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Windhoek
2 Recommendations City
Windhoek is the capital of Namibia, in the country’s central highlands. South of the city, the sprawling Heroes’ Acre war memorial commemorates Namibia’s 1990 independence. On a hilltop in the city center are the 1890s Alte Feste, a former military headquarters with historical exhibits, and Independence Memorial Museum. Colonial influences are visible in nearby buildings like the sandstone Lutheran Christus Church. Near the church are the Tintenpalast, seat of Namibia’s government, and the Parliament Gardens, with a bowling green. Just west, past leafy Zoo Park, the Post Street Mall shopping walkway has a meteorite display. North is the Owela Museum of natural history and ethnography. The nearby National Art Gallery of Namibia showcases works by local artists. The TransNamib Museum, in Windhoek Railway Station, explores the country’s transport history. Northwest is the diverse Katutura suburb, with its markets and local taverns known as shebeens. Farther west, Daan Viljoen Game Reserve is home to kudu, mountain zebras and rich birdlife.
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Kigali
2 Recommendations City
Kigali is the capital city of Rwanda, roughly in the center of the country. It sprawls across numerous hills, ridges and valleys, and has a vibrant restaurant and nightlife scene. The Kigali Genocide Memorial documents the 1994 mass killings in Rwanda, associated with the country’s civil war. The city’s Caplaki Crafts Village has stalls selling traditionalhandicrafts, including woodcarvings and woven baskets. On the city's fringes, the Presidential Palace Museum is set in the former home of President Juvenal Habyarimana, whose plane was shot down in 1994. The museum, with its many rooms and secret passages, gives insight into the president's life. There are also parts of the ill-fated jet. In the former residence of German pioneer Dr. Richard Kandt, the Natural History Museum is dedicated to native plants and animals. Contemporary African sculptures, paintings and installations are showcased at the Inema Arts Center. The city is a jumping-off point for trips to Volcanoes National Park, known for its resident mountain gorillas. Kigali is a year-round destination. May–Aug is the most popular time to visit. Days are mild to warm most of the year, and it’s rainiest Sep–May. The weeklong Rwanda Film Festival (Jul) features screenings of African and international films. The Kigali UP music festival (Jul) draws crowds for blues, pop and reggae concerts. African designer clothes are showcased during Kigali Fashion Week (Jun/Jul) and Rwanda Cultural Fashion Show (Sep).
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Nairobi
2 Recommendations City
Nairobi is Kenya’s capital city. In addition to its urban core, the city has Nairobi National Park, a large game reserve known for breeding endangered black rhinos and home to giraffes, zebras and lions. Next to it is a well-regarded elephant orphanage operated by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. Nairobi is also often used as a jumping-off point for safari trips elsewhere in Kenya. In the city center, towers like the cylindrical KICC, home to the convention center, rise near attractions like the Nairobi National Museum, devoted to Kenyan art, artifacts, wildlife and early hominids. In upscale suburban Langata, the Giraffe Centre sanctuary features a hand-feeding platform. The Karen Blixen Museum, in the “Out of Africa” author’s preserved colonial home, stands on the former farm that’s now an affluent suburb called Karen. The Bomas of Kenya cultural center, with huts representing Kenya's major ethnic groups, offers a look at traditional tribal life. Tribal arts and crafts are sold at the roving Maasai Market.
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Kampala
2 Recommendations City
Kampala is Uganda's national and commercial capital bordering Lake Victoria, Africa's largest lake. Hills covered with red-tile villas and trees surround an urban centre of contemporary skyscrapers. In this downtown area, the Uganda Museum explores the country's tribal heritage through an extensive collection of artefacts. On nearby Mengo Hill is Lubiri Palace, the former seat of the Buganda Kingdom. Google photo by Wamala Medy The National Theatre hosts music, dance and film events, and has an adjacent complex selling local crafts. Lively Owino and Nakasero markets sell food alongside shoes and secondhand clothes. The latter is at the bottom of Nakasero Hill, Kampala's business and government centre. South of the city, British colonial town Entebbe offers beaches, plus boating and fishing trips on Lake Victoria. Kampala is also a gateway for exploring the rest of Uganda, from Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, a mountain gorilla refuge, to Queen Elizabeth National Park, whose wetlands, rainforests and plains shelter lions and elephants. WHEN TO VISIT Kampala is a year-round destination. Although near the Equator, its weather is cooled by its highland setting. Peak season is Dec–Jan when many tourists head off on safari around the country. This period, alongside Jun–Aug, is the dry season. There are usually heavy rains Mar–May and Oct–Nov. The Bayimba International Festival of the Arts (Sep) is a celebration of Ugandan music, art, film and theatre. The huge Kampala City Festival (Oct) offers colourful street parades, music and a vibrant party atmosphere. Photo from Googe by Environment
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