Exploring Tourism in Angola
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Angola Popular Places to Visit

Maiombe Forest

Cabinda is an exclave and province of Angola, a status that has been disputed by several political organizations in the territory. The capital city is also called Cabinda, known locally as Tchiowa. The province is divided into four municipalities—Belize, Buco-Zau, Cabinda and Cacongo.

Cabinda is separated from the rest of Angola by a narrow strip of territory belonging to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which bounds the province on the south and the east. Cabinda is bounded on the north by the Republic of the Congo, and on the west by the Atlantic Ocean. Adjacent to the coast are some of the largest offshore oil fields in the world. Petroleum exploration began in 1954 with the Cabinda Gulf Oil Company, when the territory was under Portuguese rule.

Cabinda also produces hardwoods, coffee, cacao, rubber, and palm oil products; however, petroleum production accounts for most of Cabinda's domestic product.

In 1885, the Treaty of Simulambuco established Cabinda as a protectorate of the Portuguese Empire, and Cabindan independence movements consider the occupation of the territory by Angola illegal. While the Angolan Civil War largely ended in 2002, an armed struggle persists in the exclave of Cabinda.[citation needed] Some of the factions have proclaimed an independent Republic of Cabinda, with offices in Paris.

The Maiombe Forest is part of the Kakongo Forest Reserve – a large protected area located in the northern border with the Democratic Republic of Congo. This great tropical forest is one of the largest in the African continent, covering an area of 290,000 hectares. Visitors are always impressed by the lush green landscape, the thick woodlands and the diverse and thriving ecosystem.

Abundant quantities of precious woods such as ebony, African sandalwood and African blackwood can be found at Maiombe, where trees are often over 50 meters tall. The fauna is equally impressive: rare bird species, gorillas, chimpanzees and even elephants.

Cabinda, Angola

Ship Cemetery

About 30 minutes’ drive North of Luanda, Angola, is an otherworldly sight: A barren beach with as many as 50 rusting ships on or near the shore. It’s like being on the set of a post-apocalyptic Hollywood thriller. Some of the ships are close enough that you can wade out to them at low tide, while others are further out with not much more than a rusting bridge or masthead above the surface of the ocean.

The spot is officially known as Santiago Beach, near the town of Santiago. But the locals call it cemitério de navios, or the ship cemetery. A few like to call it “Marx Beach,” after the Karl Marx, one of the largest ships there.

Parts of the ships have been taken away, and we can look into them, see staircases, pipes, ropes, the inside of the hulls. But surprisingly, much of the ships is still there, waiting for the elements to take them apart with time, slowly, very slowly. We wait for waves rolling in, and see some crashing hard into the rusting vessels, the spray towering above the huge ships. Some wrecks have their bow cutting into another wreck. Some wrecks lie on the sand, some in the surf, some are still further away. With time, the ocean will push them ashore as well, or will make them capsize. There are, in fact, several wrecks lying on their sides. One wreck has a thin, rusting wall left, with holes and cracks, still standing.

There are a number of stories as to the background of the ship cemetery at São Tiago Beach. Some say that prior to the construction of the Port of Luanda, Santiago Beach was the spot where ocean-going freighters would offload cargo bound for the country’s capital. According to this narrative, the spot was not ideal, and many ships blew or were washed aground during storms or heavy seas. When the Port of Luanda was opened after the end of the Angolan Civil War in 2002, the ships that had run aground were simply abandoned.

Others say that the spot has been a designated ship cemetery since the 1960s. Damaged or derelict vessels were towed to what was, at the time, an uninhabited stretch of beach and left to rust away. According to the locals, some of the ships at SãoTiago Beach were damaged or destroyed during the war.

Bengo, Angola

Cabo Ledo

Cabo Ledo is a cape that forms a wide cove located in the province of Luanda, in the heart of Quissama National Park, in Angola. Nearby is the town and commune of Cabo ledo, which belongs to the municipality of Quissama.

120 km south of the city of Luanda, the amplitude of the clear water beaches of Cabo Ledo, the beauty of the immense cliffs surrounding an extensive strip of white sand make this a stunning place, also conducive to fishing and surfing.

Cabo Ledo also has an invaluable historical value, since in 1648 the fleet landed here, which came from Brazil and recovered Angola for Portuguese domination, after seven years under Dutch domination.

