Destination in brief
Angola in brief
Although some call it a Central African country, Angola is located in southwestern Africa. Neighbors: DR Congo (north and east), Zambia (south east), Namibia (south). The Atlantic Ocean borders Angola’s west coast.
Angola was a Portuguese colony until 1975. A bloody civil war raged in Angola until 2002.
Size: 1,247,000 km² (481,400 mi²)
Capital city: Luanda – 2.7 million in the city area (8.2 million in the metropolitan area) - The monthly rental fee of a modern, 3-bedroom apartment in the city center is at least 10,000 USD!
Population: 32.4 million (2020) – As a consequence of 27 years of civil war, there is a shortage of men in the country. So it is not unusual for a man to have several "non-official" wives.
Angolan men and women are remarkably vain. Women usually go to the hairdresser’s every week and have a radical makeover nearly every weekend. Radical is not an exaggeration – their look changes so much that you often cannot recognize a person from one week to the next. Hair length, color, style – everything is temporary. Men like their shoes spotless. The many shoe shiners in Angolan city streets are there to quickly polish their shoes and give them an instant image boost. Women like their nails done to perfection, and the longer they are, the better. Men also often have their nails done, but the polish they use is transparent. Locals usually get their nails done on the go by kids offering their manicure services in the street.
Language: Portuguese is the official language – about 40% of the population speaks Bantu as their first language
Religion: 47% worship one or other local, traditional, natural religion, 38% Roman Catholic, 15% Protestant
Political system: Presidential republic, multi-party democracy
Angola is ranked as one of the most corrupt countries in the world. Many hope that the new government, which has pledged to take on high-level corruption, will succeed.
Currency: Kwanza (AOA)
Average net monthly salary (in 2020): 500-800 USD
Although massive oil and diamond deposits make Angola one of the most resource-rich countries in Africa, 70% of the population lives below the poverty line. The gap between the lifestyles of the rich and the poor is staggering.
Most common surname: Manuel
Safety: Angola is not a safe country for tourists, and even less so for the locals. Luanda is a notably risky place to visit.
A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required on arrival from all travellers.
Best time to visit: June-August
Top tourist attractions:
Luanda (“the Paris of Africa”), Ruacana Falls, national parks
Brazilian samba is believed to have originated in Angola, where it's known as "semba". The two are very similar.
There are thousands of street sellers in Angola. They are everywhere, even between the cars in the middle of the road, and they sell just about anything - from food and drinks to car spares, from school manuals to toilet paper, from toilet seats to cell phones, from suits to invoice books.