A blend of innovative modern design, traditional African themes and old German colonial architecture, Namibia's capital city lies in the heart of the country's central highlands in an airy basin surrounded by rolling mountains. It's one of the safest and most relaxed cities in Southern Africa and, thanks to its international airport, a perfect place to start or finish a Namibian holiday.

Its central location also makes Windhoek both a logical and logistical stopover for those already on the road and heading north to Etosha or west to the Namib and the dunes at Sossusvlei. A good road runs from Windhoek to the coastal resort town of Swakopmund and its enticing array of adventure activities.

Accommodation in Windhoek is plentiful: there are many lodges, B&Bs and hotels, and the city's small size makes it easy to get around. The city centre's pedestrian precinct has bustling shops and market stalls whose wares are usually displayed on the ground, while the strong café culture of the town makes for great people watching - keep a lookout for Herero women in their traditional dress.

Windhoek gets quite hot between December and March but thanks to its altitude humidity is low and nights are pleasantly cool. The summer rains can be heavy but evaporation rates are high so it does not stay damp for long. The winter months of May to August can get very cold at night with frost in low lying areas, but the days are warm, sunny and cloudless. Note that temperatures rise steeply during the September - November build-up to the rainy season.