Eco-friendly travel guide to Windhoek advises how to be a responsible tourist. Learn how to explore the attractions in a sustainable way and how to respect the local people and culture. Make your trip green by supporting locally owned hotels, organic restaurants and other businesses. Read more on how to protect the environment by making conscientious choices and how to travel green in Windhoek, Namibia.
- Air quality: 4 / 5
- Exploring by foot: 3,5 / 5
- Exploring by bicycle: 4 / 5
- Public transportation: 4 / 5
- Parks: 4/ 5
- Outdoor activities: 4 / 5
- Locals' English level: 4 / 5
- Safety: 3.5 / 5
- Accommodation: US$180 - $270
- Budget per day: US$260 - $350
- 1 Responsible Travel
- 2 Air Quality and Pollution
- 3 Respect the Culture
- 4 Top 10 Places to Visit
- 5 Explore
- 6 Eat
- 7 Drink
- 8 Activities
- 9 Accommodation
- 10 How to Get There
- 11 Moving Around
- 12 Sustainable Shopping
- 13 Recycling
- 14 Work and Study Abroad
- 15 See Also
Windhoek is the capital city of the sprawling Republic of Namibia. It lies at an elevation of 1,654 meters, about 1,225 km north of Cape Town, South Africa.
About 650 km lies between Windhoek and Orange River, which lies North. The town is surrounded by dry, arid country, but a circular chain of hills protects it from excessive dry winds.
The dry and arid nature of the city requires travelers to be responsible for their travel. For starters, tourists are encouraged to drink a lot of water to avoid dehydration whilst in Windhoek. Saving water for the city is also very important and tourists are encouraged to close taps and showers after use on their accommodation facilities.
The use of public transport on the part of tourist is quite responsible. The city and many of its inhabitants are known to use public transportation daily. Public transport is regulated and therefore much greener as it reduces the carbon footprint while traveling considerably. Tourists are encouraged to keep the city clean and avoid littering especially whilst traveling as it may attract fines.
Travelers can travel responsibly in the city of Windhoek is by eating local food. Investing time to eat local food not only allows travelers to get a taste of authentic Namibian cuisine but also helps the local food industry thrive. In the same vein of supporting local businesses, travelers are also encouraged to shop from small local shops to help them survive competition from large multinationals.
Air Quality and Pollution
Following the World Health Organization's guidelines, the air quality in Namibia is considered moderately unsafe - the most recent data indicates the country's annual mean concentration of PM2.5 is 25 µg/m3, exceeding the recommended maximum of 10 µg/m3.
Contributors to poor air quality in Namibia include food processing, the mining industry, vehicle emissions, and waste burning. Air pollution in Windhoek is mostly derived from sources of domestic combustion, primarily the burning of fossil fuels.
The capital’s geography has been noted to be a contributing factor to its air pollution problem, leading to poor dispersal and trapping pollutants.
Respect the Culture
Namibians are some of the friendliest people in the world. Travelers are encouraged to make little effort in learning the culture. It is always a good idea to learn about a country's customs and etiquette before visiting as it will make the trip more fun.
The diverse nature of the capital is markedly seen in the presence of a multiracial population and different varieties of styles of clothes.
Western attires are common amongst women while others wear colorful, traditional robes with intricate hairstyles. More traditionally, Herero women can be seen strolling in Victorian-style dresses whilst men usually prefer western business suits.
Top 10 Places to Visit
- Namibia Craft Centre: St Old Breweries Complex houses approximately 38 craft stalls showcasing Namibia’s finest handicraft. All products from rural communities, ethnic groups, and projects products sold here range from jewelry to carved tree roots. There is no better place to start responsible support of local business than by visiting the Craft Centre where micro and small enterprises and contribute to increasing income through the sale of Namibian craft. The Centre is a source of income for over 3000 families that derive an income from sales of their craft. A bit of diversity is also available as vendors stock up on non-Namibian, but African handicraft. However, no goods from outside the continent may be sold inside the Craft Centre.
- NamibRand Nature Reserve:This reserve is a photographer’s paradise. The mountains radiate a spectrum of colors, from their breath-taking peaks. Rocky outcrops and distant dunes all form part of a magnificent landscape only Windhoek can show. The road leading to the reserve is gravel so travelers using private transport are encouraged to check the suitability of their car tires for such roads. The scenery is one not to miss and if you are lucky, you can also spot one or two ostriches and jackals.
