Angola is a country with different climates, landscapes, cultures and diversified Flora and Fauna. Its tourism industry is based on the country’s natural beauty, including its rivers, waterfalls and scenic coastline full of sandy beaches.
The average temperature in the country varies between 17° to 27° degrees Celsius. In terms of Climate, the weather in Angola has two seasons: a rainy, warm period that occurs between the months of September to May, and the dry season, locally known as Cacimbo. The Cacimbo or dry season is less hot and it runs from May to September. The country has a geographic location of being in the inter-tropical and sub-tropical Southern Hemisphere. In addition to its climatic diversity, Angola has a natural heritage made up of rich flora and fauna which makes the country a potential touristic destination for the practice of all sorts of leisure activities, hobbies and adventures.
Angola has many unique amazing landscapes, among them the Kalandula Waterfalls and the Black Rocks of Pungo-a-Ndongo in Malanje province, the Leba Mountain scenic pass and the Tundavala Gap in Huila Province as well as the Moon Viewpoint and the Kwanza River mouth in Luanda province.
In Angola there are numerous species scattered across several regions, which include the iconic Giant Sable Antelope of Angola (Palanca Negra Gigante) found in Kangandala Park and Luando Nature Reserve, in Malanje province. In the forest of Maiombe, Cabinda province lives various kinds of wild species including gorillas, chimpanzees and exotic birds, including parrots.
Angola has five types of natural areas, dense rainforest such as Maiombe that contains the most rare woods in the world. The savannas, usually associated with forests such as the Lunda, the dry savannas with trees or shrubs in Luanda, downtown Kassanje and certain areas of Lunda. There are still areas of steppe along a track that has its beginning south of Sumbe and finally, the desert that occupies a narrow coastal strip in the extreme south, where we can find the Namib Desert and Welwitchia Mirabilis plant.
What you need to know before your trip
In Angola, nurture your adventurous spirit. Far away from mass tourism, you will experience a pristine Africa, not polished for tourists. Experience the real country and get to know the people. Angola is an exceptional destination that offers you a unique experience such as ethnic groups, Mumuíla, Muhimba, Mucubal, Muacahones, Ngendelengue.
Angola still offers a pure and authentic experience for tourists. The decades-long civil war, which ended in 2002, meant that many regions were untouched by people and have been taken back by nature. Till the the years 2017, the Angolan visa was one of the hardest to get around the world.
Even though the country is gradually opening up to tourism, Angola is still not an easy destination to visit. Frequent power outages, car accidents caused by the tropical climate
and poor road conditions, as well as general difficulties of a developing country make Angola an adventure not for the faint-hearted. For the locals this is normal everyday life, but for travelers from better organized countries, this can be a nerve-racking rehearsal.
Please be aware that despite careful organization and preparation, not everything may go according to plan. From time to time external influences such as traffic or weather may impact plans. We always strive to make your stay as smooth as possible, but a country like Angola brings with it challenges that you might not expect in industrialized nations. In these circumstances, we will always make your safety a priority, rather than the planned event.
After years of civil war Angola is now one of the emerging countries of Africa. Increasingly popular for businesses and tourists, Angola is now back on the world radar.
Situated in the south-west of Africa, the country is divided into 18 administrative districts bordering Namibia, Zambia, the Republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The largely untouched nature, cultural diversity, unique wildlife and the hospitable locals make Angola fascinating for tourists. As soon as you leave the capital, Luanda, you will feel like an explorer. Far away from mass tourism you can still experience the real and original Africa.
Entry requirements and visas
Before you travel, you should carefully check the entry and exit regulations for foreigners at an official office (Embassy of Angola).
To enter Angola, you need a visa or a residence permit, which must be requested before you travel, otherwise you will be refused entry. E-visa, is also now available.
Please note that a tourist visa may not be used if you are planning to conduct any form of professional activity. A work visa can only be applied for in your country of origin.
Your passport must be valid for at least six months from the date of entry into Angola. The presentation of an international certificate (e.g. vaccination certificate) against yellow fever is also mandatory at entry.
Angola has been peaceful since 2002 after the end of the 27 year civil war and is developing rapidly. The country is considered politically stable!
