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Written by Nina van Schalkwyk
To “people watch” is to observe life in action
As I write this, I’m sitting at one of the wooden tables by the entrance of Slowtown, a café next to the edge of Independence Avenue, Windhoek’s main street and the vein that carries the ebb and flow of city life. People come and go: young women with bright lipstick, slicked back hair, heeled brogues and dangling earrings, cool dudes with red sneakers, kids in school uniform, families, friends.
It’s easy to see the vast scope of humans that make up my city. That’s why I love sitting here. No one bothers me; they allow me to observe them unobtrusively as I peer over my glasses. And while many developing countries like mine have a thing for malls, I’m glad that in Windhoek there are still spaces that allow the public in without it being confined to sterile walls. These places are where I observe life around me. Here’s my list of pretty cool places to people watch in Windhoek.
Slowtown (Independence Avenue)
Slowtown is an all-time favourite of mine. I enjoy the fact that it is right in the city centre, it offers quality coffee and the vibe is great. Slowtown is like my go-to place when I want to get out of the house, and the fact that Cramer’s Ice Cream is right next door is an added bonus.
I’ve come to the Craft Café since I was a young girl, and my associations with it involve delicious cakes and massive salads. The vibe is funky, and the crowd is mainly a lot of foreigners, lured obviously by the opportunity to shop the crafted wares for gifts to take back home. It’s an interesting place, and in amongst the tourists, you’ll find locals who aren’t allergic to touristy places.
Street Cuisine Lounge
Situated across from the Zoo Park and located right on the side of the street, this little eatery has a great vibe and the perfect location. The last time I was there, sitting on the deck with my warm pot of tea, I saw a wonderful array of people walking past, from businessmen on their way to meetings, to school kids on their way home.
Wecke & Voigts
The WV shopping centre has undergone a bit of a makeover and now it’s got a lovely vibe. Check out the interior of the café, especially right above the bar, where you can see the history of the store through photos and other kinds of memorabilia. More than that though, I picked WV because sitting at one of the outside tables is the perfect vantage point from which to observe the throngs of people going past.
Cramer’s Ice Cream
It’s obvious that my favourite all-time people watching places are in the city centre, and Cramer’s is no exception. Come by for a delicious scoop of fresh farm-made organic ice-cream, in a cone or on a warm waffle. The shop is located right next to Slowtown, but it offers a sweeter alternative. The atmosphere is friendly, and so are the staff. Sit outside and you might catch bikers wheeling off the giant concrete blocks nearby.