HOW TO BEST SPEND 24 HOURS IN WINDHOEK, NAMIBIA
Many travellers arriving into Namibia use Windhoek as a stopover to access Hosea Kutako Airport, to pick up and drop off their hire vehicles during their cross country Namibia road trip. However it’s a great idea to discover and spend at least 24 hours in Windhoek.
The capital of this magnificent country, Windhoek is often overlooked however there is much to do and see in this unusually small capital, compared to other capitals around the globe, which is very different to the remote land you will see driving through the country.
Whether you’re wondering whether to have some down time in Windhoek pre or post taking a flight back home following your trip around Namibia, here’s how you can best spend 24 hours in Windhoek and incorporate this into your itinerary. After all you’ve made it all that way so it would be a no brainer to see what the city has to offer.
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- What’s the language in Windhoek?
- Where is Windhoek located
- Best time to visit Windhoek
- How to get to Windhoek
- How to get around Windhoek
- How to best spend 24 hours in Windhoek
- Take a look at the building work at the Christuskirche
- Explore the history at the Independence Museum
- Head to the Alte Feste / former National Museum of Namibia
- Take a walk around The Parliament Gardens
- Experience a Wonderful Sunset at The Hilton Sky Bar
- Lunch or High Tea with the Giraffes at Voigtland Guesthouse
- Enjoy a Beverage at the ‘Balcony of Love’
- Support local arts & crafts at The Namibia Craft Centre.
- Sample street food or Kapana at Oshetu Market Single Quarters
- Take a guided tour of the Katutura Township
- Things you don’t need to do in Windhoek
- Day Trips To take from Windhoek
- Tours for your 24 hours in Windhoek Itinerary
- Where to stay in for 24 hours in Windhoek
- Where to eat & drink in during your 24 hours in Windhoek
- 24 Hours in Windhoek Round-Up
- Related Articles to 24 hours in Windhoek
- Travel Planning Resources
- Pin & Save
What’s the language in Windhoek?
The actual name Windhoek originates from Afrikaans and means, ‘Windy Corner’ but as Windhoek is the capital of Namibia there are variety of languages spoken, with English being the first language and the other common languages are German, Dutch and Afrikaans.
Where is Windhoek located
The capital of Namibia is located in the centre of Namibia in the Khomas Highland plateau region which sits around 1,7000 metres (5,600ft) above sea level. Windhoek is Namibia’s largest city and the main hub for a lot business.
Best time to visit Windhoek
Windhoek can be visited all year round, the “dry season” is doing Namibia’s winter months, from May-October and the weather is pretty warm daily with cold nights. Generally these months are heeded to be the best time to visit Namibia in order to enjoy the blue skies and sunshine.
Many of the national festivals of Namibia are celebrated in Windhoek, travel can be planned during these times, however its best to bare in mind that the city would be pretty busy and expect accommodation prices to be steeper.
- The Winged Karneval – Abbreviated to WIKA, this is THE biggest cultural event in Namibia and takes place in April. There is a big German influence this particular festival which is a great celebration with music, performances, a masked ball and a big street parade.
- Africa Day – Held in May every year, this day is a time for the local communities to come together and celebrate the peace and diversity of the country. The celebration is poignant due to Namibia’s difficult history involving Apartheid, colonialism and race.
- Oktoberfest – Another celebration that started when the former German influence ruled here, and is still marked to this day when people gather in Windhoek for beer, fun and games.
How to get to Windhoek
All international airlines will fly into Windhoek International Airport, Hosea Kutako which is reasonably sized airport for the country’s capital and offers cafes, duty free as well as other services such as car Hire. All major car hire companies have an office at the airport’s forecourts which are clearly labelled for those hiring a car to start the journey or dropping off.
How to get around Windhoek
If your accommodation is in the Central Business District, walking around in daylight is not to much of a problem, but taking precautions is key, like not carrying valuables on show such a jewellery and money.
Taxis are a great way to get around if you’re visiting but the best mode of transport especially if you’re opting for a road trip around the country is to use your hire car. Parking is pretty straight forward and you’ll come across parking attendees that you can tip to make sure your car stays safe.
How to best spend 24 hours in Windhoek
It is quite easy to fit many of the sites into 24 hours in Windhoek as they’re all close by and can be either done as a guided tour or on your own
Take a look at the building work at the Christuskirche
This is one attraction that’s a must see when spending 24 hours in Windhoek. The Christuskirche or Christ Church is also the iconic tourist landmark in Windhoek. The German Lutheran congregation started the construction of the church in 1907 and was completed in 1910. This makes it the oldest Lutheran church in Namibia.
