All good things must come to an end and our final full day in Namibia eventually arrived. Now it was time to figure out how to spend a day in Windhoek? We decided to make life as simple as possible and drove to the city center for some sightseeing. The city of Windhoek might be small (especially for a capital), but there is a number of interesting attractions as well as a lot of history to take in there.
Windhoek: The Capital of Namibia
Windhoek has around 325,000 inhabitants and it is by far the largest city in Namibia. The first settlers found their way to Windhoek in 1840. It is the regional capital of the Khomas Region in central Namibia and it has been the capital of Namibia since the country’s independence in 1990.
We needed to circulate a few times around some blocks in the center before we found a parking lot. There were a lot of them, but we didn’t dare to park just anywhere. As always there was a young man offering to guard the car while we were away. We gave him a few cookies and started to walk up towards the iconic Christ Church or Christuskirche. Open in 1910, this Lutheran church is one of the main sights that you usually find on the postcards. It almost felt absurd to see something so German in Africa.
We did not enter the church as there was some kind of a ceremony going on there. Instead we continued further up the road to see some more iconic buildings. Just next to the Christuskirche is the Namibian Independence Museum, which is a huge tower. And next to the museum is an old German fortress, the Alte Feste (Old Fortress), which is nowadays a museum. It was closed when we went there, but there were a few interesting monuments and replicas around it. The fortress was constructed in 1890 and it is likely that it is one of the oldest buildings in Windhoek.
In the same area we also found the Prime Minister Office as well as the Parliament Building. It was especially the Parliament Garden that was to our liking. A green park, with trees and flowers. We shared the time in the park with several colorful lizards and some fellow tourists.
Windhoek: The Namibian Independence Museum
The Independence Museum was quite an interesting place to visit in Windhoek. Taking the elevator up to the first out of three floors with exhibitions we didn’t really know what to expect. For about an hour we strolled around in the museum and we were both intrigued by the colorful paintings depicting both happy and bloody events. This visit really gave us food for thought concerning the history of the country in which we had spent some wonderful days.
The exhibitions were mainly about three subjects. On the first floor we found ourselves learning about colonial repression as well as the resistance against the South African apartheid regime. The second floor took us to the time of liberation and the stories about internal forces and their struggles. And lastly there was the third floor with a focus on the road to independence.
We ended the tour around the museum with a stop at the restaurant on the fourth floor. Here we first enjoyed the great view over Windhoek before we sat down for some lunch. Susann was daring enough to choose from the menu with the local dishes. Here we had our chance to try local delicacies from intestines and worms to goat’s head. Oh, yummy. She eventually decided upon the black-eyed pea soup. This turned out to be something that looked more like porridge than soup. It was OK. For Jesper it was the safer choice of pasta.
Etango Ranch Guestfarm
After the museum we headed towards our accommodation for the last night. We had a room booked at the Etango Ranch Guestfarm, just a few kilometers from the airport. The last kilometer was again the now familiar gravel road, but upon arrival we were at once greeted and checked in. We decided to go to the airport to return our rental car at once and we were soon at the airport waiting for the final recipe from Avis. It did take some time as it was Sunday and they seemed to have a reduced staff for the day. An hour and a half later we called the ranch again and were soon picked up and back in the room.
The Etango Ranch Guestfarm was probably one of the more interesting accommodations that we stayed at in Namibia. Included in the price were also dinner and breakfast. The bar was also of the straightforward kind where you wrote on a paper what you’d taken and then paid upon check out. So, after a long day we sat down to relax before the dinner which was served at 7 p.m.
The dinner was a nice experience as well. We shared a table with four Germans as well as the caretaker of the guest farm. They all mostly spoke in German, but were friendly and included us in a few discussions in English. The starter was a soup and for the main course we were served a beef steak with vegetables and fried potatoes. The steak was quite bloody, but tasted great. We were soon satisfied and joined the discussions around us. Surprisingly some desserts also arrived at our table, some kind of pudding.
We had arranged with the guest farm for a transit to the airport early in the morning. We arrived at the airport before sunrise and sat down to enjoy our packed breakfast from the guest farm. The international airport in Windhoek is quite small and there was not much to do before the flight. Luckily we had a new adventure to look forward to, with the next stop being Cape Town in South Africa.
This post belongs to a series about our trip to South Africa and Namibia. Read the previous parts by clicking on the links below: