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48 Hours in Windhoek

What to do if you have two days in a city.

Windhoek is a city in motion. The gestating cultural, culinary and corporate hub pulses with possibility, yet exudes the familiarity of an old friend. When you get a chance to visit Namibia’s large landlocked capital, you will experience a people of steadfast resilience – having weathered the harsh desert climates of the area, and survived the horrors of the country’s past.

What to see

“A diamond’s father is coal, yet it regards itself as upper-class,” this Namibian proverb is a reminder that none should neglect addressing their past, lest they be doomed to repeat it. The National Museum of Namibia honors its fallen heroes in a sobering multi-leveled exhibition.

Located next to the National Council and Parliament Gardens, on Robert Mugabe Drive, wander within these historical sites on your way down to the National Art Gallery.

The Tintenpalast Goverment Building and National Symbol of Namibia in Windhoek With Famous Parliament Gardens in Robert Mugabe Avenue (Photo by: Hoberman/UIG via Getty Images)

The Tintenpalast Goverment Building and National Symbol of Namibia in Windhoek With Famous Parliament Gardens in Robert Mugabe Avenue (Photo by: Hoberman/UIG via Getty Images)

A display of interactive installations and delicately woven traditional tapestry, made by local hands, are available to purchase at the centre. Art-lovers on a budget can enjoy the in-house library of creative literature.

Where to hang out

During the day, The Warehouse is where you grab a quick bite to fuel your buzzing through the negotiations of tourists and vendors at the Namibia Craft Centre just next door. When the sun sets, however, a dada of creatives host events throughout the week. Friday nights are always electric. Local musicians perform creative medlies that can’t help but get you on your feet.

Windhoek City Market is the perfect place to spend a Friday evening if you consider yourself a foodie. Everything from Thai food and burritos, to traditional delicacies like mopane worms and bratwurst are served out of a festival of food trucks. Gain a beer education from the local brewers while the local talent entertains with live music.

Courtyard at the Stellenbosch Wine bar

Courtyard at the Stellenbosch Wine bar

How to get around

Hire a car if you want to take control of driving, but a taxi cab, or what the locals call ‘kudus’ because they dart through the street, will always be right around the corner.

Where to stay

Windhoek Country Club compliments the landscape effortlessly. Lie back on your poolside lounger and watch the terracotta-coloured oasis blur into blue skies as you drain your drink. Giraffes certainly won’t be peering through your window at this hotel, but the concierge desk is always happy to help you organise a safari for you and your loved ones.

Tintenpalast in Windhoek, Namibia with flowers and palm trees

Tintenpalast in Windhoek, Namibia with flowers and palm trees

Getting there

SAA flies to Windhoek daily from both Johannesburg and Cape Town. From Hosea Kutako, you will have to organise a shuttle to drive you from the airport into the city, which is roughly 46 kms away.

Where to eat

Stellenbosch Wine Bar – much like its name suggests, most of the wine is sourced from the South Africa’s wine country. But it is the succulent Namibian beef Chef Nick and his team grill that keeps the proud meat-eating community coming back for more.

On particularly hot evenings, the whimsical courtyard provides the perfect atmosphere for an intimate dining experience.

Joe’s Beerhouse is a local institution that has been serving pork knuckles with traditional sauerkraut and mustard for over three decades. The quirky eatery is decorated with scrap metal knick knacks and empty Kleiner Keiler bottles hidden about the restaurant – a first-timers tradition.

Joe's Beerhouse with its legendary pork knuckles and sauerkraut

Joe’s Beerhouse with its legendary pork knuckles and sauerkraut

On most Wednesday, you’ll find a drum circles of both locals and tourists jamming an impromptu performance ‘round the lapa.

While South Africans have shisanyama, Namibians enjoy their Capana. On Saturdays, meat lovers pile into the township of Katutura for braai vleis by the Goreangab Dam. Pair your portion with an ice cold Radler and you’ll soon say bye bye babalaas.

Words by Inga Sibiya

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