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Travel Info


Angola is a country in Central Africa. It is bordered by Namibia in the south, Zambia in the east and the Republic of Congo, as well as the Democratic Republic of Congo in the north.

Quick Facts
CapitalLuanda
Governmentrepublic, nominally a multiparty democracy with a strong presidential system
Currency1 kwanza (AOA) = 100 Lwei
Areatotal: 1,246,700 sq km
water: 0 sq km
land: 1,246,700 sq km
Population10,593,171 (July 2002 est.)
LanguagePortuguese (official), Bantu and other African languages
Religionindigenous beliefs 47%, Roman Catholic 38%, Protestant 15% (1998 est.)

Cities

  • Luanda -- the capital of the country
  • Benguela
  • Huambo
  • Lobito
  • Lubango
  • Namibe
  • Kuito

Understand

A very low percentage of the local population can communicate in English. Traveling in Angola therefore requires a minimum of knowledge of the Portuguese language.

There is little literature on Angola available at all, and most of the available literature is in Portuguese or (in some cases) French.

Electricity

Officially 220V 50Hz. Outlets are the European standard CEE-7/7 "Schukostecker" or "Schuko" or the compatible, but non-grounded, CEE-7/16 "Europlug" types. Generally speaking, U.S. and Canadian travelers should pack an adapter for these outlets if they plan to use North American electrical equipment in Angola.

Get in

Visa

All nationalities must get a visa prior to arrival. It is not possible to obtain a visa upon arrival. Your passport must be valid for another six months minimum and contain two blank pages. An international vaccination certificate is required for entry as well indicating yellow fever inocculation within the last ten years.

By plane

Luanda-4-de-Fevereiro is situated 4km outside Luanda. There are no public phones or bank facilities at the airport.

TAAG Linhas Aereas de Angola has flights between Luanda and some states in Africa, for example to South Africa (Johannesburg), Namibia (Windhoek), Zimbabwe (Harare), Democratic Republic of Congo (Kinshasa) and the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville).

South African Airways (http://www.flysaa.com) operates from Johannesburg to Luanda. London and Luanda, Paris and Luanda and Lisbon to Luanda. Addis Ababa to Luanda.

By train

There are no railroad links between Angola and other nations.

By car

You can go in from Namibia at the border post near Oshikango(Namibia)/Ngiva(Angola).

Entering from the North was, as of 2002, via Luvo, a small town on the Kinshasa-Matadi 'road'. If you want to drive through Angola it's a real experience. Set off armed with the best route info you can glean from the net.

By bus

There are no bus links between Angola and other nations.

By boat

There are no official ferry links between Angola and other nations. As of 2003 it was at least possible to enter Angola via a small passenger ferry near Rundu in Namibia. There was both an Angolan and Namibia border official present. The crossing was mostly used by Angolans for the purposes of acquiring food and other supplies in Namibia.

Get around

In Luanda: the Mussulo island for clean tropical beaches and water sports, the Benfica Market for handycrafts and souvenirs, the Ilha de Luanda for seaside dining and bars, Kissama National Park for animal and bird watching. In Benguela: Baia Azul for beautiful desert beaches.

Talk

A very low percentage of the local population can communicate in English. Traveling in Angola therefore requires a minimum of knowledge of the Portuguese language.

Buy

Just south of Luanda, the Benfica Handcrafts Market offers the best prices for handcrafts and souvenirs. This is an open market where local artists and artisans display their products, and bargaining is not only acceptable but recommended. The products range from sculptures and paintings to jewelry, batik cloths and accessories.

Eat

Generally, dining and eating in general is not very easy in Angola, not even in Luanda because food is expensive and many of the less well equipped restaurants have poor hygienic conditions. Nonetheless, Angolan cuisine is varied and tasteful, with local dishes based mainly on fish, cassava products and spicy stews. Angolan seafood is abundant and very good, and the Angolan coast is a special place to eat fresh lobster right off the fisherman's boat. Tropical fruit in Angola is also a treat, for artisanal means of production have maintained it organic, and richly tasteful, especially to the Western palate that is used to industrially produced tropical fruits. If, however, you are situated in Luanda and need to dine, it is recommended that you get to Ilha de Luanda where beach-restaurants (of varying price-classes from very exclusive to rather informal) can serve most foreign needs. It should also be said that restaurants in Luanda are increasing in numbers and quality, since the recent peace has brought stability and significant investment to the country.

Generally, all restaurants accept USD in cash and very few accept credit cards.

Drink

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Sleep

World class hotels include the Tropico Hotel, Alvalade Hotel, Le President Meridien Hotel, Continental Hotel, Palm Beach Hotel among others.

Stay safe

Angola in general is not the place to travel without qualified personnel. However, if one follow some basic rules, traveling in Angola is not dangerous. First of all, traveling after dark and alone is hardly ever a good idea. If possible, one should join several cars of the same brand and model because of the possible need for spare parts. One should also carry a satellite telephone in the case of a breakdown or other emergency.

For Luanda, however, other rules apply. You should stay in your car (with locked doors) as long as you are outside reach of security personnel, which you will find at all hotels and restaurants.

Avoid using your camera in front of police (dressed in blue uniforms). This will result, at best, in a very heavy fine, but it could also have more dire consequences.

Never step beyond the red and white HALO Trust posts, they denote mine fields. In fact beware of anything surrounded by any kind or red stones or markers.

Stay healthy

Travellers should only drink mineral water, or, if in an emergency boiled water, since the water is untreated and therefore tap water is not safe. Because malaria is endemic to this country travellers should also avoid mosquito bites with insect repelent or impregnated bed nets.

Respect

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Contact

The phone country code of Angola is +244.

Telephone connections, cellular and landline, are heavily overloaded, making communication difficult at times. International lines are however often better.