- Daan Viljoen Nature Reserve: Daan Viljoen lies 24 km west of Windhoek offering a sanctuary for a relatively large population of game species typical of Namibia's highlands. The decision to proclaim the reserve was made pre-independence being named after former administrator, Mr. Daan Viljoen. Location wise, the park is perfect for stopovers and ideal for day visits. Natural features at the reserve include the Khomas Hochland Plateau where scenic views of the Windhoek valley vegetation can be seen. A highland, shrubland is also a favorite of many with various Acacia species, kudu, and buffalo species present. Other wildlife species present are springbok, kudu, eland, gemsbok, blue wildebeest, and Hartmann's mountain zebra. A well- constructed lodge is available onsite for travelers wishing to sleep at the site.
- National Museum of Namibia: If you are a bit short on travel funds, you do not have to worry. The National Museum of Namibia is of free entry and provides a great opportunity to learn about the history of the country, especially its pre-colonial era. Namibia's struggles are artistically elaborated on the museum's walls for everyone to see and appreciate. The Museum is located on Robert Mugabe Avenue right in the city center.
- Christuskirche: This is one of the many buildings scattered across Windhoek that echo a German presence. Construction began in 1907 and the church was designed with beautiful stained-glass windows. It looks stunning from the outside and that is not where all the fun ends. Travelers can enter inside and so are the locals for services every Sunday though they are in German.
- Okapuka Ranch: On offer at the ranch include an open Safari with guides to show you around. These guides are knowledgeable on where to spot animals during different times of the day. Though the place is on the dry side, staff take good care of the variety of animals present including warthogs, goats, sheep, and ostriches. Services on the ranch can be a bit of a roller-coaster which is a bit concerning for the resort.
- Trans-Namib Railroad Museum: This is the second museum to make it onto our list of Top places to visit in Windhoek. The museum is a nice place to stop and see the historical engine, railroad cars, and equipment. Though in strict terms the place is not a museum, it does however have a collection of engines and coaches on display great to see for all transport geeks.
- The Grove Mall of Namibia: Travelers fancying a bit of shopping can head over to the Groove Mall which houses such a variety of stores enough to mesmerize even the most experienced of shoppers. Its location is in the center of the city makes it easier to access even for travelers heading to tourist destinations a bit out of town. Unfortunately, for book lovers, there has not been a Book Shop yet inside the mall.
- Maerua Mall: Maerua was designed with family entertainment in mind with the idea of providing a fulfilling day out for the family and a chance to do groceries at the end. Family entertainment options at this mall include the climbing wall, trampolining, glow in the dark golf. In terms of shopping, however, the Grove Mall has a wider variety of stores with the shopping experience being pretty much the same.
- Karibu Safari: Self- drives though allowed are not encouraged as guides provide so much knowledge and always make the experience better for tourists. The Safari has so much to offer with lodges available for tourists seeking to spend more than one night at the resort.
The city of Windhoek has some truly exciting and interesting places to visit and as seen in the section above. However, these are just a few of the magnificent destinations for you to explore. The city is popular due to its German architecture and how it makes you feel as if you are in Europe.
- Zoo Park: The park is a privately owned property with free space with greenery and benches that travelers can make use of. Great for couples and families, the only downside to the park is that it can be overpopulated on weekends, so travelers are encouraged to visit during weekdays.
- Parliament Gardens: Parliament Gardens is a small park in downtown Windhoek, Namibia. It is located between the Tintenpalast and the Christuskirche. It was laid out in 1932 and was originally called the Tintenpalast gardens, adopting its present name after Namibian independence in 1990.
- Daan Viljoen Game Park: Just 24km west of Windhoek lies a sanctuary for a relatively large population of game species typical of Namibia’s highlands. Proclaimed before Independence to preserve the ecosystem of the Khomas Hochland, the park was named after a former Administrator, Mr. Daan Viljoen, who played a major part in establishing the park. The convenient location of the Daan Viljoen makes the park an ideal venue for day visits and a perfect stopover for tourists seeking the tranquillity of the bush.
