Windhoek is the little Namibian city that could. Home to just 325 858 people eating beef and drinking beer in-between bragging about how great their beer and beef is, Windhoek is a bite-sized metropolis that will hasten you out of a taxi in the middle of the street, baffle you with its German architecture and charm you with its wonderful people before inviting you to a braai. Music live, glorious sun setting, heart just about stolen.
25 Must-Have Experiences in Windhoek, Namibia
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1. Have a Windhoek in Windhoek.
Have a Windhoek in WindhoekWindhoek, NamibiaThe first thing you’re going to want to do in Windhoek is have a Windhoek. It’s ranked as one of the best beers in the world,it’s manufactured under strict German Purity Laws and drinking a Windhoek in Windhoek is clearly some kind of alcoholic Inception. #beer #drinks
2. Visit Single Quarters.
Visit Single QuartersWindhoek, NamibiaWindhoek isn’t big on street food but it is big on heading to Single Quarters in Katutura the morning after a night out and watching some guy in a floppy hat cook you the best cuts of meat you will ever know. Give this a miss if you’re squeamish because there are whole cow carcasses behind this guy and to get to him you have to walk past a couple of coils of cow skin. That aside, yum. Eat your meat right off the grill and dip in spice and salsa for a real cheap thrill. #meat #yum #cheap-eats
3. Eat Kapana.
Eat KapanaWindhoek, NamibiaWhen kapana is ready to eat, it’s cut into strips and kept warm on the grill. The big, bad ball of batter next to it is vetkoek. Directly translated from Afrikaans that’s ‘fat cake’. Vetkoek is not gluten-free, healthy or good for you in any reality but it is delicious. Altogether this will set you back about 23 bucks. N$20 for the meat and N$3 for the ball of deep fried heart attack.
4. Take yourself on a history tour.
Take Yourself on History TourWindhoek, NamibiaTake a walk along Robert Mugabe Avenue to get some historical perspective. The Christuskirche is over 100 years old and is one of the most iconic sites in the city. The Tintenpalast and Parliament Gardens are also on this street and free to view. Further down the road is Alte Feste (Old Fortress) and The Independence Memorial Museum which will give various versions of why Windhoek service stations sell schnitzel. #free #monument #church #history
5. Linger at the Independence Memorial Museum.
Linger at the Independence Memorial MuseumWindhoek, NamibiaThe recently opened Independence Memorial Museum (2014) has four floors featuring various exhibitions expounding on Namibia’s history of colonialism and the liberation struggle. Look out for the Chamber of Horrors which depicts the gruesome reality of the Herero and Nama genocide and if you have an apetite after all that head to NIMS to eat traditional food or a good old steak. The view is gorgeous, the history not so much.
6. Relax at the Parliament Gardens.
Relax at the Parliament GardensWindhoek, NamibiaIn Windhoek, grass is kind of a big deal. Especially since the city is amidst the kind of drought that necessitates water restrictions. What I mean is, if you see grass, frolick. Zoo Park has some that has currently seen better days but Parliament Gardens is spacious, green and generally populated by students, picknickers and yogis. Join AcroYoga Namibia to join in the fun surrounded by people with medical aid. #outdoor #yoga #nature
7. Kick Back at Skybar.
Kick back at SkybarWindhoek, NamibiaThe Hilton Hotel’s Skybar has one of the best views in the city and serves cocktails and food by the bar or to your table or lounger. Head here for a bougie day or night out on top of the world. Guests are allowed to use the pool, a day pool pass cost N$100 but sometimes non-guests and unrepentant sneaks can fly under the radar. The trick here is to not look poor. #pool #view #hilton #gym #pool #spa
8. De-stress at Nomad African Spa.
De-stress at Nomad SpaWindhoek, NamibiaNomad African Spa has been voted Best African Day Spa for two years in a row so you know it’s real. You can get more traditional massages here but try one of their speciality treatments instead. One involves a knopkierie. A stick with a large knob at the end historically used in hunting. Or bashing an enemy’s brains in. #spa #outdoor
9. Browse at Uncle’s Spike’s Book Exchange.
Browse at Uncle Spike’s Book ExchangeWindhoek, NamibiaUncle Spike’s Book exchange is one of Windhoek’s most beloved corners. Buy and exchange books here then amble through the crowded interior to find anything from sci-fi to romance. There’s a literary old man who fits seamlessly into the store’s implied narrative but he’s not Uncle Spike. So don’t call him that. And don’t geek out and call him Mr Koreander either because this is not The Neverending Story.
10. Marvel (mildly) at the Gibeon Meteorites.
Marvel (mildly) at the Gibeon MeteoritesWindhoek, NamibiaFor something out of this world, take a stroll down Post Street Mall and feast your eyes on the Gibeon Meteorites. Science estimates they’re about 4 billion years old and once you’ve contemplated the flash in eternity that is your entire existence, there’s a whole bunch of hawkers selling jewellery, postcards and sculptures behind you.
