If Namibia is Africa for beginners, then Windhoek is very much its capital in more than name only. It’s the sort of place that divides travellers, with those who love it for the respite it offers from the rigours of life on the African road facing off against those who find it a little too ‘Western’ for their African tastes. And they’re both right: Windhoek is a modern, well-groomed city where office workers lounge around Zoo Park at lunchtime, tourists funnel through Post St Mall admiring African curios and taxis whizz around honking at potential customers. Neobaroque cathedral spires, as well as a few seemingly misplaced German castles, punctuate the skyline, and complement the steel-and-glass high-rises.
Such apparent incongruities aside, Windhoek makes a great place to begin or break a journey through Namibia or rest at journey’s end. The accommodation choices, food variety, cultural sights, shopping and African urban buzz give it an edge not found anywhere else in Namibia.