Is Windhoek worth visiting? Yes, I would say. Give it a chance! There are a couple cool landmarks to see and some remarkable history to discover. Learning how Namibia became an independent country gives you some great background information for your Namibia trip and understanding its culture.
In this complete Windhoek travel guide I will first list the best places to visit and then come up with some really cool things to do. At the end I will also give you some sightseeing and other travel tips for Windhoek. With the help of this blog I am sure you will be making the most of your trip to Windhoek.
I have traveled to Namibia multiple times and saw most of tourist attractions around the country. I also organized a Traveltomtom Namibia Group Trip. Check it out in the link and find a 32 minutes video of all our Namibia travel adventures.
RELATED: 16 Best Things To Do in Namibia! - COMING SOON
Below also find my complete Windhoek Travel Guide video. All the things to do listed in this blog are shown in the Windhoek vlog below.
When traveling to Namibia stay connected by buying a Namibia sim card. Tips and info in the link. Still looking for an itinerary for 7 days in Namibia then read my article and don't miss any of the highlights.
The most iconic landmark of the city is also one of the main tourist attractions in Windhoek. This German Lutheran Church is located in the middle of a roundabout next to the Independence Memorial Museum, the Alte Feste and the North Korea building, as I name it… more about that later.
The church dates back to 1910, but construction started already in 1907. The Christuskirche is made from local sandstone. It is easy to find in the city center and tourist are welcome to visit.
2. Visit the Independence Memorial Museum
Opposite the German Lutheran Church you will see one of the most remarkable buildings in the city, a golden skyscraper with in front a statue of the first president of Namibia in 1990: Sam Nujoma. Yes that is correct, Namibia is a very young country and only gained independence from South Africa in 1990. Before the South Africans ruled in Namibia, it was a German colony.
Funny fact the Independence Memorial Museum building is completely funded and constructed by North Korea as a gift to Namibia.
Visiting the Independence Memorial Museum in Windhoek is the best way to learn about the history of Namibia. Visiting the museum is free of charge and it is open from 9am to 5pm. Closed on Sunday.
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3. Alte Feste / Former National Museum of Namibia
Next to the Independence Memorial Museum you will find a white low-rise colonial building that once housed the National Museum of Namibia. It is the oldest still standing building in Windhoek and served as a German Fort in the time of the colonisation. Hence the name Alte Feste.
Unfortunately the Alte Feste is (temporarily) closed, however it still is a symbolic place to visit in Windhoek. There is a statue outside that reminds of the genocide of the Nama and Herero people back in the early 1900s.
In the courtyard of Alte Fest there is a controversial statue of a German Corporal on a horse reminding of the German oppression called: Reiterdenkmal. Because the National Museum and the Alte Feste are closed the statue can only be seen from the 'Balcony of Love' rooftop bar on top of the Independence Memorial Museum.
4. Free Walking Tour in Windhoek
One of the best things to do in Windhoek is to join a free walking tour. Local guides will take you around the city and tell you some really cool background information and interesting insights about Windhoek and Namibian history.
Sightseeing never was this easy and you will learn all about the connection between North Korea, Cuba, Zimbabwe and Namibia and why some of the busiest streets in Windhoek are called after Fidel Castro and Roberto Mugabe.
Free Walking Tours are tip based and a great way to support locals directly. Tours start mostly around 9am somewhere in central Windhoek. Click here to find out more info about the Free Walking Tour.
5. Lunch with Giraffes at Voigtland Guesthouse
My favorite thing to do in Windhoek by far is to visit the Voigtland Guesthouse where you can feed giraffes while having lunch, breakfast or even a high tea. Spaces are limited to 8 visitors daily, so book this amazing Windhoek activity in advanced.
The Voigtland Guesthouse is located about 30 kilometers East of Windhoek city center and you will need a taxi or a rental car to get there. Depending on your negotiation skills you can find a taxi for a return trip between $500 and $800 NAD ($30-$50 USD).
The best way to experience the giraffes is to stay overnight at Voigtland Guesthouse. There are 5 guest rooms on this 7,500 hectare farm. Guests can enjoy mountain biking, hiking, ATV riding and a big pool with views of the giraffes and the nearby mountains. Click on the link for more info and prices.
6. Katutura Township Tour
The best way to learn more about the Namibian people and how locals live in Windhoek is by visiting the Katutura Township. I wouldn’t recommend to visit the township on your own, but signing up for one of the Katutura township tours is among one of the best things to do in Windhoek.
A tour guide will guide you through the township where more than 200,000 people live and you will get an inside into the though lives of living in a township.
7. Try Kapana at Oshetu Market Single Quarters
Something I didn’t find in any Windhoek travel guide but only got to know through the locals is the Oshetu Community Market in Single Quarters. This is a very local thing to do, but a great experience. Kapana is grilled meat and it is the most famous Namibian street food dish in Windhoek.
