Tourism & Communications
Exploring the interior
With the repair of roads, bridges and railways destroyed by the war, it is becoming easier for visitors to explore Angola’s interior.
One of the major rebuilding projects is the reopening of the Benguela Railway – see Map. This railway line travels from Lobito bay on the coast right through to the eastern border. During the war, much of the line was destroyed or mined. Now a low-interest loan (300 million dollars) from China is allowing for the demining and rebuilding of this historic railway.
According to Angola’s transport minister, when the railway is fully operational across the country, it will be able to carry 20 million tonnes of cargo and 4 million passengers each year.
The first Portuguese sailors arrived on Angola’s shores in the late 15th century. Portuguese settlers and missionaries set up bases along the coast. Today, these coastal towns/cities contain a number of historic churches and forts, some of which date back to the late 1500s. (The photo shows an old Portuguese church at Benguela.)
A history tour in the capitalIn Luanda, visitors can tour the city’s historic buildings, which include seven churches founded by Portuguese settlers between 1575 and 1660.
The distinctive architectural style of this early colonial period has been copied over the centuries and new buildings still reflect historic designs.
Along the coast
As well as exploring Angola’s history, visitors to Angola’s coastline can enjoy its beaches and bays. In Luanda, water sports are a popular leisure time activity.
Angola’s beaches are busiest during the warm summer season, when seaside bars provide night-time entertainment.
But even in the colder winter months, the coastline has its attractions, particularly for wildlife enthusiasts.
Many species of whale and dolphin can be found in Angola’s coastal waters, including the rare Atlantic humpback dolphin – see Geography & Wildlife. Turtles also lay their eggs along the shoreline.
Avid anglers come to the Angolan coast for its large game fish, particularly the giant tarpon. ‘Adventure anglers’ see the powerful tarpon (which can weigh more than 100kg) as the ultimate catch. Once landed, these giants are normally released back into the wild.