Windhoek, Namibia travel guide and things to do: Nine must-do highlights

THE ONE HOTEL

Set in Klein Windhoek Valley, a five-minute drive from the centre of Windhoek, the capital of Namibia, Am Weinberg Boutique Hotel is a light-filled, Hamptons-style property with 41 elegant rooms, two great restaurants, an outdoor pool and a day spa. Ask for a room that opens to the central courtyard and reserve a couple of hours for cocktail sipping in the rooftop Sky Bar, with views of the surrounding valley.

See amweinberghotel.africa

THE ONE LANDMARK

Windhoek's Christuskirche (Christ Church) is the city's unofficial symbol, a photogenic 1907 German Lutheran church built from quartz sandstone with white trimmings that overlooks the city. The church mixes neo-gothic and art nouveau architectural styles and is a great starting point for Windhoek wanderings.

THE ONE MARKET

The Namibia Crafts Centre, set in the Old Breweries Building off Windhoek's main drag, Independence Avenue, holds more than 30 stalls selling everything from tribal masks, textiles and woven baskets, to beaded jewellery, ironwood sculptures and pottery. Around the corner you'll find a more casual craft market in the open-air Post Street Mall, where there's a fascinating installation of space rocks from the Gibeon Meteorite that fell in Namibia more than 600 million years ago.

THE ONE RESTAURANT

Two things you can expect to consume mountains of in Namibia are game meat and beer. Any local will tell you that Joe's Beerhouse is the best joint in town for both of these things, a boisterous open-air restaurant decorated with ropes, raw wood, kudu skulls and lanterns, where you'll drink craft beers and eat things you never imagined you would – think oryx carpaccio, zebra steaks and crocodile fillets.

See joesbeerhouse.com

THE ONE THEATRE

Live music, plays, stand-up comedy or open mic nights – Windhoek's 30-year-old Warehouse Theatre is the hub for Namibia's arts scene. It hosts local and international artists and wouldn't feel out of place in Sydney or New York. The adjoining Boiler Room pub is good for a pre-show drink, or for karaoke on Tuesday nights.

See instagram.com/warehousetheatrewhk

THE ONE MUSEUM

Housed in the Alte Feste, an ex-German fort and Windhoek's oldest building, the National Museum of Namibia tells the story of Namibia's indigenous people. The rock art displays are particularly compelling, especially for those intending to see the rock art sites of Brandberg or Twyfelfontein.

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See museums.com.na/museums/windhoek/national-museum-of-namibia

THE ONE GARDEN

A 12-hectare nature reserve tucked away behind the Christuskirche, the National Botanical Garden of Namibia houses Namibian flora exclusively. Follow self-guided hiking trails, passing bottle trees and quiver trees, many species of wildflowers and native birds en route. The gardens also have a "desert house", with rare and endangered succulents and desert plants.

THE ONE CASTLE

If you only have time to visit one of Windhoek's three castles, make it the hilltop Heinitzburg Castle, now a luxury hotel. It was originally commissioned by a German count in 1914 who wanted to impress his fiancee, positioning it to get the best views of the city and you can enjoy these from the garden terrace, with a sunset glass of South African pinotage.

See heinitzburg.com

THE ONE FESTIVAL

For two days every March the streets of Windhoek fill with dancing troupes, live music, entertainers and locals dressed in colourful national costumes, during the Enjando Street Festival. Also known as Mbapira, this is the time when locals take to the streets to dance and sing their hearts out.

ONE MORE THING

Travellers use Windhoek as a launch pad for exploring Namibia's wilderness, usually working in the sand dunes of Sossusvlei, the desert adapted elephants of Damaraland and the moody Skeleton Coast. If you're just stopping over in Windhoek, though, visit the Daan Viljoen Game Park, a 20-minute drive from the city, to see kudu, zebra, springbok and more.

See benchafrica.com

Nina Karnikowski was a guest of Bench Africa.

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