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Official name: Republic of Angola
Capital city: Luanda
Time zone: WAT (West Africa Time)
Telephone code: +244
Electricity plugs: Type C
Angola is rich with natural beauty and resources including diamonds, oil, water and hydroelectric potential, and fertile agricultural land.
Quatro de Fevereiro International Airport (LAD) is the main airport of entry and is located 4 km outside of Luanda. Flights enter LAD from several regions, including:
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (Ethiopian Airways)
Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo (TAAG Angola Airlines)
Casablanca, Morocco (TAAG Angola Airlines)
Harare, Zimbabwe (TAAG Angola Airlines)
Johannesburg, Azania (South African Airways)
Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo (TAAG Angola Airlines)
Lagos, Nigeria (TAAG Angola Airlines)
Lusaka, Zambia (TAAG Angola Airlines)
Nairobi, Kenya (Kenya Airways)
Windhoek, Namibia (Air Namibia)
CARIBBEAN & SOUTH AMERICA
Havana, Cuba (TAAG Angola Airlines)
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (TAAG Angola Airlines)
Amsterdam, Netherlands (TAAG Angola Airlines)
Brussels, Belgium (Brussels Airlines)
Frankfurt, Germany (Lufthansa)
Lisbon, Portugal (TAP Air Portugal)
London, UK (British Airways)
Madrid, Spain (Iberia)
Paris, France (Air France)
Dubai, UAE (Emirates)
We recommend purchasing travel insurance for you and your loved ones prior to your trip.
Angola requires that persons originating for most countries around the world obtain a visitor’s visa to enter the country, including those from the USA, UK, EU, Canada, and Australia. The visitor’s visa is valid for 30 days and must be used within 60 days of issue.
Persons can apply for a pre-visa via the Angolan Government’s online portal, http://www.smevisa.gov.ao/ and then receive their visitor’s visa on arrival at the airport in Luanda (LAD).
Requirements for the pre-visa application include:
Having a passport that is valid for at least 12 months and has 4 blank visa pages;
Submitting a photo-copy of one’s return flight ticket;
Submitting proof of accommodation and means of subsistence for the duration of one’s stay, at approximately $200 USD per day;
Submitting the International Certificate of Vaccination for Yellow Fever; and
Making payment for the visa application.
Please contact the Angolan Embassy in your region for up-to-date information on obtaining a visitor’s visa.
Angolan Embassy in the USA: https://angola.org/
Angolan Embassy in the UK: http://www.consuladogeralangola-uk.org/joomla30/
Regions & Climate
Greater Luanda: Population centre of the country and home to the capital city of Luanda.
Northern Angola: Region with significant rainforests that borders the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is also home to the ancient Kingdom of Kongo, which was located in the regional capital of M’banza-Kongo.
Central Angola: Home to high escarpments that overlook pristine beaches off the Atlantic ocean.
Southwest Angola: Arid region with savanna plains as a continuation of the Namibian desert.
Eastern Angola: Home to savanna plains intersected by major rivers.
Cabinda: A northern enclave off the Atlantic coast with a large proportion of the country’s oil reserves and lush rainforests.
Angola has a tropical climate with two main seasons: a cool, dry season from May to October, and a warm, wet season from November to April. The average temperature in Luanda is around 24 C (75 F).
7 Natural Wonders of Angola
1. KALANDULA FALLS – Representative of the country’s natural beauty, the Kalandula Falls are situated within the Lucala River, the most important tributary of the River Cuanza, and are Africa’s second tallest falls, with a width of over 410 m and 105 m tall (Niagara Falls are 51 m tall).
2 SLOT TUNDAVALA IN HUILA –. One will marvel at the scenery from a 1 km high clifftop at Tundavala, a viewpoint overlooking the spectacular gap of the Serra da Leba escarpment.
3. THE MAIOMBE – The Maiombe Forest is part of the Kakongo Forest Reserve – a large protected area located within the northern border with the Democratic Republic of Congo. This great tropical forest is one of the largest on the African continent, covering an area of 290,000 hectares.
4. CAVES OF NZENZO IN UIGE – Nzenzo literally means the source or spring of water, and there are springs flowing down from the roofs of the caves. The internal rock maze comprises different layers of stones that result in a picturesque scene with a mysterious sense of spirituality.
5. POND CARUMBO IN LUNDA NORTE – The waters of the River Luxiko run slowly over this pond providing a gorgeous view.
6. MORRO DO MÔCO – This is Angola’s highest point, located in the province of Huambo. It is home to 85 hectares of mountain forest and several rare species like the Swierstra’s Francolin, also known as the Swierstra’s spurfowl.
