Windhoek is more confusing to drive around than it should be given its diminutive size. This is mainly due to its rolling hills and dispersed residential areas – largely a hangover from successive colonial governments’ urban planning. On the plus side, however, streets are well signposted, though since most have been renamed since independence, some residents still occasionally refer to the old names. The city’s main arteries run broadly parallel from north to south: Namibia’s principal highway, the B1 – which stretches the whole 1500km between the South African and Angolan borders – becomes Auas Road as it approaches from the south, passing Eros Airport (the small domestic airport), and then Hosea Kutako Drive as it enters the city. Peeling off to the west, just south of the airport, the aptly named Western Bypass circumvents the city, continuing the apartheid-era separation of the former non-white townships of Khomasdal and Katutura from the white areas, before the two main roads rejoin, north of the city. Two other major north/south roads to get a handle on are Robert Mugabe Avenue, which undulates along the eastern flank of the city, and Mandume Ndemufayo Avenue, which starts in the town centre and heads southwest, through the Southern Industrial Area, where several vehicle rental companies are located, to emerge as the C26, the back road to Walvis Bay. The main highway on the east-west axis is Sam Nujoma Drive: eastwards it heads out through the Klein Windhoek Valley and on to Hosea Kutako International Airport – where all international flights arrive – Gobabis and the Botswana border, as the B6; to the west it skirts Khomasdal and becomes the C28, the back road to Swakopmund, passing the Dan Viljoen Game Park.

The city centre, however, consists of little more than a kilometre of Independence Avenue and a block or two either side, which can easily be explored on foot. Independence Avenue continues northwards all the way to the former black township of Katutura, crossing Hosea Kutako Drive and the Western Bypass en route. Most accommodation and restaurants lie in Klein Windhoek – along or just off Sam Nujoma Drive and Nelson Mandela Avenue – and the other eastern suburbs, with a sprinkling of restaurants in the city centre. Some cheaper lodgings are to be found in Windhoek West, and Pioneers Park (also Pionierspark), to the south, beyond Eros Airport.

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