Angola is a country of rich history, vibrant contrasts, and varied cultures. It also boasts a number of distinct climatic regions, including wet, tropical northern jungle, a dryer and cooler central plateau, and an arid southern region influenced by its proximity to the Kalahari Desert. Such a diverse land offers several different travel experiences.
Many parts of Angola remain remote and undiscovered, with few observers privy to the geographic highlights and vast cultural riches that lie hidden. But, with the recent cessation of a 40-year civil conflict ushering in a prolonged period of peace and stability, opportunities for exploration are quietly opening up. For outsiders the attractions are manifold. Despite widespread poverty and an infrastructure devastated by decades of indiscriminate fighting, Angola holds a lure that few other countries can match. Here in the heady heat of equatorial Africa you’ll encounter some of the continent’s most gracious people and discover many of its most closely guarded secrets.
Chill out on expansive beaches, sample the solitude in virgin wildlife parks or sift through the ruins of Portuguese colonialism. From Luanda to Lubango the nuances are startling. Despite advancements in infrastructure and a dramatically improved security situation, travel in Angola remains the preserve of adventurers, diehards or those on flexible budgets. But with the transport network gradually recovering and wildlife being shipped in to re-populate decimated national parks, the signs of recovery are more than just a mirage. Read on for just some of the highlights attracting tourists to Angola.
Luanda, Angola’s capital city is perched on the Atlantic coastline making the location as spectacular as it is exotic with its sweeping ocean vistas. There are many fabulous beaches to visit and outstanding dinner cruises that will take you to beautiful Mussulo Island.
For a touch of history visit the Fortress of Sao Miguel de Luanda which overlooks the city from a high plateau and offers a commanding view of Luanda Bay and the surrounding islands. The fort’s interior walls are decked in historic blue tiles that tell the story of when the Portuguese first landed in Angola and the courtyard holds statues of prominent explores and leaders.
In the evening, dine at one of the many restaurants that line the picturesque Marginal promenade.
Kissama National Park is located in northwestern Angola and 70km from the capital city of Luanda. This national park covers 3 million acres and is home to a variety of African wildlife, from antelopes to zebras. This was also the site of Operation Noah’s Ark, which relocated elephants from other overpopulated parts of Africa.
Visitors have been known to spot buffalo and birds in the dense thickets, tree savannas, and large open grasslands that make up the park. This is an eco-tourists paradise!
Lubango, the capital city of the province of Huila presents breathtaking views from its scenic mountains. The area offers cascading waterfalls, spectacular volcanic fissures, and a vibrant small city and tribal culture. This is also the home of the dazzling marble statue of Christo Rei. Daily flights leave from the capital city to Lubango.
Flamingo Lodge is located on the southern Angola coastline and is situated near the mouth of the Rio dos Flamingo. Its position supports virtually untouched fish populations and its diverse desert landscapes provide excellent activities such as shore angling, diving, parasailing, and hiking.
Guided tours are available for boat angling, dolphin and whale watching trips, desert hot springs adventures, quad-bike tours, and shark fishing expeditions.
Cabo Ledo is only one hour south of the capital city and one of the most beautiful and best surfing beaches in Africa. Locals say it not only has one of the longest point breaks in the world, but is also a great spot for beginners. Surfers from all over the world come for this fun and unique experience.