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There are few cities in the world located within a 30-minute drive from a wild nature reserve. And Windhoek is one of them. Just a hop and a skip from the city, the Daan Viljoen Game Park is home to zebras, giraffes, antelopes and over 200 different species of bird. You won’t find any predators here. The advantage is that visitors are free to explore on their own.
The Daan Viljoen Park extends over 50 square kilometres and is nestled in the hills west of Windhoek. Located just above the city, the park is slightly cooler than the city and is a wonderful refuge during the warm summer months. Hikers can set out on their own adventure and choose from 3 differing walking routes. The relatively low bushes provide great visibility and significantly boost your chances of spotting wildlife.
The park’s most characteristic vegetation is known as ‘Wag-n’-bietjie’. The unusual tongue twister-like name is derived from the big thorns on these local bushes that easily hook passers-by. When that happens, you have to wait a minute to untangle yourself – which translates into the Afrikaans expression ‘Wag-n’-bietjie’. One of the hikes in the park is named after this unique bush and leads through a dry river bed to the Stengel Dam. The 3-kilometre-long trail makes for an easy day hike.
Hikers looking for more of a challenge can choose from 2 longer routes. The Rooibos Route is a 9-kilometre-long trail that takes you to the highest point in the region. As you make your way to the 1,763-metre-high mountain, you can enjoy the fabulous views of Windhoek. Just over 30 kilometres long, the Sweet Thorn hike covers 3 times the terrain. As this route cannot be completed in one day, hikers spend the night in a rustic park hut. It’s an unforgettable experience to wake up with the animals in the park.