14 Day Angola Explorer
Roads in Angola are being upgraded and rebuilt at a rapid pace. This is exciting as it opens up new areas for tourists to explore.
The country is a giant jigsaw puzzle with different climates, landscapes, cultures and colors. You will drive over high mountains, across vast open plains, see wide white beaches and be engulfed by thick tropical rainforests. Angola has it all, as if each of its eighteen provinces were a different country. Lubango has a mild temperate climate, Luanda is hot and dry, while Cabinda is steamy and tropical. Much of the landscape is dramatic, with plunging waterfalls, bizarre rock formations and deep gorges. Leba Mountain in the Huila Province rises out of the Tundavala gorge to give stunning views of the vast Namib Desert. It is not often that you will encounter huge baobab forests, mighty rivers, the legacy of Portuguese culture, impressive waterfalls and secluded little beaches along the Atlantic all on one tour.
The route will take us through several of Angola’s southern and central provinces – “traditionally” only the most south-westerly areas (Namibe, Huila and Cunene) were considered ‘safe’ and trips were conducted mainly in this area. Demining and re-construction of roads and infrastructure makes it possible to safely venture deeper into Angola.
Some of the highlights we will visit:
• Pedras Negras
• Kwanza River
• Leba Pass
• Calendula Waterfall
Please notes this tour start in Rundu and ends at Ruacana, make sure you calculate your days. Please note that this itinerary is an adventure and serves as an indication of the route.
PRE-DEPARTURE: RUNDU – NAMIBIA
We meet today at Semanya River Lodge, tonight’s accommodation are not included in the tour price. You meet your guides and fellow travelers and have a chat bout the tour.
** Please ensure that you have filled up on fuel, wood and water before arriving at Semanya Lodge.
DAY 1: BORDER CROSSING – KUBANGO VIEW
We will have an early morning departure for Katwitwi border post as crossing the border can be time- consuming. After crossing the border, the route leads northwards along the western banks of the Kubango River and the road is a challenging drive with potholes galore! You will have some fun with an interesting drive through which you will get to know the ways of the locals better, e.g. you will be stunned by the weight locals can carry on their heads with no assistance … it is just amazing.
O/N Camping: Wild camping in Kubango area. Included: DINNER
DAY 2: MUMBWE CAMP
The second part of the road towards Menonque can still be challenging, but after a while we reach a tarred road and the driving should be smooth towards Menonque. We make our way to Mumbwe Camp after a quick drive through Menonque where you are able to see the remnants of the buildings that were affected by the war. Interestingly enough people still live in these buildings.
O/N Camping: Mumbwe Camp Included: Breakfast, Lunch and dinner.
DAY 3: WAKU KONGO
From Mumbwe to Huambo the roads cater for a comfortable drive. Huambo is the second largest city in Angola and was formally known as Nova Lisboa. From here we will start to encounter more traffic on the road and for this reason we will by-pass the town. On the way, you should also be able to see white and red markers on trees which indicates the possibility of minefields beyond the trees. These are the remainders that demining teams left when cleaning the area. There are still demining teams working on removing some of the last mines that can still be found in parts of Angola.
O/N Camping: Waku Kongo Included: Breakfast, Lunch and dinner.
DAY 4: COFFEE FARM
From Waku Kongo we travel to a traditional deserted Coffee Farm. We will travel through old coffee plantations. Coffee is one of Angola’s most important agricultural products. Prior to independence in
1975, coffee production in Angola reached about 230 000 tons per year, making Angola the fourth largest coffee-producing nation in the world. You will have the chance of buying some local coffee, subject to availability.
O/N Camping: Coffee farm Included: Breakfast, Lunch and dinner.
DAY 5: PEDRAS NEGRAS
Today we leave the coffee plantations behind to travel to Pedras Negras. Here you will find a series of mysterious rock formations called the Black Rocks. Many of these rock formations are shaped in the form of animals, standing high above the flat African Savanna and we will hike the short distance up a hill to have a beautiful view of the surroundings. On the way to the camp, we will stop to show you footprints imprinted in the stones. This supports the myth of a princess that bathed and when soldiers approached her, she fled.
O/N Camping: Pedras Negras Included: Breakfast, Lunch and dinner.
DAY 6: CALANDULA
We continue our journey to the north towards Calandula. The Calandula Falls is an awe-inspiring sight and said to be Africa’s third largest waterfall. The 105-meter-high waterfall is located 85 km from the provincial capital of Malange. The waterfall is a spectacular site and take one’s breath away when looking at the mighty force with which water plunges down to form mist giving the area a mystical feel. From here we travel west towards the coast.
O/N Camping: Calandula Included: Breakfast, Lunch and dinner.
DAY 7: BARRA DO DANDE
A full day’s drive lies ahead of us, but will be filled with interesting things such as the visit to the botanical
garden. Ready to go? Depart Calandula heading for Luanda, the capital of Angola. We will use the ring road to by-pass the city. Our campsite for the night will be in the vicinity of Barra do Dande just north of Luanda … the most northern turning point of our route. Set up camp and relax after a long day on the road and some serious focusing while driving the ring road and getting use to Angolan city traffic.
O/N Camping: Barra Do Dande Included: Breakfast, Lunch and dinner.
