Time, power, climate, money

We thought some information on Time, Power, Electrical adaptors, Climate and Money might be useful to you if you are just about to arrive or are already in Angola.

Time

Angola’s time zone is GMT +1.  Very convenient for the British – as we’re on the same time zone when Britain is in BST (March to October) and just one hour ahead

Power

Be prepared for power cuts, which are frequent.  However, fortunately your compound will have back up generators which normally kick in after a few minutes – and longer power cuts are unusual for most expats. Due to these outages, all electrical items plugged in are subject to frequent power surges. To prevent ‘computer fry’ and the loss of irreplaceable electrical items you’ve brought in from home, we recommend that you use ‘Power Surge protectors’.

If you use a computer/internet continually and prefer to avoid having to continually reboot/restart after each outage, its also worth investing in a UPS (Uninterrupted Power Supply) unit. These cost approx. £150 (well worth the spend). It is also possible to buy a back up unit in Angola, you can find a APC for around $250 in NCR or Casa Con Stores – details of which you can find in our shopping section.

Electrical adaptors

If you are travelling from the UK you should find that all of your electrical products will work in Angola, you just need to buy Adaptors.  Typically houses are wired with either “Type C” Europlug and  “Type E” and “Type F” Schuko plugs – and both work fine.   The most value for money place to buy adapters in bulk is on Amazon.

We find that expats from other destinations experience few problems with conversion – apart from those coming from the US – where the difference in the voltages does cause significant problems.  You might want to think twice about the products you bring from the US to avoid them gathering dust on your top shelf in the kitchen.

Climate

The best part about Angola…  The weather in Angola is lovely and warm, pretty much all year round (you may need a jumper in the evenings of the summer months from June to September), but for those of us coming from the UK, this is definitely a bonus, giving us the chance to enjoy the beaches for considerably longer than the UK climate would allow us!

Angola does have a rainy season – causing travel chaos and an increase in the number of mosquitoes – and rains can occur during November and April.  This is not continuous however.  We have odd days where we have heavy rainfalls – but the ground soon dries up, and you certainly don’t need to bring your wellies!  On these days, just be prepared for journey’s to take longer – and if you are out and about on the road, enjoy the perhaps more unusual sights of motorcycles floating down the street…

Money

Angolan currency is Kwanza (kwz).  As the currency used to be a closed currency, it is not found in exchange centres overseas.  So although now we can take kwz (maximum 50,000) out of the country, it is probably safer to manage your money in US$.  US$ can be exchanged in a number of places in Luanda (if you work on a rate of 10kwz to $1 you won’t be too far wrong) and the majority of expats are actually paid in dollars.

In the past shops and restaurants have accepted dollars, but this is now being phased out.  Payment for goods is therefore either by cash (kWh) or multicaixa (debit card through an account set up with a local bank).  It’s best to not rely on credit cards, although sometimes a Visa card will work.

All the companies have different policies and procedures regarding payments and access to cash – but many expats do have a multicaixa card and make sure that a regular % of salary is held in an Angolan bank.  It’s just important to make sure you don’t build up too many kwz that you cannot then remove – foreigners are limited to taking a maximum of $10,000 out of the country.  Alternatively – expats also bring in large quantities of dollars from home countries and exchange once in Luanda.

We would recommend you speak to your company about how best payment and access to cash will work for you – and for the time being at least, make sure you have some US$ to hand!

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