Due to the civil war, landmines are still to be found in some parts of the country, especially outside the big cities. Before you travel around the country on your own, you can call the NGO HALO Trust (www.halotrust.org / email@example.com). They have overviews of the recorded mines. Only use paths that are obviously used by the locals. In general, we advise against overland tours in unknown areas.
The official currency of Angola is the Kwanza (AOA). The current exchange rate is available on the website of the National Bank of Angola http://www.bna.ao/.
The use of bank cards, mainly debit cards (commonly referred to as “Multicaixa”) is widespread. Major credit cards can be used in the big cities, especially in hotels and
restaurants. Cash withdrawal by credit cards is also possible in Angola.
Bank systems or credit card systems can fail due to technical errors and should not be relied on. Always ensure you have sufficient cash for emergencies. It is best to plan a daily budget and try to keep enough cash available for several days at all times.
Cash such as USD or Euros can be exchanged for Kwanza at various exchange offices everywhere in Angola. Be sure to carry only new and undamaged banknotes, as used
banknotes are often not exchanged or can have a different exchange course.
Before leaving, find out how much of the national currency Kwanza (AOA) and other currencies can be exported http://www.minint.gov.ao/
Angola is divided into three climates. The coast and the north are tropical and hot, the highlands in the center and the south are temperate-tropical and the southeast is mostly dry and hot, but rather cool at night. During the rainy season, floods can occur in cities or landslides in rural areas.
The best travel time is between May and October. The coolest time is the winter months from May to July.
The official spoken language in Angola is Portuguese, which is spoken all over the country. In the countryside many tribal languages are spoken. The main languages besides Portuguese are Kimbundu, Umbundu and Kikongo.
Since foreign languages are still poorly spoken, we recommend using a translator if you do not speak in Portuguese.
Angola has a fascinating and intoxicating culture, due to its colorful mix of cultures, and love of dance and music. The life-affirming and open atmosphere, coupled with the locals’ love of parties and the relaxed lifestyle makes the Angolan culture interesting to experience.
In recent years, job and training opportunities in Angola have developed rapidly, leading to a very small upper class and a growing middle class. The young Angolans strive for a Western life that is exemplified by the social media and telenovelas.
Angola is still strongly affected by poverty, especially in rural areas. In contrast to the neighboring African countries, Angola is a relatively safe travel destination, due to the openness and hospitality of the population.
During the Portuguese rule, the country was Christianized. As a result, the value system of the Angolans is very similar to the Western world and visitors from Christian countries have few cultural barriers to be aware of.
Car hire is available to major cities via international providers. The traffic can be an issue if you are not used to it. Should you nevertheless decide to book a rental car, we advise you to have always your documentation with you since this can be penalized, if you do not have it with you. The connecting roads between the big cities are now well developed, but in rural areas, many roads are still virtually impassable.
In the city center it is possible to use the public minibus taxi (Candongueiros). Please inform yourself about the destination before taking the minibus taxi. The minibuses normally have a fixed route, which is driven in loops. The passenger calls the end of the route at the stop, so you can see in which direction the taxi is going. There are no timetables that you can check at the stations. The easiest way for other passers-by to help you find the right direction. You can also book your taxi using an app. Please make sure you give the taxi driver the correct information before driving.
Traveling by train is now much easier in Angola. Several self made experiences shown us that the trains are very punctual but not every destination is accessible by train. Many trains are relatively modern and snacks as well as drinks are also sold during the trip. Sleeping options and air conditioning are still poor.
There are many long-distance coaches that also drive to remote areas of the country and to other destinations outside of Angola. The number of modern buses is steadily increasing, which makes traveling in and around Angola much easier.
The fastest way to travel in Angola and elsewhere is by plane. Yet there are more domestic travel option than only the Angolan airline TAAG, which provides routs connecting all major cities.
For entry into Angola, proof of a yellow fever vaccination has to be provided. Furthermore, vaccinations against tetanus, diphtheria, polio and hepatitis A and B are recommended. For longer stays and trips over land, vaccination against rabies is also advisable. Please inform yourself in advance at an official vaccination office or let us advise you.