The Oshetu Community Market in Single Quarters is definitely one of the best places to visit in Windhoek and should be included in your sightseeing tour. At the market you find local delicacies like dried spinach, fish and the famous Mopane Worms. I did not try them in Windhoek, but somewhere in the desert. See the video below.
The main tourist attraction at the market is the grilled meat (Kapana). Lots of stalls are lined up next to each other and red meat is grilled on an open wood fire, like barbecue. Every stall will offer you to grab some of their meat strips to try. Mostly beef and some liver. Find the one you like the most and order a bowl of meat strips for around $40 NAD. Then get a little fresh cut salad bowl with the typical Kapana spices and eat it the local way with some deep fried dough balls called 'vetkoek'. It actually tastes pretty damn good!
To get to the Open Market grab a taxi and tell them to drop you at Single Quarters for Kapana. They know where to go! Thank me later for this local experience in Windhoek.
8. Visit the Parliament Gardens
The parliament building is an old building from the German colonisation era and pretty nice to have a look at when walking around the city. It is located just behind the Christuskirche and the Independence Memorial Museum.
In front of the parliament building there are the presidential gardens with some large statues of some key figures that fought for the independence of Namibia. One of them is Hosea Kutako, a Namibia nationalist leader and national hero. The International Airport in Windhoek is named after him.
9. Have at drink at the Balcony of Love
On top of the Independence Memorial Museum there is a bar with 3 large balconies with amazing views over the city, each in a different direction.
Sorry to say, but I would not recommend you to have food up here, I didn’t like it. Views are amazing though and the Balcony of Love gives you the best view of the German Lutheran Church, the most iconic landmark of Windhoek. Worth coming for a drink in the afternoon.
10. Carnivore Feeding Tour at Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary
A 35 minute drive outside of Windhoek there is the Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary. It became a famous tourist attraction in Namibia after Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie decided to become a partner of the Naankuse Foundation. You can also spend the night in the Naankuse lodge for about $250 per night. The carnivore feeding activity is included in that price.
There are a couple wildlife activities that can be take at Naankuse on a day trip like a Cheetah walk ($100 USD p.p.) as well as the carnivore feeding tour which is a little cheaper ($50 USD p.p.). Getting to Naankuse is a little complicated if you don't have a car. But transportation to go and come back from Windhoek can be arranged for around $60 USD.
11. Am Weinberg - Hip Expat Area
Looking for a hip coffee shop, trendy barber shop, a bakery, a gallery, a nice restaurant or the Soulstice Day Spa wellness center then you must visit Am Weinberg. There is a tiny upscale mall with the most hipster coffee cafe in Windhoek: Olivia’s Kitchen. They serve good coffee and fresh juices.
This place does NOT have any Africa vibes, it looks more like Dubai. However, if you want to escape the chaos of the city a little this is a great place to visit in Windhoek.
12. Eat Healthy at Plant D Restaurant
A former Vegan restaurant that now also serves meat. Regardless… the food is great! Try their vegan mushroom burger and their detox fresh juices. I am not even a vegetarian, but when you are looking for a restaurant in Windhoek that goes the extra mile this is your best bid.
Plant D is located in the Liliencron Street alongside a couple other popular restaurants in Windhoek like the Lemontree Restaurant, Isabel’s Table and Francesco. When looking for good restaurants in Windhoek, the Liliencron Street is worth going.
The owners of Plant D are always around and will come for a little chat to welcome you, such nice people!
13. Sunset at the Hilton Sky Bar
One of the best places to watch the sunset over the city is at the rooftop of the Hilton Hotel in Windhoek. Non-guests are more than welcome and drinks are reasonable priced with $3,5 USD for a pint (0.5L) beer. Cocktails are around $7 each.
Watching the sunset from the Hilton Sky Bar is something I would highly recommend. It is a great place to start or end your trip to Namibia, views are incredible. There is also a rooftop pool and when ordering drinks you are allowed to use the pool as well.
14. Dinner at the Avani Stratos Restaurant
Another rooftop bar that I recommend visiting is on top of the Avani Windhoek Hotel. Although the Hilton Sky Bar also serves food, the dining experience at the Avani Hotel is much better. When looking for sunset drinks go to the Hilton Sky Bar, when having dinner I recommend the Avani Stratos Restaurant on the top floor.
My favorite rooftop bar in Windhoek is the much more laid-back Hilton, it also is much bigger than the Avani rooftop bar. But the food at the Hilton Windhoek isn't great.
15. Dining experience at Joe’s Beerhouse
Looking for your last game steak before you go home? Joe’s Brewhouse is an all time favorite. Especially if you are with a group of people this is a cool place to visit in Windhoek. This German orientated restaurant/bar/pub is partially outdoors and boasts a great vibe.
Joe’s Brewhouse is not only a place where tourists go, you will also find many locals here. Also when looking for a place to watch football or other live sports events, Joe’s Brewhouse is a great alternative to any sports bar in Windhoek.
