Saturday, November 25, 2023

Angola Travel Guide - Travel S Helper


travel guide

Angola is a nation in Southern Africa. The official name of the nation is the Republic of Angola. It is Africa’s seventh-largest country, surrounded by Namibia to the south, the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north and east, Zambia to the east, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Cabinda is an exclave province between the Republic of the Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.Luanda is the capital and largest city of Angola.

Despite the fact that its region has been inhabited since the Paleolithic Era, modern Angola is the consequence of Portuguese colonization, which began with, and was for decades limited to, coastal cities and trade outposts established beginning in the 16th century. European immigrants gradually and hesitantly began to settle themselves in the interior of the nineteenth century. Due to opposition from tribes like as the Cuamato, Kwanyama, and Mbunda, Angola did not reach its present limits as a Portuguese colony until the early twentieth century. Following a lengthy liberation struggle, the country gained independence in 1975 under communist government sponsored by the Soviet Union. Angola fell into civil war the same year. Since then, it has evolved into a reasonably stable unitary presidential republic.

Angola has huge mineral and petroleum reserves, and its economy is one of the fastest expanding in the world, particularly after the conclusion of the civil war.Despite this, the bulk of the population has a low quality of living, and Angola has one of the lowest life expectancy and infant mortality rates in the world. The bulk of Angola’s wealth is concentrated in a disproportionately small part of the population, resulting in extremely uneven economic growth.

Angola is a member of the United Nations, OPEC, the African Union, the Portuguese Language Countries Community, the Latin Union, and the Southern African Development Community. Angola’s 25.8 million inhabitants represent a diverse range of tribal groupings, cultures, and traditions. Angolan culture reflects centuries of Portuguese rule, most notably in the supremacy of the Portuguese language and Roman Catholicism, along with indigenous elements.

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Angola - Info Card




Kwanza (AOA)

Time zone



1,246,700 km2 (481,400 sq mi)

Calling code


Official language

Kimbundu, Umbundu, Chokwe, Kikongo

Angola - Introduction

Angola’s inhabitants are stoics. They have a profound knowledge of patience and avoid blaming the country’s problems on the fact that there was a war. In reality, Angolans act as if there is no war, despite the fact that it is deeply ingrained in every Angolan. Music is Angolans’ heart and soul; it can be heard everywhere, and they use everything as an excuse to celebrate. The country’s music is diverse, with a focus on Kuduro, Kizomba, Semba, and Tarrachinha, the last being more sensuous than the rest. Overall, it is fair to conclude that Angolans are a joyful and loving people that are always looking for more of what life has to offer.


Angola is the world’s twenty-third biggest nation, with 1,246,620 km2 (481,321 sq mi). Its size is equal to Mali, or double that of France or Texas. It is mainly located between latitudes 4° and 18° South and longitudes 12° and 24° East.

Angola is bounded on the south by Namibia, on the east by Zambia, on the north by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and on the west by the South Atlantic Ocean. Cabinda, a coastal exclave in the north, has borders with the Republic of the Congo to the north and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the south. Luanda, Angola’s capital, is located on the Atlantic coast in the country’s northwest.


Angola, like the rest of tropical Africa, has distinct, alternating wet and dry seasons.

The cold Benguela Current tempers the coastal strip, resulting in a climate comparable to coastal Peru or Baja California. In the south and down the coast to Luanda, it is semiarid. From February through April, there is a brief rainy season. Summers are hot and dry, with moderate winters. The northern portion has a cold, dry season (May to October) and a hot, rainy season (November to April) (November to April). Temperature and rainfall decrease in the interior over 1,000m (3,300 ft). The central highlands have a temperate climate with a wet season from November to April and a cool dry season from May to October.

The heaviest rain falls in April, and it is accompanied by severe thunderstorms. Rain falls in the far north and Cabinda for the most of the year.


According to the preliminary findings of the 2014 census, Angola has a population of 24,383,301 people, the first performed or carried out since December 15, 1970. It is made up of 37% Ovimbundu (language Umbundu), 23% Ambundu (language Kimbundu), 13% Bakongo, and 32% various ethnic groups (including the Chokwe, Ovambo, Ganguela, and Xindonga), as well as approximately 2% mestiços (mixed European and African), 1.6 percent Chinese, and 1% European. The Ambundu and Ovimbundu ethnic groups together account for 62 percent of the population. The population is expected to increase to more over 60 million people by 2050, which is 2.7 times the population in 2014. However, according to official statistics released by Angola’s National Statistic Institute – Instituto Nacional de Estatstica (INE) on March 23, 2016, Angola had a population of 25.789.024 people.

