Angola

Although the territory of Angola was inhabited from time immemorial, the country’s modern history began with the arrival of the first Europeans. Coming in these lands, they found the southern-most provinces of the Kingdom of Kongo, which stretched far beyond the Congo that we know today. The Portuguese sea-farer Diogo Cao was the first European to set foot in present-day Angola in 1483rd. In 1575th, 92 years later, was founded the first settlement by European settlers. On the coast of Luanda Bay was developed the first modern city – Luanda, the capital of Angola.

miradouro da lua angolaThe city was used as the main slave-trading port. Located on the more easily accessible western coast of Africa, Angola was one of the countries to give most victims in the slave trade before it was banned. Angola became an independent country on November 11, 1975th.

Geographic location, boundaries and size. Angola occupies an area of 1,246,700 sq km. The country is located on the Atlantic coast of South-Western Africa and falls entirely within the southern hemisphere.

The coastline is approximately 1650 km long. Angola is bordered to the north by Democratic Republic of the Congo, to the east by Zambia and to the south by Namibia.

The country has a small exclave called Cabinda. It is located on the Atlantic coast, less than 40 kilometers north of Angola, on the border between Congo and Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Climate. Angola’s climate is generally very hot, with a pronounced seasonality of rainfall. The country falls within the borders of two climate zones.

The southern half and the Atlantic coast have hot and dry tropical climate with scarce rainfall and pleasant winter temperatures about 24°C. Summers are hot and humid with temperatures over 30°C.

The northern part of Angola falls within the subequatorial climate zone. Higher temperatures and more abundant rainfall are some of the differences in comparison with the southern parts.

The rainy season lasts from November to April, coinciding with the summer months. The cold Benguela current that brings cold water from the depths of the Atlantic, exerts strong influence over the weather in Angola. This is the main factor that causes Angola’s coastal and southern areas to have desert climate.

black stones angolaWaters. Angola is a country that has a great hydro-power potential. Several large and deep rivers flow through the territory of the country. These are the Zambezi River, Kasai (Cassai), Cuando, Kunene (Cunene), and Kwango.

Most popular is, however, the Cubango River. Once crossed the southern half of Aglola and the Caprivi Strip in Namibia, it forms on the territory of Botswana a large slough, known as the Okavango Delta (the largest inland delta on the planet). The largest lake in Angola is Dilolo Lake. It is located in the eastern parts of the country.

Natural conditions. The northern parts of Angola are covered mostly with lush subequatorial vegetation. In the south, however, it gradually gives way to vast grassy savannah. Most southern and coastal areas of Angola are occupied by deserts and semi-deserts.

Angola’s coastline is slightly indented. There are hundreds of kilometers of beautiful beaches, covered with bright orange or golden sand.

It is thought, however, that most of them are too risky for swimming because of the large waves and dangerous currents that occur around the coast.

Angola is mainly covered by mountains and plateaus. Huila is the biggest one. It covers the territory of Southwestern Angola.

Bie plateau is also impressive. It covers the western parts of the country. The highest peak in Angola is Morro de Moco. It is 2620 meters high and is located in the central parts of the country.

Lowlands cover just a small part of the territory of Angola. Most of them are located close to the Atlantic. Along the coast from north to south extends a valley, which in its widest part reaches about 100 kilometers.

kalandula waterfalls angolaFauna. Like many other places in Africa, Angola is blessed with an impressive diversity of wildlife. The most diverse variety of animal species there is in the savannas and areas that are close to rivers and lakes.

Crocodiles and hippos inhabit freshwater basins all over the country. Prides of lions love to spend their lazy days lying in the shade of trees.

Angola is home to leopards, African golden cat, hyenas, jackals, wild boars, zebras, antelopes (impala, springbok, and wildebeest), buffaloes, monkeys, elephants, rhinos and many others.

Hundreds of bird species such as ostriches, marabou, vultures, parrots, cranes, and herons can be seen in Angola.

Population. Angola’s population has almost doubled over the past 20 years, and today it is more than 19 million people. Official language is Portuguese, and the official religion is Christianity (Catholics and Protestants).

About 2% of the population of Angola consists of Europeans (mainly Portuguese settlers) and Latinos, about 2% are Asians (mainly Chinese people) and also about 2% are of mixed origin.

The remaining approximately 94% of the population of Angola consists of dark-skinned, mostly from the ethnic groups ovimbundu, kimbundu and bakongo.