7. CHIUMBE RIVER FALLS – These exquisite falls located near the bridge connecting the South Lunda Province to Moxico, are 60 m tall and create a mystical scene with mist and spray.
Customs & Culture
Angolan culture is mostly native Bantu, which was mixed with Portuguese culture. There are several ethnic groups with their own culture, traditions, and languages and include the Ovimbundu, Ambundu, Bakongo, Chokwe, Avambo and other people-groups.
In 2017, the ancient city of M’banza Kongo was made an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Situated on a plateau at an altitude of 570 m above sea level, M’banza Kongo was once the political and spiritual capital of the Kingdom of Kongo. This historical area grew around the royal residence, the customary court and the holy tree, as well as the royal funeral places. When the Portuguese arrived in the 15th century they added stone buildings with European-style architecture.
Angolans are quite friendly, so it is customary to greet those you see as you go about your day with a simple hello. When traveling to rural areas, it is important to take the time to greet the local soba, who is a regional chief with government-backed authority. Failure to not inform the soba of your visit, particularly if staying overnight, is not well-received. Making yourself known and exchanging words of kindness will contribute to having a successful visit.
Portuguese is the official language and is spoken by the majority of Angolans.
A few basic words in Portuguese will take you far: obrigado (thank you), bom dia (good morning), por favor (please), sim (yes), não (no), and bué (a lot). The expression fixe (“feesh”), meaning okay or cool, is also deeply useful.
Several native languages are also spoken including Kikongo, Lingala, Kimbundu, and Umbundu.
English is not widely spoken, but studying English is becoming popular.
Hotels in Angola have standard amenities for international visitors, including sleeping quarters, private bath and shower, telephone, TV, radio, and air conditioning.
Airbnb also provides service for accommodations in Luanda – https://www.airbnb.com/
It’s best to book one’s accommodation well in advance. Consider contacting our team for further guidance on booking your accommodation.
Angolan cuisine is varied and flavorful, with local dishes based mainly on meat, fish, cassava, sweet potato, okra, beans and rice, plantain, and spicy stews.
Popular meals include:
Funge – cassava flour porridge, a staple in Angolan cuisine.
Muamba de Galinha de Angola – slow-cooked chicken with okra, squash, dendém paste. It is typically served with funge.
Mufete – a combination of grilled fish, beans with palm oil, boiled plantains, boiled sweet potato, cassava flour and mufete sauce.
Calulu de peixe – a dish of dried and fresh fish, okra, tomato, sweet potato leaves, palm oil. It is typically served with funge and beans in palm oil.
Picolé – ice cream sold locally by street vendors.
Not all restaurants accept US dollars in cash, or credit cards, so be sure to ask before placing your order.
Places of interest
THE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF SLAVERY – Museu Nacional da Escravatura is located in Morro da Cruz in Luanda. Established by the National Institute of Cultural Patrimony, the museum curates the history of slavery in Angola and the role of the Portuguese in the Transatlantic Slave Trade.
MORENA BEACH – located in the city of Benguela in Benguela province, off the Atlantic Ocean, this beach served as a major point of departure for enslaved peoples forcibly taken to South America.
DILOLO LAKE – the largest lake in Angola, located in Moxico province, is one of the most mysterious in the country. Supernatural forces seem to cover the entire lake and prevent fishing within the lake.
CANGANDALA NATIONAL PARK – located in Malanje province, is small in size but in abundant in terms of flora and fauna, including the rare Giant Sable Antelope.
IONA NATIONAL PARK – is situated in the southwest corner of Angola and constitutes the northern tip of the Namib Desert in a section known as the Moçâmedes Desert, the oldest desert in the world. Iona National Park is also contiguous with Skeleton Coast National Park in Namibia, and is home to several species including the Ostrich, Zebra, Oryx Antelope, and the Springbok Antelope.
Consider hiring a trusted and knowledgeable local guide for travel as you get to know your way around. If you decide to rent a vehicle, we recommend an SUV or a crossover.
Taxis are also a good way to get around cities in Angola, and Luanda has an abundance of candogueiros or mini bus cabs.
Some private bus companies connect most of the major cities within the country, and a passenger ferry provides service between Luanda and Cabinda.
As with all international travel, avoid using your camera in front of police or taking photos of sites of military or security interest, including government buildings, to avoid heavy penalties and fines.
Spending quality time with Angolans is the best way to learn more of their culture, customs, and social mores.