I will be staying in windhoek for 2 days before and 2 days after a planned trip, I was just wondering if anyone knew of anything that could be exciting for me to do while I'm there.
Windhoek unfortunately is not the most exciting city. It is rather small, and not much in terms of nature reserves and so on around it.
There is a craft market in the middle of town, which is quiet easy to find. That can be nice to browse around for a while.
Perhaps you could book a city tour? It is not so interesting, but at least gives you an overview of the town, and some general interest about the country. There are many companies that can do this for you. I currently work for CCAfrica, and you could book a city tour with them or one from many other companies.
The main museum is worth a visit, and nearby is an old church which is very photogenic.
A good restaurant is Nice, which is sort of a chef's experimental kitchen.
For fun you could go to the Namibian Country Club and visit the casino or go play golf for the day?
For a bit of nature stuff, a visit to Avis Dam can be nice just for the walk. Don't look to much like a tourist when away from the crowd, but it is not to bad with safety.
Thanks for all the ideas about places to go! I will certainly check some of them out. I was curious about the Daan Vilijoen Game Reserve, would you recommend going, and if so how can I get out there? Thanks so much!
Daan Vilijoen is not a great game reserve in general. However, if you have an interest in Birding then it is a great spot to pick up some Namibian specials. You could either hire a car, or organize for someone else (almost any Windhoek based) tour company to take you there.
There is some wildlife there, but if you are going to Etosha or Damaraland, it will really be boring in comparison.
Are Etosha or Damaraland close enough to go to in a day?
I would certainly say NO! If that is all you have, then go for it. But if at all possible then stay a bit longer. Etosha is huge, and you certainly want to stay at least two nights on the east (Namutoni side,) and one night on the west (Okaukuejo.)
With Damaraland it depends what you are intending to see. This is also a big area, with a variety of interests. There are the rock engravings at Twyfelfontein, the amazing Palmag and Etendeka areas further north, various rivers where desert elephants can be found, and the Brandberg mountain. So you really need to pick your spots. How you do it also depends on what type of travel you are looking for. Are you camping, taking a tour, staying in lodges?? It will all affect what you do and how much time you need.
namibnat, i would totally disagree with you re windhoek not being the most interesting of cities. i think it is, you just need to know where to go, and as they say 'when in rome...' a visit to windhoek is not complete if you have not been to joe's beerhouse. by far the most interesting restaurant in the world (and i have travelled a fair bit) and the best meat you will find in great atmosphere. it is very german orientated, as many of the traditional places are. another thing to do is to go to okapuka game ranch. it's about 30km's from windhoek but you can do this with any tour company. great place for sundowners and you will definitely spot a few animals at the water hole while enjoying a drink (at one count we saw more than 130 different animals at sundowners). they also do lion feeds which is good to go to if you are into that kind of thing.
i would NOT go to daan viljoen. you will be dissapointed.
there is a few german cafe's also in the city which is quite nice for lunches and the crafts market is definitely worth a visit. you get two types so make sure you go to both, the one by the bus terminus and the one called the post street mall/walkway. i've picked up the most beautiful african crafted tablecloths and other unique handmade things.
etosha is great, but you need at least 3 days for that (it takes you about 5 hours from windhoek by car).
namibia is one of the most exciting and beautiful countries in the world, but namibnat is right, windhoek is not the place to see what namibia's nature can offer.
the most valued asset of namibia is it's friendly people, so enjoy this while you are there.
have a great time, i'm jealous (currently in london and longing to go back)
Namibroos is right - perhaps I did sell Windhoek a bit short. There are things to do, but it is a small small city, and not what one travels around the world to come and see.
Just to make you more jealous, I am living at Sossusvlei (been working at a lodge in the area for 6.5 years now.)
thank you so much for the suggestions Namibroos, I will definitely hit joe's beerhouse and okapuka game ranch! I'm totally jealous of you! I wish I was in London!