Windhoek Continues

The history of Namibia's many peoples and lifestyles are reflected in the nation's art. Permanent and changing exhibitions in the National Gallery or at the Omba Gallery give a general idea of the work of Namibian artists. The history of the country comes across vividly in the Alte Feste, the National Museum and the Owela Museum. Concerts, musicals and ballet performances produced in Windhoek, as well as neighbouring countries (mostly South Africa) are staged at the National Theatre - mostly towards the weekend, although not every week. Other cultural offerings are arranged by the Franco-Namibian Culture Centre and the Goethe Zentrum / Namibisch-Deutsche Stiftung (Goethe Centre / Namibian-German Foundation).

The traces and the influence of German colonial times and later on South African mandatory rule are evident everywhere in the capital: here the equestrian monument, the Tintenpalast and the railway station, there the town hall and municipal offices built in the sixties and the old post office. Among the latest additions are the imposing Supreme Court and statues of leaders of the liberation struggle against decades of oppression by South Africa's apartheid regime.

There is African bush Savannah right on Windhoek's doorstep. Daan Viljoen Game Reserve, west of the capital in the Khomas Hochland Mountains, offers several hiking trails through its hilly, park-like scenery. They can be used without the slightest worry, as there are no wild animals which could pose a threat to hikers. With a little luck you will encounter Kudu, Blue Wildebeest, Hartmann's Mountain Zebra, Eland, Gemsbok, Red Hartebeest or even Giraffe and afterwards enjoy the new health spa facility.

To the west is one of Namibia's most striking Gamsberg mountains rises from the Khomas Hochland. It is after all, the third highest in the country, with a plateau at the top. The extremely steep ascent by 4x4 is an unforgettable experience in itself. The view from the top is spectacular - to the west, where the Namib spreads out beyond, as much as to the east across the Khomas Hochland right up to the Auas Mountains near Windhoek.

Those looking for adventure will not want to miss Arnhem Cave, located south-east of Windhoek. On a tour of about three hours a section of the large cave system is explored. It is 4.5 km long in total. As the cave is very dry there are no stalactites or stalagmites, but various types of bats inhabit the place.

Since August 2002 a memorial site, visible from a distance, towers above the southern approaches to Windhoek. Hero's Acre commemorates the history of Namibia's liberation struggle and its dead heroes. Visitors to the site receive a small but very informative brochure with details about some of the country's important heroes.

A great idea for an evening with a difference is a visit to the privately-run observatory south of Windhoek. No doubt you will remember details about the magnificent Namibian night sky for a long time to come.

South of Windhoek, in and around Rehoboth, you can spend some hours bathing to your heart's content. Reho-Spa is a thermal bath similar to the one in Gross Barmen, fed by a hot spring. Situated right in the centre of Rehoboth, it is much more frequented, however. Oanob Dam was built a few kilometres out of Rehoboth to supply drinking water. The surrounding area has since been proclaimed a conservation area. The dam is available for various aquatic sports. For those interested in ethnology there is Rehoboth Museum. It is small, but the exhibit about Namibia's peoples is well worth a visit.