Sitting in a valley in the central highlands, the Namibian capital of Windhoek is a contemporary city with a high-rise skyline and sleek shopping malls. Its tree-dotted boulevards and green parks mean it also has a peaceful feel for travellers seeking a calm pace of life during African adventures. As it's located right in the middle of the country, it's the perfect place to start or complete your travels.
You can stay at a Windhoek hostel with African art on the walls and a free breakfast. Look out for places with pools to make the most of the sunny climate and free Wi-Fi to help you plan your trip. Some hostels in Windhoek have 'Bring and Braai' parties (where everyone brings some food) on weekends, where you can get to know other guests. Windhoek hostels with friendly staff are happy to organise tours and car rentals. Pick a stay within walking distance of the centre for easy access to most of the sights.
The main neighbourhood for travellers in Windhoek is the city centre, cut through by large leafy boulevards like Independence Avenue. Out in the suburbs, you can find the National Botanical Gardens, a nature reserve where you can go on a guided walk. East Windhoek is wealthiest part of the city, especially neighbourhoods like Auasblick, Klein Windhoek, Luxury Hill and Olympia, and most of the shopping centres are found in this area. South Windhoek is more residential and it's where the domestic Eros Airport lies (10 minutes' drive from the centre).
You can see the influence German colonialism had on this city at its many European-style sights. These include the Alte Feste (Old Fort), Tinte Palast (parliament buildings) and the Festefort Alte, which is home to the National Museum of the Independence of Namibia. One of the Namibian structures is the Heroes’ Acre war memorial, marking the country's official independence in 1990. Just outside Windhoek, you can get a taste of Namibia's epic landscape at Daan Viljoen Game Park, the nation's smallest reserve.
The centre of Windhoek is quite compact, so you can easily explore on foot. If you do need transport, taxis are available. It's best to get around Namibia by hiring a car, taking tours or jumping in one of the combies (shared taxis). If you're coming from Cape Town in South Africa, public transport takes around 17 hours. Hosea Kutako International Airport, a 40-minute drive from the centre, is where travellers fly in from abroad.