Windhoek, Namibia - Stein Travel
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Windhoek

The small, Germanic capital of the country, Windhoek is an attractive city situated in the Central Highlands and surrounded by hills and mountains, occupying the geographical and economic heart of Namibia.

The city centre is characterised by historic German colonial architecture and imposing modern structures. Dominating the skyline is the striking German Lutheran church, Christuskirche, a mixture of Art Nouveau and neo-Gothic design, and the Titenpalast, or 'Ink Palace', the parliament building from where the sparsely populated country is governed. The railway station is a Cape Dutch edifice dating back to 1912 and Independence Avenue is a pleasant tree-lined place with fountains and walkways providing a relaxing ambience among the modern buildings of the central business district. The women of the Herero tribe, cattle herders of the region, are very distinctive with their voluminous Victorian-style dresses and colourful headgear.

The German influence is not only apparent in the architecture and colonial style buildings, but is evident in the food and locally-brewed beer. Polony and sauerkraut are available on the menu among local dishes, including seafood from the west coast and venison or game steaks from the hinterland.

Information & Facts

Climate

Windhoek has a semi-desert climate, with very hot summers and mild winters. Temperatures tend to drop at night. Average temperatures in winter (June to August) range from 43°F (6°C) to 70°F (21°C). Nights are cold but temperatures rarely dip below 32°F (0°C). The most popular time to travel to Windhoek is between March and October, in particular April to June, when rainfall is lowest and temperatures are mild. On average, Namibia receives about 300 days sunshine a year, and drought occurs roughly every ten years or so.

Getting Around

The city centre is compact and easy to negotiate on foot. Taxis are available and can be ordered by phone; minibus taxis also operate in the city, although drivers tend to be aggressive and erratic. Do not get into an empty minibus, and avoid travelling in one at night. Other than in rush hour, the traffic in Windhoek is not too heavy and it is relatively easy to make one's way around by car, particularly if you intend exploring outside of the city. The train station is situated in the city centre and TransNamib offers routes within Namibia, as does the tourist train, Desert Express.

Language

English is the official language, but many people also speak Afrikaans and German. There are also several indigenous languages spoken, mainly in the rural areas.

Money

The official currency is the Namibian Dollar (NAD) divided into 100 cents. Its value is equal to the South African Rand, which is also accepted as legal currency in Namibia. Major credit cards are accepted. Travellers cheques and foreign currency can be exchanged at any bank or bureau de change, though cash is more expensive to exchange than travellers cheques. ATMs are available in larger towns only.

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