Angola is not the most obvious destination when it comes to leisure travel because of its tumultuous history, the 27-year civil war, and the high cost of living. For many years, Luanda has made the list of the world’s most expensive cities, winning the title in the past.
Travel to Luanda was mostly reserved for expatriates and the well-to-do. A one night’s stay in one of Luanda’s hotels would cost approximately $500. However, don’t let this stop you from travelling to this country rich in history and spectacular views.
Luanda is split in two, the old city and the upper city, giving insight into its colonial past. Its location along the Atlantic Ocean was an important part of the slave trade to South American countries. Presently, the routes are important seaports and trade routes for Angola’s main exports, oil and diamonds. The city and country are undergoing many structural changes as a way to rebrand Angola after the civil war, but some points of interest will always be classic and national treasures.
Enjoying views of the coastline from most points in Luanda allows tourists to enjoy a variety of restaurants along the shores of the Atlantic. Most of the cuisine has seafood and heavily influenced by its Portuguese counterparts. Additionally, there are multiple museums across the city which document Luanda’s history. Not to mention the Portuguese inspired architecture which adds character to Luanda’s profile.
The icing on the top, however, is 40 km from Luanda: Miradouro da Lau, a landscape filled with cliffs and valleys as far as the eye can see. After years of natural erosion, many people liken the view to that of the moon’s surface. Similarly to the colours across the Namib Desert, the landscape is full of shades of ochre.
For Formula One fans, Luanda is home to one of the world’s famous circuits, Autódromo Internacional de Luanda. Built by the Portuguese in hopes that the Grand Prix would be held in Angola, this dream was shortlived. Currently, the circuit is operational and used for local events such as sports car racing.
Lastly, to make travel more affordable, try living like a local by opting to stay at Airbnb or couch surfing, or even opt for the Luandan suburbs. Alternatively, it could be a brief stop while touring the Southern African region, to reduce the overall cost of the trip. Drives around Angola will be worth your while.