Doors locked, windows up, gaps in traffic maintained, and eyes darting between mirrors and suspicious of any pedestrian coming too close. This was how we drove into Windhoek.
Most travelers to Namibia begin or end their trip in the capital city of Windhoek (windy corner). Having been warned that it is the location of the most crime in the country (as big cities tend to be), and assured that we wouldn’t be missing anything by skipping it, we had planned on avoiding it altogether, and managed to give it quite a wide berth up to that point.
Now we were rolling in despite ourselves to run some errands, and were rather weary of it. Actually, after the break-in that shocked our campsite earlier that morning, we were downright dreading it.
Coming off the highway, the city is big. It’s no Jo’burg, but it’s enough to remind us of the big city warnings.
But as we drive we begin to ease up a bit mentally. There are none of the throngs of loiterers that crowd the cities in South Africa, the other towns in Namibia. The people are dressed up, clean cut, relaxed. Most are on their way to or from something. They are busy, look occupied, have purpose.
As we get closer to the center, rich palms and luscious purple-flowered jacaranda trees neither of us have seen before burst out onto every street, splashing it with colour and making for an unexpectedly pleasant atmosphere. The city is actually kind of beautiful, kind of quaint.
A mechanic tells us that those that live here know Windhoek’s full of crime and they’re prepared for it: houses are compounds, guarded by tall fences and electrified wire reminiscent of Jo’burg. We keep our doors locked.
We sleep paranoid in a guarded campsite resort. In the morning we run errands.
Christ Church stands in the middle of a traffic circle. It is the only tourist attraction we actually see.