Windhoek - the capital of Namibia
Known as one of the safest and cleanest cities on the African continent, Windhoek is also the capital and largest city in the Republic of Namibia. With a strong German cultural influence from the colonial period, many buildings in Windhoek exhibit the German architectural style. English has served as the official language of Namibia since 1990, but the German and Afrikaans languages remain quite popular.
Situated in a basin surrounded by rolling mountains, physical expansion of Windhoek is severely restricted. Strategically located in the center of Namibia, Windhoek serves as the departure or termination point for a variety of self-drive or guided safari tours to explore the wonderful diversity of the nature of Namibia in places such as Namib Desert, Sossusvlei or the game preserves of Etosha National Park. Windhoek enjoys warm, sunny days with cool nights except during the rainy season of January through March. The winter months of June, July and August have very little rain. Humidity levels are low and droughts can occur many years. The city centre of Windhoek has a village feeling owing to its compact size and the German architectural influence.
Exploring the city on foot allows visitors to tour the main points of interest while enjoying the bustle of the local shops and market stalls. The city also boasts modern architecture and stands as the cultural, social and financial centre of the country. With a focus on higher education, Windhoek houses University of Namibia, Polytechnic of Namibia and International University of Management. In the late 60s, the first recycled sewage water plant was built, directly supplying the city with a potable water supply. This type of reclamation plant was the first of this type in the world. Windhoek has also developed a successful brewing industry.
Windhoek enjoys the availability of most modern services and conveniences. For travellers, room accommodations range from backpacker hostels to mid-range hotels to luxury hotels suitable for business travellers or tourists. Visitors may enjoy stays in the 1914 castle now known as the Heinitzburg Hotel, the Windhoek Hilton (due to open in 2011) or the Kalahari Sands Hotel and Casino. As Windhoek has grown through the years, night-life, restaurants and cultural venues have increased as well. As a result of the days of South African occupation, Windhoek had distinct areas for different races or classes of people. Although these individual areas still exist today, the city enjoys a culturally diverse and expanding society.