By the end of 2007, Angola was projected to have hosted 12,100 refugees and 2,900 asylum applicants. 11,400 of them refugees came from the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the 1970s. Angola was home to an estimated 400,000 Democratic Republic of the Congo migrant laborers, at least 220,000 Portuguese, and about 259,000 Chinese as of 2008.

More than 400,000 Congolese migrants have been removed from Angola since 2003. Prior to independence in 1975, Angola had a Portuguese population of around 350,000 people, but the great majority fled following independence and the subsequent civil war. However, Angola has regained its Portuguese minority in recent years; there are now approximately 200,000 registered with consulates, and this number is growing due to Portugal’s financial problems and Angola’s relative prosperity. The Chinese population is 258,920 people, the majority of them are temporary migrants. There is also a tiny Brazilian community of about 5,000 individuals.

Angola has the 11th highest total fertility rate in the world, with 5.54 children born per woman (2012 estimates).


Angola has about 1000 religious groups, the majority of which are Christian. While reliable statistics are lacking, it is estimated that more than half of the population is Catholic, with about a quarter belonging to the Protestant churches introduced during the colonial period: the Congregationalists primarily among the Ovimbundu of the Central Highlands and the coastal region to its west, and the Methodists primarily among the Kimbundu-speaking strip from Luanda to Malanj. There is a core of “syncretic” Tocoists in Luanda and the surrounding area, and a sprinkling of Kimbanguism may be found in the northwest, extending from the Congo/Zare. Since independence, hundreds of Pentecostal and similar communities have sprung up in cities, where approximately half of the population currently resides; many of these communities/churches are of Brazilian origin.

The Muslim population is estimated to be 80,000–90,000 by the US Department of State, while the Islamic Community of Angola puts the number closer to 500,000.

Muslims are mostly migrants from West Africa and the Middle East (particularly Lebanon), with some local converts. The Angolan government does not officially recognize any Muslim groups and often shuts down or prohibits the building of mosques.

Angola received a score of 0.8 on Government Regulation of Religion, 4.0 on Social Regulation of Religion, 0 on Government Favoritism of Religion, and 0 on Religious Persecution in a study assessing nations’ levels of religious regulation and persecution with scores ranging from 0 to 10, where 0 represented low levels of regulation or persecution.

Prior to independence in 1975, foreign missionaries were very active, though since the beginning of the anti-colonial fight in 1961, the Portuguese colonial authorities expelled a number of Protestant missionaries and closed mission stations on the grounds that the missionaries were inciting pro-independence sentiments. Since the early 1990s, missionaries have been allowed to return to the nation, but security concerns caused by the civil war kept them from rebuilding many of their old interior mission sites until 2002.

In contrast to the “New Churches,” which aggressively proselytize, the Catholic Church and other major Protestant groups generally stay to themselves. Catholics and several major Protestant faiths assist the needy by providing agricultural seeds, farm animals, medical treatment, and education.

Language & Phrasebook in Angola

Only a small proportion of the local population is fluent in English. Traveling in Angola, then, requires a basic understanding of the Portuguese language. Furthermore, since many individuals move to Angola from neighboring nations, it is occasionally feasible to utilize French and Afrikaans (for Namibian or South African people).

Angola’s languages include those originally spoken by the various ethnic groups, as well as Portuguese, which was introduced during the Portuguese colonial period. In that order, the most commonly spoken indigenous languages are Umbundu, Kimbundu, and Kikongo. The country’s official language is Portuguese.

Mastery of the official language is likely to be more widespread in Angola than elsewhere in Africa, and this definitely extends to its usage in daily life. Furthermore, and perhaps most importantly, the percentage of native (or near-native) speakers of the former colonizer’s language, which became official after independence, is unquestionably greater than in any other African nation.

This predicament is the result of three interwoven historical factors.

  1. Portuguese was spoken not only by the Portuguese and their mestiço descendants in the Portuguese “bridgeheads” of Luanda and Benguela, which existed on the coast of what is now Angola since the 15th and 16th centuries, respectively, but also by a significant number of Africans, particularly in and around Luanda, who remained native speakers of their local African language.
  2. Since the Portuguese invasion of Angola’s current area, and particularly since its “effective occupancy” in the mid-1920s, the colonial state, as well as Catholic and Protestant missions, have gradually established education in Portuguese. The pace of this growth was increased during the late colonial period, 1961–1974, such that by the conclusion of the colonial period, children across the territory (with a few exceptions) had at least some access to the Portuguese language.
  3. During the same late colonial era, legal discrimination against the black people was eliminated, and the state infrastructure was expanded in areas like as health, education, social work, and rural development. This resulted in a substantial rise in employment opportunities for Africans who spoke Portuguese.