Other parks in Namibia through a further distance away from Windhoek include
- Dorob National Park
- Cape Cross Seal Reserve
- Bwabwata National Park
- Etosha National Park
The cold currents which make the waters rich in sea life, do not make for pleasant or safe swimming, and regularly create heavy and cold coastal fog.
Swakopmund and Walvis Bay area for a few days is highly recommended as part of your holiday. However, there are no beaches in Windhoek.
The section on 'Top 10 places to visit' covers almost all the popular landmarks in Windhoek. However, there are a few more gems to uncover within the capital and these include:
- The Heroes Acre
- The Independence Stadium
- The Kudu Statue
- Genocide Memorial
- Gibeon Meteorites
- Owela Museum: Owela offers a more traditional and detailed summary of the nomadic lifestyle which is led by some of Namibia’s ethnic groups. The highlight of the museum is the Noma Hut, a traditional African hut that can easily be dismantled and rebuild in line with the nomadic culture. There is also a bird section in the museum as well as a natural history section. Well worth a visit!
- Geological Survey Museum: Not surprisingly, this museum is located at the Ministry of Mines and Energy. It houses beautiful gems and incredible fossils on display. Travelers visiting the museum are encouraged to look up and confirm with the Ministry the exact times the museum will be open.
- Cuno Hoffmeister Memorial Observatory: Travelers with a keen eye for astronomy would enjoy this observatory the most. It was privately funded, and its owners have a vast knowledge of the Namibian skies and are more than willing to share it with visitors. Travelers must note that visiting the observatory is via prior telephone arrangement as owners try to limit the number of visitors at once to improve the viewing experience.
Other museums have been discussed already and these include the National Museum of Namibia and the Trans-Namib Railroad Museum.
Food is so important to a tourist experience that on its own it can make or break the experience. The memory of local cuisines is arguably second to tourist attraction amongst memories from most trips.
Namibian cuisine is no different. Here are a couple of options when it comes to food available in the capital.
Traditional Local Restaurants
- Pepata Restaurant: Traditional cuisine served at Pepata though it takes a bit of a while to be served is excellent. The restaurant is usually busy due to its popular traditional dishes. As such travelers wishing to get a taste of any of these delicious local dishes are advised to make prior reservations. There is a lot of variety on offer with mopane worms proving a popular option of many.
- Xwama Traditional Restaurant: Xwama arguably is the best spot for traditional dishes in the capital. Whether travelers fancy some Kapana or marathon chicken, the restaurant serves these and more. To add a cherry on top, the staff at Xwama shares with any willing traveler the background to some of the dishes served in the restaurant.
- Joe's Beerhouse: So popular is the restaurant that it often comes out first amongst recommendations for places to eat.
Grilled game meat, traditional dishes, foreign dishes, you name it and you will find it at Joe’s Beerhouse.
- Green Vanilla Restaurant: One of the restaurants found inside Maerua Mall is somewhat underrated due to its seclusion. That however does not take anything away from its amazing dishes and world-class service offered by war staff. The trampoline close by is an entertaining option for kids for traveling families.
Vegetarian and Vegan
- Fresh 'n Wild At Utopia: The restaurant is in the city center at number 64 Nelson Mandela Avenue Klein Windhoek, Windhoek Namibia. It is a lovely place to consider them for lunch or dinner with a great venue with a nice layout, pool, and friendly staff. From the name itself, Utopia is one of the best meals on offer at the restaurant.
- Krisjans Bistro: Krisjans is more popular for its breakfast options and salads for travelers taking lunch or dinner. A wide range of coffee and tea is also available at the restaurant, as well as tailor-made breakfast options. However, travelers are advised that the restaurant does not allow the joining of tables together.
- Klara's Market: Klara’s Market has a great selection of sandwiches and wraps to go plus fruit, bars, and yummy desserts. Its wonderful staff and carefully made dishes make up for prices which are a tad high. It is located on Independence Avenue very close to the Namibian Craft Centre, this is a great place to stop for lunch on a busy day in the city.
- KAUAI Maerua: The outlet offers great healthy options, from smoothies to wraps and juices. It has amazing options for lunch and light meals keeping up with its other branches in South Africa.