The small fishing village with the same name, has the most popular surf spot in the country, where some competitions have already been rehearsed. It has become one of the most important tourist areas in Angola, offering first-class accommodation and an endless number of adventures at the disposal of those who visit it.

If the long and dazzling left of Cabo Ledo is the ex-libris of the place, the wide beaches, with clear water and white sands, and a sunrise that makes magic more than 200 days a year, are characteristics with which any tourist will delight.

From there you can visit several interesting points such as Barra do Kwanza, where you can go on boat trips, Visit the National Park of Kissama where you can observe various species of animals, such as Elephants, giraffes and an endless variety of birds, the Sanctuary of Muxima , one of the places with the largest number of pilgrims in Africa, among others.

The place has several accommodations, specifically lodges in front of the beach with a high quality where you can enjoy some wonderful days of rest next to the beach.

Luanda, Angola


In the middle of the Namibe desert, on paths that can only be reached with eyes accustomed to nothing, thousands of figures cover hills and stones. The rock paintings by Tchitundo-Hulo are a fingerprint of the people who inhabited these lands long before the arrival of the Bantu. We turned the compass to the south. Looking for answers.

Many, many years ago, the rock walls of the southern desert became canvas. A huge outdoor mural with thousands of colorful figures. The majority, abstract and circular designs - perhaps the universe itself, the cosmos seen on clear desert nights -; others, more recognizable, with antelopes and snakes marking the line.
The Tchitundo-Hulo rock complex in Capolopopo (municipality of Virei, Namibe) is one of the most valuable cultural treasures in Angola. The impressive quantity of engravings dates from remote times - some say 2000 years, some say 4000 - and occupy several stations: Tchitundo-Hulo Mulume, the first to be found; Tchitundo-Hulo Mucai and Pedras da Lagoa and Zebras. There are granite hills, ceilings and walls sprinkled with stories yet to be deciphered.
The engravings began to be studied in 1952, by Camarate França. A thousand and one theories have since emerged to explain this masterpiece of the peoples of the desert.

To get to this place you will have to travel to the capital of the Province of Namibe, Moçamedes, and from there take a trip of about 3 hours in a 4x4 vehicle, as most of the route is done on a sandy road.

There you will also find several Kimbos, small villages of local tribes like the Mecubais.

It is a tradition that before visiting this place you have to ask permission from the chief of the village, Soba. It is also a tradition to make some offers, such as essential food items, sugar, flour and oil, among others.

Moçamedes, Angola

Curoca Hills

Colinas do Curoca, or Valley of the spirits as it is also known, it is a quiet and isolated place between the cities of Namibe and Tombwa. One of the most inspiring places to photograph in Namibe province.

To get to this place you will have to travel from Luana to the capital of the Province of Namibe, Moçamedes, and from there take a trip of about 1h30 hours in a 4x4 vehicle, as most of the route is done on a sandy road.

Is in the Namibe desert on the way to the Yona National Park. It is impressive the beauty not only of the place but also of the way to get there.

The beauty and grandeur of the place is impressive, and its tourist importance is a must for the province of Namibe.

The giant towers sculpted by nature, vary up to 25 meters in height. Carved for centuries by the action of the winds, the rocky monuments color the region in beautiful red tones and produce gigantic remains on the desert floor.

It is fascinating to see the shapes that nature has sculpted on these rocks, some of them have cuts so linear that it seems that they were cut with some type of equipment for the purpose.

In past times, these valleys served as hiding places for the local inhabitants, when in the presence of invaders. The sounds produced by the winds in that place and the songs sung by these peoples, as well as the practice of beliefs and rituals, kept enemies away.

It is a tradition that before visiting this place you have to ask permission from the chief of the village, Soba. It is also a tradition to make some offers, such as essential food items, sugar, flour and oil, among others.

Moçamedes, Angola

Lagoon Of Arches

In Namibe Province, between the cities of Namibe and Tombwa, on the right bank of the Curoca River, is one of the most emblematic icons of Angolan nature, the arc lagoon.

Just about 20 km from the sea coast, it stretches over a strip of more than 10 km, on the edge of the Curoca estuary, in an area where the gorge is rocky and formed by sandstones with a 60-80m difference in level. It includes 3 lagoons, the middle one of which is the most famous, due to the existence of Arches created naturally in sandstones and which gave the name to the paradisiacal place. Considered by many as an aggressive but impressive landscape, it constitutes an immense habitat for animal species, perhaps endemic, and a flora rich in varieties.

