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Namibia's capital Windhoek is reinventing itself

It's warm, the air is clear.

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Namibia's capital Windhoek is reinventing itself

It's warm, the air is clear. The sun sets dramatically behind the mountains of the Khomas highlands. First honey yellow, then orange, later blood red. The day ends with a firework of colors. But now the night begins. And the "Stratos" has it all. As the daylight fades, the Avani hotel's rooftop bar fills with people. The waiter brings drinks of all kinds: exquisite wines, gin and tonic, fine whiskeys. A magical moment.

What happens every evening on the 15th floor of the hotel "Avani" above the roofs of Namibia's capital is just a small part of life in the new Windhoek. People of all ages meet on the hotel's roof terrace just before sunset. Then not only first-class drinks are served, but also culinary delicacies from all over the world: fresh "West Coast" oysters from Namibia, springbok filet from South Africa and Thai curry. Windhoek's new middle class in particular likes to meet up at the "Stratos".

Just a few years ago, fox and rabbit said good night in the center of Namibia's capital. But Windhoek is currently reinventing itself: the colonial facades on Independence Avenue are now almost lost between the mirrored skyscrapers.

Hardly one stone is left unturned. Because for some time now, life has been shifting more and more to the roofs of the city: to the rooftop bar of the "Avani" or to that of the dazzling "Hilton" hotel just opposite. In addition, a new café, bar or restaurant opens somewhere almost every day. One of the highlights: the Craft Center on Tal Street with its wonderful café.

Anyone looking for German may still find it in the language and in the beer glass, but less and less in architecture. And what an architectural mix it is now: the dazzling buildings at the newly created Freedom Plaza, the ultra-modern "Hilton" hotel, the swanky Independence Museum, an architectural aria made of gold and plexiglass staged by North Koreans, and right in the middle as one of the few leftovers the colonial era, the ginger-colored Christ Church from 1910.

One of Africa's smallest capitals is booming. In terms of gastronomy in particular, the city offers a variety like never before. Everywhere there are new promises. For example in "Leo's Garden Restaurant" in the district of Eros.

The menu features Namibian “free range” beef, beef roulades with apple and red cabbage, homemade spaetzle, Viennese-style schnitzel, sole, kingklip and octopus – a wonderful mix of down-to-earth German and African cuisine. Host Leo Kurz is a middle-aged man who greets you immediately in German.

Why is his capital booming? "The people of Windhoek are always looking for something new," says Kurz. The 51-year-old should know. He was born in Rehoboth, an hour's drive south of the capital, and later went to the German Higher Private School (DHS) in Windhoek. In 2019 he and his wife Joelynn opened the restaurant.

Kurz's recipe for success: "We serve almost exclusively regional products that are seasonally available." His favorite culinary season is southern autumn, i.e. the months of April and May. "If it has rained well before, there are Kalahari truffles again," says the innkeeper. "Served in a fine sauce with pasta or simply tossed in butter with a venison steak, they are a dream."

Not only is the face of the city changing rapidly, but so are the people: Most Windhoekers today are under 30 years old. Despite the pandemic and difficult economic times, many of them are discovering the lightness of being. They want to create their Namibia. Small shops and galleries are springing up everywhere.

Young African artists sell their wares, their jewelery and their paintings there. There is a huge range of ethnic art throughout the city. But there is also more and more modern art. Small exhibitions, vernissages, but also larger galleries such as the National Art Gallery are very popular.

And towering over it all is the Independence Museum. Here I meet three young ladies. They are smartly made up, the handbags glowing in the afternoon light. The South Africans are here for a fair, but a few selfies are a must. One of them is Rose Miller from Kimberley in South Africa. your eyes sparkle. "I love this city," says the young lady, "it's so photogenic."

Once a major bone of contention because it was built by North Koreans and not by Namibians, the dispute over the "coffee pot", the oversized coffee cup, has now subsided. Many Windhoekers still consider the museum to be a visual disfigurement of their city.

But it's very popular today, especially with young visitors, because a new rooftop bar has been created on the fourth floor - and it's really something, because the location is made for a sundowner.

In the west, in the early evening, the sun sets golden behind the mountains, in front of them Windhoek's new high-rise facades on Independence Avenue shine. In the foreground, the cars are making colorful tracers around the Christ Church, which is more than 110 years old. The iced beer and cocktails served by restaurant chef Michael Nathanael are delicious and the view is perhaps the most beautiful in town.

Arrival: Eurowings Discover flies to Windhoek from Frankfurt in about ten hours from 500 euros. Alternatively, Qatar Airways flies to Windhoek with a stopover in Doha.

Accommodation: The cozy pension "Tenbergen" is located near the center ( Good alternatives are the “Klein Windhoek Guesthouse” ( and the “Urban Camp”, which has an exceptional ambience as you sleep in tents there (

Food and drink: The recommended German and Namibian dishes in "Leo's Garden Restaurant" are all prepared with fresh ingredients ( The roof terrace of the "Avani" hotel is worth seeing ( The rooftop bar of the "Hilton" is also terrific - not only because of the excellent cocktails, but also because of the 18 meter long, heated pool ( The most beautiful view is from Nimms:

Further information: Namibia Tourism Board,

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