Hi guys, I spent about 5 months as a public service volunteer in Windhoek and I returned only recently to Germany. I had an awesome time there and would like to share some of my leisure experiences with you. I think it is important to mention that everyone has their own experiences and mine will probably not match the experiences of the others, rather they are very subjective. There is so much to tell you about my time there but unfortunately I can only give you a little impression.
I have to say when I arrived in Winhoek I expected something like a cultural shock. But for me personally it was quite easy to get used to the new environment. I quickly got used to not really important differences, such as the fact that you generally travel with shared taxis in the city.
During lunch break or on weekends I liked to go to my favorite cafes, for example "Moneikos 7 to 7", directly on Independence Avenue. It is a quite new cafe with a warm atmosphere. The owner is super nice and you feel comfortable very quickly. There are tasty & cheap sandwiches, either with meat or vegetarian. Especially for vegetarians this is a good alternative, they have also falafel there.
At sunset we liked to climb one of the many smaller hills to enjoy the nice view or we went to one of the 5 sunset hotspots. I could not get bored of it. Probably you have already seen so many sunset pictures from Namibia and other African countries that I will not show mine here.
In the evenings I often went to my favorite bars and clubs, like Warehouse (today: Brewers Market) and Chopsis (the music video of the Namibian artist PDK for the song
"Saka" has been produced at Chopsis, for an impression check it out on Youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ijrU3Lf7XA), which are located close to each other - so that you can move easily between the locations.
It was really easy for me to meet new people from the first day on in general. No matter if I was on the street, in a cafe, taxi or in a club. I always could get in touch with a lot of open minded people, and sometimes I could meet them again for a barbecue ("braai") or at different parties. In general, after the first few weeks, I could see familiar faces as soon as I was out. The city is not too big, so that you can get a good overview within a few months and has enough time to explore all places and reflect on the impressions. I felt super comfortable there & had a lot of fun in Windhoek.
I have been concerned about safety. I read and heard a lot about crime before I came to Namibia. As soon as it is dark, of course it is advisable to be careful and not to walk around alone after sunset. This is something you simply have to get used to, that was also hard for me personally in the beginning. You should always keep an eye on your bag, do not show your valuables in public & be careful when withdrawing money. But that is what I do in Germany as well. Beyond that I think it is not necessary to be afraid or even not to go out at all in the evening. It is just important to take the numbers of one or two reliable taxi drivers with you before you leave home in the evening. I have never been affected by crime and I have never felt uncomfortable in Windhoek.
If it was getting too quiet in the city or I needed a break, I left the city for a short trip on the weekend. This also worked spontaneously, because we were able to network with other international young people in Windhoek through the Facebook Group for Internationals. We mostly rented a car with camping equipment and went to different places.
View from the Waterberg Plateau. The Mountain is about 48 kilometers long and 15 kilometers wide
Solitaire, a small town on our way to Sossusvlei/Dunes
You can also visit one of the many lodges in the surroundings of Windhoek for a day trip if it should get too quiet. Most of them offer a variety of nature experiences or even Spa offers. For me personally, it has been a priority to take as much as possible from Windhoek and spend most of my time there with friends, rather than going on tourist trips. Although there are many beautiful places to visit, I would advise this to everyone, as these are the moments that mean the most to me. That's why I always checked https://www.whatsonnamibia.com/ to see what's going on in Windhoek before I considered a trip. Here you will find all the information you need.
Back in Germany, I am still waiting for the cultural shock. But the only cultural shock I got was when I returned to Germany. It is crazy how fast you can feel home on another side of the world. I would definitely recommend everyone to go to Namibia and to make their own experiences. I would have regretted not spending my time there.