Angola

Often not the first choice when it comes to planning an African getaway, Angola is a mysterious place waiting to be explored. Having risen up from the challenges of the past, a country that was once all but closed off from the world is now a dazzling destination and a place of real adventure. Beyond the borders sits a vast green landscape which, until only a few years ago, was mostly unexplored by Western visitors.

Angola Highlights

Beyond the lush wild borders of Angola lies a fascinating place of sparkling waterfalls, few national parks, numerous quiet beaches, and wonderful people who are warm and welcoming despite their difficult past.

For the most part, the tourism industry is still in its infancy and since there are so few tourists visiting each year, those who do decide on Angola as their holiday destination can look forward to having some of the best attractions all to themselves. 

As one of the towns closest to the Angolan/Namibian border, many who enter from Namibia will stop here first. Remnants of the past greet travellers who pass through the town, as guests catch a glimpse of tanks from the civil war, long abandoned and left in the past.

One distinguishing feature of the town is the Cristo Rei, a statue of Christ, which sits atop a hill, looking out over the homes and buildings.

Just beyond the town is an absolutely astonishing gorge, the Tundavala, which plunges into a rocky valley and offers truly incredible views.

Travelling along the simply spectacular Serra da Leba mountain pass is the highlight of any trip to the coastal town of Namibe. With its 7 hairpin bends in a 1.7km stretch of tarred road, the pass has become quite famous.

Once in the area, the immense orange, red and yellow stone towers known as the Colinas and the freshwater oasis of the Lake Arco are two of the attractions that are well worth the visit.

The country’s capital is a place of much history and although some would believe that the city is unsafe for travellers, those who venture there find that it is the complete opposite of what they have been told.

A city with an ocean view, a bustling promenade with bars and restaurants serving up delicious local and Western foods, and a few attractions somewhat off the beaten-track, Luanda is the ultimate African city.

Guests to the city can visit the 16th-century Fortress of Sao Miguel and the Mausoleum of Agostinho Neto. But the beach is the place that captures imaginations. Just an hour from the city, the beach lies strewn with abandoned ships in various states of rust, aptly named Shipwreck Beach.

Another coastal destination, although far smaller than the capital, Lobito sits neatly in a 5km stretch of sand.

The town has various restaurants which dot the beachfront. A sandspit divides the town into two parts.

On one side lies the busy harbour while the other is dominated by the restaurants and bars.  

The enchanting Black Rocks of Pungo Andongo which stand out on the otherwise flat savannah landscape is one of two great attractions here.

The other attraction is the Calandula Falls, which are by volume one of the largest in all of Africa.

These falls can be viewed from above as well as from the river below. Another exciting stop is the Capanda Dam, a hydroelectric dam which took 20 years to complete.

How to Get There

Most international travellers will arrive at Angola International Airport in Luanda, via direct flight or a connecting flight from South Africa’s OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg.

The other option is to travel to Angola via a neighbouring country, such as Namibia, as part of a multi-country tour itinerary.

Best Time of the Year to Visit

The best time of the year to plan a trip to Angola is between June and October. During this time, the weather is quite mild and sunny while the rains and storms have not yet arrived.

For the most part, Angola has only two seasons: dry and wet. The summer months can get a little washed out.

When planning a trip, keep in mind that Angola is an immense country, geographically speaking, and so the weather can vary from place to place.

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