As a result of all of this, the African “lower middle class” that was forming in Luanda and other cities at the time started to forbid their children from learning the local African language in order to ensure that they learnt Portuguese as their native tongue. Simultaneously, the white and “mestiço” populations, where some understanding of African languages was formerly common, disregarded this element more and more, to the point of completely disregarding it. These trends persisted and developed throughout the MPLA’s reign, whose primary social roots were precisely in the socioeconomic sectors with the greatest level of Portuguese proficiency and percentage of native Portuguese speakers. As a result of their regional constituencies, the FNLA and UNITA came out in favor of more attention to African languages, with the FNLA favoring French over Portuguese.

The above-mentioned dynamics of the linguistic situation were aided further by the enormous migrations caused by the Civil War. The most numerous ethnic group and the most devastated by the conflict, the Ovimbundu, arrived in large numbers in metropolitan centers beyond their territories, particularly in Luanda and neighboring areas. At the same time, the bulk of Bakongo who had fled to the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the early 1960s, or their children and grandchildren, returned to Angola, but mainly settled in cities, particularly Luanda. As a result, more than half of the population currently lives in cities, which have grown extremely diverse in terms of linguistic diversity. This implies, of course, that Portuguese is now the most important overall national language of communication, and that the significance of African languages is gradually declining among the urban population—a tendency that is starting to extend into rural regions as well.

Although the precise number of people who are proficient in Portuguese or use Portuguese as a first language is unclear, a census is scheduled to be conducted in July–August 2013. Several voices have called for the recognition of “Angolan Portuguese” as a distinct variety, similar to those spoken in Portugal or Brazil. While there are idiomatic peculiarities in daily Portuguese as spoken by Angolans, it needs to be seen if the Angolan government concludes that these peculiarities form a configuration that supports the claim to be a distinct language variety.


Angola has a rich subsurface resources, including diamonds, oil, gold, copper, and a diverse fauna (which was severely depleted during the civil war), woodland, and fossils. Since independence, the most significant economic resources have been oil and diamonds. Smallholder and plantation agriculture suffered greatly as a result of the Angolan Civil War, but began to recover after 2002. The transformation industry that had emerged in the late colonial era failed after independence due to the departure of the majority of the ethnic Portuguese people, but has started to resurface with updated technology, thanks in part to the inflow of new Portuguese entrepreneurs. Similar trends may be seen in the service industry.

Overall, Angola’s economy has recovered from the devastation of a quarter-century civil war to become the fastest-growing in Africa and one of the fastest in the world, with an average GDP growth rate of 20% between 2005 and 2007. Angola had the world’s highest yearly average GDP growth rate from 2001 to 2010, at 11.1 percent. Angola received a $2 billion line of credit from Eximbank in 2004. The loan was intended to be used to restore Angola’s infrastructure while simultaneously limiting the International Monetary Fund’s influence in the country. Angola’s greatest trading partner and export destination, as well as its fourth-largest importer, is China. Bilateral commerce was $27.67 billion in 2011, an increase of 11.5 percent year on year. China’s imports, mostly crude oil and diamonds, rose 9.1 percent to $24.89 billion, while exports, which included mechanical and electrical goods, machinery components, and building materials, climbed 38.8 percent. Because to the oil glut, the local unleaded gasoline “pricetag” was £0.37 per gallon.

According to The Economist, diamonds and oil account for 60% of Angola’s GDP, nearly all of the country’s income, and are the country’s main exports. Rising oil output, which exceeded 1.4 million barrels per day (220,000 m3/d) in late 2005 and was projected to reach 2 million barrels per day (320,000 m3/d) by 2007. Sonangol Group, a corporation controlled by the Angolan government, controls the oil sector. Angola became a member of OPEC in December 2006. However, agreements in diamond mines exist between the state-run Endiama and mining firms like as ALROSA, which continue to operate in Angola. In 2005, the economy expanded 18 percent, 26 percent in 2006, and 17.6 percent in 2007. However, the global recession caused the economy to shrink by an estimated 0.3 percent in 2009. The security provided by the 2002 peace treaty has resulted in the resettlement of 4 million displaced people, resulting in large-scale improvements in agricultural output.

