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Luanda, Angola

Luanda - Facts and Information About Angola's Capital City

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Luanda, Angola's capital city, South-Central Africa

Luanda, birds-eye view of Angola's capital city, South-Central Africa

Ami Vitale/Getty Images

Basic Facts about Luanda

Luanda is the capital city of Angola, located in Central-Southern Africa. More than 4 million people live in Luanda. Luanda is a cosmopolitan city, many people fled to the capital during the brutal civil war that destroyed much of the country from 1974-2002. It's located on the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by natural beauty that is somewhat marred by the sprawling townships (bairros) and poor living conditions of its inhabitants.

Luanda was founded in 1575 by Portuguese colonists and became a major slaving port. Since then, it has always been the cultural heart of Angola. It's a vibrant place with obvious Portuguese influences, excellent music and nightlife. It's one of the world's most expensive capitals to stay in, due to the fact that Angola is rich in diamonds and oil, so business men abound, but hotel rooms do not.
Portuguese is the main language spoken in Luanda.

Travel to Luanda

Angola's international airport (in Luanda) has regularly scheduled flights from major European and regional capitals. Luanda is built around its harbour and overlooks a thin long island -- Ihla. The heart of the city is known as the Marginal, it runs along the harbor promenade. Luanda has many interesting sights given its rich history and location on the coast.

  • Museu de Antropologia -- for a good cultural introduction to Angola's many tribes
  • Fortaleza de Sao Miguel -- oldest surviving building in Luanda, built in 1576 by the Portuguese.
  • Palacio de Ferro - built by Gustave Eiffel no less in 1902.
  • Churches -- Some beautiful colonial churches built in the 17th Century still survive, check out de Nazare and dos Remedios

Luanda Hotels

There are few hotels and all are overpriced, the best is Hotel Alvalade; check out Tripadvisor's list & reviews.

Luanda Restaurants/Bars/Nightclubs

Bars and restaurants along the Ilha are popular with locals and tourists alike, try a Caipirinha. You can get excellent fresh seafood, local snacks, Portuguese, and Chinese cuisine.

Getting Around

Taxis are rare in Luanda and charge a fortune. Local people use a minibus service (Kangongeiro) to get around. Buses are blue, seat 12 and travel everywhere (but you need to know your destination to get on the right one). Rental cars are available, check out Benelux car for comparison rates. You can rent a car with a driver for peace of mind. More info...

Sources and More Info

Luanda online
Angola Facts and Info
Angola in Pictures
Embassy of Angola
Lonely Planet Guide to Africa
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