Just as important as what you eat while on tour is what you drink. Windhoek offers a bit of everything for everyone. From coffee lovers to alcoholic beverages, cafes in the capital are open for 24 hours daily to cater to customers.
Although tap water is okay in larger towns and cities, such as Windhoek, it is often recycled and so, can taste chlorinated. Most lodges and guest farms in rural areas use borehole water that is clean and okay to drink. Two-liter bottles of water are available in the supermarkets. This is also great if you are on a self-drive safari.
- Craft Cafe Windhoek: Craft Café is a simple top deck restaurant with metallic chairs and tables. It is popular for its world-class breakfast menu and warm staff dedicated to making your visit worthwhile. Travelers are also encouraged to try the homemade salads on offer at the café and other innovative dishes. The café also offers organic and vegetarian beverages for interested travelers.
- Wecke & Voigts Coffee Shop: The coffee shop has a German feel to it adding to its convenient location accessible for a quick bite for breakfast or lunch. It is located on Independence Avenue inside a departmental store. Travelers are urged to visit the shop early as it gets busy as the day goes by.
- Bonsai Bistro: Bonsai is popular for its delicious cocoa almond smoothie which is a favorite of many locals and tourists alike. The restaurant is equipped with free WIFI for customers. The healthy menu is crafted with dietary considerations and the will to advocate for healthy eating. Bonsai is highly recommended for breakfast and lunch.
Namibia Breweries Limited is a Namibian-based brewery with its head office in Windhoek. The company has a significant share of the premium beer category in the region, and is the leader in the Namibian beer market.
Its range of products include:
- a range of soft beverages for sale to all consumers
- a range of low and non-alcoholic beverages
- alcoholic products for a wide range of adult consumer segments
These products are spread across the price ladder and are continuously enhance based on market research and consumer feedback. The company’s products are widely available throughout Namibia and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region due to an extensive distribution network.
Windhoek offers so much for the adventurous tourist. The dry nature of its climate requires tourists to be prepared to prevent sunburns and dehydration. Here are a few more options for activities to do in the capital:
- Deadvlei: Located in an orange-tinted valley inside the Namib-Naukluft Park, the vast planes of Deadvlei are scattered with skeleton trees where a rushing river once flowed. This natural wonder ranks high on the country’s list of breathtakingly beautiful sights.
- Fish River Canyon: This impressive gorge reaches some 550 meters deep, spans 27 kilometers in width, and stretches more than 150 kilometers in length, making it the second-largest canyon in the world. And while navigating the rugged terrain at the canyon's base can make for a serious challenge, even the most experienced hikers warn the descent is not for the faint of heart.
- Etosha National Park: Etosha National Park has become one of the most popular attractions for travelers to this southern African destination. Visitors can spot all the continent's famous Big Five on self-guided tours or sunrise, sunset, and night game drives. Luxurious rest camps offer modern amenities and their well-kept watering holes provide some of the best game viewing and photo ops during the dry season.
Yoga and Retreats
Yoga is increasingly becoming popular in Windhoek. In the capital, there are plenty of yoga stations where travelers can attend classes.
Below is a list of some of the Yoga centers in the capital for all stages of Yoga. There are also instructors available for one-on-one sessions with interested travelers.
With all this information in mind, there are no reasons for travelers to fall behind with their yoga classes.
- The Yoga Shala
- Namibia Gaia Yoga
- Pulse PerfectFit Studio
- Liezl Hoving
Windhoek is perfectly placed to provide accommodation to all sorts of travelers suiting budgets across the spectra in style. Facilities in the capital are used to dealing with huge volumes of travelers of all social status from normal guests to dignitaries.
- Windhoek Country Club: Windhoek Country Club is connected to the convention center. Maerua Mall and Wernhil Park close by are worth checking out if shopping is on the agenda, while those wishing to experience the area's natural beauty can explore Zoo Park and Daan Viljoen Game Reserve. Inside the hotel are 3 restaurants, a casino, and an outdoor pool. English breakfast, public Wi-Fi, and self-parking are also provided free of charge. Other amenities include 2 bars/lounges, a health club, and a poolside bar.