Although the country’s economy has grown considerably since achieving political stability in 2002, owing mostly to the rapidly increasing profits of the oil industry, Angola nevertheless confronts major social and economic challenges. These are partly the consequence of a virtually continuous state of warfare from 1961 onwards, but the greatest degree of devastation and socioeconomic loss occurred after independence in 1975, during the lengthy years of civil war. High poverty rates and obvious social disparity, on the other hand, are primarily the result of a combination of continuous political authoritarianism, “neo-patrimonial” practices at all levels of the political, administrative, military, and economic institutions, and widespread corruption. The primary benefactor of this scenario is a society segment formed over the past decades around the holders of political, administrative, economic, and military power, which has amassed (and continues to amass) tremendous riches. The “secondary beneficiaries” are the intermediate strata on the verge of becoming social classes. However, almost half of the population must be deemed poor, although there are significant variations between the countryside and the city in this regard (where by now slightly more than 50 percent of the people live).

According to an investigation conducted in 2008 by the Angolan Instituto Nacional de Estatstica, approximately 58 percent of the population in rural regions must be classed as “poor,” according to UN standards, but only 19 percent in urban areas, while the total average is 37 percent. A majority of families in cities, well beyond those officially classed as poor, must use a range of survival tactics. Simultaneously, socioeconomic disparity is most visible in metropolitan areas, and it reaches extremes in the capital, Luanda. Angola is consistently ranked at the bottom of the Human Development Index.

According to The Heritage Foundation, a conservative American think tank, Angola’s oil output has risen so dramatically that Angola is now China’s largest oil supplier. “China has provided three multibillion-dollar lines of credit to the Angolan government: two $2 billion loans from China Exim Bank, one in 2004, the second in 2007, and a $2.9 billion loan from China International Fund Ltd in 2005.” Growing oil earnings have also provided possibilities for corruption: from 2007 to 2010, 32 billion US dollars vanished from government accounts, according to a recent Human Rights Watch study. Furthermore, Sonangol, the state-owned oil firm, controls 51% of Cabinda’s oil. Because of this market dominance, the business ends up deciding the amount of profit provided to the government and the amount of taxes paid. According to the Council on Foreign Relations, the World Bank stated Sonangol “is a taxpayer, performs quasi-fiscal functions, invests public money, and serves as a sector regulator as a concessionaire. This diverse labor program generates conflicts of interest and defines a complicated connection between Sonangol and the government, undermining the official budgeting process and creating confusion about the state’s real fiscal position.”

Angola was a breadbasket of southern Africa and a major exporter of bananas, coffee, and sisal before independence in 1975, but three decades of civil conflict (1975–2002) devastated the farmland, left it strewn with landmines, and pushed millions into cities. The nation currently relies on costly food imports, mostly from South Africa and Portugal, despite the fact that more than 90 percent of farming is done at the family and subsistence level. Thousands of Angolan small-scale farmers are impoverished.

The enormous disparities between regions pose a serious structural problem for the Angolan economy, as evidenced by the fact that roughly one-third of economic activity is concentrated in Luanda and neighboring Bengo province, while several areas of the interior experience economic stagnation or even regression.

One of the economic repercussions of social and geographical inequalities has been a significant rise in Angolan private investment overseas. For reasons of security and profit, the tiny edge of Angolan society where most of the accumulation occurs wants to distribute its holdings. For the time being, the majority of these investments are concentrated in Portugal, where the Angolan presence (including that of the state president’s family) in banks, as well as in energy, telecommunications, and mass media, has become notable, as has the acquisition of vineyards and orchards, as well as touristic enterprises.

According to a study by Tony Blair Africa Governance Initiative and The Boston Consulting Group, Sub-Saharan African countries are making significant gains in well-being worldwide. Angola has improved vital infrastructure, thanks to money generated by the country’s oil growth. According to this study, little over 10 years after the conclusion of the civil war, Angola’s general quality of life has significantly improved. Life expectancy increased from 46 years in 2002 to 51 years in 2011. Children’s mortality rates decreased from 25% in 2001 to 19% in 2010, while the number of kids enrolled in elementary education has quadrupled since 2001. At the same time, the country’s long-standing social and economic inequality has not decreased, but rather worsened in every way.

Angola is currently the third biggest financial market in Sub-Saharan Africa, behind only Nigeria and South Africa in terms of asset stock (70 billion Kz (6.8 billion USD). According to Angola’s Minister of Economy, Abrao Gourgel, the country’s financial sector has grown slightly since 2002 and is currently ranked third in Sub-Saharan Africa.

According to the International Monetary Fund, Angola’s GDP would expand by 3.9 percent in 2014. (IMF). According to the Fund, solid expansion in the non-oil economy, mostly driven by strong agricultural performance, is anticipated to offset a temporary decrease in oil output.