DAY 8: BARRA DO DANDE – DRIVING SOUTH
At Barra do Dande you will find a shipwreck graveyard. There are two myths regarding the reason for the shipwrecks, an Angolan version and one by the Portuguese. The Angolan version is that the ships were not seaworthy and had to be left where they were. The Portuguese version is that they stranded the ships when they were forced to leave them behind once they were forced to leave the country. Spend some time taking photographs and then we head to Luanda. There will be an opportunity to fill up on supplies. We then leave the city behind, drive about 115 km and then set up camp for the night.
O/N Camping: Bush camping Included: Breakfast, Lunch and dinner.
DAY 9: SELES
Working our way south via Sumbe, crossing the Keve River, we reach the Kumbira Forest. Kumbira Forest is under government protection and serves as an educational example to the locals of how to live in harmony with the forest and not to destroy it. This is a must see. We will set up camp high on top of a mountain, promising to deliver quite a sight.
O/N Camping: Seles
Included: Breakfast, Lunch and dinner.
DAY 10: LOBITO
From Seles we travel to Lobito which dates back to 1905 and owe its existence to the bay of the same name, having been chosen as the sea terminus of the Benguela Railway to the far interior. Lobito is a very modern part of Angola with accommodation, many ships and oil rigs at the harbour. The peninsula with its nightlife and variety of small restaurants makes it ideal for a stopover. Here you will get a chance to relax on the beach and enjoy the atmosphere.
O/N Camping: Lobito Included: Breakfast.
DAY 11: KLOFIE
Leaving the boundaries of the city life, we head deeper into the Namib Desert. There will be an opportunity for the angler to wet their fishing lines if the tide allows. This area is bare, but still carries beauty and natural wonders as you will soon discover at our camp, Klofie. Here you will be able to enter a cave-like structure through a narrow tunnel while still being able to see the sky.
O/N Camping: Klofie – beach camping Included: Breakfast, Lunch and dinner.
DAY 12: SHAMBASANA
Today we travel from Klofie in the desert in a southerly direction to Namibe. The city was founded in 1842 and until 1985 had the name of Mocamedes. Namibe has the third largest port in Angola, after Luanda and Lobito. It is also the terminus of the Namibe Railway. The town has a gigantic market where you can buy nearly anything and we will have the opportunity to spend some time shopping here.
O/N Camping: Shambasana Included: Breakfast, Lunch and dinner.
DAY 13: TUNDAVALA
Our journey to the border begins when we head to Lubango, driving via the spectacular Leba Pass with its awesome hairpin bends and waterfalls. The road rises from the coastal plain to an altitude of over
6 000 feet in just a few kilometres. It is believed that the pass was designed by a Portuguese lady who passed away on the day that the construction of the road was completed.
Humpata is 20 km from Lubango. It has a strong South African connection as it was here where the Thirstland Trekkers settled in 1881. The Monumento do Christo Rei keeps a watchful eye over the city of Lubango. The white marble statue is 30 meters high and situated on a hill near the city. The statue is a smaller version of the one in Rio de Janeiro and Lisbon.
O/N Camping: Tundavala. Included: Breakfast, Lunch and dinner.
DAY 14: RUACANA
Today we turn south towards the province of Cunene at a more leisurely pace. Crossing the Cunene you will be back in Namibia and it is time to say sad farewells. We will cross the border late afternoon and we suggest that you stay either at Ruacana Eha Lodge or in an area that is within 2 hours drive as crossing back into Namibia can be time-consuming.
END OF TOUR
• It is very important that everyone carries enough fuel. The travel distance is approximately 2500 km and you will be able to fill up when passing through certain towns. Please note that fuel is not readily available everywhere and only cash is accepted in Angola for fuel.
• Costs are based on current government taxes and regulations, should this change we will have to adjust the tour cost accordingly.
• Please ensure that you are holding a valid passport (expiry date must be 6 months after date of return with at least 4-5 empty pages).
• Please ensure that you have sufficient medical and travel insurance from the moment you confirm the booking as life is unpredictable. Should you cancel, we would need to adhere to our cancellation policies which can be found on our booking form under terms and conditions. Please ask for the terms and conditions document, should you not have received it.
• If your vehicle is from Namibia, you need a police clearance certificate. Vehicles from South Africa do not need police clearance.
• Please remember to always keep your headlights on when driving in Namibia (day or night).
• Please note that your guide will assist with changing currencies to Kwanza before you cross the border into Angola. The ROE is usually best if you change ZAR or NAD, however USD is also accepted.
• Please note that we advise that you also have USD 500 with you for emergencies in Angola.
• Fuel needs to be paid in cash in Angola – Kwanza only. No petrol, credit or debit cards are accepted.
• Please note it is important to take a spare wheel in case of unforeseen circumstances, especially as some of the roads in Angola that you will be driving, are in bad condition.
• Lunch stops will give everyone sufficient time to prepare lunch and relax a bit. Comfort breaks will also be made along the way.
• Children in Angola love soccer. If possible, please take along some (soccer) balls and / or old clothes for the children. This is a charity project that we are involved with.
• Please ensure that you have 5 copies of each of the following documents: passport (certified), vehicle registration documents, copy of driver’s license (drivers only) as well as your yellow fever certificate.
• If your vehicle is still under finance, please include the permission letter from the bank allowing you to take your vehicle over the border. If you are not the owner of the vehicle, please include permission from the owner (signed).
• Please note that this itinerary is an adventure and serves as an indication of the route. It will be adjusted according to local conditions and therefore crossing the border into Namibia after the tour can be a day earlier or a day later than anticipated.