- The Roof of Africa Hotel Conference & Restaurant: The unique wooden architecture creates a warm friendly environment for guests suitable for both leisure and business travelers. Located on top is a rooftop restaurant offering a daily buffet and Ala Carte menu. Craft Beers brewed on-site are also available to go along with the delicious food on offer. Business travelers seeking a conference facility for 100 people can also contact the hotel for reservations as well as for functions and events. As is the norm with world-class hotel service, an airport shuttle service is provided. Travelers can also hire vehicles for city transfers via a car hire travel help desk.
- Am Weinberg Boutique Hotel: Located at the prestigious Am Weinberg Estate is a 41 roomed hotel that complements the historic character, with a touch of modern amenities and 5-star services. Travelers are treated to lavish Courtyard rooms, with doors opening onto a beautiful courtyard or onto your private balcony. Talk of peaceful ambiance undoubtedly. The hotel has double volume, Oasis Lofts offering contemporary home-away-from-home comfort ideal for families or friends traveling together. Spacious suites are fitted with private en-suite bedrooms, floor to ceiling windows, and a separate lounge with desk space.
- Hilton Windhoek: Rooms at Hilton Windhoek Hotel offer a flat-screen TV, air conditioning, and a minibar providing exceptional comfort and convenience, and guests can go online with internet access. To further smoothen the stay, a rooftop bar and pool are also available for visitors. Hilton Windhoek has located a short distance from Gibeon Meteorites, St Mary's Catholic Cathedral, Joe's Beerhouse, or Andy's Bar. During your visit, be sure to check out popular attractions like Christuskirche and the National Botanic Garden of Namibia, which are all within walking distance of the hotel.
Hostels and Guest Houses
- Immanuel Wilderness Lodge: The lodge is located just minutes from the city of Windhoek, in the bush, creating an atmosphere as if one is a thousand miles from anywhere. The clean, crisp air and grassy plains provide guests with the real Namibian experience. Being a family run business, much effort has been put in place to ensure that guests always feel at home whenever they visit. The thatched roofs and ceiling fans keep the temperature pleasant year-round, whether you're visiting in the hot months of summer or the middle of winter. Furthermore, all rooms have their ensuite bathroom with 24-hour hot water. To add to the uniqueness of the lodge, it offers guided tours to nearby farms, for guests to experience first-hand.
- Chameleon Backpackers Hostel: Chameleon was built to cater to guests across the financial spectrum providing to them all modern services and amenities. Rooms range from small dormitories, tents, twin, double to triple rooms with own or shared bathroom. The higher end of the stick offers more comfort with a range of spacious rooms with en-suite bathrooms and air-conditioning for our hotter months. The premier "Elephant" room has a private balcony, outside shower, queen size 4 poster bed and is perfect for honeymoon couples. Chameleon also offers safe long term accommodation while staying in Windhoek suitable for volunteers and students. This accommodation is in the form of flats and rooms.
- Ramblers Self Catering Accommodation: Formerly known as the Okarusuvo Guest House, Ramblers offers self-catering, friendly, safe, and unpretentious accommodation at rock bottom prices to guests in Windhoek. The change of name also brought about the adoption of a different operating model. This new model focuses on reduced prices aiming at providing quality budget accommodation to visitors and tourists. Onsite is a barbecue facility with a thatch roof. Lovely garden and free parking.
- Back2Roots BackPackers: Back2Roots Backpackers is a subsidiary of the larger Roof of Africa hotel located just next door. As such, all guests have access to Roof of Africa Hotel facilities. Facilities include a lively bar with brewed on-site craft beers, a full buffet, and Ala Carte restaurant, and a travel help desk to help guests arrange tours and safaris. Other services provided include laundry service, airport, and city shuttles, as well as currency exchange facility. Accommodation facilities range from spacious double bed capsules to private rooms and twin rooms. All units are equipped with individual reading lights, charging stations, private lockers, quality mattress complete with bedding, towel, and locker keys.
- Hartmann Suites Serviced Apartments: Hartmann Suites serviced self-catering apartments are perfectly located in the heart of Windhoek, within walking distance to the city’s business district and shopping precinct. Whether you are in Windhoek for a business project, a corporate traveler relocating, or on vacation – our modern one- and two-bedroom apartments and all-around service (laundry service and internet included) will make you feel at home. We offer reduced rates for extended stays (4 days).