The National Bank of Angola runs the country’s financial system, which is overseen by Governor Jose de Lima Massano. According to a Deloitte research on the banking industry, the monetary policy headed by Banco Nacional de Angola (BNA), the Angolan national bank, allowed for a reduction in the inflation rate, which was set at 7.96 percent in December 2013, contributing to the sector’s development trajectory. According to projections published by Angola’s central bank, the country’s economy would expand at a 5 percent annual average pace over the next four years, aided by more private sector involvement.

Angola’s capital market opened on December 19, 2014. BODIVA (Angola Securities and Debt Stock Exchange, in English) gained the secondary public debt market, and the corporate debt market is scheduled to begin in 2015, however the stock market is not projected to begin until 2016.

Things To Know Before Traveling To Angola

Internet, Comunication

Angola’s phone country code is +244. Telephone lines, both cellular and landline, are very congested, making communication impossible at times. International lines, on the other hand, are often superior.


When going to rural regions, it is essential to meet the local soba (chief with government-backed authority). A few words of compassion shared will open doors for you to enjoy your trip in peace. Failure to notify the soba of your presence, particularly if staying overnight, may have unfavorable consequences for your travels.

How To Travel To Angola

By plane

Luanda-4-de-Fevereiro is located 4 kilometers outside of Luanda. The airport has public phones as well as banking services.

Afritaxi is the most dependable taxi service from the airport. Their white cars are plainly identified, and they charge by the kilometer or the minute, depending on how severe traffic is. They are only operational throughout the day. Eco Tur also provides dependable airport transportation, but you must book ahead of time.

TAAG Linhas Aereas de Angola operates flights from Luanda to many African countries, including South Africa (Johannesburg), Namibia (Windhoek), Zimbabwe (Harare), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Kinshasa), and the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville). TAAG operates two or three flights each week to Rio de Janeiro (Brazil).

  • Emirates [www] flies directly from Dubai to Luanda and from there to more than 100 destinations worldwide.
  • Ethiopian Airways [www] flies from Addis Ababa to Luanda.
  • South African Airways [www] operates from Johannesburg to Luanda.
  • Air France [www] between Paris and Luanda
  • British Airways [www] offers direct connections between London and Luanda
  • Brussels Airlines [www] flies from Brussels to Luanda.
  • Lufthansa [www] flies from Frankfurt to Luanda.
  • Sonair’s Houston non-stop Express. The company is the first to offer direct passenger and freight transportation between Angola and the United States. The airline operates three flights each week from Houston to Luanda.
  • TAP Air Portugal flies daily from Lisbon to Luanda.
  • Iberia flies from Madrid.
  • Kenya Airways from Nairobi
  • Air Namibia  offers affordable flights between Windhoek and Luanda

By car

You may enter Namibia via the border post in Oshikango (Namibia)/Ondjiva (Angola).

As of 2002, the only way in from the north was via Luvo, a tiny hamlet on the Kinshasa-Matadi ‘road.’ Driving across Angola is an unforgettable experience. Off the established path, road conditions may not be what you’re accustomed to, so be prepared, especially during the rainy season, when potholes are likely to be common. Keep an eye out for animals and heavy cars belonging to Angolan citizens.

By boat

As of 2003, it was possible to reach Angola by a small passenger boat from Namibia’s Rundu. An Angolan and a Namibian border officer were also present. The bridge was mostly utilized by Angolans to get food and other goods in Namibia. Ferries operate from the enclave of Cabinda to Luanda (as of 2007), which may be helpful for avoiding the volatile DR Congo. They also transport automobiles. Seek local guidance on when they should leave. According to sources, they operate twice a week, cost $180 per person (bike included), and take 14 hours to complete the journey (2005).

If there are no ferries, there may be cargo aircraft that can transport you (and your vehicle) between Cabinda and Luanda. Be warned: these aircraft are dangerous. You use them at your own risk.

Visa & Passport Requirements for Angola

You’ll need a lot of luck and patience here: When it comes to getting a visa, Angola is notorious for being a nightmare. Except for Namibian residents, all visitors must acquire one before to arrival. Except for residents of Cape Verde, who must pre-arrange it, it is not feasible to acquire a visa on arrival. Your passport must be valid for at least another six months and include at least two blank pages.

According to the Angolan government, travelers must have an international vaccination certificate showing yellow fever immunization within the past 10 years in order to enter the country, although this is not a problem on the Namibian/Angolan border. A letter of invitation from a private person, organization, or business indicating that they would be responsible for your stay is also required. When getting a visa from a northern country, you are often only granted a 5-day transit visa to Angola.

