Angola is a new country after the civil war (1975-2005) that ravaged the country. Open to tourism since 2008 Angola offers some of Africa’s most spectacular tribal groups, stunning natural landscapes, and a rich colonial heritage dating from the Portuguese era. Angola is still virgin, unique and in this tour we combine ethnography and nature so that the traveler understands this different Africa.
Date: 8-16 May 2020
Duration: 9 days / 8 nights
Guide: Joan Riera, anthropologist specialized in Angolan ethnic groups
Price per person: 3.680 €
Single room supplement: 350 €
Day 1 (Friday 8 May): EUROPE - LUANDA
Flight to Luanda. Arrival to Luanda. Our local guide will come to meet us at the airport. We will spend the night at the Hotel Talatona Convention or similar. AD www.hoteltalatona.com
Day 2 (Saturday May 9): LUANDA - LUBANGO
Breakfast. Visit of the capital of Angola with its architectural heritage, its promenade and the new buildings of the oil era. First contact with the Angolan society, obsessed with progress and the desire to leave behind the 30 years of civil war (1975-2005). Breakfast at the hotel and talk with the guide of the day's activities. Internal flight that will take us to Lubango, capital of Huíla and the most important city in southern Angola. The guide will come to find us at the airport. Transfer to the Pululukwa Lodge Hotel. MP (dinner included) www.pululukwa.co.ao
Day 3 (Sunday, May 10): LUBANGO - CHOMIPAPA - HUILA - LUBANGO (2h)
After breakfast the anthropologist guide will give an introductory class (about 30 minutes) on human migrations in this part of Africa. With a map, we will explore the history of the first human groups, the Khoisán, hunters and gatherers. The arrival of the Bantu peoples (cattle ranchers and farmers in the S-XV) and finally, the implantation of the Boer and later Portuguese settlers in the Huila Plateau. After class, we will continue to Chomipapa, a rural region south of Lubango, inhabited by the last Khoisán groups. Chomipapa is currently ruled by a mugambue king, a Bantu ethnic group. We will know both cultures and the relationship between them. Picnic under a tree. In the afternoon we will visit the Catholic mission of Huila, the first Portuguese settlement on the plateau. Here we will understand the Portuguese colonial model of the middle of the S-XIX and the slowdown to boer penetration from the south. After the visit, we will return to Lubango. Hotel Pululukwa Lodge. MP (lunch included)
Day 4 (Monday 11 May): LUBANGO - MUILA - LUBANGO (1h)
Breakfast. Day dedicated to the most spectacular tribe in the Angolan south; the Mumuila. We will visit the tribal market where the Mumuilas and some fairy women come, a neighboring tribe that is distinguished by white and green beaded necklaces. Their headdresses, immense necklaces and their bearing make Mumuila women unique. After greeting the king (Soba) of the Mumuila of Plain and walking through the market, we will continue to the town of Chibia for lunch. After an afternoon walk to the art deco church, we will go to another market to meet the mountain mumuila, more clinging to animist cults than its plain neighbors. Mumuila mountain women smear their hair with a paste (oncula) obtained with fat, stone, crushed red, vegetable bark and manure. They decorate it with cowrie shells and beads. Its large necklaces vary in color and material according to age and marital status. Thanks to the fact that they sleep supporting the neck on wooden headrests like the ancient Egyptians and some cattle tribes of the Rift Valley, the hairstyles and necklaces are not damaged. Afternoon return to Lubango. Hotel Pululukwa Lodge. MP (lunch included)
Day 5 (Tuesday, May 12): LUBANGO - CARACULO - GIRAUL - NAMIBE (3h)
Breakfast and route to Namibe, main port of southern Angola and interesting colonial center. Stop at the settlement of Caraculo, curious project of the dictatorship of Salazar to populate the desert (1947) and the oasis of Giraul to meet the community of Ilha Mungongo (beautiful views). When we arrive in Namibe we will take the opportunity to visit on foot the city, its historic center, and the promenade. Hotel Infotour. MP (picnic lunch).
