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Resident Annabelle Venter gets under the skin of the Namibian capital, exploring its architecture, gardens, museums, restaurants, cafés, bars and shops

Earlier this year, I found myself in an African capital with time to spare and a dearth of information on what to do there. I wanted to experience the feel of the place, see where the locals hung out, and visit more than just curio shops. It prompted me to refiect on how I could enjoy a taste of local culture if I had a few free days in my own capital city. As I write this, I’m about to celebrate 30 years of living in Namibia. Windhoek has changed dramatically and in a positive way during that time. Infrastructure is good, the economy is pushing ahead with extensive housing and commercial development, the city is clean and there are numerous options for visitors to do and see. Here are a few of my favourites:

Explore your environment

It’s a good idea to rise early in Africa, not least of all to catch the birds as they are most active in the mornings. Serious twitchers can contact the Namibia Bird Club to join a Sunday outing. Our gorgeous, near-endemic rosy-faced lovebirds can be seen roosting under the eaves at both Mediclinic Private Hospital and the National Botanical Research Institute (NBRI) on Orban Street. Listen for the European bee-eaters hunting overhead in the summer months, too.

Take a walk in the NBRI gardens between 8am and 5pm to view what is fiowering. My favourite spot is the lily walk afier the first rains, where you might see the Crinums blooming if your timing is right. There’s also a guided walk from 8am until 10am every second Saturday of the month, hosted by the Botanical Society of Namibia.

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About Travel Africa

Tracking cheetahs in South Africa's Mountain Zebra National Park • Why you should visit Zimbabwe NOW • The IK Factor • Wildlife lover's guide to Zambia • Secret Sierra Leone • Unusual places to stay • Kenya's great lakes • Birding in Malawi • 48 hours in Windhoek... and much more!