Travelling in Angola presents its challenges – the first one often being the attitude of your sponsor company! But any restrictions you may find can be overcome. Below we have listed a couple of companies with whom you can travel around Angola. Once again – we cannot officially recommend these companies, we are just listing them. So please do your research!
To get you in the mood – have a look at these videos – it’s amazing to learn so many new things about our ‘adopted’ country –
BUT – we also need your stories. We need you to share your stories. Let us know where you have visited in the comments below and we will include your stories here for others to read and to learn from.
- Travel Companies include – Eco-Tur (everywhere), Cunene Tours (Namibe), Angolan Getaways (North), Angolan Adventure Safaris (South)
- Places to consider include – Kalendula Falls, Pedras Negras, Lobito, Benguela, Lubango, Namibe province
- Lodges to consider include Flamingo Lodge (Namibe), Pululukwa resort (Lubango)
November – 2017 Deli has been exploring some caves south of Luanda.
SUMBA CAVES IN KWANZA SUL
On the weekend of 18th-19th November we set off very early in the morning from Luanda for Sumbe Caves in Kwanza Sul. Fast trip to Cabo Ledo but then somewhat slower as the road had unexpected potholes (do watch out for them – one vehicle had to change a wheel). We reached the caves after a 5-hour drive and it was totally worth it! The caves are massive and you’d like to have a torch to make the several hundred metres of total darkness easier to navigate and get to the other side. Expect local kids to follow you and ask for food. At the end of the caves there might be someone asking money for the “soba”; we paid Kwz 500 each.
Soon after leaving the caves you’re struck by an amazing sight of hills, humungous rocks, stunning views and cooler weather as you drive up towards the coffee plantation. We were lucky to be travelling in the rainy season and had the chance to buy huge mushrooms on the roadside for a ridiculously small amount of money. We stopped to see an old Russian tank which (we were told) was intact inside. Soon after that you arrive at Fazenda Rio Uiri, a tranquil spot in the hills with more than fine accommodation, good and plentiful food, friendly owners and pleasant surroundings. Dona Maria Odete is always happy and proud to show you around – ask to see bambi. There are plenty of hiking opportunities nearby.
Altogether a super weekend which we are planning to repeat as soon as we can and without the caves part. We had enough of guano!
July- 2017 Harshal has been out and about and has this enthusiastic recommendation for you.
Recently, a group of us decided to head down to the Kwanza Lodge for a ‘Ladies Day Out’.
The Kwanza Lodge is located near the estuary of the Kwanza River. The estate is a peaceful sanctuary set amid lush, green landscape.
There is a log cabin on stilts for extended stays. The public area has a Restaurant and a Swimming Pool overlooking the river.
We went for a two hour boat trip into the river’s backwaters. Our Captain pointed out the various birds and animals hiding in the forest. Even without the wildlife-spotting, the backwater cruise was very relaxing. At the end of the cruise we headed out towards the river’s mouth to see the village with its newly built church.
On our return we were greeted with a sumptuous buffet for a bargain price. Our hostess, Manny, is very friendly and speaks English and Portuguese.
Location: Head south on the National Highway 100. After you pass the golf course, turn right at the Sonangol gas station. Kwanza lodge is located at the bottom of the road.
- JUNE 2017 Deli and Andrew Ford visited Mubanga Lodge
- Deli and Andrew Ford visited Flamingo Lodge in Namibe and provided us with this amazing review.
Clinging to the edge of the desert, nestled in the lee of wind-worn sandstone outcrops, yards from the thundering South Atlantic surf, miles from the nearest town and light years from the hustle and bustle of Luanda, if you’re lucky you’ll find a group of wooden cabins and a bar with a view to die for.
Bleached whale bones double as lamp posts and frame the short climb to the bar. Photos of heroic catches line the beams, alongside plaques commemorating those few who have achieved the celebrated Flamingo Slam by landing three types of local fish in a single day. Heavy duty 4x4s with South African and Namibian plates, and their heavy duty occupants, reveal further clues. Flamingo Lodge is right in the heart of hardcore fishing country.
We had contemplated driving there. Glad we didn’t as I think we would still be looking for it. Instead we flew to Namibe city, whose airport, incidentally, is new, clean and efficient. On arrival we were met by the immediately friendly and welcoming Paizinho from the Lodge, who bundled us into a battered Hilux, and drove us ten yards down the highway before unexpectedly veering off down a desert track. “The sea is low enough so I thought we’d take the beach route in today”, he smiled. The other route is via a twisting 25km dry river bed. Experienced off-roaders only need apply.
And so began a weekend of adventure. The Namibe Desert is everything you could ask of a desert: by turns colourful, flat, windswept, rocky, largely devoid of humans and sometimes even devoid of their impact, cold, silent, treacherous, and above all blindingly beautiful. We lunched at the foot of great dunes, explored shipwrecks, disturbed tens of thousands of cormorants, marvelled at the mysterious and ancient Weltwitschia Mirabilis plant, watched whales and dolphins playing just offshore, and wandered up incredible red-rocked canyons.
The Lodge owners are clearly very passionate about the location and their stewardship of their area of the desert. Considering the logistical difficulties of obtaining supplies in such a remote place, they also lay on a pretty decent buffet three times a day, with the fresh fish (of course) taking top billing. Gourmet it isn’t – but then it doesn’t pretend to be. The objective is to fill up those fishermen and let them get back out there. You can bring your own booze, with unlimited mixers, juice, water and beers included in the price.
The cabins look weather-worn from the outside. Hardly surprising given the harsh environment. Inside the beds are reasonably comfortable with extra blankets (required!), while the bathrooms have flushing loos and (drum roll) plenty of hot water for showering. Each cabin has its own mini gas boiler just for heating water. No cellphone service anywhere (hurray!) but there is complimentary guest wi-fi at the bar.
I won’t say Flamingo Lodge is the finest accommodation we’ve ever encountered, but we’ve definitely stayed in worse. For the hardier souls, or those on a tighter budget, there is plenty of space for camping too. Going to sleep to the sound of surf was a huge treat. The place grows on you, fast.
Including flights, transfers and the (must-do) full day excursion on the Saturday, it came out at about £500 per person (at the official exchange rate) full board for two nights. So not a cheap weekend. But tremendous value, and an unforgettable experience. If you want to see a completely different side to this country, go for it. If you’re a townie and do drive, don’t say I didn’t warn you. But if you’re a fisherman, you’ll never want to leave. Don’t worry. We’ll send a search party. Eventually…. 😉
- NEW – Randi (from framed and shot) has provided us with this link – from a recent trip to CuanzaSul. You should check this out – not only are the photos brilliant, but there is info about a coffee plantation to visit and a winery.