I’m usually not a big fan of bustling through cities, so it came as a surprise that I thoroughly enjoyed a morning of doing just that in Namibia’s capital city, Windhoek.
I was with a great bunch of people (which makes all the difference, doesn’t it?), and together we whizzed around discovering a vibrant blend of old and new – long-standing colonial churches built by early German settlers stand amongst stark modern-day infrastructure. Windhoek is safe to explore on foot, and, if you know where to go, you’re in for a delightful cultural and culinary adventure! My favourite part of the city was (without a doubt) the bright and colourful township of Katutura.
When the first World War ended, Namibia (then South West Africa) was passed from German colonial rule to South African governance (under the League of Nations Mandate). Sadly, South Africa imposed their system of apartheid, forcibly dividing Windhoek into areas inhabited according to race and ethnic groups. Katutura Township was the area allocated to “blacks” and remains home to 65% of Windhoek’s population.
I recommend taking a slow drive along Katutura’s legendary Evaline Street (‘the street that never sleeps’) – a Joseph’s techni-coloured-coat of houses, shebeens, hair-dresses, friendly car-washes and enthusiastic entrepreneurs.
We stopped to investigate the extremely popular meat market at Single Quarters. This is not a place for faint-hearted vegetarians! If that’s you, be warned!! (luckily I’m not). If you’re brave enough, you can join the locals by tucking into some famous Kaplan (braaied) meat, or, if you are feeling particularly adventurous, try a mopane worm. I couldn’t help noticing that it’s also a hunting ground for young single locals – especially teenage girls who do little to hide their ogling over the braaing men, who are, of course, only too happy to show off their meat-chopping muscles. But no judgement here – I’m a huge fan of Masterchef Australia, and this obviously has nothing to do with toned surfers in aprons! The market is also a popular date venue for local couples. If it were me, I’d definately prefer somewhere more romantic! What do you think?
We then headed to the ‘Soweto Market’ where I did the real touristy thing (why not), and got a few braids put in my hair by a lovely hairdresser called Maria. The speed at which she worked was a spectacle in itself – intricate, perfect little plaits were done in no time at all.
If you would like to do a tour of Windhoek with a guide (I would recommend this) here are some options:
2 hour double-decker bus city tour: 2 hours (two tours run daily, must book at least an hour ahead)
Tel: +264 61 275 300 | Fax: +264 61 263 417
Four hour private tour with local guide in air-conditioned vehicle:
Email – email@example.com / Tel : +264 (0) 81 364 5069
This tour was made possible thanks to Africa Geographic and the Nambian Tourism Board, as part of the Go Big Namibia campaign.
By Rachel Lang,
in her own words…
“I’m Rach – a freelance writer, blogger and environmental educationist based in Cape Town, South Africa. Born into a family of wildlife lovers, I spent my childhood immersed in nature and developed a love for wild places that has continued to grow for 26 years.
My blog, Bush-bound Girl, is a collection of family stories, travels, interviews, poems, and inspiring guest posts; all written on an adventure to discover Africa’s wild side
From : Namibia Tourism