If you’re traveling by car, this will only bring you to Luanda, where you’ll need to wait up to four days to obtain another five-day transit visa. If you are entering Angola from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, you may need to get an Angolan visa before entering the DR Congo.

Things To See in Angola

Mussulo Island in Luanda for beautiful tropical beaches and water activities, Benfica Market and Kwanza River.

Eco Tur Angola offers a variety of customized no excursions throughout Angola, including Kissama, using specialized wildlife watching vehicles.

Baia Azul in Benguela has magnificent desert beaches. Beguela’s Art Deco architecture. Lobito City for the Restinga Penisnula and ice cold draught Cuca beer, the Benguela Rail way, and the spectacular landscape.

Cubal Canyon, Conde Hot Springs, Cachoeiras and Binga Waterfalls, and the Cambambe Dam on the Kwanza River are all located in Kwanza Sul. The landscape in the Waku Kungo grasslands is breathtaking.

In Malange, there are waterfalls called Kalandula and black stones called Pungo n’Dongo.

In Huila, there is the Serra de Leba, the Tunbda Vala Gorge, the Mumuila tribes, beautiful landscape, and much more!

In Namibe, there is the Arco Lagoon, beaches, and a desert, as well as the Mucubais Tribes.

In Huambo, there are city tours, thermal springs, and beautiful landscape.

Cunene – Himba tribespeople, Ruacana Falls, and breathtaking landscape.

Food & Drinks in Angola

Dining out is often difficult in Angola, since restaurant cuisine is costly even in Luanda, and many of the less well-equipped eateries have poor sanitation. Nonetheless, Angolan cuisine is diverse and delicious, with native specialties centered on fish, cassava products, and spicy stews.

Angolan seafood is plentiful and delicious, and the Angolan coast is a unique location to eat fresh lobster straight from the fisherman’s boat.

Tropical fruit in Angola is also a delight since artisan production has preserved organic techniques, resulting in rich fruit flavors that are unfamiliar to the Western taste used to industrially produced tropical fruits. If you are in Luanda and need to eat, it is suggested that you go to Ilha de Luanda, where beach-restaurants (ranging in price from extremely exclusive to fairly casual) can meet most international requirements. It should also be noted that restaurant numbers and quality are growing in Luanda as a result of the current peace, which has brought stability and considerable investment to the nation.

When dining out, avoid drinking tap water and instead get bottled mineral water.

Not many establishments take cash in US currency; inquire before ordering. Most eateries do not take credit cards, but this is changing fast.

Money & Shopping in Angola

The Angolan new kwanza is the country’s currency (AOA). In September 2014, USD1 equaled AOA98, €1 equaled AOA126, and GBP1 equaled AOA160. It used to be illegal to import or export any amount of kwanza, but you may now bring up to AOA50,000 out of the country.

The Benfica Handcrafts Market, located just south of Luanda, has the greatest deals on handicrafts and gifts. This is an open market where local artists and craftsmen sell their wares, and bargaining is not only allowed, but encouraged. Sculptures and paintings, as well as jewelry, batik textiles, and accessories, are available.

Culture Of Angola

There is a Culture Ministry in Angola, which is led by Culture Minister Rosa Maria Martins da Cruz e Silva. Portugal has been present in Angola for 400 years, occupied the country in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and controlled it for approximately 50 years. As a result, both nations share cultural elements such as language (Portuguese) and primary religion (Roman Catholic Christianity).

Angolan culture is based on African, mostly Bantu, influences, but Portuguese culture has been introduced. The diverse ethnic communities – the Ovimbundu, Ambundu, Bakongo, Chokwe, Mbunda, and others – retain their own cultural traits, traditions, and languages to varying degrees, but in the cities, where slightly more than half of the population now lives, a mixed culture has been emerging since colonial times – in Luanda since its foundation in the 16th century.

The Portuguese ancestry has grown more prominent in this metropolitan society. An African influence is visible in music and dance, and it is shaping the way Portuguese is spoken, although it is rapidly vanishing from the lexicon. This technique is widely represented in Angolan literature today, particularly in the works of Pepetela and Ana Paula Ribeiro Tavares.

Miss Angola 2011, Leila Lopes, was named Miss Universe 2011 in Brazil on September 12, 2011, making her the first Angolan to win the contest.

After a 25-year hiatus, Angola revived the National Festival of Angolan Culture (FENACULT) in 2014. The festival, which took place in all of the country’s regional capitals between August 30 and September 20, featured the subject “Culture as a Factor of Peace and Development.”

