Though not exactly a spectacular street, Independence Avenue, Windhoek’s main drag, is pleasant enough, containing a few interesting examples of colonial architecture, an eclectic collection of monuments, and a handful of chic shops and small arcades. Its most distinctive feature, halfway along the west side of the street’s busiest section, is a domed clock tower – a replica of one that originally fronted the Deutsche-Afrika Bank – which marks the entrance to Post Street Mall, a bustling pedestrianized area, somewhat overwhelmed by the sprawling displays of street vendors’ wares: carved walking sticks, soapstone sculptures, acres of colourful cloth, jewellery, basketry, leatherwork, and every animal you’re ever likely to see on safari. Amid this dizzying cornucopia of crafts it’s easy to miss the street’s amazing centrepiece, the Gibeon Meteorite Fountain. No artistic representation but genuine lumps of iron-rich meteorite from what is thought to have been the largest meteor shower ever to have hit the planet, some six hundred million years ago. Named after the area in southern Namibia where they fell, some were used by early Nama populations to fashion parts of their weaponry.
Further south on Independence Avenue, somewhat obscured by the trees and best appreciated from across the road, stand three German colonial facades designed in the early twentieth century: the former Kronprinz Hotel, Gathemann House – hosting the renowned restaurant of the same name – and the most striking of the trio, the Ekrath Building – now housing the NWR office – with its steep sloping roof designed to prevent snow from accumulating.