Windhoek is Namibia's capital and largest city (population ~250,000). It is in the geographic centre of the country at an elevation of 1,600m. This is the city where most safaris travelling through Namibia begin, and also the first point of entry in Namibia should you arrive by airplane.
Central Windhoek is a surprisingly modern, well-groomed city where office workers lounge around Zoo Park at lunchtime, tourists funnel through Post St Mall admiring African curios and taxis whizz around honking at potential customers. In fact, first impressions confirm that the city wouldn’t look out of place in the West.
It’s not a big city and is eminently walkable; add to this a mixed population, a pedestrian-friendly city centre, a relaxed, relatively hassle-free pace and an utterly cosmopolitan outlook and Windhoek makes for a very pleasant exploration indeed. Neo-baroque cathedral spires, as well as a few seemingly misplaced German castles, punctuate the skyline, and complement the steel-and-glass high-rises.
Of course that’s only part of the story; a trip into Katutura, the once-ramshackle township on the outskirts of the city, now just another outer suburb, gives insight into the reality of most people’s lives within the boundaries of the capital.
Windhoek makes a great place to begin or break a journey through Namibia. The accommodation choices, food variety, cultural sights, shopping and African urban buzz give it an edge not found anywhere else in Namibia.
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