History of Angola

Early migrations and political units

The oldest known contemporary human residents of the region are Khoi and San hunter-gatherers. During the Bantu migrations, they were mainly absorbed or replaced by Bantu peoples, but a small number of them survive in areas of southern Angola to this day. The Bantu arrived from the north, most likely from someplace around the Republic of Cameroon.

During this period, the Bantu formed a number of governmental entities (“kingdoms,” “empires”) across much of what is now Angola. The most well-known of them was the Kingdom of the Kongo, which had its center in the northwest of modern Angola but encompassed significant areas in the west of the current Democratic Republic of the Congo and in southern Gabon. It developed trade lines with other trading towns and civilisations around the coasts of southwestern and West Africa, as well as with the Great Zimbabwe Mutapa Empire, although it participated in little or no transoceanic commerce. To the south was the Kingdom of Ndongo, from whence the subsequent Portuguese colony was often referred to as Dongo.

Portuguese colonization

In 1484, the Portuguese adventurer Diogo Co arrived in what is now Angola. The Portuguese had established ties with the Kingdom of Kongo the year before, which extended from current Gabon in the north to the Kwanza River in the south at the time. Apart from the Cabinda enclave, the Portuguese built their main early trade station at Soyo, which is today Angola’s northernmost metropolis. In 1575, Paulo Dias de Novais established So Paulo de Loanda (Luanda) with a hundred families of immigrants and 400 troops. Benguela was fortified in 1587 and raised to the status of township in 1617.

Along the Angolan coast, the Portuguese built numerous additional towns, forts, and trading stations, mostly to trade Angolan slaves for Brazilian farms. Local slave traders supplied the Portuguese Empire with a significant number of slaves, who were typically sold in return for manufactured commodities from Europe. This segment of the Atlantic slave trade lasted until the 1820s, when Brazil gained freedom.

Despite Portugal’s formal claims, its authority over Angola’s interior remained limited as late as the nineteenth century. Portugal acquired control of the coast in the 16th century via a series of treaties and battles. Life was tough and development was sluggish for European colonists. According to Iliffe, “Portuguese records of Angola from the 16th century show that a great famine occurred on average every seventy years; accompanied by epidemic disease, it might kill one-third or one-half of the population, destroying a generation’s demographic growth and forcing colonists back into the river valleys.”

In the midst of the Portuguese Restoration War, the Dutch seized Luanda in 1641, relying on partnerships with locals to counter Portuguese possessions elsewhere. In 1648, a navy led by Salvador de Sá retook Luanda for Portugal; the remainder of the province was reclaimed by 1650. New treaties were made with Kongo in 1649, and others with Njinga’s Kingdom of Matamba and Ndongo in 1656. The capture of Pungo Andongo in 1671 was the final significant Portuguese advance from Luanda, since efforts to attack Kongo in 1670 and Matamba in 1681 were both unsuccessful. Portugal also moved inward from Benguela, although advances from Luanda and Benguela were relatively restricted until the late nineteenth century. Portugal had neither the desire nor the resources to engage in large-scale territorial occupation and colonization.

After the Berlin Conference in 1885 established the colony’s boundaries, British and Portuguese investment encouraged mining, railroads, and agriculture based on different forced-labor and volunteer labor regimes. Full Portuguese governmental authority of the hinterland did not emerge until the early twentieth century. For almost 500 years, Portugal had a limited presence in Angola, and early demands for independence elicited little response from a people that had little social identification with the region as a whole. In the 1950s, more openly political and “nationalist” organizations started to express demands for self-determination, particularly in international venues such as the Non-Aligned Movement.

Meanwhile, the Portuguese regime refused to give in to the calls for independence, sparking an armed confrontation in northeastern Angola in 1961, when freedom fighters assaulted both white and black people in cross-border operations. The conflict became known as the Colonial War. The People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), established in 1956, the National Front for the Liberation of Angola (FNLA), founded in 1961, and the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), created in 1966, were the main actors in this fight. After years of warfare that weakened all insurgent groups, Angola achieved independence on November 11, 1975, after the 1974 coup d’état in Lisbon, Portugal, which toppled the Portuguese regime led by Marcelo Caetano.

In 1974, Portugal’s new revolutionary authorities started a process of domestic political reform and recognized independence for its former colonies overseas. The three nationalist groups in Angola soon clashed for supremacy. The events triggered a major flight of Portuguese people, resulting in the creation of up to 300,000 impoverished Portuguese exiles known as retornados. The new Portuguese government attempted to negotiate an agreement between the three rival groups, and was successful in persuading them to agree to establish a single government on paper. However, none of the African parties followed through on their promises, and the matter was settled by military action.

