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: 16-27 September 2020
Duration: 12 days / 11 nights
Price per person (7-13 pax): 4.200 €
Single supplement: 480 €
Day 1: EUROPE – LUANDA
Arrival in Luanda. A guide will meet you at the airport and transfer you the hotel. Depending on arrival time can start city tour or wait for the next day. Accommodation in: Hotel Ilha Mar or similar. BB
Day 2: LUANDA – LUBANGO
After breakfast begin exploring the key sights of the city, with interesting old colonial buildings, such as Nosa Senhora de Nazaré baroque church, Anthropology Museum, Ferro Palace (19th Century) and Fortaleza de Sao Miguel (Portuguese fortress). After lunch, transfer to the airport for TAAG domestic flight to Lubango. 1h30 flight. Meet guide and transfer to Casper Lodge. HB (dinner)
Day 3: LUBANGO – GAMBOS - CHIBIA – LUBANGO (2h)
Breakfast. Day to learn about the human migrations in this part of Southern Angola. First human settlers where the Khoisan people, coming from what is today Cape Town. They lived in peace and isolation, hunting and gathering until the arrival of Bantu speaking groups such as the Gambue in the 12th Century. This people brought metal tools and weapons, domesticated cattle and agriculture…the whole ecosystem was affected by these deep economic and social changes. The Gambue forced the Khoisan into deeper bush where they live to this day. We will meet Serrao, Gambue traditional leader to know about local culture, walk around the village and meet the older women, keepers of the old ways. We will also meet the Khoisan that live near the Gambue and learn aspects of their daily life. After the visit we will drive to Chibia colonial town, good example of Portuguese 19th Century settlement and have lunch. Afternoon walk around the town and return to Lubango for the night. Casper Lodge. HB (lunch)
Day 4: LUBANGO – MUILA– LUBANGO (2h)
Breakfast. Day focused in Huila Plateau, its history and anthropological reality. Visit Muila tribal area. Muila where the first Bantu tribe to reach the Plateau. Meet local chief (soba) and its wives (they are polygamous) with traditional hairstyle showing social status and tribal affiliation. In rural markets it is possible to meet richly decorated Muila women as well as Handa older women. This last tribe is related to the Muila but have different hairdos. Return to Lubango for the night. Casper Lodge. FB
Day 5: LUBANGO – DIMBA - ONCOCUA (6h)
Breakfast and reach Oncocua town after a long drive through the bush. Before reaching the urban center we will stop in a Dimba village. Camp in Maria’s place (European toilette) and cold drinks. Afternoon walk around this small town, settled by the Portuguese in the 1940s decade. Overnight camping. FB
Day 6: ONCOCUA – CUNENE RIVER (2h)
Breakfast and tribal immersion. The area is inhabited by four traditional Bantu tribes. Three cattle herders: Dimba, Hakaona, and Himba and one small group of hunter gatherers, the Twa that imitate the dressing style of the Himba. There is a complex cast system in this remote area of Angola. The guide will explain this system that has disappeared in most parts of Africa. Drive to remote shores of Cunene River (natural border with Namibia). Enjoy virgin ecosystem and meet semi-nomadic Himba in the area. Overnight camping. FB
Day 7: ONCOCUA - CAHAMA – LUBANGO (6h)
Breakfast and farewell from Oncocua. Drive to Cahama. Lunch in a local restaurant and continue to Lubango. Night in Casper Lodge. Evening dinner in a city restaurant. FB
Day 8: LUBANGO – LEBA CHAIN – CARACULO – GIRAUL - NAMIBE (4h)
Breakfast and descent towards Iona Desert. Drive down along the famous Serra de Leba pass towards the Atlantic Coast and the city of Namibe. On the way stop at Caraculo farming project, designed by Salazar’s military regime in 1947 to colonize the Angolan desert…it did not succeed. Today Caraculo is a semi-phantom town with interesting crumbling afro-Portuguese buildings. Pic-nic lunch in Caraculo. Before reaching Namibe city we will make a short visit to Giraul Oasis. Arrival in Namibe (urban walking tour around Namibe art decó cinema) and overnight Infotour Hotel. FB
Day 9: NAMIBE – CUROCA - ARCO – TOMBWA – NAMIBE (2h)
Early breakfast and drive into the desert. Visit the beautiful oasis of Curoca and Arco, with amazing rock formations. Continue to Tombwa, former Alexander Port, after a British explorer that discovered the place. Lunch and walking visit around the port. Return to Namibe for the night. Hotel Infotour. HB (pic nick lunch)
Day 10: NAMIBE – GARGANTA (3h)
Breakfast. Drive to Leba Mountains. Stop in Garganta hamlet to meet our last tribe, the Nguendelengo, with interesting wooden storage constructions and some of the younger women showing a beautiful hairdo, characteristic of this ethnic minority (numbering just a 3.000 individuals). Drive to a remote valley in the middle of the forested mountains. Meet the tribe and camp. Night in tents. FB
Day 11: GARGANTA – BIBALA - LUBANGO – TUNDA VALA - LUANDA (2h)
Breakfast and farewell from our hosts. Drive to Lubango through Serra da Leba sinuous road. Lunch in Bibala colonial town. Reach Lubango and visit Tunda Vala panoramic views. Dinner and evening flight to Luanda. Accommodation in: Hotel Ilha Mar or similar. HB (lunch)
Day 12: LUANDA – MIRADOURO – SANTIAGO – LUANDA
Breakfast. Drive to Miradouro da Lua (Clift). From there we go to Slave Museum and artisan fair. Lunch in Ilha and afternoon visit to Santiago Beach’s ship cemetery. Continue to airport for evening flight back home. BB
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.