- Olive Grove Guesthouse: Olive Grove is a small upmarket accommodation establishment situated close to the city center in a quiet, peaceful area. The guesthouse takes the homely atmosphere to a different level. Recently completely refurbished, each room has been decorated and painted with new color schemes allowing a different feel, but with the same elegant and simplistic emphasis on decor. The open-plan kitchen allows guests to see how meals are prepared, while they enjoy a drink in the lounge. The menu was also reinvented and is now fully a la
- Kate's Nest Guesthouse: Kate’s Nest Guesthouse is all about warmth, homey feeling, comfort, and safety at very reasonable prices. The guesthouse prides itself on the knowledge of what it is like to travel, and what travelers seek. On offer are clean rooms, linen, and a hot shower. Friendly and helpful staff at the guesthouse are available every minute of the day to attend to guests' concerns as and when they arise.
Namibia has a rapidly increasing couch surfing community for visitors itching to experience the everyday life of some locals. Many locals have successfully registered their houses on the couch surfing website and are ready to welcome visitors.
However, it is recommended that visitors intending to use couch surfing as an option for accommodation contact reliable homeowners following all the advice on the site.
Also, travelers are recommended to be aware of the traditions and culture of Namibians to ensure that their stay is as comfortable as possible.
- Naankuse Lodge and Wildlife Sanctuary: The Naankuse Lodge & Wildlife Sanctuary is near the Airport and central Windhoek, on a 3.200-hectare big reserve. Services on offer include Carnivore Feeding Tours, Bushman stories and stargazing dinners, Cheetah experiences. Accommodation facilities six individual chalets to 16 exclusive holiday homes. A dining area serving delicious local and foreign cuisine, stunning views, bar, and swimming pool are some of the services available. Naankuse Lodge is the only Charity Lodge in Namibia, all profits from our lodge are returned to charitable projects. Naankuse supports the local San community and activities are led by the local San. Volunteers looking to help with conservation can join the Volunteer Program offered on the Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary.
- Monteiro Self-catering and Camping: Monteiro lies in a beautiful setting in the Auas Mountains surrounded by nature with wonderful views of the nearby hills and peaks. Opened in 2005, Monteiro offers guests a choice of accommodation. Guest rooms, guesthouses, Campsites, and Safari Tents are all available for guests. Some of the camping spots enjoy lovely, well maintained, shady sites. Each one of these campsites has electricity, lights, running water.
How to Get There
Windhoek is well connected and receives thousands of people annually for business, academic, or leisure purposes. This large influx of people has led to the development of many routes of getting into the capital which we will explore below:
Situated over the Khomas Mountains some forty-five (45) km east of Windhoek, the Hosea Kutako International Airport is the flagship airport of the Land of the Brave, Namibia. The airport was originally opened in 1964 under the South African named J.G. Strijdom Airport.
This was until 1990 when it got renamed after Namibia’s first nationalist leader Hosea Kutako International Airport. The airport has been handling more than 800 000 passengers and 14 940 aircraft movements since 2015.
The scheduled airlines calling HKIA are Air Namibia (Pty) Ltd, South African Airlines (Pty) Ltd, TAAG Angola, Airlink, Condor, South African Express (Pty) Ltd, and British Airways (Comair). Qatar Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.
Facilities at HKIA include retailers, ground-handlers, restaurants, lounges, bureau de exchange services, car rentals, parking, and tax refund facilities.
The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, in cooperation with the Municipal Administration of Windhoek and the Namibian Ministry of Works and Transport, has developed a master plan for sustainable urban transport.
The project code-named Move Windhoek is set to boost the sustainability of both the traffic flows within the city and those heading for the neighboring cities of Okahandja and Rehoboth and to the airport, around 40 kilometers away. MoveWindhoek is set to do away with obsolescent vehicles and the small fleet provide too little capacity.
Starline is an affordable, safe, and comfortable daily passenger-train service between Windhoek and all major towns connected to the rail system. It is under the supervision of TransNamib. The train service is configured into Business and Economy Class affordable and safe for traveling passengers. Inside, passengers can enjoy aircraft-style reclining seats, air-conditioning, vending machines, and audio-visual entertainment systems.
