Windhoek ( /ˈvɪnt.hʊk/ vint-huuk; German: Windhuk) is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Namibia. It is located in central Namibia in the Khomas Highland plateau area, at around 1,700 metres (5,600 ft) above sea level. The 2001 census determined Windhoek’s population was 233,529. A population influx from all over Namibia has caused researchers to estimate the figure now to be well over 300,000.
Due to its relative size Windhoek is, even more than many other national capital cities, the social, economic, and cultural centre of the country. Nearly every national enterprise is headquartered here. The University of Namibia is, too, as are the country’s only theatre, all ministry head offices, and all major media and financial entities. The governmental budget of the city of Windhoek nearly equals those of all other Namibian local authorities combined.
Windhoek is situated in a semi-arid climatic region. Days are mostly warm with very hot days during the summer months, while nights are generally cool. The average annual temperature is 19.47 °C (67.05 °F), which is high for a site at such a high altitude on the edge of the tropics. This is mainly due to the prevalence of a warm northerly airflow and the mountains to the south, which shelter the city from cold southerly winds.
The winter months of June, July and August usually experience little or no rain. Minimum temperatures range between 5 °C (41 °F) and 18 °C (64 °F). Nights are usually cool, although the temperature seldom drops below 0°C, and it almost never snows. Days are usually warm to hot, varying from a maximum of 20 °C (68 °F) in July to 31 °C (88 °F) in January.
Although the 2010/2011 rainy season brought a record of over 1,000 millimetres (39 in), mean annual rainfall is around 360 millimetres (14 in), which is too low to support crops or gardens without heavy use of watering. The natural vegetation of the area is scrub and steppe. Droughts are a regular occurrence; dry and wet years run through a cycle that lasts around 10 years.