Your Namibia trip will probably start at the international airport at the capital Windhoek. This is where most travellers pick up their rental car or camper van. Anxious to get started with their roadtrip, most people head straight to the impressive nature and national parks for their safari experience. But we’d recommend you to wait for one or two days and use that time to explore the capital before you start your itinerary for Namibia. Let’s start your trip with these 6 best things to do in Windhoek in Namibia!
Continue reading: these are the best hotels, lodges and b&bs in Windhoek, Namibia!
6x things to do in Windhoek in Namibia
#1 Independence Memorial Museum
Website | It’s hard to not come across this museum in Windhoek. It is located in one of the largest, tallest and most modern buildings in the city centre. The entrance is free. Just the glass elevator on the side of the building is a big attraction because of its amazing city views.
The Independence Memorial Museum is not the best maintained museum in the world, but it is best way to learn about Namibia’s recent history. Objects, paintings and scenes with not so lifelike sculptures tell you about the colonial influences, independence struggle and genocide. You might think that this only involves European colonialism. But Germany has only been in power in Namibia for little les than forty years. After the First World War, South Africa occupied what’s now called Namibia. It was only at the end of the 80s that Namibia gained independence.
Tip: do you want to learn more about Namibia? You can also visit the Owele Museum for free. It is a somewhat curious museum with – again – not so lifelike sculptures and objects to tell about the indigenous tribes. And there is also a big part with stuffed animals to tell you about the wildlife in Namibia. Some of them were not visible during our visit in January 2019, because the lamps in those cabinets were broken.
#2 Rooftop view over the city
A cool view over the city? Then you are already in the right place at the Independence Museum. From the restaurant on one of the highest floors, you have the best view of the city for free. The balcony gives views of the Christ Kirche and beyond the rest of the city. From here you can see how far the city reaches and how the vast mountain landscape of Namibia is right at the edges of it.
#3 Namibia Crafts Center
Website | The Crafts Center offers the best souvenirs of Namibia all in one place. From handwoven fabrics and wooden bowls to beaded necklaces and other handmade jewelry. You buy the products directly from local entrepreneurs with their own shop in the Crafts Center. We are also big fans of the Crafts Center because of the Craft Café. The café offers some delicious smoothies and healthy meals.
Tip: looking for souvenirs? Right next to Slow Town Coffee are some smaller stalls with souvenirs.
#4 Christ Kirche
The most famous landmark of Windhoek is the Christ Kirche. Or translated: the Christ Church. The German-style church has a characteristic red roof. In a city with maily low rise building you can clearly see the red church tower from many places. The church was built at the beginning of the twentieth century by a German architect. It is a strange combination of classic Gothic and the Art Nouveau that was in fashion back then.
#5 Slow Town Coffee
Website | You won’t come across speciality coffee everywhere in Namibia, so enjoy this opportunity in Windhoek. In the heart of the city you can visit Slow Town Coffee, the best coffee spot in Windhoek. Everything at this spot is about coffee, so don’t expect much else on the menu. Besides a piece of cake or some cookies with your caffeine fix.
Tip: more cool coffee spots in Namibia? Check this blog post!
#6 Zoo Park
Don’t expect green meadows and bright flower beds in this park, because for the climate in Namibia is too hot and dry for this. Despite that, this park is a nice resting spot in central Windhoek with its trees for shade and benches. This is one of the busiest places in the city. It is usually filled with groups of people chatting and enjoying a picnic.
#7 Eat a kudu steak
To us it was weird to be taking pictures of the wildlife at one moment and ordering the same animals the next day in a restaurant for dinner. But in a country where there are more kudus than it’s possible to grow vegetables, this actually makes sense. Even in supermarkts, game is often cheaper than your veggies. We even once saw a red pepper of about € 5! So in short: if you are a meat eater like Sebastiaan, you should not be surprised to see a kudu, oryx or springbok steak on the menu. As a vegetarian, Maartje skipped these specialties, but Sebastiaan tried them all.
Tip: next to the Zoo Park is Café Balalaika, The Zoo Café. This restaurant serves both good vegetarian meals ánd game. Sebastiaan enjoyed a fantastic oryx steak at this palce.
#8 Gibeon Meteorites
The Gibeon meteorites were placed right in the middle of one of Windhoek’s larger shopping streets. These extraterrestrial stones are part of the largest meteorite shower on earth. The shower already took place in prehistoric times, but the meteorites were only discovered about a hundred years ago in Namibia. If you’ve never seen anything extraterrestrial liked us, this is definitely a must.
#9 Stocking up on supplies
Windhoek is the largest city in Namibia and therefore the best place to get your roadtrip supplies. There won’t always be supermarkets with a broad assortment nearby during your Namibia trip. So get them in Windhoek! The chains Checkers and Pick ‘n Pay probably have the most stores around the country. The assortment and the prices are good. Windhoek has several stores of these chains. Not only in the city centre, but probably also near your car rental.
Tip: also looking for the best hotels in Windhoek? Check out this blog for the most beautiful lodges, design hotels and budget options.