A riskier option as it exposes travelers to potential robbery. Criminals will be on the lookout for foreigners and hitchhiking is not recommended.
This is by far the most important factor when it comes to any travel. Navigation difficulties can put an end to a trip before it even begins. Travelers must therefore pay attention to the following options for moving around in Windhoek:
The clock tower at the upper end of Post Street Mall is a popular meeting spot and an ideal place to start a walking tour of the city center. It is a replica of the clock tower that graced the Deutsche Afrika Bank in 1908.
Following the surrender of the German administration during World War 1, the National Bank opened a branch here. It is a good place to bargain for curios on weekdays and Saturday mornings. Most of the crafts are not Namibian but come from Zambia, Zimbabwe, Kenya, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
However, travelers as in any city are urged to be cautious. Some of the hazards include open trenches along the roads (gutters), missing pavement stones, holes, and uneven surfaces. If you are prone to sprained ankles, consider bringing some high-top shoes or an ankle wrap for extra support.
A couple of hotels, guest houses, and apartments have bike rental services for travelers willing to explore Windhoek whilst cycling. Exploration is better done outside the city center with less traffic.
Generally, Windhoek motorists view cyclists as a nuisance and the danger involved when using the roads is often enough to dissuade many commuters from cycling.
A couple of hotels, guest houses, and apartments have bike rental services for travelers willing to explore Windhoek whilst cycling. Exploration is better done outside the city center with less traffic.
Generally, Windhoek motorists view cyclists as a nuisance and the danger involved when using the roads is often enough to dissuade many commuters from cycling.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Namibia in collaboration with UNICEF Namibia officially launched the Vehicle-Grid-Integration (VGI) and Electric Vehicle (EV) project at its United Nations House in Windhoek.
The project aims to ensure business continuity, decrease dependency on externally and diesel-power based sources, lower costs of EVs ownership, manage electricity charges, increase energy efficiency, facilitate environmental responsibility, and pilot emergency response services with EV.
The public bus service has been a mess for a while. However, efforts are being made with Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, in cooperation with the Municipal Administration of Windhoek and the Namibian Ministry of Works and Transport.
The project code-named Move Windhoek is set to boost the sustainability of both the traffic flows within the city and those heading for the neighboring cities of Okahandja and Rehoboth and to the airport, around 40 kilometers away.
Tram, Train and Subway
Namibia’s rail operations are overseen by state regulator TransNamib. Some specialized companies under TransNamib include:
- StarLine Passenger Service: Starline is an affordable, safe, and comfortable daily passenger-train service between Windhoek and all major towns connected to the rail system. Passengers can enjoy aircraft-style reclining seats, air-conditioning, vending machines, and audio-visual entertainment systems and have a choice of traveling Business Class or Economy Class.
- Desert Express: Desert Express is Namibia’s distinctive rail experience that provides a unique luxury excursion across the magnificent landscape of Namibia. The train offers exclusive overnight weekend trips between Windhoek and Swakopmund.
- Special Tourist Trains: TransNamib provides locomotive power for hauling capacity to visiting foreign tourist trains, coming mostly from South Africa. Regular tourist trains that visit our beautiful scenery and landscapes are the Rovos Rail and Shongololo.
The vibrant, cosmopolitan city of Windhoek has a market and street food scene that is on the rise, with new additions emerging regularly.
Not only is it a great excuse to gather friends and family for some quality time to mix and mingle, but it also spurs the growth of small, local businesses.
- Windhoek City Market: The biggest bi-monthly market in the capital city takes place every second weekend. It is hosted by Windhoek City Events luring old and young alike. The atmosphere at the market is always vibrant, especially with live performers as background music. Travelers are urged to arrive early, as seating is limited and all of Windhoek seems to join the themed Windhoek City Market evenings. At the market, vendors set up their stalls of fragrant Indian finger foods, authentic German Bratwurst rolls, chicken wings to feed a village (pun intended), tacos, pizza, cocktails made to order, and cheeky desserts.
- The Shed: The Shed is a seasonal market held every three or four months, each time with a different theme along the lines of the seasons and festive holidays. The market is just a ten-minute easterly drive out of Windhoek underneath a massive windmill grinding away at its underground water source within the accompanying two-story-high silo. Vendors at the market sell everything from organic greens to handmade home decor.
