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The Black Rocks At Pungo Andongo

Malanje, Angola

The Black Rocks at Pungo Andongo (Pedras Negras de Pungo Andongo) can be found some 116 km from the provincial capital of Malanje in Angola, and around 325 km from the Capital, Luanda. They are a series of mysterious rock formations, many incredibly and spectacularly shaped in the form of animals, standing high above the flat African Savanna.

There is a fort erected by the Portuguese in 1671. The region is noted for its 107-metre- (350-foot-) high Calandula waterfalls on the Lucala River; the Luando Game Reserve in the south; the Milando animal reserve in the north; and the Pungo Andongo stones, giant black monoliths associated with tribal legend. Most of the region’s inhabitants are members of the Mbundu peoples. The chief economic activities are stock raising.

Pungo Andongo, however, is more than just a place where geological anomalies occur. It is a place full of myths, legends, traditions and cultural values. Due to its topographic and geomorphological characteristics, Pungu-a-Ndongo came to serve as a stronghold for the Ngola Kings, having been, at that time, capital of the Kingdom of Ndongo.

We can find Ana de Sousa Nzinga Mbande footprint on the rock, the history proves that the Angolan queen Nzinga of Ndongo and Matamba is a local. The Ginga still live as an independent people to the north of this their ancient country. The water is remarkably pure, the soil is light. Access to these areas remains difficult, because the going is torturously slow on the decrepit roads, lined with idle shells of abandoned houses - the country's infrastructure really has yet to be rebuilt. Many roads are only passable by four-wheel drive vehicles - or long hours of travel by foot. In these parts, one hundred kilometers can be a four-hour trek, even with the best of jeeps.

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