Under South African rule, Windhoek grew like most large South African cities, forming an 'atomic' structure. Its nucleus was the central business district and shopping areas, surrounded by leafy, spacious suburbs designed for whites with cars. Beyond these, the sprawling, high-density townships housed Windhoek's non-white population.
In modern Windhoek, 12 years after independence, this basic structure is still in place, though the colour divisions have blurred. The leafy suburbs are still affluent, though are now more mixed. Meanwhile, Khomasdal and Katutura remain crowded, poorer and have very few white residents.
In common with other towns in Namibia, Windhoek undergoes occasional road-name changes to reflect the prominence of local or international figures. One such change in 2002 is that Peter Müller Street, in the centre of town, was renamed Fidel Castro Street. It's likely, though, that both names will be in use for a considerable period of time.
For most visitors, the free map available from the tourist board is the best around. Overall, it is good and reasonably accurate.
For detailed maps, head for the Surveyor General's on Robert Mugabe Avenue, between Dr May and Lazarett Street (tel: 061 245056/7/8/9; fax: 061 227312). Ordnance Survey maps are around N$50 each. The 1:1,000,000 map of the whole country is wall-sized and shows all commercial farms and their names. The 1:250,000 maps are good for vehicle navigation in the wilder areas. The 1:50,000 series suits walkers. Most of the surveys were originally made in 1979, so despite being recently printed these maps are old. However, they are the best available.