Don't Miss Places In Angola
The Republic of Angola offers every kind of terrain: mountains, plateaus, paradise beaches, and tropical forests. While the southern part is mostly covered in long miles of desert and arid vegetation during the summer, about three percent of the country sustains their livelihood through tourism and farming. Most Angolan farmers grow sugarcane or cassava for a living.
Angola produces diamonds and offshore oil and earns revenue from tourists who visit thE country to explore its natural attractions. The colonization of the Portuguese settlers and their 500-year rule is still visible in the culture, language, architecture, and traditions.
These are the top ten not to be missed places when in Angola.
The beach of Cabo Ledo is a paradise for those who live and visit this Luanda attraction. It offers a range of bed and breakfast resorts that can accommodate every budget and taste. The beach is located about 50 kilometers from the city, but it is worth an early morning trip to spend a day of relaxation at the luxurious resorts facing the sea. Book in advance online or by phone to receive a warm welcome from the hosts at your resort with a sumptuous feast of lobster and fresh seafood. If you come late, expect to get caught in the usual evening traffic jams in the city of Luanda.
The route provides a reassuring ride and the scenery is wonderful along the coast. The beach is quiet, clean, safe, and there is a camping spot nearby where families can enjoy nature and beauty in one place. When you take a dip in the cold waters, you can see fishes jumping as you swim and snorkel up to the reef area. This beach is ideal for surfers because of its challenging rough waves. There are professional surfers on duty that are ready to teach any interested amateur surfer for a reasonable price.
Ilha do Mussulo
The Ilha do Mussulo beach is culturally interesting and gives an excellent view of the city. In less than two hours, you can explore the whole beach area. Wear comfortable shoes to navigate the stairs and ramps. The traditional setting heightens the infrastructure of the entire beach. There are parts designated for shacks and another side that is ruled by a few mega villas.
The promenade gives an impression of an exotic Caribbean island located in Africa. You’ll also be able to learn a little of the country’s history and admire its enterprising and friendly locals. Travel around to view the town of Marginal, the outskirts surrounding Luanda, the city center, and the nearby trading port.
One cannot help but compare the immense contrast between the poverty and unrest of the city with the calm and beauty of this natural attraction. You can take a short hike to the lighthouse located on its cliff and the nearby Kanawa Beach that hosts lots of great restaurants and snack bars.
This small island is so gorgeous that anyone in the world could find a peaceful refuge in this part of Angola. Lounging in the shade, bathing in the swimming pools of the resorts, relaxing on the beach and eating at a reasonable price amidst calm and serenity is absolutely an experience worth having.
National Slavery Museum
The building serves as a living monument in honor of the slaves traded during the 17th century. The National Slavery Museum and the cliff where it stands now is the exact location where slaves were sold and sent on a ship, during the time of Portuguese rule, headed for Brazil. Get a glimpse of history as you peek at the pictures and documents that were saved during that sad part of Angola’s history. Inside the museum, you will have the chance to see many artifacts that depict the barbarism and the dark era of slavery that remind every visitor to this museum of the horrors the tribe of Angolans suffered.
The all white exterior of the building serves as a landmark and cannot be missed as it faces the beautiful beach of Kanawa and the Ilha do Musulo. Call in advance to learn their visiting schedule. The tour includes a visit to the chapel within its grounds where the documents of the first black slaves were processed to board the waiting slave ships. The museum also boasts breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean.
Mausoleum of Agostinho Neto
This landmark of Luanda represents the value of freedom for its people. It is situated in the middle of the Chicala road that is just next to Marginal town. National events and the parade of troops are usually held at this attraction. Various government offices are conveniently located on the nearby hill beside it.
The mausoleum looks like a lighted flame inching its way up to heaven each time the yellow-orange rays of the sunset shine upon it. It is truly a sight to behold. The place is huge and beautifully maintained, from its manicured lawns up to the big garden in front where people converge to enjoy a good stroll or admire the scenery. Everything in this area is free to visit and you can hire a guide to accompany you and tell the story of Agostinho Nieto and his tremendous contribution to the freedom of Angola.
No doubt the area is interesting and beautiful, but access inside the mausoleum is restricted, even for locals. The modern work conveys a sense of respect for the man and the site calls for reflection about the value of independence and the need to preserve it.
