“There isn’t much going on in Windhoek,” people say quite often when passing through to the capital of Namibia. And they aren’t wrong. However, just because Windhoek isn’t much of an attraction in itself doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go. Especially for backpackers and budget travellers, Windhoek is almost a necessity. The hostels in the Namibian capital are an essential tool for many travellers looking for others to team up and split costs on things like tours and rental cars. And even if you don’t need to find travel teammates, you could definitely make use of a fancy meal at Joe’s Beerhouse. If you’re travelling through Namibia, like it or not, you’ll spend a couple days here. And the truth is, though there’s not much to do, it is a fairly pleasant city.
Time Needed: 1 Day
Backpacker’s Budget: 30-40 USD
Things to Do and See in Windhoek
- Cats Unlimited: Just outside of town there is a “big cat” conservation project that would be worth the time if you had a day to kill.
- National Gallery of Namibia: A decent museum, and if you’re the museum-type it’s a good way to spend a couple hours in the capital.
- Organize: This is the best place to organize excursions to places like Sossusvlei and Etosha National Park
Where to Stay in Windhoek
- Chameleon Backpackers Lodge: Even if you’re not a backpacker, this is a great place. The private rooms border on luxurious, and the dorms are great too. There’s wifi, nice breakfast, bar, a pool, and plenty of travellers to bounce ideas off.
- Cardboard Box Backpacker’s Hostel: If Chameleon is booked up, this makes for a decent backup plan. They also have a bar and pool.
Where to Eat in Windhoek
- Joe’s Beerhouse: I think every traveller that passes through stops here. They have exotic meats, a cool atmosphere, and a nice selection of beers. It’s a bit out of the way of the hostels and downtown on Nelson Mandela Ave. It’s worth the taxi fare, though.
- Sardinia: If you’re in need of a pizza fix, the pies are great at this Italian place on Independence Ave.
- KFC: There’s no McDonald’s in Namibia (yet), but if you’re in need of a fast food splurge there’s a KFC down from Chameleon’s.
- Pick ‘n Pay: There are plenty of grocery stores in the city. The most prominent is in Wernhill Mall right downtown.
Getting to and away from Windhoek
- South Africa and Zambia: If you’re looking for a long haul, then go with Intercape who runs all the way to South Africa and Zamibia.
- Namibian Destinations: There are buses to the major centers, but it’s often easiest within Namibia to catch one of the shuttles that the hostels provide. They cost a bit more, but they take you from hostel to hostel and save you taxi fare and added hassles.
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