Windhoek is the capital of Namibia and is quite often the starting point and end of a journey through this incredible country & landscape. Windhoek is not often talked about when it comes to traveling in Namibia. Beyond the basics of where to sleep & maybe eat, it’s seen as a rather boring stopover before heading off on a Namibian adventure. Whilst it may not have the beachside style of Swakopmund, there’s no reason to just wait for time to fly by. Instead, let’s dive into the 10 best things to do in Windhoek.
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Not exactly a city you would describe as a destination location. Windhoek isn’t normally a city sought out by travelers & it doesn’t lie within close proximity to any of the amazing attractions Namibia has to offer.
What this city does have is the only international airport in the country, Hosea Kutako International Airport. If you’re flying into Namibia from another country Hosea Kutako International Airport is going to be where you’ll be landing. Whilst it may look rather desolated from above, it’s approximately 45kms from Windhoek. You don’t have to stress too much about landing in the middle of nowhere. 😉
So, whilst Windhoek may not be a destination location, most visitors to Namibia have to at least pass through Windhoek for a night or two. Now if you’re looking for some things to do in Windhoek to pass the time or just to have some fun, we’ve got you covered below. 😎
The 10 Best things to do in Windhoek, Namibia
Visit the Christuskirche
A rather pretty Lutheran Church constructed at the beginning of the 20th century.
The Christuskirche is the most iconic landmark in Windhoek. Situated next to the Tintenpalast, Namibia’s Parliament building, & the parliament gardens, the church is located quite centrally & makes for an interesting walk with some historical significance & neighboring attractions.
Visit the Zoo Park gardens or the Parliament gardens to take a break from the blazing sun & chill out under a palm tree.
National Museum of Namibia (Alte Feste)
The Alte Feste, which translates from German to the Old Fort, is the oldest surviving building in Windhoek. Found next to the Tintenpalast, it is also the National Museum of Namibia.
Even though it is officially the National Museum of Namibia, it does not hold too many items of interest. A majority of which were moved to the neighboring Independence Memorial Museum upon completion in 2014.
What it lacks in interior content, it makes up for with intriguing historical architecture. It’s worth stopping by to have a look at the building itself, but don’t expect to find London’s Natural History Museum inside.
Independence Memorial Museum
Situated between the Christuskirche & the Alte Feste, you’ll find the Independence Memorial Museum… There are things to see and do in other areas of Windhoek, I’ll get to those in a bit. 😉
Anyway, where were we? Ah yes, the Coffee Machine… I mean the Independence Memorial Museum, although you can probably see why the locals refer to it as the coffee machine.
This 40m high museum is a rather chaotic mess upon entry. Whilst it does showcase the fight for independence, there is no rhyme or reason for how exhibits are set up or any order in which you can follow. It at least offers free admission & has a café on the top which showcases some panoramic views over the city.
Quite ironically, the Independence Memorial Museum is one of a number of buildings in Namibia designed & built (& financed?) by a North Korean company named Mansudae. If it wasn’t ironic enough that an independence museum was built by a foreign company, the same company only employs North Korean workers for their construction projects.
Regardless, the Independence Memorial Museum is almost a must-see when in Windhoek, whether for the history, the view or just the amusement of the chaotic nature of it all.
Hilton Hotel Terrace
Speaking of views, the terrace atop the Hilton Hotel provides another great view over the city. Perfect for an evening sundowner whilst sipping on cocktails or a snack with a view.Not sure what to do in Windhoek, Namibia? Then you need to read this!
You cannot mention food or Windhoek without including Joe’s. They say if you haven’t been to Joe’s, you haven’t visited Namibia. The saying holds true these days as the Beerhouse is one of the most popular destinations in the whole country.
The place is massive, or at least that’s how it feels on a busy evening… which is every evening, as Joe’s is pretty much full every single night. It’s not just a spot for the foreigners, the locals love it too!
There are 5 different areas, most of which are outside & undercover, all providing a unique and warm atmosphere. Even though Joe’s has a capacity of 600 people, make sure to book in advance. Assuring you of a seat in this eclectic collection that can only be summed up as a real Namibian experience.
The foods great too! 😉
Namibian Craft Centre
You’ll find plenty of locally made Namibian crafts & artwork. From wood carved figures & gemstones to beautiful cloth and clothing. The Namibian Craft Centre provides a convenient place to find a variety of locally made products and souvenirs without charging the usual tourist prices.
If the crafts weren’t enough though, head upstairs to the Craft Café for some of the best apple crumble & cheesecake in town!
Post Street Mall & the Gibeon Meteorites
If you’re in the bartering mood, head to Post Street Mall. This passageway is full of stores (where you can’t barter) and street vendors (where you can barter) looking to sell their goods. The street vendors usually start high, so try bundling to get a good deal.
Along the Post Street Mall, you’ll come across some pedestals housing a few rocks. Well, that’s what it looks like upon first viewing at least. In fact, these are a part of the meteorite that hit Namibia in prehistoric times near the town named Gibeon, hence the name.
There may not be all that much to do or see with the meteorites, but where else can you actually get this close and touch actual meteorites.
P.s. The empty pillars have had their meteorites stolen, in case you were wondering. 😉
Penduka is a development and training village set up for local underprivileged women. Meaning Wake Up in most parts of Namibia, Penduka provides local support for women and children through their various programs & by providing women with work, education & safety.
Visit the Penduka Village on the banks of the Goreangab dam and browse through the various beautiful garments & glass crafts made here.
These crafts are also available internationally through the Penduka online shop here.
In addition to the crafts, there is also accommodation if you’re looking to stay over with views over the dam & a terraced restaurant waterside.
Daan Viljoen National Park
If you’re looking to go on a game viewing safari, Etosha, or even Erindi, would be a more advisable choice. Daan Viljoen National Park, however, is conveniently close to Windhoek to get you ready for the bigger parks or to wind down when returning.
Perfect for an afternoon hike before settling down for a delicious meal at the Boma restaurant.
You can also go on game drives with an experienced guide or stay the night at one of the campsites or in a modern Namibian chalet.
Related: 10 Great places to visit in Namibia.
Horseback Riding through the Eros Mountains
If you’re looking for a more adventures outdoors experience, there’s nothing like horseback riding through the Eros mountains with Equitrails.
The experienced team will partner you with a horse that suits you no matter your riding experience. Even if you’ve never ridden before.
You can choose from short hour trips, breakfast trips, sundowner rides or even longer individually scheduled excursions from your lodge.
The 10 Best things to do in Windhoek, Namibia – Summary
- Alte Feste
- Independence Memorial Museum
- Hilton Hotel Terrace
- Joe’s Beerhouse
- Namibian Craft Centre
- Post Street Mall & Gideon Meteorites
- Daan Viljoen National Park
- Horseback Riding
If you find yourself with a few days to spare whilst in Namibia, these 10 things to do in Windhoek will keep you entertained whilst having some fun.
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Have you been to Windhoek or anywhere else in Namibia? Let us know how it was in the comments down below. 😊
Maike & David