16. Party at Brewer's Market
Those that are willing to party definitely have to go to the Brewers Market in the city center. This is the number one place in Windhoek to go out. There is a lot of nightlife in Windhoek, but Brewers Market is a place where tourists and locals mingle. There is often Live Music or a DJ and there is a sky deck bar, etc.
When looking for things to do in Windhoek at night I can highly recommend visiting Brewers Market.
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17. Get your hair braided
If you are just like me not someone who buys a lot of souvenirs and you still want to contribute to the local economy then get your hair braided. Why not? You are in Africa, no better place to try something new like that.
I got my hair braided twice and actually quite liked it. There are two places that I highly recommend and they are both located in the Fidel Castro Street opposite the Wernhil Park Mall, or 1,5 block down from the Zoo Park.
Braiding my hair takes the ladies around 1 hour and costs $100 NAD ($7 USD) excluding a nice tip.
18. Gamble at the Casino
For those who like gambling there is a casino located in the basement of the Hilton Hotel and also at the Avani hotel. The casinos are fairly small but there are a bunch of slot machines as well as roulette and poker tables.
19. Visit the Mall
If you are looking to get groceries for your self drive trip to Namibia or wanna do some shopping there is are 3 malls in Windhoek: Maerua Mall, The Grove Mall of Namibia and the Wernhil Park.
Some other things to do in Windhoek that are often recommend in travel guides are a stroll through Zoo Park or the Avis Dam Nature Reserve. Well, let’s be honest these are nice places to visit for locals, but definitely NOT a Windhoek tourist attraction.
The Zoo Park is like the central park of Windhoek with a playground and a little pond, when there is even water in it. Within 2 minutes you have seen the Zoo Park, it is definitely not something special.
Avis Dam Nature Reserve is a much nicer area to go for a walk, but it is a little outside the city center and you will need a taxi to get there. It surely is a nice area but I wouldn’t say it is a must see when visiting Windhoek.
More Windhoek Travel Tips
When planning your trip to Namibia I totally understand that visiting Windhoek has not your priority. With so many cool things to do and places to visit in Namibia you rather spend your vacation days in Sossusvlei, the Namib Desert, Etosha National Park or even at the beach in Swakopmund.
Check out my complete list of the 16 best things to do in Namibia for more inspiration!
But that said, most people traveling to Namibia use Windhoek as their port of entry and port of exit and fly in and out from Hosea Kutako International Airport near Windhoek. Therefore I bet the above listed things to do were helpful.
Here are some last tips for when visiting Windhoek.
How to get around
The best way to get around Windhoek is to take taxis. Don’t get intimidated by all the taxis honking at you, they are just looking for clients.
Officially from door to door the price for a taxi in Windhoek is $24 NAD, a little over $1.5 USD, but taxis are shared. Along the route the driver will pick up more people. Don’t panic, this is normal.
There are also taxi apps that you can use to get around Windhoek: LEFA and TaxiConnect are two recommend apps for taxis. There is NO Uber in Windhoek.
Want to see a funny video? Then check out my article about Hitchhiking in Namibia. It is from my first trip in Namibia and it definitely didn't go according to plan! LOL
Is Windhoek dangerous?
Answering the question if it is safe to travel to Windhoek, I can only speak for myself and for the other travelers I met on my multiple trips to Namibia. On top of that the fact speak for itself and Windhoek is regarded one of the safest capitals in Africa.
Simply trust your gut and use common sense to stay safe when visiting Windhoek and you will be fine. Don’t walk alone at night, only visit townships with a guide, take taxi’s to go around the city and don’t flash valuables.
On all my trips to Windhoek I have never felt unsafe anywhere in the city. The people are very friendly and helpful and love seeing tourists in their country.
How many days do you need in Windhoek?
As Namibia is such an amazing country to explore and fairly off the beaten path I would not recommend you to spend more than 2 days in Windhoek after you sat in an airplane for 10 hours or more. However, Windhoek is the travel hub for trips and tours in Namibia as it is where the international airport is located. Therefore most people spend their first and their last night of their Namibia holiday in Windhoek.
If you look at all the above mentioned things to do in Windhoek I am sure you understand that you can see most of the tourist attractions within 1 or 2 days.
Busses to and from Windhoek
Are you a solo traveler or an adventurous couple or group of friends and traveling to Namibia overland? There are multiple busses serving destinations in the nearby countries. Depending on your next destination you can find busses to Cape Town in South Africa (Intercape) and Livingston in Zambia (Oasis).
Finding a bus to Botswana is much more complicated and you will have to use shared taxis and cross the border into Botswana on your own.
I hope all the above travel tips for Windhoek, places to visit and things to do were helpful. May you have any more questions please leave me a comment below and I am more than happy to help you out and make sure you make the most out of your trip to Windhoek.