Windhoek in Namibia – one of the most interesting cities in Africa
If you travel to Namibia, in most cases you first stop in the capital Windhoek, as this is where the international airport, which is the largest in the country, is located. It is around 50 km from the airport to the city center, so it makes sense to first explore the capital of Namibia before going on safari into the wilderness. And: It is definitely worth it, because Windhoek is a city that is absolutely worth seeing.
Ancient testimonies from the German colonial past can be found throughout the capital – and yet Namibia is clearly a typically African country. Windhoek has a population of around 350,000 and is therefore the only real metropolis in Namibia that has a multitude of interesting sights.
Cultural center of Namibia and starting point for many tours
Windhoek still shows itself today, long after the German colonial occupation, in the typical colonial architectural style and is at the same time the economic and cultural center of Namibia. The seat of government and the most important national and international transport hubs are located here, and the city is also an excellent starting point for tours in all directions. A day trip to the Skeleton Coast or a trip to the Caprivi tip are two of the countless possibilities for travelers. The famous Namib Desert in the south can also be easily reached from here.
Up until around 200 years ago, hot thermal springs gushed out of the ground in Windhoek, producing a lot of steam. To this day, the city therefore bears the African nickname “Otjomuise”, which translates as “city of steam”.
Windhoek has more to offer than most travelers assume when they first visit Namibia. The landmark of the city is, for example, the imposing Christ Church with its tower that can be seen from afar, which was built in 1896. After the colonial power Germany had lost all wars against the Herero and Ovambo, the church was consecrated in 1910 as a Church of Peace. To this day, with its impressive architecture made of marble and quartz sandstone, it is one of the most beautiful buildings in Windhoek and absolutely worth a visit.
Another well-known sight in the city is the ” Südwester Reiter “, which continues to shape the cityscape to this day. It is located near the Alte Feste and has existed since 1912. It is a sculpture on bronze that shows a troop rider in uniform on a horse. It should be a memorial to the end of the German colonial wars in what was once German South West Africa.
You should definitely see the Alte Feste. It was built in 1890 by Curt von Francois – primarily with the aim of consolidating the once rather shaky peace between the Namas and the Hereros. It is a very simply built Schwerinsburg, which was repeatedly destroyed and restored as a result of wars. In 1913, the Count of Schwerin finally gave the order to convert the Alte Feste into a castle in the romantic style, where the Namibian ambassador has his headquarters today.
The festival is also home to the impressive National Museum of Namibia and is definitely a highlight in the city if you want to learn more about the impressive culture and eventful history of the country.
The center of Windhoek is wonderfully suited for interesting city walks: It is lively, with many shops and street vendors as well as with colorful markets. It is often a memorable experience for travelers to explore the markets and haggle with the locals for spices, clothes, handicrafts or jewelry. Here and there you will surely come across exotic fruits and vegetables that you have never seen before. So Windhoek is absolutely a city for all the senses that you should definitely explore yourself.