WINDHOEK

Colossal tectonic forces of nature have moulded this region into one of Africa’s most unique landscapes.
Demarcating the highest edge of the Kalahari and Namib Deserts, the central plateau juts out of the Namibian landscape like a towering fortress and is the foundation for a myriad of river systems and powerful gales that have sculptured Namibia in its entirety over Millions of years. Windhoek is situated on the highest fragment of the central plateau and towers over other towns and cities found in most other parts of southern Africa. The capital city is situated in the centre of the country and combines all major centres with the best tar road infrastructure on the African continent.
Situated in central Namibia, Windhoek is the largest city as well as the Capital of Namibia. A cosmopolitan melting pot of European architecture and African culture, it is the starting point for most safaris. Although Namibia is a daytime safari destination, Windhoek has enough excellent restaurants, shopping malls casino’s and bars to entertain the night guest. Situated in central Namibia, Windhoek is the largest city as well as the capital of Namibia.

Windhoek is also the social, economic, and cultural centre of the country. Nearly every Namibian national enterprise, governmental body, educational and cultural institution is headquartered here. Pulsing with life, opportunity and a sparkle of adventure, Windhoek is a multicultural city characterised by tranquil co-existence and enough lebensraum for all its citizens, numbering approximately 400’000. Visitors can enjoy the best of two worlds, manifested by European-style architecture mixed with a vivid beat of African culture and environs, creating a true cosmopolitan soceity. The first sign of human activity can be traced back as far as 5000 years, evidenced by elephant bones together with Bushman hunting tools, which can be seen in the National Museum, which were found while constructing the Zoo Park in the city centre.

The first recorded settlements were established because of the springs in the area. In about 1842, the Oorlam Kaptain, Jan Jonker Afrikaner, settled at the strongest spring in the present Klein Windhoek, where he built a church for his community. Before he named the place “Winterhoek” after his birth place close to the Ceres Mountains in South Africa, the place was called “/Ai-//Gams” (Fire Water) by the Namas, and “Otjomuise” (Place of Steam) by the Hereros, both names bearing references to the hot springs. The German force became significant and present day Windhoek was founded on the 18th October 1890 when Von Francois laid the foundation stone of the fort, which is known as the Alte Feste (Old Fortress). The name “Winterhoek” was also formally changed to “Windhuk”. Directly translated the name means “windy corner”, which is an apt name for the city which very often gets visited by extremely strong winds blowing through the valley in which the city is situated. Germany sent a protective corps (the “Schutztruppe”) under Major Curt von Francois to maintain order, with a garrison being stationed at Windhoek. This was considered a strategic buffer between the Namas and Hereros. The twelve strong springs in the area provided water for the cultivation of food. After 1907 there was an influx of citizens from Europe and South Africa, and business starting settling in the Kaiser Strasse (now Independence Avenue). In the area known as “Klein Windhoek” (small Windhoek) huge gardens were built, made possible by excellent fresh water springs throughout the valley. Greater Windhoek or “Groß Windhoek” lies in the current city centre. Agricultural activity was limited here due the high sulphur content in the hot springs, but business flourished, meaning that this part of the area was mainly used for trading as well as accommodation purposes.

All main buildings, built in various old - German styles, can still be visited today and add greatly to the beauty and allure of the city. Today Windhoek is one of the leading cities in Africa in terms of telecommunications, banking facilities and sophisticated conferencing technology. It therefore offers a favourable and enabling environment for tourists and investors alike and is a sought-after conference destination. Windhoek has a rich cultural life where activities happily mix and match to produce some interesting combinations. The “township” of Katutura is an interesting journey for discovering the sounds and smells of Africa.

The highlight is a visit to the Tukondjeni Market, which offers services that satisfy many community needs. It’s a busy place, where one can purchase supplies and traditional Namibian food such as barbecued meat, dried fish, fried mopane worms (known as “omaungu”) and other traditional food such as “ombidi” and dehydrated wild spinach. The Penduka Project Centre on the banks of Goreangab dam offers a range of hand-embroidered textiles, batik items and pottery, as well as craft items reflecting the different cultures of the Namibian people. Penduka provides between 400 and 500 women from the rural areas with a cash income. Their needlework depicts bird and animal motifs, as well as narrative depictions of rural life with the use of brightly coloured thread and fabrics. Except for excellent cuisine and shopping opportunities, various excursions are offered in and around the City, taking in a variety of options and catering for every need. All of these are booked directly through our offices and include highlights such as large cat viewing and feeding, game viewing excursions, scenic drives and cultural experiences. A wide variety of flying safaris are offered directly from Windhoek, enabling you to visit attractions throughout the country in the shortest of time. The area around the capital city of Namibia, Windhoek, is situated on the central plateau that bisects the Kalahari Desert in the east from the Namib Desert in the west.

Most areas referred to as “Greater Windhoek’ in this context are found in mountainous terrain. Guests should take notice of police road blocks situated on each route in or out of the capital city, where they may be required to show their driver’s license and rental vehicle documents for control purposes.