Capital City Exploring - A Day in Windhoek

/Ai-// Gams, Windhoek, Otjomuise, no matter what you call it, the capital city of Namibia has a vibe. There is so much to do, there are many places to fill your belly, and spend your money. Plus the people are energetic, enigmatic and straight-up friendly. Whether you are a local looking to be a tourist in your own county, or a tourist trying to be a local, here is a guide to a day in my lovely city.

Early morning

First things first, coffee! Windhoek has a handful of brilliant coffee shops, but two stand out for being both roasters and purveyors of the wholesome brown liquid that accelerates you. Slowtown Coffee Roasters has a few locations around the city on Independence Avenue, in Grove Mall and Maerua Mall. Deluxe Coffeeworks is my personal favourite. You can find Deluxe at the Camelthorn Pod in Klein Windhoek and at the Mutual Tower on Independence Avenue. My standard order is a flat white, but you can’t go wrong with an Americano or mocha either.

Breakfast is not my most important meal of the day, sorry. Brunch is! Luckily most cafés/bistros in town serve breakfast until either 11 or 12. Wilde Eend Bistro is a popular brunch spot with a wide selection of benedicts, omelettes and the Landlord’s Breakfast reminiscent of the English kind, minus black pudding (thankfully). Olivia’s Kitchen is another great brunch/lunch spot offering decadent, filling meals as well as healthy alternatives. The bakery on the premises means that the toast selection goes uncontested!


During this time of year, midday gets unbearably hot. Your best bet is to stay indoors, preferably in an airconditioned shop, browsing at leisure and exerting no energy other than reaching for a book on the top shelf or trying on clothing. My absolutely favourite shops in Windhoek happen to be within walking distance from each other and conveniently located in the centre of town. 

Uncle Spike’s Book Exchange is arguably (nobody is arguing, it’s a fact) the best book shop in town. This hole in the wall is chock full of second-hand books, stacked cover to cover in floor to ceiling shelves. Take your time, page through the neverending selection of history, self-help, fiction, biographies and African literature. Chances are you will leave with five books for the price of one brand-new one. 

The Red Shelf is another cool shop to check out, located at the parking lot of the Namibia Craft Centre. There you will find a beautifully curated selection of vintage and second-hand clothing, books, shoes and accessories. Plus a few small local lifestyle brands, creating a space for micro businesses to reach a bigger clientele. 


For those yearning for activity in the capital, afternoon is a good time to venture out to Penduka, located at Goreangab Dam in Windhoek’s Katutura suburb. There you can get active on paddle boats, or engage in a batik workshop presented by the lovely women employed at the project. They do amazing work to promote and provide consistent income for female handcrafters, particularly hearing-impaired women.

Alternatively you can stay in town and explore some more shops, bars and informal crafters’ stalls along the city’s main road. Check out the Bushman Art Gallery for an immersive curio shopping experience. 

Sundowner cocktails are a must, whether you are a local getting off from your 8-5 or a visitor scoping out the best place to watch the sunset. A rooftop bar is probably your best bet for a good view, and there are two great ones right on Independence Avenue the Hilton Hotel’s Sky Bar and AVANI’s Stratos rooftop bar. My personal favourite for sunset drinks, and staying for dinner, is Urban Camp. This is a beer-garden-style pub and restaurant operating on a self-service basis. Order your drinks and food at the bar, sit back and revel in the laid-back, lively atmosphere. 

If you are up for something a little more swanky, I can strongly recommend Leo’s Garden Restaurant. Daily specials mean there is always something different and exciting to try. We love sustainable seasonal menus, plus Leo’s has one of the best wine selections in Windhoek.


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