by Chloe Hay
Ten years on from the end of the twenty-seven yearlong Angolan Civil War, it finally feels safe to visit this untapped corner of Africa. Despite previously being better known for its oil industry than for its beauty, it is a stunning country, which is finally starting to entice foreign visitors to explore it. Keep reading to find out where to go in Angola first before it becomes just another over-developed tourist hotspot.
Much of the country was unfortunately destroyed during the civil war, but the one thing that the war couldn’t devastate was its incredible natural beauty. With a diverse landscape like no other, a trip around Angola could find you sprawled out on breath-taking beaches, hiking up mountains so high that it seems like their tips are touching the sky, rifling through dense forests on the hunt for wildlife and voyaging through the desert on the back of a camel.
Luanda, the capital, is the main gateway in and out of Angola for tourists but although it deserves a day or two on your itinerary, don’t feel restricted to spending your whole trip here. There are two sides to Luanda: the built up international business district and the slums, so be prepared to get ripped off – a main meal can easily set you back $100 and it is unlikely that you will be entirely satisfied with it. But a trip away from the capital and the exquisite and diverse scenery on offer will overcome you.
Spend your days tracking the elephants, leopards and lions at the National Park of Kameia in Moxico or watching sea turtles hatch at the National Park of Quissama. Unearth the effects of past volcano eruptions at Miradouro da Lua (Valley of the Moon) just south of Luanda or marvel at Africa’s second largest waterfall: the majestic 105m high Kalandula Waterfall in Malanje. When you are tired of sight-seeing relax at one of the many golden beaches along Angola’s 1650km of gorgeous coastline. For crystal clear waters and to witness a little piece of heaven right here on earth, Ihla de Cabo and Mussulo are two beaches that should fly straight to the top of your itinerary.
With an array of assets like this, it’s not going to be long until people catch on and start over-populating Angola’s currently vacant sands. Head there now before it steps out of the shadows indefinitely.