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While Namibia is often called the gem of Africa Windhoek must be the centre should be called the centre of the gem. Most of the tourists will reach Namibia via Windhoek International Airport. These Airport is not only in size different from European airports also the buildings of the airport are something special. If you are unlucky enough to reach the airport around noon prepare to be cooked. The building has got a corrugated iron roof an no aircon and as you are in Africa you need a lot of passion because of the speed of the customs officers. It is very funny to watch other tourist changing from one line to another just to get a bit earlier through customs. You will see them again waiting for there luggage. Because of the airport being far outside of Windhoek the travel immediately got one problem. How to get to the city? First opportunity the bus which goes from the airport to the city centre. Second possibility a taxi. Everybody needs to go to the city so try to share one and very important bargain about the price before entering the taxi. The third way, if you rent a car what you nearly have to to get around, make you renting station the airport or let the rental company pick you up at the airport. Every rental company I know does it. Or if you lucky enough, like I have been the last time, you talk with your neighbour which is a local and he offers you a transport to your accommodation. Thereby it is probably very helpful to speak German as a lot of the white Namibians do (Namibia was former German south west Africa). The accommodation is best booked in advance as it could happen that nearly every bed is occupied. Happened to me on my first Namibia Tour. My personal favourite is pension Handke, a small very personal pension with a very good breakfast and in walking distance to the city centre. (Rossini Str. 3) Windhoek is the perfect place to start a few weeks tour through Namibia. In the jobs you can by everything you need on y
our tour and if you want to go to the caprivi strip you can even by your malaria prophylaxis there much cheaper then in Europe. Besides on a walk around Windhoek you take the chance to the Alte Feste the old headquarter of the so called Schutztruppe (protection troop), the Christus church and the train station a interesting first view of the country. It is important that if you want to visit one of the state owned parks, what you really should, you have to make a reservation at the ministry of environment and tourism either from home via mail or directly in Windhoek. Another thing you should do while in Windhoek is to visit the Tourism Office to get your free copies of the Namibia map and the accommodation guide. Both very helpful while travelling. If you are looking for a good place for food “Jo’s Beerhouse” should be your place. It is a open-air pub with the really good local beer. If you like Bavarian beer (in my opinion the best beer in the world but I’m maybe prejudiced as a Bavarian), ask for a Tafel Lager. If it comes to food try the kudu a local antelope which tastes really good. I also liked this place because it is one of the few where black and white is sitting together still not to common in Africa. For families “Spurs” in the city centre is a hit. It is a mixture from a steakhouse and a fast-food restaurant. So while your kids are enjoying there burger with chips mom and dad eat a perfectly done steak. Otherwise I can just say stay a view days in Windhoek to acclimatise and get down to the speed of Africa (make a lunch break sleeping in the park like the locals) before you start your unforgettable Namibia tour. Criminality is not such a big problem as in the big cities in south Africa but you should use your common sense. Don’t show up all your jewellery and expansive Rolex watches. Although it is not recommended to walk around after dark in most parts of the city. Better take a Taxi
every waiter or bartender will call you one and it is cheaper then ending up robbed in the streets of Windhoek.
