Quaint and laid-back, with a relatively pretty setting surrounded by rolling hills, Windhoek is not the world’s most thrilling city but it is one of Southern Africa’s more pleasant capitals. There are pockets of cultural interest, with German colonial influence leaving behind some interesting architecture, churches and an increasingly thriving café culture. There are a growing number of good restaurants, bars and boutique guesthouses that make Windhoek a very agreeable place to spend a night after a long-haul overnight flight or a tiring self-drive safari, especially as it is only a half hour transfer to the airport on scenic, uncluttered roads. With a central location, and the real Namibian highlights spreading out evenly in all directions, Windhoek is also very convenient as a beginning and end point of self-drive loops around the country.
In terms of attractions and activities, Windhoek’s cup isn’t overflowing but there is certainly enough to fill a day’s exploration. It is a relatively green and attractive city, with parks, gardens and wide, European-style boulevards making it ideally suited to a walking tour at your own leisure. There are a smattering of museums, the best of which is the Alte Feste, housed in an old fort and delving into Namibia’s history with a look at both the colonial period and indigenous cultures. There is good shopping to be done on Independence Avenue and in the increasing number of modern shopping malls, with local art, crafts, diamonds and fabrics among the best buys. Windhoek’s most striking colonial building is the Lutheran Christ Church, just off Fidel Castro Street, which is not usually accessible but certainly worth stopping at to take some pictures of the attractive façade.