The design is by Gottlieb Redecker, a German designer and fuses neo-Gothic and neo-Romanesque architecture, which hails it to be Windhoeks most recognisable landmark.
The church is located in the middle of a roundabout adjacent to the Independence Memorial Museum and the AlteFeste.
- C3JP+VVQ, Robert Mugabe Ave, Windhoek, Namibia. Tel. +264 61 236 002
- Website: The Christuskirche
Explore the history at the Independence Museum
Standing at the Christuskirche, directly opposite is an unmissable skyscraper with a statue of the first president of Namibia in 1990, Sam Nukoma. Namibia only gained Independence from South Africa in 1990 and prior to South Africa ruling Namibia, the country was a German colony.
The best ways to learn about Namibia’s history is to pay the Independence Memorial Museum a visit. It’s also free of charge. Although you may have to have a slightly express visit with 24 hours in Windhoek.
The museum building is funded and constructed by North Korea as a gift to Namibia.
- Independence Memorial Museum, Windhoek, Namibia. Tel. +264 61 276 800
- Website: The Independence Museum
Head to the Alte Feste / former National Museum of Namibia
Right next to the Independence Memorial Museum, sits the National Museum of Namibia. It’s housed in a colonial style building and is the oldest such standing architecture in Windhoek and was used as a German Fort during German colonisation, which is where the name Alte Feste was derived meaning Old Fort.
During our visit in October 2022, the Alte Feste was closed. There is a statue outside which pays homage to the Nama and Herero people who experienced genocide in the early 1900.
Within the Alte Feste there is a courtyard, there stands a statue of a German Coporal on a horse which reminds us of the Reiterdenkmal, the German oppression.
- Alte Feste C3JQ+789, Windhoek, Namibia
Be-lavie Tip: Due to both the Alte Feste and National Museum being closed, the statue can be seen with a Birdseye view from the ‘Balcony of Love’ rooftop bar at the top of the Independence Memorial Museum
Take a walk around The Parliament Gardens
Located just behind the Christuskirche and the Independence Memorial Museum is another building originating from the German colonisation, The parliament Building. There are presidential gardens in front of the building with statues of some of the most important figures who fought for the independence of Namibia. The most prominent statue is that of Hosea Kutako, the national hero of the country and nationalist leader whom the International airport in Namibia is named after. This is one man you have to see during your 24 hours in Windhoek.
- The Parliament Gardens. C3MQ+66P, Love Street, Windhoek, Namibia. Tel. +264 61 288 9111
- Website: The Parliament Gardens
Experience a Wonderful Sunset at The Hilton Sky Bar
If you love a sundowner, one of the best places in Namibia to watch the sun go down with a drink in hand is at the Hilton Hotel. Worry not, non-guests are more than welcome and can get reasonable priced drinks including beers and cocktails.
Be-lavie Tip: If you are also ordering drinks bare in mind, you can also use the pool at The Hilton Sky Bar. The rooftop bar is a must to do in Windhoek.
- Rev Michael Scott St, Windhoek, Namibia. Tel. +264 61 296 2929
- Website: The Hilton Sky Bar
- PriceRange: $3.50USD for a pint of beer and $7.50 USD for a cocktail.
Lunch or High Tea with the Giraffes at Voigtland Guesthouse
Conveniently located between Hosea Kutaku airport and the city of Windhoek, this guesthouse offers four exclusive en suite beautifully appointed rooms combining old world charm with a modern-style. The twist comes in the form of a very unique experience that can be enjoyed here, they offer high tea and lunch with two very friendly giraffes that you can feed whilst they stand and walk around within a couple of feet of your table.
The property was originally built around 1900 and the house has an idyllic setting on the slope of a hill surrounded by trees, lawns and gardens.
Other activities at Voigtland Guesthouse include feeding the on-site giraffes, touring the cattle farm, hiking and mountain bike hire that is exclusive to the guest house. These all need to be booked prior to your visit to secure a spot.
- Voigtland Guesthouse. Voigtland Windhoek, Rural, Namibia. Tel. +264 62 540 419
- Website: Voigtland Guesthouse
Be-lavie Tip: They have some spaces for non-resident guests so it’s wise to book and get in touch early.
Enjoy a Beverage at the ‘Balcony of Love’
Head to the top of the Independence Memorial Building where you’ll find the ‘Balcony of Love’. There are actually three balconies, a bar and restaurant. It may actually be called the ‘Balcony of Love’ due to the views, you get a pretty darn good birds eye view of the German Lutheran Church. From this point, you can also see the Alte Feste and the controversial statue of the corporal on horse back.