The largest cities are the capital of Angola Luanda, Cabinda, Huambo, Kuito, Lubango, Malanje, Uige, the coastal cities Benguela and Lobito and so on.

Most major cities are located in the western and central parts of the country, while the East is dominated by smaller villages. The urban population of Angola is around 59%.

Cuisine. The culture of Angola is a combination of traditions and customs of native people with strong influence from Portugal. This influence is most strongly felt in the culinary.

Many of local dishes are prepared in a manner, which is typical of Portugal. Since Angola’s coastal waters are rich in fish and other sea creatures, fish, crabs, shrimp, clams and many others are very important part of the daily menu of most local residents.

The habit of consuming chicken meat is also deeply rooted in local society. The goat-meat consumption is something traditional in Africa, and Angola is not an exception.

luanda angolaHere we should note that because of the dangers that the tsetse fly brings, the livestock breeding in the country is very underdeveloped. This little insect carries the dangerous sleeping sickness and can easily infect a large number of farm animals.

Therefore, the consumption of pork, beef and sheep meat is quite limited in this part of the world. In the traditional cuisine of Angola often present beans, peas and rice.

Angola is a paradise for lovers of exotic fruits. Bananas, papayas, coconuts, and many other tropical fruits are widely grown in the country. The most popular vegetables are potatoes, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, radishes, onions and garlic.

In some dishes are used leaves of cassava. Palm oil is the most commonly used in cooking. Angolans often add to meals various types of chili garlic or peppers sauces.

Some meals not to be missed are Chikuanga (bread made from manioc flour), Mariscos cozidos com gindungo (seafood, mostly different types of crustaceans, cooked in sea water and served with fragrant rice and spicy sauce of butter and chilies), Doce de ginguba (traditional peanut dessert), Camarao Grelhado Piri Piri (delicious roasted shrimp or chicken pieces with pepper) and many others.

Economy. Angola is a developing country, but its mineral wealth is impressive. Oil and diamonds are most important for the local economy.

However, as a result of long civil wars and internal turmoil, today Angola is a poor country with low living standard. The official currency of Angola is the New Kwanza. The country is a member of SADC.

The organization seeks to achieve greater economic stability, political stability and dealing with organized crime. The country maintains close economic and political ties with the other members of the organization.

When to visit Angola? The best time to visit Angola is during the period from May to October. This period offers dry weather and pleasant temperatures. The summer months are usually too hot and the humidity is hardly bearable.

fornos de blocos uigeWhat to wear in Angola? If you are planning a trip to Angola is suitable to wear lightweight, comfortable and casual summer clothing.

If you are sensitive to cold and are planning to visit the country during the southern winter, it is advisable to wear light jacket for the night.

Probably if visit Angola, you will spend a lot of time in the wild, so it’s better to pay more attention to the shoes.

Make sure that they are strong and comfortable. Take care of your skin. The sun’s rays are strong here and you must use a strong sunscreen with high SPF.

Transport connections in Angola. The rail network in Angola is not very well developed. Within the country there are three separate railroads that are not yet linked to each other. All of them are directed from the coast to inland.

One of the lines crosses the entire territory of the country and continues in neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Definitely to travel by car or bus is preferable, and allows reaching more isolated areas and smaller settlements. Renting a car is the most convenient and comfortable way to travel.

If you choose this option, however, try to rent an off road vehicle. This means of transport will help you reach some unbelievable spots. It is important to say a few words about the air transport.

It is considered the most well-developed and comfortable means to travel in the country. Angola’s domestic airlines offer fast and extremely cheap air links with most major cities in Angola.

Safety. When it comes to safety, Angola does not distinct from most African countries. People here are very kind, well-adjusted, positive, warm, friendly and welcoming to foreign visitors.

However, it is good to know that here, as it is in many other places in Africa, there is a risk of being robbed, kidnapped or injured in unpredicted civil unrest.

The personal safety in Africa as a whole is much lower in comparison with developed countries. It is advisable when already in Angola to visit the nearest tourist information center and learn more about the dangers of the country.

Warning: Consult your doctor before to travel to Angola! It is good to know that in the tropical regions of Africa there are some dangerous diseases.

In Angola are wide spread yellow fever, malaria, sleeping sickness, poliomyelitis and many others. Ask your family doctor what kinds of immunizations are needed and how to protect yourself.

Important telephone numbers. It is good to know these numbers in case you need help:
Police: 113
Ambulance: 112
Firemen: 115