Vanda Kujbus

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Windhoek - Shopping time!

Written by Vanda

As Windhoek is very small, there are of course not that many things to see. At least not in walking distance, so if you are planning to come here without attending to any booked tours, your best option is to rent a car, preferably a bigger one, like 4x4,  because of the quality of off-roads [map with sightseeing options]. Namibians have a different understanding of distances, when they say „just around here”, it would mean to travel through at least 3 different countries in Europe.

Therefore, since we don’t have much time, we have to stick to Windhoek.

As locals keep scaring us, we restrict our trip to a 5 km radius, from where we could walk back still in daylight.

Namibia travel destinations

Fruit and Veg market

As we found food prices a bit expensive, I do a research on the internet if there are any big market places to get some cheap grocery. Well, as thorough research as I could, as it is very rare that a company has a properly functioning, or even existing website, especially if you search in English and not in one of the local languages. The results are very skimmed, so the only promising place I found was „Fruit and Veg”,  also located in the city center. It is a huge indoor market with a large selection and amout of various fruits and vegetables, and some of them had very nice discounts. There are some other stuffs to buy too, such as in any other grocery store. Too bad that we soon move to the next destination, so we just rebuy the same stuffs we already have or about to run out of.

Fruit and vegetable selection at the market
Banana picking

Namibia Craft Center

The other „travel destination” of the day, The Namibia Craft center is the perfect place for you if you are obsessed with souvenirs. It is basically a 2-storey souvenir shop with every possible big/small dust collectors, jewellery, magnets, patchwork.... everything you need for your beloved ones, who are left at home. You can easily spend a few hours there to find the perfect gifts and memories to yourself.

Namibia Craft Center entrance
Namibia Craft center products

Calling the day off

As there are really no more fun stuffs to do, we just decide to walk home and relax. On the way, completely randomly we discover a museum free of charge, so we get in to suck in some culture. Of course it’s nothing like The British Museum, but hey, don’t judge free stuff! It gives a quick overview of Namibian history and the different tribes, although the information provided is a bit too much maybe, no matter how much I want to read them all, I just get tired after a few lines. It is cute enough to spend an hour or two there tough.

San in museum

And there comes the twist, a lady comes after us, seems like some sort of receptionist, and asks us not to forget to write to the guestbook, and then, if we want, we can leave some donations. Ah, of course, nothing is for free. And how could you give only a few coins when you look into her puppy eyes at the end! Well... We are still Eastern Europeans so we give her 30 NAD (600 HUF/2 EUR). Sorry my lady, we are poor.

We finish off the day with a good cider again and try to figure out what is worthy to see next day. While we are browsing, we find out that the crime rate is pretty high in here, and most of it happens in Windhoek. Suddenly all the warnings start to make sense! These statistics are accompanied by very low wages for domestic workers (e.g farmers, construction workers), unskilled employees, which create very insecure circumstances for a very wide part of the society. Basically out of minimum wage (which is supposed to be 2000 NAD (44 000 HUF/ 144 EUR), but like in some Eastern European countries, no one cares about it and they should be happy if they receive 1200 NAD/26 400 HUF/86 EUR), it is impossible to live a healthy lifestyle with these prices. On average we spend 100-150 NAD for the 2 of us. To feed the whole family, our spending speed could last until a week, and they haven’t even paid rent and utilities. How, I ask, how can these people survive??