- Independence Memorial Museum, Windhoek, Namibia. Tel. +264 61 276 800
- Website: ‘The ‘Balcony of Love’
Be-lavie Tip: It’s best to grab a drink here or snack, the restaurants are a lot better at alternative locations in the city.
Support local arts & crafts at The Namibia Craft Centre.
Towards the centre of Windhoek and in the Old Breweries Establishment, is the Namibia Craft Center, were you ca pick up some very authentic local souvenirs made by the locals.
It’s possible to pay much less at road-by selling point but the market has a great community vibe and above all is safe. You’ll likely find in the region of 40 independent shops and the best bit is the market alone created 4,000 positions of work for artists that live in some of Namibia’s most remote locations.
Amidst a cornucopia of colourful stalls, you’ll find traditional Namibian crafts including hand-carved tree roots, copper jewellery, silk scarves, books and leather goods. There’s a bookstore, and several leatherworks shops, as well as freshly prepared meals at the Craft Café specialising in locally-sourced Namibian food perfect for breakfast and lunch.
- The Namibia Craft Centre. C3GM+XFG, 40 Tal Street, Windhoek, Namibia. Tel. +264 61 242 222
- Website: The Namibia Craft Centre
Sample street food or Kapana at Oshetu Market Single Quarters
Another pretty unusual thing to do in Windhoek is to go over to the Oshetu Community Market in Single Quarters and sample the Kapana, which is quite simply frilled meat and is a common form of how street food is served in Namibia.
The kinds of delicacies you’ll find at the market will include dried spinach, fish of different varieties and also for the more adventurous eater, grilled Mopane Worms
- Oshetu Market Single Quarters. F392+WJ9, Windhoek, Namibia.
Take a guided tour of the Katutura Township
A great way to learn about local life as well as more about Apartheid is to book a guided tour of the Katutura Township.
The Katutura Township is situated to the north of Windhoek and ‘Katutura’ translates loosely in native Herero to ‘the place where people do not want to live’. This originates from the 1950’s when black residents who lived in the suburbs of Windhoek were rehoused to Katutura under the Apartheid laws. Unfortunately once they arrived here, their rents were ridiculously high for homes that were not fit to live in and residents were made to commute a long way to get to their jobs located in the middle of Windhoek.
Sadly today around 60% of Windhoek’s population still live sin Katutura. Poverty is very common but they have made this township the hub of their culture and visiting is a must to understand the lives of Namibia’s urban natives. There are said to be more than 200,000 people living in Katutura Township.
Tours to Katutura can be organised by Chameleon Safaris and also with Katur Tours who do bicycle tours to the Township.
Excursions can last around 3-3.5 hours and include meeting the Townships residents and having the opportunity to buy art and crafts, katana and other items found at the Townships market.
Be-lavie: Do not visit this township on your own for safety purposes but it’s a must to book a guided tour for an authentic experience of the community.
Things you don’t need to do in Windhoek
You’ll see many activities and points of interest in travel guides but if you’re short of time then two things you can leave out are the Zoo Park and the Avis Dam Nature Reserve.
They area lovely places to visit but truly the dam is well a dam and the Zoo park is a central park in Windhoek with a play area and small pond which is missing water! You will be able to walk the whole park in a couple of minutes.
Be-lavie Tip: If you are on a tight itinerary, then miss out these two places and substitute for something else where your time can be spent more effectively.
Day Trips To take from Windhoek
If you have the luxury of time, and can spend more than 24 hours in Windhoek, then why not plan to spend 2-3 days and take advantage of the following activities which can be done as day trips from the capital as well as with stay over options.
High Tea with the Voigtland Guest House Giraffes
If you’re not planning to stay at the night at the guesthouse, experiences such as the High Tea must be booked in to guarantee a place. Please contact the guesthouse via their email and booking, home page in advance (weeks if not months), spaces are limited.
Tour the Daan Viljoen Game Reserve (NWR)
If you’re lucky enough to have more than a day to spare in Windhoek, then head to the Daan Viljoen Game Reserve. Its placed around 15 miles from the centre of Windhoek. The reserve now has hiking trails for visitors to walk or even try on mountain bikes and it’s also pretty safe as there is no presence of larger predatory wildlife. You can even take your car on the parks off-road routes.
The park is great for spotting desert-adapted oryx, steenbok, klipspringer, giraffe and zebra.