Have you also been wondering how people manage to spend time wasted, rather than exploring to ensure a lasting memory of a city they might never return to? Maybe some day one of you might plan your “Holiday of a Lifetime”. Should this become a reality and your choice fell upon Namibia, you may find yourself arriving at Hosea Kutako International Airport, 40 km outside Windhoek, capital of Namibia. On your way to Windhoek you may experience your first encounter with wildlife which could be a Guinea fowl rushing over the road while fluttering its feathers perpetually. A Warthog could be grazing alongside the road, not disturbed while traffic is passing by, or a Kudu might scare the pants off you jumping over the road ahead. The next couple of days might be remembered for a lifetime…or could become your worst nightmare! Which do you prefer? Regarded as one of Africa’s cleanest capitals, Windhoek is situated between the Eros Mountains in the northeast, the Auas Mountains in the southeast and the Khomas Hochland in the west. It is the gateway to your holiday and known to many as being the heart of Namibia. Now what? You have arrived, had a sensational trip and now you have these sudden questions rushing through your mind. What can you see and what would you possibly be able to do? Within the next couple of days you would be touring the landscapes, wildlife reservations and the true wonders of Namibia…but the present time and situation is just as important to you as you have already started forming your first impression. Oh, that is fairly easy to solve. Contact Janet (Otjiwarotji, as most of you already know) and Brian. No? You would rather have me continue the opinion? Wonderful…Thank you, and indeed I will. Hmm, let me find my thinking cap before I make an utter fool of myself…ooh, I know, history is always a good starting point. Should you not be the least interested, do not be impatient as we might find som
ething of interest to suit your personal needs as well, so I will attempt to keep it short and simple (I bet you already know that is impossible, don’t you?). The “Old Breweries”, build in 1902 was one of the largest business concerns in Windhoek and as business developed, a “New Breweries” was build. Visiting the “Old Breweries”, you will find an Arts and Craft center. There you will discover exquisite traditional handmade products from wooden furniture or carvings to jewelry and African clothing. Breathtaking, to say the least as you will be taken by surprise. To add a little culture you may spend the night at The Warehouse Theatre, also situated in the “Old Breweries” and normally stages informal theatre, music and one-person shows, and yes, Jazz too! The “New Breweries”, now located in the northern area of Windhoek would gladly arrange a tour and tasting for those of you who appreciate the true quality of an age-old brewing tradition dating back to 1516. Beer such as Windhoek Lager, Windhoek Export, Windhoek Light and Urbock are brewed to perfection right here in Windhoek. Very tasty on a hot summers day! Note that I have only mentioned a few and this prove to be an opinion for another time. Trust a Namibian to start at the liquor department…! Oh, you will appreciate a refreshing cold beer after a day in the sun at 37 degrees Celsius. Trust me! St George’s Cathedral was erected in 1924 and is currently the smallest operating cathedral in Southern Africa. Very interesting though is that the bell in the tower is one of a set for St Mary’s Cathedral in Northwall, Canterbury. The St George’s School is on the same grounds but used today as a kindergarten (pre-school for children). The Alte Feste is one of the oldest buildings in Windhoek with the cornerstone laid in 1890. Building was completed 1892. In 1915 it served as a military headquarters and 193
5 as a hostel for the Windhoek High School. It was declared as a National Monument in 1957 and currently the State Museum within these walls reflects events leading up to the Independence of Namibia. You will be able to familiarize yourself with various aspects of Namibia at visiting this sight. More of these wonderful sights I can only share with you briefly, as we have to start moving along. The Christuskirche, 1910. Accommodated the Lutheran congregation, now a historical monument. The Conservatoire, 1897-1898. Used as a court and later converted. The Old Supreme Court, 1907, currently the Regional Court. The Railway Station, 1911, with additions in 1929 by the South African Government at the time. The Zoo Park is a playground for children, with an open-air theatre, a stunning garden surrounding it with fountains, a stream and a pond. A stroll through the Zoo Park is worth the effort. The State House, 1959. It is currently serving as the President of the Republic of Namibia’s residence. The Oude Voorpost, 1902. Accommodating the Reservation Office of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism today. The Turnhalle, 1909. Conferences and meetings are held here, yet the Turnhalle played an important role in the history of Namibia. The Tintenpalast, 1913. This historical building are housing the National Assembly. Be honest, would this be a halfway stop only, to your “Once in a Lifetime Holiday”? What! Not convinced yet? I really thought I had you hooked! Well, back to the drawing board then…off with the cap, let me think… Wika Carnival, yes I understand you might believe Namibia is the last place where you can expect carnival festivities. I have news for you, indeed I do. In this vast a country we have no fewer than six carnival societies of which the oldest is in Windhoek. The Karnevalgesellschaft Windhoek 1952 (Windhoek Carnival Society of 1952). Musical groups from Germany mostly are regular visitors to Windh
