Windhoek

Church in Windhoek
Windhoek, Namibia's capital and largest city, is often overlooked by visitors to this coastal African nation. Located in Namibia's Central Highlands, Windhoek is o­ne of the youngest national capitals in the world, as it was o­nly established a century ago, when Namibia was still a German colony. Most visitors use it as a brief stop before setting out to visit Namibia's wildlife refuges, game parks, and other natural attractions, but the city is worth an extended visit, as it is o­ne of the best places to experience the history and culture of modern Namibia.

Most of Windhoek's major tourist attractions are found in the city center. The National Museum of Namibia and the National Art Gallery offer exhibits o­n the country's past and present, and both are free to visitors. The city's German colonial past is apparent in much of its architecture, especially the three German castles -- Schwerinsburg, Sanderburg, and Heinitzburg -- located in central Windhoek. The Post Street Mall, Windhoek's main shopping district, is a perfect place to buy souvenirs, as folk art, crafts, clothing and other local goods are sold by its many vendors. Post Street is also home to many of the city's cafes and inexpensive Namibian and other restaurants.

While Windhoek lacks many of the top-end luxury hotels found in larger African cities, it has plenty of comfortable smaller hotels and guesthouses, most located either in the central city or in the eastern suburban areas of Klein Windhoek or Eros Park. The vast majority of travelers to Windhoek arrive through the city's Hosea Kutako International Airport. While it is the largest international airport in Namibia, it is also located a significant distance from the city center. Taxis, minibuses and private cars are the dominant way to travel the city, as Windhoek lacks a public-transit system.