Boabab or Imbondeiro Tree
These trees are found in every direction as you leave Luanda. The scientific name for them is "adansonia digitata". The common name for them across Africa is Boabab, but in Angola, they are more commonly referred to as Imbondeiro, which is a Kimbundo name. The big trees you see are over 500 years old, and scientists have determined that some of the largest boababs can be as much as 5,000 years old. An amazing tree, the various parts of the tree have many uses. The seeds, the bark, the sap, the fruit, the flowers, and the roots all have nutritional and or medicinal value. By the way, some Imbondeiros in Africa have trunks that measure up to 18 meters in diameter - that is a big tree!
Barra do Dande
This is a sleepy village with a nearby beach, with scenic views. Great place to go on the weekend to get away from the city. No improvements at the beach, so you have to brinig everything you need with you. The small town is just 5 minutes away from the sea though, and you can get a decent meal at the open air eaterie along side the river Dande. Good seafood, and of course, cold cerveja.
To get there, drive northward from Luanda on the road to Cacuaco, pass through Cacuaco and keep going for another 40 km or so. There is a marked turn to the left - take that turn and follow the paved road about 12 kilometers until you come to the small town of Barra do Dande along the river. Veer left (the only way to go) on the system of dirt roads after the pavement ends, and down a steep grade, and you are at the ocean.
Probably best to go with a guide.
Cabo Ledo - Pristine, Deserted Beach
Drive 75 km down the coast, south past Luanda Sul and Benfica, past the Kwanza river and onward toward an unspoiled, clean, and beautiful beach area. A little hard to find, but watch your odometer and after driving about 75 km, watch for a small red on white sign with a crab and the word "carangejo". Turn to the right on a dirt road, and follow the road on down to the beach. There is a small restaurant, but you can just as well bring your own picnic lunch. There are also cabanas to rent. Also see my tip on Sangano Beach nearby.
Mirador da Lua
A point of interest on that all important road trip to the beaches south of Luanda. This is probably about 35 kilometers south of Luanda on the main highway along the beach.
Don't drive by too fast or you will miss the tiny sign to this cul de sac roadside stop that gives incredible views of the multi-hued weathered hillsides and the Atlantic Ocean beyond. The name of the place is Mirador da Lua, or Lookout of the Moon, and the landscape that surrounds this promontory resembles the dry, lifeless lunar surface. The asphalt here is kind of washed out. so be careful, and be warned that there is some trash lying about, as in many places in Angola.
Bridge over the Rio Kwanza
On the road to the beaches at Cabo Ledo and Praia Sangano, this suspension bridge is a toll bridge, which was only recently constructed. It is a major point of interest, and a point of pride for Angolans, and it is a great place to get out of the car and take some photographs. The area near the river is quite lush and provides forage for a number of smaller species, and it is said that the river also is home for dangerous beasts, but I did not see any.
Luanda is "off the beaten path."
If you find yourself in Luanda, I would say that you have already gone "off the beaten path."
Sure, you're going to find the typical African tourist attractions like the shanty towns built in and around burned out factories, women walking about town with heavy loads on their head, war heroes who now carry crutches instead of guns, people literally living on the streets, chickens procreating in the street; you know, all the things that make life in a large West African city raw, interesting, unimaginable and all too real.
- Arts and Culture
The busiest port in Africa?
Luanda harbour and particularly SONILS (Sonagol Integrated Logistics Services) is very very busy place - I heard that when a ship turns up, it has to wait 10 days until a berth is available. Nevermind, like all harbours, it is a working place which is a wee bit grimy, but plenty atmospheric.
- Business Travel
Where old ships rust slowly
Again, Luanda harbour - this baby is a Russian trawler which was scuppered by the South African navy during the civil war. In the next few months, it will be removed to make way for more reclaimed landfill.
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everything is "off the Beaten Path"
In Luanda everything is "Off the Beaten Path" .Only walk around in company with somebody who is known in the area you walk around.
- Work Abroad
This is also Luanda harbour, in contrast to the other 2 tips - this shows something very high-tech, It is the ship "Skandi Navica" spooling up pipe from the base operated by SevenSeas.
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