Namibia's capital city may be the largest in the country, but at 200,000 it still retains a tranquil, uncluttered feel. This multicultural centre lies within a beautiful valley, bordered by the Bros and Anas Mountains, and has plenty of colonial reminders, with modern office blocks merging with restored German architecture.
The city was founded in its present position in 1892, and the Germans settled here until the town was captured during World War One by the South African army on behalf of Britain. Traditionally the city was named after the hot springs which caused the early settlement in the first place, but the name was changed by the Afrikaaners to Windhoek, windy corner.
A strong German influence remains, with plenty of German restaurants and although the official language of Namibia is English, most people can also speak German.
During the day the city has a European café culture, but there is of course lots of Namibian influence in the multitude of meat on offer (this is a seriously carnivorous country). For a great night out you have to head out of the town centre, and venture into the Katakura or Khomasdal areas, which are a little rougher round the edges, and not always safe, but with a good guide you can have the time of your life here and party well beyond dawn.
Windhoek has a real cosmopolitan flare despite its size, and it has the only international airport in the country, so it's lucky that it's so well connected- situated almost exactly in the centre of Namibia, the capital city is the perfect base for travelling around.
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