- Bio Market: The New Apostolic Church plays host to this organic market. The setup is quaint and humble with stall vendors eager to chat and introduce you to their products. A small café run by the church itself sells yummy buns, cake, and coffee all morning long and offers you a seat under their big umbrellas. Artists and small-scale entrepreneurs sell all kinds of goodies at the market. Travelers can expect handmade jewelry, recycled glass beads, veggie farmers, handmade throws for winter, and the well-known organic farm.
- Tannery Market: Tannery is a couple of kilometers drive north of Windhoek. This is one of the capital’s up-and-coming markets. The Tannery Market boasts great food vendors and a festive, family-friendly atmosphere. The whole thing goes down in a rustic and undeniably Instagram-worthy warehouse.
There are not many flea markets in Windhoek because of the overwhelming competition from the big markets. Almost every product is available at these big markets and customers prefer to go there.
Second Hand Stores
A city as large as Windhoek is home to people from varying economic backgrounds. The second-hand market remains for many the go-to place to access clothes, used furniture, and more.
Many second-hand markets are found in the downtown area of Windhoek and offer good quality to customers willing to take time and look for merchandise.
Sustainable fashion can be defined as clothing, shoes, and accessories that are manufactured, marketed, and used in the most sustainable manner possible, considering both environmental and socio-economic aspects.
The concept is still new to Windhoek however strides are being made to introduce modern-day stores that are keen on Eco shopping.
The first recycling hub in Windhoek, offering a central point where residents can drop off a variety of recyclables as well as correctly dispose of other items, was launched in 2017.
The Dagbreek School for the Intellectually Impaired, winner of the Recycle Namibia Forum’s (RNF) Annual Schools Recycling Competition over the past few years, was the first choice for the RNF as a collection point in Windhoek.
The Solid Waste Management (SWM) division was established in 1998 with an initial focus then mainly on the cleaning of open spaces, street sweeping and household refuse removal.
Since the establishment of the division, the functions have increased to include the following
- Landfill sites and Technical Support Licensing
- Research & Special Projects Operation
- Finance & Administration
Work and Study Abroad
The capital has many universities offering quality education at affordable prices. Universities accept international students on a full-time basis or exchange programs. Some of the universities found in Windhoek include:
- Namibia University of Science and Technology
- The International University of Management
- University of Namibia
- International University of Management
- Namibia University of Science and Technology (Polytechnic of Namibia)
Eligible students should be enrolled in a degree program at home university at the time of application for exchange study stay. The student also must complete at least the first year of university studies.
Requirements differ across institutions and interested parties should consult universities for further information.
An au pair is a helper from a foreign country working for, and living as part of, a host family. Au pairs take on a share of the family's responsibility for childcare as well as some housework.
They receive a monetary allowance for personal use. The practice is not common in Windhoek but is slowly finding its way as citizens get busier. Travelers wishing to enlist the services of an Au Pair are advised to do all due diligence on prospective helpers to avoid fraudsters.
Namibia offers a variety of volunteer programs focused on wildlife conservation, health care, the environment, and teaching.
Volunteers usually commit themselves to a period of one year, although shorter programs are also available. Below are some organizations that offer volunteer opportunities.
- Dolam Children's Home: The Dolam Children's Home addresses itself to the problems of both girls and boys from the age of 8-18. Children here are provided with shelter education and regular meals. Medical and reproductive health education is also provided. Volunteers attached to this home help reading with the children, assisting with homework, helping to prepare meals, transporting the children to/from school; helping to keep the house in an orderly manner, planning and facilitating fun activities with the kids; providing emotional and educational support where required.
- Cheetah Conservation Fund: Founded in 1990, the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) is an internationally recognized center of excellence in the conservation of cheetahs and their ecosystems. CCF works with all stakeholders to develop best practices in research, education, and land use to benefit all species, not only cats but also the people with whom they share the land. CCF offers programs to volunteers as working guests, interns, and zookeepers. Volunteers cover the costs of training, accommodation, and meals.
Other volunteering options in Windhoek include:
- The Elephant Human Relations Aid (EHRA)
- Elonga Internships
- Penduka Women Project