Windhoek, Namibia

Windhoek, Namibia

According to abbreviationfinder, Windhoek is the capital of Namibia, formerly known as Southwest Africa. It is located in the center of the country. It has an area of 645 km² and has a population of 300,000 residents.

Namibia’s sunny capital Windhoek is the starting point for many exciting Namibia safaris to observe wildlife such as lions, elephants and giraffes.

Windhoek is the hub of Namibia’s trade and transportation. Windhoek town center is dotted with small shops and malls that are ideal for shopping in Windhoek. The city is home to several bars, discos and clubs with live African and European music.

History

The so-called Herero region, where Windhoek is now located, was controlled by a Nama chief in the 19th century. In that area, a settlement was growing that would end up being the current city.

In 1892, Windhoek became the capital of the German dependency of South West Africa.

During World War I, specifically in 1915, the South African army attacked by surprise and seized power in the city.

The neighboring country was commissioned from then on to govern it, always under the mandate of the League of Nations.

Despite the fact that the German colonists withdrew from power, many Germanic citizens stayed to live in the city. This shows the roots of many of the current residents of Windhoek.

The name of Southwest Africa would later change to Namibia. In March 1990 it achieved definitive independence as an autonomous state.

The name Windhoek is a derivative of the Afrikaans “Wind hook” that the Germans adapted giving rise to the current name.

Geography

Windhoek is the capital of the state of Namibia, formerly known as South West Africa. It is located in the very center of the country. It is surrounded by a series of hills and beyond them by the towns of Gobabis, Okahandja and Rehoboth.

The surroundings of the city of Windhoek do not have an important natural wealth since it is mostly desert places. What can be appreciated is the beauty of the many hills that surround the city.

Location

Windhoek is located in the geographic center of Namibia, South Africa. Windhoek is located in the center of the country, on a high plateau that reaches almost 2,000 meters above sea level in some areas.

Climate

The climate that we find in Windhoek is clearly desert with little variation between seasons. It is extremely dry although in the capital, being in the interior it is a little more temperate with temperatures that are between 25 and 35º C on average.

During the night, temperatures drop considerably, sometimes reaching below zero.

In the austral summer is when the rains occur, especially from January to April.

The city’s climate is hot and dry. The winter months are especially dry. Because Windhoek is located at a high altitude, nights can be cold.

Population

The population of the capital of Namibia is around 300,000 residents of which the white people have a mainly German ancestry due to the colonial era. The rest of the population is distributed among the different native ethnic groups, such as the Ovambos, the Hereros or the Nama. See population of Namibia.

Economic development

Practically all the political and economic activity of the country is concentrated in the capital.

Garment manufacturing and food businesses form the main base of Windhoek’s industry. The fur trade is also remarkable.

Among the few crops, millet or peanuts stand out.

It is also necessary to highlight the important influence that mineral resources have on the country’s economy, among which diamond, gold, copper or uranium stand out.

Tourist attractions

The city of Windhoek has an important international airport that facilitates the arrival of tourists to get to know the city. The State Museum is one of the most visited places as it has important exhibitions on natural history.

The popular craft markets, the open-air terraces or the numerous parks make the coexistence between the different ethnic groups of the country and the tourists come to converge in a great community.

Historic buildings and attractions in and around Windhoek

Although it is mostly the starting point for safaris in Namibia, Windhoek is an interesting city to visit. There are several fascinating historical buildings to explore and most are in the city center. Some of the main attractions in Windhoek is the beautiful Neo-Roman Evangelical and Lutheran style Christuskirche built in 1910. The Tintenpalast, ink palace, is the seat of the Namibian parliamentary chamber, the national assembly and the national council. In the National Gallery of Namibia you can admire works that show the rich cultural heritage of Namibia. The oldest building in Windhoek, the Alte Feste (old fortress) functions as a national museum of Namibia displaying the cultural history of Namibia.

Nearby natural attractions

To get in touch with Namibian wildlife, you can visit the Daan Viljoen Wildlife Reserve located 20 kilometers from the center of Windhoek. The reserve is inhabited by the typical fauna of the Namibian highlands such as mountain zebras, giraffesand wildebeest. The park is excellent for bird watching around Windhoek. There are also excellent well marked trails for hiking in Windhoek. To explore the unique and diverse fauna of Namibia, such as elephants, buffaloes and giraffes, among others, safaris can be taken from Windhoek.

Hotels and restaurants

Windhoek has a good tourist infrastructure. There are several hostels and hotels in Windhoek to choose from. There are also several restaurants in Windhoek serving European and African cuisine.

Culture

In lively Windhoek you can explore fascinating historical buildings, enjoy versatile cultural activities such as opera, concerts and theater, and sample interesting Namibian cuisine. The popular Daan Viljoen Park is not far from Windhoek city center.

In the city you can see in the buildings important contrasts between indigenous art and the clear German colonial influence that left their mark on the capital.

Religion

As for religion, the majority practice Christianity is its different aspects, Catholicism, Lutheranism, Methodism and Anglicanism. The animism is usually the option of non – Christians

Crafts

All tribal art, whether weapons, baskets, amulets or wood carvings are the most valued objects in the capital, in terms of craftsmanship.

Skins, such as ostrich, kudu or caracul skins and precious stones are also options when it comes to taking a native object although they go up considerably in price.

We can complete the collection of most popular crafts in this city with wooden toys, rugs or small dolls dressed in local costumes.

Holidays and traditions

Of the festivities held in the country, the Windhoek carnivals that take place between the months of April and May are of particular importance. Also in the capital they enjoy the Harvest festival in September and the Oktoberfest at the end of October, a celebration with a clear European influence.

Other general festivals also celebrated are:

  • Independence Day, March 21.
  • Day Africa, on May 25.
  • Day of Human Rights, on December 10.

Transport and communication

You can travel to Windhoek by plane or car. There are frequent flights to Windhoek from Europe, Australia and the United States, as well as from several African cities. Windhoek is accessible by car or bus from Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa. You can rent cars in Windhoek and it is a good option for getting around Namibia as it has excellent streets. Local buses and taxis are available in Windhoek. Most of the attractions in Windhoek can be explored on foot.

Illustrious people

As relevant natural characters of Windhoek we can highlight the artists Hentie van der Merwe who was born in 1972 or Berenice Darrer who did the same in 1976.

Windhoek, Namibia