11. Glimpse the local art scene at the NAGN.
Glimpse the local art scene at the NAGNWindhoek, NamibiaPop into The National Art Gallery to catch a glimpse of the local visual art scene. Exhibitions in the main and upper gallery change every month and art openings are often free with regard to the only two things that really matter: Entrance… and wine. #gallery #art #exhibition
12. Catch a taxi.
Catch a TaxiWindhoek, NamibiaTaking a taxi in Windhoek is a right of passage and an opportunity to see your life flash before your eyes. Still, they’re cheap and the only way to get around, if you don’t have a car. Consider yourself well versed in the ways of Windhoek once you’ve argued about whether your trip cost 10 or 20 bucks, been glared at for paying in coins , been told to get out in the middle of the street or had a great chat, listened to dope beats and kind of made a new friend. #taxi #cab
13. Slow down at Slowtown.
Slow down at SlowtownWindhoek, NamibiaA walk down Independence Avenue is a must and to put some caffeine pep in your step,go to Slowtown. The coffee’s local, the people are lekker and if you like to watch strangers dragging themselves to and from work with what little will they have left to live,this is your jam. #coffee #cheap-eats #slowtown
14. Eat every flavour at Cramer’s.
Try every flavour at CramerWindhoek, NamibiaEat yourself into an ice cream coma at Cramer’s on Independence Avenue. The ice cream and froyo is locally made and delicious and their vegan-vexing tagline is” from cow to cone.”
15. Have a seat at City Market.
Have a seat at City MarketWindhoek, NamibiaFor great wine, good food and much mingling head to Windhoek City Night Market. The vibe is communal and the food is offbeat in a country obsessed with good old beef. Seriously, bless them, but Hindu tourists will need to be strong. #market
16. Eat Local at the Green Market.
Eat local at the Green MarketWindhoek, NamibiaWindhoek isn’t exactly the Garden of Eden when it comes to vegetation but farmers in around the city do manage to coax the earth into spitting out a wealth of green, mostly organically grown produce which is sold at the Green Market in Klein Windhoek every Saturday. Get there early to get your pick of fresh produce, homemade, cheeses, pickles and biltong while beating off housewives for one of about 30 boxes of strawberries. #fresh #food
17. Buy Local at the Craft Centre.
Buy Local at the Craft CentreWindhoek, NamibiaThe Craft Centre at the Old Breweries is a quaint arts centre on Tal Street where various local outfits sell crafts, jewellery, trinkets, sculptures and souvenirs. Many of the items are produced by previously disadvantaged members of the community who create functional art to earn a living. Say hallo to the artisans inside, catch the monthly exhibition in the Omba gallery and enjoy a great quiche Lorraine at the Craft Cafe.
18. See the world from Three Circles.
See the world from Three CirclesWindhoek, NamibiaUp a couple of stairs, okay a lot of stairs, and across a circular slab of concrete is Three Circles. A luridly beautiful lookout point that gives you a panaromic view of the city. Head here to peruse the most graffiti you will see in the famously clean city and be those random selfie takers in tourist photos. #view #outdoor
19. Drum Your Heart out at Drum Café.
Joe’s BeerhouseWindhoek, NamibiaJoin Drum Cafe’s weekly drumming circle at Joe’s Beerhouse every Wednesday at 18h00 sharp to start doubting the rhythm you flaunt so freely on the dance floor. Fee is donation of an amount of your choice and it ‘s a cool mix of kids,locals and tourists. Friendly tip: Don’t do this the day after arm day at the gym because flames.
20. Enjoy a meat feast at Joe’s Beerhouse.
Enjoy a meat feast at Joe’s BeerhouseWindhoek, NamibiaA trip to Windhoek without a trip to Joe’s Beerhouse means you may die without reading the words “our house wine is Jagermeister” before walking past an outside toilet, a fish pond and a car poised on a makeshift ceiling. Don’t live in regret, ek se. Famed for its steaks which can be everything from kudu to crocodile, Joe’s is pretty much a carnivore’s wet dream. #food #casual #casual
21. Explore Eveline Street.
Explore Eveline StreetWindhoek, NamibiaDrink a beer from a bar basically in someone’s backyard in Katutura’s notorious Eveline Street. A vibrant hub of car washes, bars, taxis and shebeens blasting car horns and music at any time of day. There’s even a tatoo parlour next to Maspiri’s but, you know, don’t drink and ink. The true pulse of Windhoek, Eveline Street is a place to chill like a local in the city’s historic township. Take a taxi here, find a jukebox and cue Miriam Makeba’s ‘Pata Pata’ and Brenda Fassie’s ‘Weekend Special’ to live your best life.
22. Make friends at the Cardboard Box.
Make friends at The Cardboard BoxWindhoek, NamibiaTo meet other backpackers and potentially plan trips to the places tourists actually come to Namibia to see, head to The Cardboard Box. It has dorms and single rooms for tourists but it also has a bar (dive variety), a pool table and swimming pool which people aren’t beyond jumping into in their underwear. *coughs* #backpackers #dorms #free-wifi #free-breakfast #pool
23. Hear it live at the Warehouse Theatre.
Hear it live at the Warehouse TheatreWindhoek, NamibiaOne of the top spots on Tal Street, The Warehouse Theatre is all about live entertainment. From Spoken Word to comedy, karaoke and open mic nights,Warehouse is the epitome of friendly neighbourhood bar. Pop in for Happy Hour, have the requisite tequila to kick things off and settle in to vibe with Windhoekers, tourists and performing artists who thrive on an average of about 20 minutes between shots.
24. Dance all night at Chopsi’s.
Dance all night at Chopsi’s BarWindhoek, NamibiaBe sure to collect the name you threw away after a night at Chopsi’s Bar. Situated in the off-centre of the city in the Old Breweries complex,Chopsi’s is the life of Windhoek’s party scene if you like your music loud, spot central, personal space mythical. #dancing #club
25. Celebrate Sunsets.
Celebrate sunsetsWindhoek, NamibiaIn Windhoek, sunsets are as revered as rain. The ritual is: Find a great spot to watch the sun go down then Instagram that bad boy with your preferred sundowner in the frame like it’s the first and last time it will ever happen. The skies in Namibia are truly beautiful and photographers swear by the magic of the country’s light. Relax, soak it in and wait to be bowled over by the stars.