracefully decorated rooms features classic finishes and is equipped with modern amenities such as air conditioning, a minibar, and a flat-screen satellite TV. The private bathroom includes a shower and free toiletries. For a gourmet dining experience, guests can visit Leo’s at the Castle, the hotel’s restaurant overlooking the city skyline, offering an à la carte menu. The Garden Terrace is a perfect spot for snacks and refreshments with its views of the surrounding mountains. Take a dip in the pool and relax on the sun loungers, or venture out to the Daan Viljoen Game Reserve, just 25 km away for an exciting adventure.
AVANI Windhoek Hotel & Casino
129 Independence Avenue, Gustav Voigts Centre , 0000 Windhoek
AVANI Windhoek Hotel & Casino is a luxurious hotel located in the heart of Windhoek, Namibia’s vibrant capital city. This stunning hotel boasts a range of excellent amenities, including a casino, gym, and multiple bars and restaurants. The hotel rooms are spacious and air-conditioned, with many featuring stunning city views. Each room is well-appointed with a minibar, tea-and-coffee-making facilities, and a flat-screen satellite TV. Some rooms also offer private bathrooms with showers. Guests can enjoy delicious buffet meals at the Dunes Restaurant, which features a lovely shaded terrace. The Oasis Bar and Lounge is the perfect spot for drinks and relaxation, while the Casino Bar offers a more club-style atmosphere. For breathtaking views and excellent dining options, the Stratos Rooftop is a must-visit, featuring a bar, restaurant, conference facilities, and a refreshing plunge pool.
Day Trips From Windhoek
Daan Viljoen Game Reserve
Daan Viljoen Game Reserve is a nature reserve located just 18km outside of Windhoek, Namibia. It covers an area of 4,000 hectares and is home to a variety of wildlife including zebras, giraffes, wildebeests, and kudus. Visitors can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities such as hiking, bird watching, and game drives, making it a popular day trip destination. The reserve also has several picnic and braai areas for visitors to relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery. With its close proximity to Windhoek, Daan Viljoen Game Reserve is a great place to escape the city and experience Namibia’s wildlife and nature.
Khomas Hochland Mountains
The Khomas Hochland Mountains are a range of mountains located in central Namibia, just south of the city of Windhoek. The range is approximately 30 kilometres long and 15 kilometres wide, with peaks reaching up to 2,400 meters in elevation. The mountains are characterized by their rugged terrain, with steep cliffs, deep valleys, and rocky outcroppings. The area is known for its scenic beauty, with stunning panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. You can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities in the Khomas Hochland Mountains, including hiking, rock climbing, and bird watching. The area is also home to a variety of wildlife, including baboons, kudus, and leopards. With its close proximity to Windhoek, the Khomas Hochland Mountains are a popular day trip destination for visitors looking to escape the city and enjoy the natural beauty of Namibia.
If you’re in Windhoek and looking for a day trip, consider heading to the nearby Auas Mountains. This rugged range is located just south of the city and offers some spectacular scenery, with rocky peaks and deep canyons. You can explore the mountains on foot or by mountain bike, and there are a number of hiking trails that wind through the rugged terrain. Some of the highlights of the Auas Mountains include the stunning Waterberg Plateau and the picturesque Goreangab Dam. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or just looking for a scenic drive, the Auas Mountains are a great option for a day trip from Windhoek.
Extra Tips for Visiting Windhoek
- Rent a 4×4: Many of Namibia’s roads are gravel and require a 4×4 vehicle, especially if you’re planning to venture off the main roads and explore the country’s more remote areas.
- Bring cash: While credit cards are accepted in many places, it’s always a good idea to have cash on hand, especially if you’re visiting more remote areas.
- Take precautions against malaria: Some parts of Namibia are considered high-risk areas for malaria, so it’s important to take appropriate precautions, such as wearing mosquito repellent and taking antimalarial medication if recommended by your doctor.
- If you have the time – don’t miss the chance to see one of the three castles in the city. The most notable is Schwerinsburg. Sanderburg is the smallest of the three and was built between 1917 and 1919 as a private residence by architect Wilhelm Sander. Heinitzburg Castle, built in 1914, was named Heynitzburg after the owner’s wife and is now a public hotel and restaurant. Each castle has its unique architecture and historical significance, making for an interesting and informative visit.
Make sure you have everything you need
What to pack for your next trip?
Make your next trip as simple and as enjoyable as possible by packing smart. It’s amazing how much stress top travel items can save you, so choose carefully.
Things like lightweight travel backpacks, for example, are ideal for short trips and allow you to move around with ease, and a passport holder will make sure you keep your documents safe at all times.
Check our travel checklist guide for 2021 to make sure you haven’t missed anything, and travel to your next destination in style and with maximum comfort.
Romi is a llama coach from Split, Croatia. This sounds made up but it’s true. She lived in Toronto, Canada for about ten years, give or take, but she wasn’t working with llamas. She was working in PR, restaurants, daycares, one yoga clothing store. She doesn't know how she got that job as she has never done yoga at that point. She taught English in Colombia and Vietnam. Traveled the world for two years. Then she got into writing. Actually, she was always writing, but then someone paid her to write. Then more people paid because they saw she was making them money. Then it became a thing she does for a living. And here we are now. Specializing in travel, real estate, and digital nomad guides, familiar with SEO, and always ready to learn something new so she can branch out and take over the world.