Here is my insider’s city guide to Windhoek. In a city this small, one would think it wouldn’t be hard to know whats going on, whats hot and happening and what’s new, well you will be surprised at the number of hidden gems lurking in the city. This Windhoek city guide will focus on the lesser known restaurants and tourist attractions as well as my opinion on what’s worth it.
Even in the small town of Windhoek, Namibia there is a little something for everyone.
Windhoek is the capital of Namibia
Population: Approx. 350 000
Time Zone: GMT +1
Language: English (official), but German is also widely spoken
Currency: Namibian Dollar (NAD). Rand (ZAR) are accepted everywhere too
Tourist Season: Peak tourist season is from June to end August. You need to book your car hire and accommodation far in advance and accommodation and tourist activities tend to be more expensive over this period too.
Climate: It is sunny and hot 300 days a year – so pack loads of sunscreen! Winter is June – August and the evenings get chilly but during the days it’s still beautiful and warm with the odd day being cold, a light jacket and pants are suitable.
Getting around: Hiring a car or by taxi, if travelling through Namibia on your own it’s best to hire a 4×4 vehicle. It is safe to walk in the centre of town during the day, however, as with any city in the world, there is always a risk of the odd pickpocket so be careful. #TIA
Top 5 things to do in Windhoek
1. See the three main tourist attractions and they are all on Robert Mugabe Avenue – The Christ Church, Parliament Gardens and the Independence Museum
2. Have a Kleiner Keiler liqueur at Joes Beerhouse. The correct way to drink them is to unscrew the cap, place the cap firmly on the tip of your nose and pick up the shot bottle with your teeth and drink – no hands
3. Katutura Bicycle Tour and visit the the Kapana market
4. Have a cocktail and watch the sunset at Hilton Sky Bar
5. Visit Heroe’s Acre, it is a seriously impressive monument and you will also be treated to an amazing view of the entire city
For the Nature Lovers…
A 25-minute drive takes you to this luxury game lodge and day spa, they have mainly herbivorous animals (buck, giraffe, zebra etc..) and they do have 6 white rhinos.
A 40-minute drive out of the city (it is well worth the drive) and this is where Angelina and Brad Pitt hang out when they are in town ;). You can have an amazing lunch and visit their cheetah conservation project. (read my full review here)
A short 10 minutes brings you to Daan Viljoen, they don’t have any predators so it makes for the perfect place to take a walk or hike through the reserve or for the less energetic you can take a self-drive through the park (a 4×4 vehicle is required). They have a nice pool and boma restaurant if you are looking to cool off.
For the Foodies…
You can count the number of restaurants and cafes in Windhoek on your fingers and toes. I am going to focus on the lesser known eatery’s as every visitor/ local and tourist will hear about Joes Beerhouse, Stellenbosch Wine Bar and Utopia.
There is a strong German and South African influence that runs through Namibian cuisine. The country is also well-known for their meat and venison, make sure you try an oryx steak or springbok carpaccio.
Is a quirky little cafe that combines food and antique shopping. Open Monday to Saturday for breakfast and lunch. On Thursday’s only, they open for pizza and wine evenings where there is a local jazz or folk band playing. I would go so far as to say they serve some of the best pizza I have tasted in Windhoek. It’s essential to make a reservation for the Thursday evenings. Read my full review here.
Set in a large shady garden this cafe has an extensive menu with great food, they also have a big children’s play area. Open Monday to Saturday for breakfast and lunch.
JoJo’s is an eclectic restaurant that looks like a converted loft apartment, they play old vinyl records and often have live bands, poetry readings and art exhibitions (think more artsy vibe than noisy pub). The menu is fresh, consisting of salads, sandwiches and Mexican food. Open seven days a week from brunch till dinner.
On the corner of Jan Jonker Road and Sam Nujoma Drive (in the grey office park building) and one of Windhoek’s best kept secrets. It is a tiny cafe where you sit in a tranquil garden surrounded by lavender bushes. Open weekdays for breakfast and lunch, it has some of the yummiest food and cake at very reasonable prices.
Is a division of Naankuse and is run by such an inspiring and energetic team. They host special foodie events like kids cooking classes, cook-offs, coffee tasting, wine and biltong tastings, pop-up restaurants which feature innovative themed menus (you can even bring your kids along to the evening events as they have onsite babysitters). They also have a cafe open Monday to Friday for breakfast and light lunches.
On the lawns of the Eagle Restaurant at Avis Dam is the monthly Windhoek City Market. Pack a picnic blanket and an empty basket that can be stocked up with a variety of tasty treats from all the stalls.
For the Vegetarians…
3 Photos you can’t leave without
Other Useful Websites
Visit WhatsOn Namibia for a comprehensive list of events and activities across the country, from theatre to food markets and sporting events.
For tourist attractions, trading hours and city info visit City of Windhoek.
A list of the most popular restaurants in Windhoek visit the Namibian Tourism Board Blog.
This is not a complete guide, it’s just places I believe are worth seeing. Let me know if you think I have left off somewhere really worth a visit?