Windhoek on every budget

Windhoek on every budget

Windhoek has long been overlooked by visitors and been seen merely as the departure point of a splendid Namibian holiday. Regional flights depart from the city’s airports, the majority of vehicle hire companies are based here, and tour operators decamp from Windhoek onwards to the far corners of this vast country. While our natural splendour is surely the greatest magnet for international guests, there is a lot more to be said about this comparatively small capital city than simply a stopover. 

The capital is a concentration of our eleven ethnic groups, of arts and crafts from our fourteen regions and a healthy mix of culture, creativity and cuisine. Because Windhoek is the playground of people from all walks of life, there are plenty of options for every kind of pocket. 

Text & Photographs Charene Labuschagne

From the Summer 2022/23 issue

The Budget Traveller


Stay: Urban Camp

For fuss-free accommodation I cannot recommend Urban Camp enough. They have camping options for the equipped traveller, as well as glamping for those in search of an authentic experience, but without setting up a tent themselves. Nowhere else can you get a true camping experience in the centre of a capital city. Urban Camp is cost-effective, neat as a pin and has a beer-garden and pool on the premises. 

Eat: Kapana – Namibian street food

Eating local gives you way more bang for your buck, plus no visit to Windhoek is complete without a taste of kapana. Imagine slivers of beef, flame grilled and topped with or dipped into a burnt orange-coloured spice mix – the perfect blend of sweet, spicy and umami. Kapana goes down best with fat cakes (deep fried bread balls) and tomato and onion relish prepared on site. Locals say the hub for the best kapana in town is the Single Quarters market in Windhoek’s Katutura suburb.

Experience: Self-guided walking tour

Windhoek’s high street, Independence Avenue, and surrounds are lined by historic buildings, art galleries, informal and curio shops, plus plenty of places to sit down for a refuel. Obviously the iconic Christuskirche is a must-visit. Just down the road you will find the National Art Gallery and the Namibia Arts Association. Buying art may be expensive, but looking is free. 

Walking down Independence Avenue allows you to take it all in and photograph at your leisure. The idiosyncratic juxtaposition of large bank buildings and the old German-style architecture is characteristic of Windhoek. Curio shops and the Namibia Craft Centre are great places to get a sense of the abundant art and craft practices in the country. I would gesture to the informal sellers, whose prices are somewhat negotiable, and the interaction with these female stall owners is priceless. 

Feeling Splashy


Stay: Arebbusch Travel Lodge

The Arebbusch complex gives visitors to Windhoek a glimpse into the lodge lifestyle that defines a trip through the country. Their rooms are neat and spacious, but the surrounding space makes Arebbusch special. Surrounded by nature, with a large pool and à la carte menu restaurant, this lodge is a welcoming home away from home after a day of exploring the capital.

Eat: Goodfellas

Tucked away under lofty tree canopies in Windhoek’s lively Liliencron street, this pizza-pub-combo harbours crowds craving an al fresco dining experience. The Goodfellas menu goes uncontested as utterly versatile. It will please just about every palate in the group and can be summarised as “American-style indulgence”. From their carpaccio to the generous salads, burgers and the much loved pizzas, the grub is delicious and the atmosphere is always pleasant, especially on weekends with live music. Goodfellas is part of the backbone of the capital’s social scene, and unsurprisingly doubles well as a family lunch spot.

Experience: City and township tour

There are many different city and township tours on offer judging by entries on TripAdvisor. Chameleon Safaris operates a tour starting at the landmarks in central Windhoek, continuing to Katutura for kapana, and ending at the Penduka women’s project. For an authentic experience, I would recommend trying a local guide. Anchor Adventures is a small-scale tour operator that does a Katutura Classic Township tour, guided by Lubowski, a passionate local resident who shares first-hand insight into the eclectic township.

For the Uppity


Stay: Ti Melen Boutique Guesthouse

Situated on a hilltop in one of Windhoek’s quiet suburbs, only a 10-minute drive from the centre of town, Ti Melen makes a massive impression as soon as you arrive. The guesthouse’s castle-like architecture is reminiscent of the German colonial era. Rooms are classically decorated, there are wooden decks, lots of greenery and a brilliant observation deck for panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and Avis Dam. Ti Melen is the perfect mix of old-world charm and understated luxury. 

Eat: Leo’s Garden Restaurant

You will soon notice that the best dining in Windhoek is outdoors. With our great weather in mind, Leo’s Garden Restaurant is the perfect pozzie for lunch or dinner. The surrounding courtyard is tranquil, with the babbling of a water feature nearby. Daily specials mean there is always something different and exciting to try, like stuffed lamb shoulder, saltimbocca, game steaks served with croquettes or pan-seared kabeljou.  We love sustainable seasonal menus, plus Leo’s Garden Restaurant has one of the best wine selections in Windhoek. 

Experience: Namibian Gemstones

One of Namibia’s greatest riches are our beautiful precious and semi-precious gemstones. If you have read up a little before your trip, you will surely know about our diamond mining industry, which is noteworthy. However, Namibia’s coloured gemstones are even more alluring than the white rock. Tourmaline, topaz, aquamarine, garnet, jasper, pietersite, quartz crystal, and amethyst make for the most beautiful high-end jewellery pieces. Goldsmiths and jewellers specialising in championing Namibian gemstones are dotted across town. Luxury, fashionable pieces like pendants and rings featuring a brilliant green tourmaline mined near Usakos will make for a great gift to a loved one, or your own forever memory of the multifaceted beauty of Namibia. 

Before embarking on the journey of a lifetime through Namibia, I encourage you to give Windhoek more than 24 hours to wow you. Sleep, shop, eat and socialise like a local, and perhaps spend some more time in the city before returning home. 


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