Difference between revisions of "Angola"
Revision as of 17:15, 19 April 2008
Mussulo Island is a beautiful piece of land situated in the middle of the Kwanza River. It is famous for its natural beauty. It is place one has to visit, one of the most kneed touristy attractions. There we can find everything, from fishermen to the most beautiful and modern restaurants, palm trees, ‘pirão’, funge, moamba, sun, beach, peace, happiness.
The people of Angola are stoics. They have a deep understanding of patience, and they know that it will always turn out right, no matter what, because now peace has been brought. They can go to school, play, dance, work, and live without fear. One thing that isn't there today will arrive and be here tomorrow. Life is a truly Angolan art.
Officially 220V 50Hz. Outlets are the European standard CEE-7/7 "Schukostecker" or "Schuko" or the compatible, but non-grounded, CEE-7/16 "Europlug" types. Generally speaking, U.S. and Canadian travelers should pack an adapter for these outlets if they plan to use North American electrical equipment in Angola.
Also, be aware of the power related problems in Angola. If you plan to rent a house, you for sure should rent a house with a generator. Power outages are quite frequent.
All nationalities must get a visa prior to arrival. It is not possible to obtain a visa upon arrival. Your passport must be valid for another six months minimum and contain two blank pages. An international vaccination certificate is required for entry as well indicating yellow fever inoculation within the last ten years. You also need a letter of invitation from a private individual, organization, or company stating that they will take responsibility for your stay.
Luanda-4-de-Fevereiro is situated 4km outside Luanda. There are public phones and bank facilities at the airport.
TAAG Linhas Aereas de Angola has flights between Luanda and some states in Africa, for example to South Africa (Johannesburg), Namibia (Windhoek), Zimbabwe (Harare), Democratic Republic of the Congo (Kinshasa) and the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville). TAAG recently started to have two or three weekly flights to Rio de Janeiro (Brazil).
South African Airways operates from Johannesburg to Luanda. British Airways offers direct connections between London and Luanda, Air France between Paris and Luanda and TAP Air Portugal flies from Lisbon to Luanda. Ethiopian Airways flies from Addis Ababa to Luanda.
There are no railroad links between Angola and other nations.
You can go in from Namibia at the border post near Oshikango(Namibia)/Ngiva(Angola).
Entering from the North was, as of 2002, via Luvo, a small town on the Kinshasa-Matadi 'road'. If you want to drive through Angola it's a real experience. Set off armed with the best route info you can glean from the net.
There are no bus links between Angola and other nations.
There are no official ferry links between Angola and other nations. As of 2003 it was at least possible to enter Angola via a small passenger ferry near Rundu in Namibia. There was both an Angolan and Namibia border official present. The crossing was mostly used by Angolans for the purposes of acquiring food and other supplies in Namibia.
In Luanda: the Mussulo island for clean tropical beaches and water sports, the Benfica Market for handycrafts and souvenirs, the Ilha de Luanda for seaside dining and bars, Kissama National Park for animal and bird watching.
In Benguela: Baia Azul for beautiful desert beaches.
A very low percentage of the local population can communicate in English. Traveling in Angola therefore requires a minimum of knowledge of the Portuguese language. Also, due to the fact that lots of people migrate from neighobouring countries to Angola, it is sometimes possible to use French and Afrikaans (for Namibian / South African people).
There is little literature on Angola available at all, and most of the available literature is in Portuguese or (in some cases) French. Bay of Tigers: An Odyssey through War-torn Angola by Pedro Rosa Mendes was translated from the Portuguese and published by Harcourt in 2003. Mendes traveled across the country by train in 1997 while the war was still going on in Angola, very fascinating look at the people and the nature of life there during the war.
Another excellent read is Ryszard Kapuściński's compelling journalistic narrative Another Day of Life in which he reports on the chaotic period leading up to Angola's independence from Portugal in 1975. As one of the only journalists in Angola during this very dangerous period his perspective is rare and full of insight.
Just south of Luanda, the Benfica Handcrafts Market offers the best prices for handcrafts and souvenirs. This is an open market where local artists and artisans display their products, and bargaining is not only acceptable but recommended. The products range from sculptures and paintings to jewelry, batik cloths and accessories.
Generally, dining and eating in general is not very easy in Angola, not even in Luanda because food is expensive and many of the less well equipped restaurants have poor hygienic conditions. Nonetheless, Angolan cuisine is varied and tasteful, with local dishes based mainly on fish, cassava products and spicy stews. Angolan seafood is abundant and very good, and the Angolan coast is a special place to eat fresh lobster right off the fisherman's boat. Tropical fruit in Angola is also a treat, for artisanal means of production have maintained it organic, and richly tasteful, especially to the Western palate that is used to industrially produced tropical fruits. If, however, you are situated in Luanda and need to dine, it is recommended that you get to Ilha de Luanda where beach-restaurants (of varying price-classes from very exclusive to rather informal) can serve most foreign needs. It should also be said that restaurants in Luanda are increasing in numbers and quality, since the recent peace has brought stability and significant investment to the country.
Generally, all restaurants accept USD in cash and none accept credit cards.
World class hotels include the Tropico Hotel, Alvalade Hotel, Le President Meridien Hotel, Continental Hotel, Palm Beach Hotel among others.
In general, you shouldn't travel within Angola without the assistance of qualified personnel. However, if you follow some basic rules, traveling in Angola isn't dangerous. First of all, traveling after dark and alone is never a good idea. If possible, join with several cars of the same make and model because of the possible need for spare parts. Carry a satellite telephone in the case of a breakdown or other emergency. Be aware, that while Iridium satellite phones have global coverage, Thuraya satellite phones have coverage in most of Angola, but may NOT have coverage in the southern parts of the country (check the Angola Thuraya coverage map for details).
For the city of Luanda, other rules apply. Stay in your car (with the doors locked) while you're outside reach of security personnel, which you will find at all hotels and restaurants.
Avoid using your camera in front of police (dressed in blue uniforms). Photography will result, at best, in a very heavy fine, but could also have more dire consequences. Throughout Angola, taking photographs of sites and installations of military or security interest, including government buildings, may result in arrest or fines and should be avoided.
Travelers should also be advised that the Angolan currency (the Kwanza) may not be taken out of the country, and travelers are subject to confiscation of local currency at the airport.
NEVER step beyond the red and white HALO Trust posts. These denote mine fields. In fact, beware of anything surrounded by any kind of red stones or similar markers.
Travellers should only drink mineral water or, in an emergency, boiled water, because water in Angola is untreated and therefore tap water is not safe. Because malaria is endemic to this, country travellers should also avoid mosquito bites by using with insect repellent and repellent-impregnated bed nets.
AIDS and HIV are very prevalent in Africa, so at all costs, avoid having unprotected sex.
The phone country code of Angola is +244. Telephone connections, cellular and landline, are heavily overloaded, making communication difficult at times. International lines are, however, often better.