An extensive first-aid kit is indispensable, since both hospitals and pharmacies are often poorly equipped. Many necessary medicines are often out of stock. There is also the danger that drugs may be ineffective counterfeits. In rural areas, there is usually no medical care. Therefore, we recommend you to take out health insurance, including return transport to your home country in case of illness, before you travel. Foreigners are advised to be treated in an emergency room in the private clinics within large cities. Be aware that these treatments have to be paid in advance, often in cash, cards are often not accepted.
Special care should be taken when having sexual contact, especially with prostitutes, as the HIV rate is very high.
Angola is a malaria area. The most common type of malaria in Angola is the most severe form of malaria tropica. Both malaria prophylaxis and long clothes and mosquito sprays are advisable.
Infectious diseases are diverse and widespread in Angola. Be sure to get detailed advice from a travel specialist before you leave.
Be wary of food from markets and street stalls. Pay attention to hygiene in restaurants. You should only drink bottled or boiled and treated water. The use of ice cubes in drinks is not recommended also if you are in western style locations. If symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhea occur after eating food or drink, it is advisable to consult a doctor immediately.
In addition to fish and seafood, chicken, beef, pork and goat are also part of the Angolan diet. There are often accompanied by bean dishes, sweet potatoes, plantains, vegetables, lettuce, rice and fried potatoes.
In addition to the traditional Angolan cuisine, in the big cities, Portuguese cuisine is becoming more and more popular.
Angola is an easy destination for vegetarians and vegans, due to the widespread use of vegetables and fruit in daily cuisine. Even people with lactose or gluten intolerance can benefit from the diverse foods available.
Landline phones are available in the capital and other major cities of Angola. Mobile telephony is covered by three providers in Angola. Angola Telecom, Movicel and Unitel. The roaming system operates over Unitel’s mobile network.
As a rule, roaming costs for foreigners in Angola are very high. Therefore, it is recommended to use local phone card if you are planning a longer stay. Mobile phone contracts are still uncommon in Angola.
Recharging credit for calls, messages and mobile data is done by purchasing prepaid cards, which are sold in telecommunications shops, grocery stores, street vendors or multi-banks (“Multicaixa”). Be aware that telecommunication in Angola is an expensive pleasure. Prepaid cards (Saldo) are also accepted as tips.
Internet is usually offered in all major hotels, but these costs are not always included in the room rate. Internet cafés or copy shops can be found in all major cities.
Photographing government buildings and military facilities is prohibited. It is also forbidden to photograph people in public spaces without their consent. Be restrained with your photography. In the event of repercussions, this may lead to seizure of the camera or the mobile phone. Arrests cannot be ruled out.
Angola is next to Brazil and Madagascar, one of three countries with the highest biodiversity worldwide. Nowhere else on the African mainland is such a wealth of animals and plants to be admired. This alone makes Angola a fascinating destination.
Unfortunately, the flora and fauna were severely affected during the civil war, and further decimated by natives due to ignorance and greed in the following years.
Despite extensive efforts in recent years, the highly decimated species need time to recover. Organized open-air walks in the form of safari parks as in Tanzania or South Africa are not available. Here, the untouched landscapes and rare species await discovery. Many parts of the country have not been visited for decades by anyone, and no one can truly say what is still hidden in the deep jungles of the country. Today’s well-known sights, are probably just a taste of Angolas still deeply hidden beauty.
Drug use, possession and smuggling are punished very severely in Angola. In the recent past, there have been recurrent incidents at airports, where tourists are asked to transport gifts for family members living abroad. As is true everywhere in the world, reject this favor. Also refuse to hold drinks cans for bystanders, often older people. The doses are often filled with drugs. By holding the can, the surveillance camera recordings would make you the source of the substance.
If you drive a vehicle drunk in Angola and injure or even kill third parties, this can be considered a murder or attempted murder. This crime continues to be punishable in Angola by death.
Angola is very consistent in the implementation of criminal law, for both locals and foreigners.
Please note that even in the big cities the transport network still has big problems and is very patchy. Paved roads are only partially available. In heavy rains, entire regions or districts become impassable due to strong under-currents, flooding or landslides. If this happens, it may not be possible to make booked tours as planned, as this would pose a high safety risk to guests and staff.
Overnight cross-country trips are not offered by us. If there are time delays on the journey, not all attractions may be visited as planned, as driving at night due to the extreme darkness and the sometimes poor road conditions pose a great risk.