Kissama National Park
80 kilometers away from the main city, the shift from urban to jungle proves how diverse this part of Africa is. The Kissama National Park may not be as famous as the other safaris you can find in this region, but the trek to see its wildlife game drive will capture the curiosity of every visitor. There are many captivating scenes to admire along the way. Enjoy the imposing presence of the tall baobab trees, the views along the river trek (Kwanza River), the rich flora and fauna, and an enormous forest with thick vegetation.
The location is quite remote, but it is a mandatory visit for everyone who comes to Angola. A great number of elephants roam this area, but there are also manatees, wildebeests, warthogs, rhinoceros, ostriches, giraffes, and antelopes. They roam their natural habitat as part of the conservation project to protect and preserve their species. Primates and crocodiles define their territory in the forest by dominating the river (Rio Longa). There is also a protected part of the forest where the birds (flamingo, eagles, herons, king fishers, and other colorful and migratory bird varieties) are able to spread their wings and co-exist with the other animals who live in the park.
Sangano Beach / Praia de Sangano
Located about 100 kilometers from the capital city, this beach is filled with bare rocky cliffs, fine white sand, lodging places and restaurants placed very close to the shore. It is an ideal location for a family vacation and a perfect getaway place for newlyweds because of its remote atmosphere and less crowded facilities and resorts. You will not waste time waiting in lines. To see every corner of this beach, it is best to rent a boat that goes around the island all the way to Mussulo and back to the Sangano beach.
The water here is not as cold as the other surrounding beaches of Praia; instead, it is relatively warm and calm. Because of the massive cliffs behind it, the walking path on the sand is a bit narrow; but guests can still find comfort and enjoy the tranquility and beauty of nature far from the noise of the city. At sunset, the cliffs and the whole vista becomes covered in orange-red shade before darkness sets in. Climb the top of the cliff during the day to have a full view of the horizon that reaches the Atlantic Ocean.
The fascinating beach is accessible by a two-hour boat ride from the northern part of Luanda. The attraction is well preserved along with the more than 50 shipwrecks that lay buried in the ocean floor. Efforts to retrieve any of them have been entirely abandoned although some wrecks are situated near the shores, cliff, and hidden caves, and even on the coastal beach. Some of them looked like they were just washed ashore and left to rust and decay for more than 60 years.
Most of the wrecks were Russian cargo vessels and old fishing boats. This island part was formerly known as Santiago beach. Visit this beach to take the pictures of the shipwrecks and relax in the cold water. If you want to see the whole wealth of Luanda’s maritime history, organizing a scuba diving exploration to see the rest of the ships requires a permit from the wildlife conservation authorities.
Catumbela de Lobito Railway Station
Benguela is an important railroad town that plays a significant role in Angola’s economy. This transport system handles the safe transport of minerals from Zaire all the way to the port of Lobito. It was built during the time of Portuguese colonization. Take a short ride to see the dry landscape near Lobito, and admire the government's effort to revitalize its fields by setting up irrigation facilities for the farms and rice fields.
The main train terminal also serves as a museum that welcomes tourists. A small portion of the yard is dedicated to an exhibit of old trains, steam locomotives, and the early train designs and pictures of how the terminal looked during the 1960’s.
The Tundavala Crack
A tour of this attractive plateau is a must when in the Region of Lubango. It's 1,000 meters high vertical cut is what attracts visitors to see and climb to the top of this steep plateau.
It is ideal for people who want to conquer their fear of heights as its high altitude, meticulous trails, and extreme cold temperature are just a few of its challenges. For the adventurous traveler, this is the site to conquer - especially if you want to to reach the designated observation point. Along the trail to the Crack of Tundavala you will have the opportunity to meet tribes and the enterprising locals.
Serra de Leba
The lush, green mountains of the Serra de Leba can be reached by driving along the winding paved road that starts from Namibe and ends at the foot of the most photographed attraction in Lubango.
The pleasant highland rises about 1,700 meters above sea level and has a chilly but tolerable atmosphere all year round. The fertile vegetation of this vast landscape provides the fresh fruits and vegetable supply of Lubango and other major cities in Angola.