Independence and civil war

Angola had a terrible civil war that lasted many decades after gaining independence in November 1975. (with some interludes). It claimed millions of lives and created a large number of refugees; it lasted until 2002.

Following talks in Portugal, which was undergoing significant social and political upheaval and uncertainty as a result of the April 1974 revolution, Angola’s three major guerrilla organizations decided in January 1975 to form a transitional government. However, within two months, the FNLA, MPLA, and UNITA began battling one other, and the nation began to divide into zones controlled by opposing armed political organizations. The MPLA seized control of the nation’s capital, Luanda, as well as most of the rest of the country. With the backing of the US, Zare and South Africa engaged militarily in support of the FNLA and UNITA, with the goal of seizing Luanda before the proclamation of independence. In response, Cuba intervened in support of the MPLA (see: Cuba in Angola), causing a Cold War flashpoint.

The MPLA controlled Luanda and proclaimed independence on November 11, 1975, with Agostinho Neto becoming the first president, but the civil war continued. At this point, the bulk of Angola’s half-million Portuguese residents – who had accounted for the majority of skilled employees in public administration, agriculture, industries, and commerce – had left the nation, leaving the country’s formerly wealthy and expanding economy in a condition of insolvency.

The MPLA organized and maintained a socialist regime throughout the majority of 1975–1990. When the Cold War ended in 1990, the MPLA abandoned its Marxist–Leninist doctrine and proclaimed social democracy its official philosophy, going on to win the 1992 general election. However, eight opposition parties declared the elections to be rigged, resulting in the Halloween bloodbath.

Ceasefire with UNITA

Jonas Savimbi, the commander of UNITA, was killed in battle with government forces on March 22, 2002. Soon after, the two sides agreed to a cease-fire. UNITA renounced its armed branch and accepted the role of main opposition party, despite the fact that a genuine democratic election was impossible under the current government. Although the country’s political situation started to improve, formal democratic procedures were not created until the elections in Angola in 2008 and 2012, as well as the passage of a new Angolan Constitution in 2010, both of which reinforced the country’s dominant-party system. Although a few exceptional UNITA figures are granted part of the economic as well as military share, MPLA head officials continue to be awarded prominent posts in top-level businesses or other areas.

Angola is in the grip of a severe humanitarian crisis as a result of the prolonged war, the abundance of minefields, the continued political and, to a lesser extent, military activities in support of the independence of the northern exclave of Cabinda carried out in the context of the protracted Cabinda Conflict by the Frente para a Libertaço do Enclave de Cabinda, (FLEC), and, most importantly, the depravation. While the majority of the internally displaced have already settled in the capital’s so-called musseques, Angolans’ overall condition remains dire.

The 2016 drought is Southern Africa’s greatest global food catastrophe in 25 years. Drought has affected 1.4 million people in seven of Angola’s 18 regions. Food costs have increased, and acute malnutrition rates have more than doubled, affecting almost 95,000 children. From July until the end of the year, food insecurity is projected to increase.

Stay Safe & Healthy in Angola

Stay Safe in Angola

For travel inside Angola, you should consider hiring an experienced local guide, although if you follow some simple guidelines, traveling in Angola is not hazardous. Traveling alone after dark is never a smart idea. Join with other vehicles of the same make and model if feasible, since spare components may be required. In the event of a breakdown or other emergency, have a satellite phone on hand. Be advised that, while Iridium [www] satellite phones offer worldwide coverage, Thuraya satellite phones have coverage in much of Angola but may not in the country’s southern regions (check the Angola Thuraya coverage [www] map for details).

Other regulations apply in the city of Luanda. Stay in your vehicle (with the doors closed) while you’re out of sight of security staff, which can be found at any hotel or restaurant.

Avoid using your camera in front of law enforcement (dressed in blue uniforms). At best, photography will result in a hefty punishment, but it may possibly have far-reaching repercussions. Taking pictures of military or security-related facilities and installations, including government buildings, is illegal in Angola and should be avoided.

Stay Healthy in Angola

Travelers should only consume mineral water or, in an emergency, boiling water since Angola’s water is untreated and therefore unsafe to ingest. Because malaria is prevalent in this nation, visitors should apply insect repellent and repellent-impregnated bed nets to prevent mosquito bites. Furthermore, while in Angola, there is a danger of getting bitten by the tse tse insect, which causes sleeping illness; see a doctor promptly if you begin to have sleeplessness.

Adults in Angola have a prevalence of 4.0 percent, or one in every 25 individuals, for AIDS and HIV. Avoid having sex without protection.



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