Ornothologists will be in their element as the reserve is home to over 200 bird species. Look out for Rüppell’s parrot, and the Monteiro’s hornbill.
You can even stay overnight if you fancy the location. Book one of their chalets inspired by the Africa ‘Kraal’ and there’s even access to a swimming pool.
- Daan Viljoen Game Reserve. FW6V+PG8, Daan Viljoen, Namibia
- Website: Daan Viljoen Game Reserve
Wine tasting & Lunch at Eronga Mountain Vineyard
If you love wine, there’s no better place to head than the Eronga Mountain Winery. Yes Namibia make their own wine and this vineyard is located around two hours out of Windhoek.
Erongo Mountain Winery is situated along the Omaruru river at 1200 m above sea level and surrounded by the beautiful rugged mountains of the Erongo region. This trailblazing and innovative boutique winery is pioneering the Namibian wine industry, carving out its legacy in the arid dry granite rock.
At the winery there are a number of experiences you can partake including vineyard tours, wine tasting and having a delicious multi-course meal at the gourmet Jewel restaurant as well as being ale to purchase spirits and wines to take back home with you.
- Eronga Mountain Winery. HW45+M4P, Omaruru, Namibia. Tel. +264 81 635 9496
- Website: Eronga Mountain Winery
Be-lavie Trip: It would be a good idea to book a taxi or driver in advance for this activity so you can take full advantage of the wine tasting experience!
Carnivore Feeding Tour at Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary
Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary is located a 35 minute drive out of Windhoek and is recognised by many due to its associated with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. They became partners of the Naankuse Foundation.
The foundation is know for its eco-tourism efforts, animal conservation projects with the aim of returning all injured or found wildlife back to the wild as well as a number of volunteering programmes.
It’s possible to spend a night at the Foundation and stay at the Nasnkuse Lodge, for around $250 per night per person and include the carnivore feeding activity.
Other wildlife activities that can be experienced on a day trip are, Cheetah Walk ($100 USD per person) as well as a carnivore feeding tour ($50 USD per person)
Please note: You will not be able to touch carnivores such as Cheetahs. You will not be able to take selfies as this is classed as exploitation. You can of course take photos of the animals. Cheetahs can become habituated to humans within three months and then cannot be sent back into the wild. Each carnivore must have at least 2.5 hectare of space and by Namibian law no-one should touch them not even the volunteers who work there.
- Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary. Farm Frauenstein 277 East of Windhoek Transkalahari Highway, Namibia. Tel. +264 61 307 338
- Website: Naankuse Wildlife foundation
Be-lavie Tip: : If you don’t have your own hire vehicle, arrange transport with the Naankuse Foundation for a return trip to Windoek, which costs around $60.
Tours for your 24 hours in Windhoek Itinerary
Where to stay in for 24 hours in Windhoek
Elegant Guest House
Located in Klein Windhoek, the capital’s oldest suburb, Elegant Guesthouse is conveniently located to drive to many restaurants, the centre of the city and takes the road to the airport to start and end your trip.
The rooms are modern and sophisticated, all on ground level with gardens and private decking. Accommodation is spacious with large rooms and bathrooms in neutral tones in keeping with the local feel of elegance. Breakfast is cooked to order each morning by the friendly kitchen staff as well as a continental buffet.
The communal space is great for relaxing with out door seating and a small plunge pool to relax in after a day of sightseeing or returning from a long drive.
The guest house can help source a number of activities including city tours, townships, local arts galleries as well as a day in the bush. There is even a vineyard close-by should you wish to experience the local wine.
- The Elegant Guest House: C3VW+QF5, Windhoek, Namibia. Tel. +264 61 301 934
- Website: The Elegant Guest House
- Guide Price: $156 per night per person or double occupancy including breakfast in high season and $140 of the same in low season
- Recommended length of Stay: 1-2 nights prior to staring self-drive itinerary and 1 night on return before flight departure.
- Car parking: Available free of charge
A boutique hotel located pretty centrally and made up of a combination of two premiere suites and four junior suites. The decor is modern and simplistic yet uxoriously with dark wood hues and neutral linens. The seven suites are individually decorated so each reflects a different region in Namibia, and each has its own lounge area with fireplace and dining room, for private dining. Wide glass doors open onto spacious decks where you can relax on a shady daybed, enjoy al fresco lunches or, if yours is a premium suite, take a dip in your own private plunge pool. Such are the creature comforts that you may find it hard to leave: sink into an extra-length bed dressed in crisp, pure-cotton linen, or indulge in a bubble bath in a free standing tub with sweeping mountain views.
