Windhoek is the capitol of Namibia and is the political and business center of the country. Windhoek is situated in the center of Namibia and nestles in the valley between the Eros mountains, the Auas mountains and the Khomashochland.
The city was founded in 1890 with the erection of the “Alte Feste” – the Old Fort – a fortress build entirely from stone, which is now a national monument. Windhoek now has a population of approximately 450 thousand people, which is continuously climbing. Windhoek is a large city in terms of the area it takes up and consists of 30 suburbs; Academia, Auasblick, Avis, Cimbebasia, Doradopark, Eros, Eros Park, Goreangab, Hakahana, Hochland Park, Lafrenz-Industrial Area, Kaatutura, Khomasdal, Klein-Windhoek, Kleine Kuppe, Ludwigsdorf, Luxury hill, Windhoek-North, Northern Industrial Area, Okuryangava, Olympia, Otjomuise, Pionierspark, Prosperita, Rocky Crest, Southern Industrial Area, Suiderhof, University of Namibia, Wanaheda and Windhoek-West.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the city was called Windhuk, named by the German colonialists, but was changed to Windhoek after the Germans lost their colonies after the first world war. The official language remained German until the South African government took control in 1915.
Windhoek derives its name from the Afrikaans words meaning “Windy Corner”. Another theory is that the name came from Jan Jonker Afrikaner, who name the town after a farm in South Africa called “Winterhoek” as the mountains and surrounding area reminded him of it. The Herero’s apparently named the city “Otjomuise”, which means the place of smoke, and the Hottentots called it “Ai-gams” which both relate to the hot springs near the center.
Windhoek lies 1600 meters above sea level, which leads to the variance in temperatures between day and night, especially during winter where the day temperature can reach between 20 and 24 degrees Celsius and at night it can fall to freezing point. During the summer months the day temperatures are around 30 degrees and can reach 40 degrees.
The city runs along the Independence Avenue, which was formerly called “Kaiserstrasse” before independence. Even though most of the German names have been changed to local names since independence you will still find a number of German signs around the City.
On your sightseeing tour of Windhoek, you should make sure that you see the Curt von Francois Statue, the “Alte Feste”, the “Christuskirche”, the Horse Rider and the National Assembly building. All of these are easily accessible by foot from the center of town and from the Independence Avenue you can also visit the National Art Gallery, where you will find various presentations of local artists, which are highly interesting.
Should you rather not want to see Windhoek by foot, you can easily book a sight seeing tour on the bus tour organised by Sense of Africa where you will be able to see all these sights including Katutura – the local township – where you can try the local cuisine and browse their crafts. On the bus you get drinks and snacks included as well.
As with developing cities, the more it expands, the more the criminality rises. The police have stepped up their security measures, but there are still many reports of thefts and muggings in broad daylight. Mostly these are robberies of valuables of tourists, like cameras, watches etc. so people should be vigilant and not flash their valuables around for all to see.
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