Luanda is the capital city and chief seaport of Angola. It houses major cultural, industrial and urban centre with a population of more than six million.
Formerly called as Sao Paulo da Assuncao de Loanda, the most populous city of Angola is currently undergoing a major reconstruction following the end of civil war in 2002 and growth of economy with increasing oil and diamond production.
Portuguese language is widely spoken here even though the inhabitants are primarily members of African ethnic groups. Sizable minority population of European origin exist in Luanda. Vietnamese and Chinese community too have formed over the period of past couple of decades.
In recent years the population has increased dramatically due to war-time migration and immigration from Portugal after recession in the Portuguese country equipped with poor economic situation.
Visiting Luanda is expensive
Luanda is one of the most expensive cities in the world. Following the end of 27 years of civil war the city lacks basic infrastructure and most of the goods here are imported. Food is high priced and staying in a hotel is very expensive. However, lately more hotel openings and bed and breakfasts have lowered the cost a bit.
Mosquitoes are main enemies there and so it is suggested to carry some serious insect repellent. Also, entering the country requires International Certificate of Vaccination (Yellow Card). Malaria and yellow fever are common there.
Not easy city
Luanda is not an easy city for visitors. Most of the streets don’t have names and the traffic is very chaotic as well as aggressive. The roads are bad too.
Luanda enjoys low humidity and this is the reason the summer is considerably bearable compared to other cities in Western and Central Africa. The rain showers mostly in March and April. The temperatures are almost stable throughout the year. The coldest months are July and August. The warmest months are between January and April.
Lately rail services have seen improvement in Luanda and other parts of Angola too. However, tourists don’t find the trains safe and also those mainly serve commuters.
The National Bus Service has been re-opened, but it is yet not so much organized in terms of routes.
Ferry operates from the city to Cabinda exclave and takes 14 hours. So, it is suggested to better fly.
What to see
Augostinho Neto Mausoleum – You may not miss this towering obelisk-like structure. It is dedicated to the first President of Angola – Augustinho Heto.
Fortress of Sao Miguel – Built in 1576, the fortress details the history of Luanda. During the early part of colonial rule it was the administrative center of the city. It was important holding place for the slaves.
National Museum of Slavery – The museum is built in the area where slaves were held before being taken to America.
National Museum of Natural History – It is the place where people are educated about Angolan culture and history.
Igreja da Nazare – It is a beautiful church built in 1664. It is made of Italian rose marble.