The Lagoon is fed by the Curoca River, which sometimes does not have enough flow to fill the lagoon. The lagoon was without water for 7 years due to the constant droughts that plagued the country, having only received water in 2018.

To get to this place you will have to travel from Luanda to the capital of the Province of Namibe, Moçamedes, and from there take a trip of about 1h30 hours in a 4x4 vehicle, as most of the route is done on a sandy road.

Here live some families of the local tribes, where the head of the community, Soba, is like the guardian of the place. Upon arriving we have to go to Soba and ask for permission to visit the place, always accompanied by a member of his community. it is also tradition to leave a contribution to Soba.

It is one of the references in terms of tourism in this province. Annually it is visited by thousands of tourists, including tourists of cruise ships that have a mandatory point in their visits to this wonderful place.

Moçamedes, Angola

Massangano Fort

Massangano is a word whose origin came from Angola, with references dating from the 16th century.

Massangano, is a village, east of Luanda, in the province of Kwanza Norte. The legend about his name goes back to the time of the caravels that transported the first Portuguese´s to Angola. His helmsman, Paulo Dias de Novais, after disembarking on African soil, may have asked the name of the place to a native who quietly stepped (kneaded) corn in his pestle: “what is this place called?”, He asked. Seeing the question in a strange language, the man would have thought that the foreigner asked him what he was doing and, thus thinking, replied in Kimbundu language: “massa n’gna!” (“Corn sir!”). Paulo Dias de Novais understood that the place was called “Massangano” - a name that remains today

In search of fortune, expanding Portuguese domains, these explorers pitted black nations and kings against each other to take their lands and imprison the losers for the slave trade, a great business from the 16th century onwards. For seven years, from August 1641 to August 1648, Massangano was officially the Portuguese capital of Angola, during the Dutch invasion. Other significant names and facts occurred during the struggles to retake the place.

In 1640, Queen Nzinga (or Ginga) and her warriors attacked Fort Massangano, where her two sisters, Cambu and Fungi, were imprisoned, the latter being executed. It was a Brazilian general, Salvador Correia de Sá y Benevides, who restored Portuguese sovereignty in Luanda in 1648. In a tangle of twists and turns, these wars and their characters are part of not only the history of Angola, but also the imagination of that people and who came to Brazil, as slaves.

In this place, in 1580, the Battle of Massangano was fought, in which the Portuguese forces defeated those of King Quiluange of the kingdom of Dongo. Later, in 1582, the Portuguese forces, under the command of Captain Paulo Dias de Novais, were repelled by the Dongo, when they tried to penetrate the region, in search of the legendary silver mines. This fortification was built by Novais himself (or by Manuel Cerveira Pereira, according to other authors), on the banks of the Cuanza River, in 1583, with the function of defending the prison (establishment of military colonization) that ensured Portuguese occupation in the region. 

In addition to marking the Portuguese military presence, this establishment guaranteed the integrity of commercial networks, including the slave trade to the American continent.

Dondo, Angola

The Waterfalls Of Binga

A few kilometers from Sumbe and the famous warm waters of Conda, As Cachoeiras do Binga, a set of waterfalls, more or less flowing according to the time of year, are one of the most visited tourist attractions in Kwanza-Sul.

The setting is idyllic. Imagine a river that winds through the lands of Porto Amboim and Sumbe, sometimes very close to the road that arrives from the capital.

Beside the great tripping of water, small softer falls and perfect for bathing adorn the main waterfall painted in green frame. Luxurious, in these parts. When taking a stroll through the low and high areas of the waterfall, you can see the palm trees that line the river, tops and branches that shake with the crash and foam. On its already calm banks, the gentle river feits small sands where you can rest peacefully, with the main waterfall as a backdrop.

And giving the place an even more picturesque look, an old stone bridge at the head of the Binga. Built in 1944, and in the meantime deactivated, it crosses the Keve for almost 50 meters. Fantastic setting, where there is no shortage of “Parque das Cachoeiras”, an elevated space where you can see the whole set of waterfalls, and where you can have a picnic on the tables installed there.

These waterfalls have always been a crossing point for people attracted by the noise of the waters. Hunters and farmers. The sobas say that the occupation of the place took place at the beginning of the last century, when it began to build such a bridge that gives a special touch to Binga's photography. Soba Oliveira Kulembe told during the presentation of the “Historical Profile of Cachoeiras do Binga”, in 2013, that in 1933, the ex-prisoner Carlos Kandenga was responsible for overseeing the construction site. The “ferocious animals” that hovered around forced him to sleep on top of the baobab tree that exists next to the bridge. With his wife and other family members, who came from Kibala, they were the first to make waterfalls their home.