There are lovely views of the Windhoek skyline in the distance with foliage surrounding the property and breakfast is included in the room rate. The Olive restaurant serves a wonderful range of modern cuisine.
- The Olive, Namibia. 22 Promenaden Road, Windhoek, Namibia. Tel. +264 61 383 890
- Website: https://www.theolive-namibia.com/
- Guide Price: $370 per night per person or double occupancy including breakfast in high season and $247 of the same in low season
- Recommended length od stay 1-2 nights prior to staring self-drive itinerary and 1 night on return before flight departure.
- Car parking: Available free of charge
Where to eat & drink in during your 24 hours in Windhoek
Windhoek is home to many wonderful restaurants to suit all tastes and budgets. You can head to the many markets mentioned previously for kapana as well as snack and fruits or something more upscale or mid-range.
Additional places to enjoy drinks are at the fore mentioned ‘Balcony of Love’ and Hilton sky bar, especially during golden hour.
You may only be staying 24 hours in Windhoek but there are many foodie spots that you’ll want to return to again.
Stellenbosch Wine Bar & Stellenbosh tasting Room
The Bistro-style menu showcases the fresh and diverse flavours of Namibia. Salads are fresh and creative, starters are flavourful and main courses have something for every palate and craving.
The emphasis is on Prime Namibian meat cuts, flame grilled to perfection with a choice of delicious homemade sauces and sides. Compliment your meal with a quality wine from their affordable wine list. There is a great range of vegetarian dishes too.
If your 24 hours in Windhoek is requiring a little more of a fancy twist in beautiful surroundings, delicious South African wine then Stellenbosch tasting rooms needs to be on your radar.
- Stellenbosch Wine Bar & Bistro. Shop 25 Bougain Villas 320, Sam Nujoma Drive, Windhoek. Tel. +264 61 309 141
- Website: Stellenbosch Wine Bar
- Price Range: ££-£££
- Recommendations: Calamari, chilli peppers, butternut risotto. Pork belly and choose from a incredible variety of Stellenbosh wines. The Stellenbosh Merlot Reserve 2019 is excellent.
- Reservations: Essential
- Parking: Available free of charge (tip car park attendant)
The Olive Exclusive boasts a quality restaurant featuring a seasonal menu with inventive signature dishes. Enjoy breakfast, lunch, and dinner in either the relaxed interior, or on the outdoor terrace with wonderful views of the encircling mountains. The fully stocked bar also features a classic selection of fine whisky.
- The Olive Restaurant. 22 Promenaden Road, Windhoek, Namibia. Tel. +264 61 383 890
- Website: Olive Restaurant
- Price Range: ££-£££
- Recommendations: The Italian offerings such as seafood and risottos are exceptionally fantastic as are teh wines which originate mainly from South Africa.
- Reservations: Essential
- Parking: Available
One of the most famous casual places to eat and drink in Windhoek is Joe’s Beerhouse. The restaurant, bar, pub all in one has much German influence and has a great vibes from its music to its eccentric and interesting decor. Tables are allocated in parties or you sit on a long table with other diners but booking is essential. Joe’s gets very very busy!
There is a big focus on grilled game meats served with veggies or as burgers as well as fish and veggie alternatives. They also have a great pizza menu. All washed down with some great beers and wine.
Joe’s Beerhouse is where you’ll see locals as well as tourists eating side by side, they also have screens to watch football or other sporting events. This establishment is a constitution and you must put it on your dining list for 24 hours in Windhoek to soak up the atmosphere and food of course.
- Joes’s Beerhouse 160 Nelson Mandela Ave, Windhoek, Namibia. Tel. +264 61 232 457
- Website: Joe’s Beerhouse
- Price Range: £-££
- Recommendations: A great variety of wood-fired pizzas as well as local white fish with veg and rice. Try some of the local beers.
- Reservations: Essential
- Parking: Available (tip car park attendant). A shuttle service is also available for a small fee.
24 Hours in Windhoek Round-Up
Windhoek, the capital of Namibia is not just a destination that should be used as a base in and out of the country. It is a destination in itself which charts the history of the country’s independence through its museums, many monuments and tours which describe its historical past of colonisation, Apartheid and its more recent independence.
The city boasts great sights as well as beautiful hotels, things to do and fantastic dining destinations. Windhoek is all about the hustle and bustle, the business heart of Namibia is located here as are many of the major festivals celebrated by the country’s communities.
Windhoek has carved itself as a tourist destination in its own right and any traveller would be missing out if they didn’t spend at least 24 hours in Windhoek, exploring Nambia’s capital city.
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