Day 6 (Wednesday, May 13): NAMIBE - COSTA de IONA - DESERT of NAMIBE - CUROCA - ARCO (2h)
Breakfast and exploration of the desert, its fragile and unknown ecosystems and the human culture that has developed in the various oases that dot Iona. We will pass through the oases of Curoca and Arco before having lunch in Tombwa, a colonial port with shipyards still active. After the tour through the dunes we will spend the night at the Hotel Flamingo Lodge MP (picnic lunch). https://kwanzalodge.com/flamingo-lodge
Day 7 (Thursday, May 14): COSTA DE IONA - TCHITUNDO HULO - COSTA (3h)
Breakfast. Route to the heart of the mucubal territory, the last tribe to be submitted by the Portuguese colonial administration in 1936. We will arrive to Virei, administrative center of the region. Visit of the animist cemetery and 1 hour route to the cave paintings of Tchitundo Hulo over 20,000 years old. Soft walk of 20 minutes to the area where the paintings and engravings on granite rocks are found. After the picnic visit, talk with the mucubal tribe in the area and return to our coastal base in the afternoon. Hotel Flamingo Lodge MP (picnic lunch).
Day 8 (Friday May 15): COSTA DE IONA - NAMIBE - GARGANTA - LUBANGO - TUNDA VALA - LUANDA (3h)
Breakfast and farewell to this unique and remote place on the African coast. Route to Namibe city and from there we will continue to Garganta, a former Portuguese settlement with a train station. There we will meet the last traditional Angolan ethnic group of this trip; The nguendelengo. It is a minority group (approximately 300 individuals) dedicated to goat grazing and hunting. Highlights the beautiful hairstyle based on bulky bows of some tribal women and the elevated architecture of barns housing. After visiting this tribe, we will continue to Lubango. We will have lunch near Tunda Vala (views) and at the planned time we will go to the Lubango airport. Flight to Luanda. A minibus will be waiting for us at the Luanda airport to go directly to the hotel. Hotel Talatona Convention or similar. AD www.hoteltalatona.com
Day 9 (Saturday May 16): LUANDA - flight home
Breakfast and visit of Mirador de la Luna. Stop at the artisan market back, near the museum of slavery (usually closed). After lunch in the neighborhood of Ilha we will travel to Santiago Beach where we can admire dozens of abandoned boats. It is a show of great aesthetic strength that is worth witnessing before nightfall. After the visit I return to Luanda to take the plane. AD
A valid passport and a visa are required for travel to Angola. Applications for visas can be made online (pre-visa) or in advance in the travelers’ home country. Last Places assists all travelers that need any type of help applying for the online visa or at the embassy. We recommend that passports be valid for six months from date of arrival.
Vaccines and Travel Health
A valid yellow fever vaccination certificate is essential for entry to Angola. Malaria is prevalent in the country. It is wise to take Malaria prophylaxis when travelling through Angola. Water supply is unsafe to drink, visitors should drink bottle water. Visitors should also avoid eating unpeeled, unwashed fruit and vegetables. The milk in Angola is unpasteurized and should be boiled; alternatively use tinned milk reconstituted with bottle water.
Security in Angola
Angola is a safe country in general terms. Land mines have been removed from most of the country except in some remote regions of Cuando Cuvango where Last Places does not normally travel to. We recommend to be aware of pick pocketing in crowded streets of Luanda and not to walk around city centre too late in the night if you are not accompanied by a local guide or group of local friends that are familiar with the streets of Luanda. It is strongly recommended not to drive during the night in the countryside because of the potential risk of your car hitting a wild or domestic animal.
When to go to Angola
Travelers can visit Angola all year around. Last Places Angola offers trips to Angola all year around. Said this, dry season –from June till November- allows the traveller visit all tribal areas while whet season – from December till May- may limit the visit to certain region such as Oncocua. Southwest Angola, where most of the tourism attractions are concentrated, enjoys mild weather during most of the year with daylight temperatures of 24-30 ? that can come down to 10 ? during the night and early hours.
Currency in Angola
The unit of currency is the Kwanza (AOA). Visitors should bring enough cash for their needs. Money can be exchanged at the airport or at the bank. Euros and newly issued US dollars are changed without any problem. Credit cards are only accepted in larger hotels, and cash withdrawals are not possible. Few ATMs in Luanda accept foreign cards.
Time in Angola
Electricity in Angola
Electrical current in Angola is 220 volts, 50Hz. Round pin attachment plugs are in use.
Communications in Angola
The international dialing code for Angola is +244. There are many more mobile telephones than fixed lines and the mobile coverage around Luanda and other main centers is much more reliable than fixed lines. Internet access is available at most major hotels.
Language in Angola
The official language of Angola is Portuguese. About 60 other African languages are spoken. Some French and Spanish is also spoken.
Prohibitions in Angola
Do not take photographs of government buildings, or use binoculars near them, as this could lead to arrest.