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Getting from Cape Town to Windhoek (and return)

Windhoek is the capital and largest city in Namibia. It is known as a start point for the safaris through the country. Many travelers prefer to fly into South Africa – as it’s cheaper than flying into other country – and then travel overland to Namibia.

Quick summary

If your vacation time is limited, then you should definitely consider the 2 h flight. Should you fly back home from Cape Town, book the round trip flight to Windhoek in order to save money but make sure to choose a local booking site.
Should you have enough time on your hands, consider taking the train and bus between the two cities – making two stops along the way. You get to visit more places and enjoy the scenery. It’s about 1/3 cheaper to travel overland than to fly between the two cities.

Flights from Cape Town (airport code: CPT) to Windhoek

Hosea Kutako International Airport (WDH) serves Windhoek and is the main airport in Namibia. Located 45 km from the city, it receives a handful of flights from near-by countries. Direct flights from Cape Town are run by Air Namibia and South African Express. Single fare starts at US$338 on Air Namibia (if you buy via a large booking engine. The flight time is 2h.

However, if you search on local booking sites, you can find return airfare starting at 3109 Rand (about US$378) but be prepared to catch a connecting flight on the way back to Cape Town.

>>read more about Cheap flights to Cape Town

Trains and buses from Cape Town to Windhoek

It is possible to travel from Cape Town to Windhoek by train and bus.

Step 1 Cape Town to Kimberley by train

Take the Shosholoza Meyl ‘Trans-Karoo’ train which departs Cape Town every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday at 12:30 p.m. The travel time is 18 h 15 min. You can sleep during the night and during the day, you are rewarded with lovely views. The fare is 210 Rand (about US$30), including the sleeper.

Step 2 Kimberley to Keetmanshoop by bus

There is a bus run by InterCape which leaves Kimberley every Friday and Sunday at 11:40 a.m. The travel time is about 5 h to Upington, where you need to switch buses. Travel for another 6 h to Keetmanshoop. The fare is 390-500 Rand (about US$56 – 72)

Step 3 Keetmanshoop to Windhoek by train

The train leaves Keetmanshoop daily, except on Saturday, at 6:50 p.m. The travel time is about 12 hours. It’s a modern train, with AC. The fare is N$7 (about US$10).

It is advised to stay for a day in Kimberley and you’ll have to stay overnight in Keetmanshoop. So, expect to spend several days traveling.

Buses from Cape Town to Windhoek

InterCape runs a direct service between Cape Town and Windhoek. Buses depart daily, except on Saturday, at either 9 a.m. or 10 a.m. Some buses are Sleepliners. The total travel time is about 21 h. The fare starts at 870 Rand (about US$106). Try to book at least a week or two in advance to get the best rates.

Driving from Cape Town to Windhoek

You can rent a car and plan to drive the entire distance (1,479 km) between the two cities. Make sure to ask the rental company whether you are allowed to take the car over the border. The total drive time is 19 hours but you should plan to make some stops along the way.

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Photo credit: Airport , Train station