Exploring Windhoek with Rachel Lang
A few months ago travel writer Rachel Lang was part of our Go Big Namibia team who spent a few weeks exploring Namibia. On her tour Rachel spent some time in Windhoek and in this special guest post she shares her experiences and offers some suggestions for travellers visiting the big city for the first time. So read on, and follow the links at the bottom of this post for even more travel tips.
-Cruising through colourful Katutura-
by Rachel Lang
I’m usually not a big fan of bustling through cities, so it came as a surprise that I thoroughly enjoyed a morning of doing just that in Namibia’s capital city, Windhoek.
I was with a great bunch of people (which makes all the difference, doesn’t it?), and together we whizzed around discovering a vibrant blend of old and new – long-standing colonial churches built by early German settlers stand amongst stark modern-day infrastructure. Windhoek is safe to explore on foot, and, if you know where to go, you’re in for a delightful cultural and culinary adventure! My favourite part of the city was (without a doubt) the bright and colourful township of Katutura.
When the first World War ended, Namibia (then South West Africa) was passed from German colonial rule to South African governance (under the League of Nations Mandate). Sadly, South Africa imposed their system of apartheid, forcibly dividing Windhoek into areas inhabited according to race and ethnic groups. Katutura Township was the area allocated to “blacks” and remains home to 65% of Windhoek’s population.
I recommend taking a slow drive along Katutura’s legendary Evaline Street (‘the street that never sleeps’) – a Joseph’s techni-coloured-coat of houses, shebeens, hair-dresses, friendly car-washes and enthusiastic entrepreneurs.
Photo by Rachel Lang
We stopped to investigate the extremely popular meat market at Single Quarters. This is not a place for faint-hearted vegetarians! If that’s you, be warned!! (luckily I’m not). If you’re brave enough, you can join the locals by tucking into some famous Kaplan (braaied) meat, or, if you are feeling particularly adventurous, try a mopane worm. I couldn’t help noticing that it’s also a hunting ground for young single locals – especially teenage girls who do little to hide their ogling over the braaing men, who are, of course, only too happy to show off their meat-chopping muscles. But no judgement here – I’m a huge fan of Masterchef Australia, and this obviously has nothing to do with toned surfers in aprons! The market is also a popular date venue for local couples. If it were me, I’d definiatley prefer somewhere more romantic! What do you think?
Photo by Rachel Lang
We then headed to the ‘Soweto Market’ where I did the real touristy thing (why not), and got a few braids put in my hair by a lovely hairdresser called Maria. The speed at which she worked was a spectacle in itself – intricate, perfect little plaits were done in no time at all.
Photo by Rachel Lang
If you would like to do a tour of Windhoek with a guide (I would recommend this) here are some options:
2 hour double-decker bus city tour: 2 hours (two tours run daily, must book at least an hour ahead)
Four hour private tour with local guide in air-conditioned vehicle:
This tour was made possible thanks to Africa Geographic and the Nambian Tourism Board, as part of the Go Big Namibia campaign.
More things to do in Windhoek
More from the Go Big Namibia team
Rachel Lang, in her own words...
I'm Rach – a freelance writer, blogger and environmental educationist based in Cape Town, South Africa. Born into a family of wildlife lovers, I spent my childhood immersed in nature and developed a love for wild places that has continued to grow for 26 years.
My blog, Bush-bound Girl, is a collection of family stories, travels, interviews, poems, and inspiring guest posts; all written on an adventure to discover Africa's wild side. Follow my journey on my blog, Facebook page, and Twitter.
If you would like to work with me, or share your own stories, send me an email.