oek during these festivities and keep all entertained for a week. Many a tourist has joined in the celebrations over the years in the month of April. Most return for another blast each year…I wonder why that is? Then there is the equally popular October Fest during the month of October as you might have guessed, with tons of beer and lots of sausage consumption, the fun has only just begun! Experiences that will never be forgotten as the Windhoekers thrive on socializing, and they love entertaining masses of people. Hang on, where is my manners? You might be visiting another time of the year. Windhoek has a number of wonderful places to keep you entertained. The best nights to let your hair down are Wednesdays (known to Namibians as “little Saturday”) and Fridays. To experience the true Africa, Joe’s Beer House with fires burning high and food to die for will keep you comfy and warm. Should you prefer dancing the night away till early hours, Equinox or After Dark and many more will keep you smiling. Feeling luck could strike if only you could find a casino? The Windhoek Country Club and the Kalahari Sands Hotel are at your service. Remember, you still have that holiday awaiting you, be warned. As Windhoek is a cosmopolitan city, you have a number of taste sensations from around the world to choose from, such as Chinese, Irish, Italian, and Portuguese restaurants, all very centrally situated and easy to locate. You will find cultural attractions at the College of the Arts with music performances, modern dances and ballets. Formal drama performances, music and ballet usually take place at the National Theatre of Namibia. Franco Namibia Cultural Center entertain you with films around the globe, mostly French. Happy yet? What was that? No! Oh dear, that means I have to chat some more, oh, I heard that! You are whispering something about wildlife and landscapes. Windhoek is surrounded with beauty, and you better believ
e it! Outside Windhoek and only ten minute’s driving, you will reach the Daan Viljoen Game Park in the Khomas Hochland hills. Here you will have the tranquility of the bush, amazing sunsets and sunrises to treasure for a lifetime, and an abundance of wildlife to enjoy. Would you like to see Zebra, or maybe Steenbok? What about Kudu, Springbok, Blue Wildebeest, or perhaps a few Giraffes and maybe even witness Baboons at a distance? You could visit for the day or spend the night and join the Hiking trail early morning. Birdwatchers too have a surprise as 200 species have been recorded at the Daan Viljoen Game Park. Bungalows are fully equipped and the facilities are superb. Does that sound inviting or what? Besides the Game Park, there are many more Game Ranches and Guest Lodges around Windhoek to choose from, but too many to write about as I believe you are quite capable of searching to find the perfect location to your personal requirements. As Janet and Brian realized soon enough, driving through the suburbs of Windhoek alone, have you staring amazingly through the windows. Squirrels, often the center of attraction, even to the local community, can be seen dashing around in little groups. As food becomes less obtainable, a Jackal may wander into the boundaries of civilization. Heck, even Porcupines become daring at times. Hawks are often seen flying in the skies over Windhoek and Gecko’s bathe in the sun continuously. Sadly though, with all these wonderful possibilities to create a memorable visit, I still hear some say, “Oh, it was only a stop-over. My true adventure will only commence as soon as I leave for my tour.” Give Windhoek a break! It will always be the gateway to more splendors and it is the heart of Namibia. What, you still would not take my word for it? Well silly, all you need to do is ask Janet (Otjiwarotji) and Brian then! For further details: Windhoek. City Promotion Officer: firstname.lastname@example.org
g.na Daan Viljoen Game Park: http://www.namibiawildliferesorts.com
Windhoek (German «Windhuk») is the capital of Namibia. It is located in the Khomas Region. Windhoek was originally inhabited by the Herero, then became the centre of a Nama chief who defeated the Herero in the 19th century. Germany occupied the region in 1885, and it became the seat of colonial rule in 1892, as the capital of the colony of German South-West Africa (Deutsch-Südwestafrika). Until the independence of Namibia was inaugurated in 1990, Windhoek was recognized as the capital of South West Africa as administered by the South African government. It continues today as the capital of the Republic of Namibia.