The population was growing. The region gave way to the municipality of Conda, where there is a fantastic park where “hot water” springs up, perfect for those who like to camp to the sound of the bubbling thermal waters.

The proximity of Cachoeiras do Binga to the EN100, which connects Luanda to Lobito, makes them a perfect place for a short getaway. The falls are added to a long list of natural points in the region, a must-visit, such as Lagoa da Kamoma and, of course, the beaches of Porto Amboim and Sumbe.

Under the spurts of water from the waterfalls, relax. It is free and natural session of hydrotherapy in a perfect setting. While waiting for you, Cachoeiras do Binga continues to stir Keve, with a good smell of Gabela's coffee diluted in the whirlwind.

Sumbe, Angola

The Sassa Caves

The province of Kwanza Sul is located just south of Luanda, making it easy to visit. But those who think that this is the only reason they should visit her are mistaken. On the contrary, it presents great places for tourism.

One of these places is that of the Sassa Caves, which have great natural beauty, in addition to their own history.

Kwanza Sul, or Cuanza Sul, as it is also known, is a province of Angola, whose capital is the city of Sumbe. This region is located in a region close to the center of the country.

According to the estimates of the National Institute of Statistics of Angola, the population in the province is just over 2 million inhabitants. Regarding its area, it is about 55 thousand km².

As such, Kwanza Sul is one of the five most populous provinces in the country. Its history of settlement, moreover, began mainly from the 18th century from the mouth of the Cambongo-Negunza River.

With regard to its limits, this region is located next to the provinces of Luanda, Malange, Cuanza Norte (to the north and northeast), Hambo, Bié (to the southeast) and Benguela (to the south), in addition to the Atlantic Ocean, which is to the west.

For tourism, on the other hand, there is also a good potential in the region. As it is relatively close to the capital Luanda, for example, it ends up not being one of the most difficult regions to visit in the country - on the contrary, by the way.

In fact, as you will see in this publication, there is a wealth of culture and natural beauty. With regard to landscapes, the highlight goes to the Sassa Caves; in culture, there are fortifications and rock cultures of great historical value.

Well, specifically about the Sassa Caves, they are one of the great highlights of Kwanza Sul, and for that reason tourists should not miss visiting them. In fact, they are recognized as one of the 7 wonders of Angola.

These caves are relatively close to the capital Sumbe, being just 3 km east of it. So, it is close and easy to find, and it is also a good choice for this.

They have not only a natural and environmental value, but also a historical one. This is because it was in them that, in the past, some people found refuge, mainly in the escape from paying taxes.

Sumbe, Angola

Huila Waterfall

Huila Waterfalls

The European presence in the region began in 1627, following a Portuguese-Spanish expedition from the city of Mocamedes to the Huíla plateau, reaching the Serra da Chela, from where it was possible to see a vast valley dominated by the Soba Calubango, in the country of Humbi-Onene.

The current city of Lubango is located in a territory that was, until the end of the 19th century, in the area of influence of the Soba do Lubango, whose ombala was located in the urban district currently known as Munhino.

The natural characteristics of Huíla and, in particular, its rugged relief generate spectacular and pleasant waterfalls between mountains and abundant vegetation, whose water that falls from a considerable height, forms natural and crystalline pools.

These waterfalls of living water are another of the natural wonders of the province, they are like a hidden treasure where you can only reach the right way.

Ideal places for picnics, walks and swimming, an intense contact with Nature and with all the elements that compose it ...

Among hundreds of similar formations in the province, the most important are the Cascatas da Estação Zootécnica, Cascata da Leba, Lagoa do Tchivinguiro, and Ondimba Caves, in the municipality of Humpata, Cascata de Hunguéria in the municipality of Chibia, the cascade da Huíla in the municipality of Lubango and the Quipungo lagoon in the municipality of the same name.

Huíla Waterfall is located in the Commune of Huíla 20 km from the Municipality of Lubango. It has leafy trees of old age that constitute a small garden where people flock in search of leisure. It is a landscape area of tourist interest that must be conserved and preserved by all who visit it, in order to serve the enjoyment of present and future generations.

A perfect place for an encounter with nature.

Lubango, Angola