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A little piece of Germany in Africa, is the best way to describe Windhoek. Although high-rise buildings have erected since the independence, the capital of Namibia still feels German. The colonial buildings date back to the time that Windhoek still was the capital of German Southwest Africa. After the First World War the country was governed by South Africa to become independent in 1990 under the name Namibia. The German influence in food and drinks is still present. Thus, in many restaurants you can find sauerkraut on the menu and local craft beer is brewed following the German Reinheitsgebot.
The image of the historic city is dominated by the 24-meter-high spire of the Christuskirche. This Lutheran church was built in the beginning of the previous century in neo-Gothic style with Art Nouveau elements. The stained-glass windows were a gift from the German Emperor Wilhelm II.
Nearby is the Ink Palace (Tintenpalast), named like this because it was the headquarters of the German government and the officials would use so much ink. Now the building is home to both chambers of the Namibian Parliament. Between the Christuskirche and the Tintenpalast you can find the Parliament Gardens, a popular meeting place for the residents of Windhoek.
On a hill stands the Alte Feste, built in 1890. It was the headquarters of the German colonial troops and later of the South African army. In the thirties students of the Windhoek High School were housed there until 1962, when the historic section of the State Museum was put in there. Inside the museum you will learn more about the history of the country. From the Bushmen who inhabited the country via the German colonisation to the struggle for independence.
The city's train station was built in the style of the Dutch Cape Province. In front of the station stands an antique locomotive, half of a so-called Zwillinge locomotive.
Twyfelfontein (Fountain of Doubts) lies northwest of Windhoek. It was named this way because the rancher who settled here was uncertain whether the local source would provide enough water. It is famous for its prehistoric cave paintings, about 2500 in total. Experts think the drawings of local wildlife - antelope, giraffes, elephants and lions - and more abstract figures are between three and six thousand years old. Because some drawings have been purposely damaged in the past, you can only view the drawings in the company of a guide. Around the Brandberg you can find thousands of petroglyphs too. The most famous one is the so-called White Lady in the Tsisab ravine, a slightly confusing name because it is a drawing of a man with a white painted body, probably a shaman.
The Spitzkoppe is a spectacular pointed mountain in the middle of flat grassland and is also referred to as the African Matterhorn, because of the resemblance. Near by lie the Pontok mountains, an area where climbers can enjoy themselves. But only experience climbers attempt to conquer the Spitzkoppe. If you do not consider yourself one of these, you can always enjoy the color spectacle at sunrise. The mountain changes from light orange to flaming gold.
Windhoek is centrally located in Namibia and is the starting point for safaris in the rest of the country. The city lies on a plateau with on the west side a mountain range with peaks of about 2,000 meters. Even further to the west, on the coast, lies the Namibian Desert. Another desert, the Kalahari lies to the east of the central plateau. Located close to Windhoek is the Daan Viljoen Reserve, where you aren't obliged to be accompanied by a guide. Furthermore, you can explore the rugged region of the Namibian capital by horse. Not cheap, but an experience you do not want to miss, is making a balloon flight over the Namib desert.
There are ample parking possibilities in Windhoek, but do have your car be guarded. There are always guards around that will keep an eye on your car for a small fee, even at night. Outside the capital the roads are mainly gravel. They are easy to drive, but don't get overconfident and drive too fast. Another note: mind the crossing wildlife: Namibia is in effect one big wildlife park!
Hosea Kutako International Airport is situated 45 kilometers northwest of Windhoek and is easily accessible by rental car. The airport is located along the road from Windhoek to Gobabis (B6), also called the Trans-Kalahari road. The exit to the airport is clearly signposted.