Angola is probably one of the last countries you will think of as a tourist destination. Yet it’s one of the most beautiful countries we have been to, full of wonderful natural tourist attractions. We had the privilege of working in Angola for 3 years which gave us the opportunity to see the natural beauty of the country. In other political circumstances, Angola would be a top travel destination in Africa, and visiting Angola would be a must for any travel lover!
If you are lucky enough to travel to Angola any time soon, these are the tourist attractions to put on the top of your list!
Best Things to do in Luanda, Angola
Luanda is the capital of Angola and its financial and political center, and the biggest city. Still, it’s not a tourist destination, but there are many people traveling to Luanda for business. It’s a very lively city, but it’s chaotic, quite dangerous, and with insane traffic. However, it has many landmarks, beaches, and beautiful sights.
#1 Ilha de Luanda (Island of Luanda)
It’s not really an island but a small peninsula. It stretches for 5 km right in front of Luanda. It’s home to some good beaches, restaurants, and bars. The Ilha is a much-visited place in Luanda and the go-to place if you want nightlife and a party!
Some of the beaches are inside the restaurants/bars perimeter and therefore more private; others are completely public. The sand is soft, the water is warm, and it’s summer at least 9 months of the year. However, these aren’t the cleanest beaches and can get really crowded.
#2 Ilha do Mussulo (Island of Mussulo)
If you think Luanda was blessed by the Island of Luanda, wait until you hear about Mussulo! In the southern outskirts of Luanda, Mussulo is a 30 km long tongue of land/sand. The water is even warmer than in the rest of Angola and without waves, so it creates a huge lagoon-like environment in the sea. To go there, you should get a boat from the “mainland”.
Mussulo is so close to Luanda’s chaos, but you have a completely different and chilled vibe there. If you are visiting Luanda, you must come here. Just perfect for relaxing under the sun and forgetting about the day to day problems for a few hours or a weekend. It is, of course, beautiful with a long beach, warm seawater, palm trees…
#3 Marginal de Luanda
It’s a long avenue/boulevard that goes from Luanda’s Port into Luanda’s Island. It was renovated a few years ago, and it’s now the favorite spot for Angolans and Expats to walk or run in Luanda. From here you have a nice view of the island but also the city skyline.
Right in front of it, there are a few landmarks and beautiful buildings of Luanda.
- Angola’s National Bank – An imposing pink building built in the colonial era! In our opinion, it’s the most beautiful building in Luanda.
- Currency Museum – Right next to Angola’s National Bank, there’s a currency museum. There was quite a big noise about it and how much money it was spent. However, it’s a good museum with quite a few interactive features and some information. Definitely worth a visit.
- S. Miguel Fort – The fort is at the top of a small hill, so will need to climb a “few” stairs. Although you will be rewarded with a fantastic view of the Marginal, the island and the city.
Angola Tourist attractions in the outskirts of Luanda
These are a few awesome places that are very close to the city of Luanda but not really in the city. You are better off visiting these on a day trip from Luanda or even a small weekend escapade.
#4 Miradouro da Lua
Miradouro da Lua translates to Moon’s Lookout. Not because it’s a great place to look at the moon (which probably is) but because it’s a lunar landscape. This unique landscape was created by the erosion of the rain and the wind. The bright colors of the land just make it even more special. This is right on the main road to southern Angola, so it’s a great stop to stretch and enjoy the view.
#5 Go to Kissama National Park
Kissama National Park is the place to go if you want to do a Safari in Angola. It’s about 75 km south of Luanda, thus close enough to easily do a day trip and far enough to be completely outside the city’s influence.
Most of its animals were killed during the colonial and civil war; however, it has been repopulated, and we can see some animals during a safari. Yet don’t expect it to be like the Kruger or Chobe. 🙂 Though, in terms of natural setting and flora, it’s on par or even better! Read this to full safari in Kissama experience.
#6 Beaches of Cabo Ledo and Sangano
Almost 100 km south of Luanda and without any other city close, you find the beaches of Sangano and Cabo Ledo. Both beaches are in a bay, and have perfect yellow sand and beautiful blue seawater. These beaches are usually full of expats on Saturdays and Sundays because it’s popular as a weekend retreat.
Best tourist attractions in Angola – Malanje
Malanje is the center north of Angola, roughly 400 km from Luanda and it will take about 6 or 7 hours to get there. The city itself is interesting but nothing really unique, however, the province has some of the most spectacular Angolan tourist attractions.
#7 Rapids of Kwanza
Kwanza is a big river with a huge flow, thus the final drop of 5 or 6 meters of the rapids make a powerful waterfall. It’s an impressive image that will stay with you for a long time. You can swim in the flat water above and below the fall. You have to drive through a big village to get to the rapids thus you will be loudly received by the children when arriving.
#8 Black stones of Pungo Andongo
The black stones of Pungo Andongo are a series of rock formations standing high above the African Savanna. Some say the rocks look like different animals, and some don’t, but either way, the rocks are impressive and mysterious. It is possible to climb to the top of one of the rocks, the one called “male stone”. From up there, you get a beautiful and soothing view of the other rocks, the savanna, and Kwanza river on the horizon.
#9 Kalandula Falls
Kalandula falls are the biggest attraction in Malanje and probably in Angola. These falls are sometimes dubbed as the 2nd most impressive in Africa (after Victoria Falls). Located in the Lucala River, the falls are more than 100 meters high and 400 meters wide. These are particularly impressive during the rainy season when the Lucala is at full flow. One can hire a guide (usually a kid) to descend to the bottom, where the view and the proximity to the waterfall make the experience much more intense. We definitely recommend it.
Benguela, Angola – Tourist attractions
Benguela province is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Angola. We had the privilege of visiting Benguela and really liked the slower lifestyle and the more relaxed feeling. Benguela is very different from Luanda.
#10 Restinga in Lobito
Remember what we wrote about the Island of Luanda? Well, there’s a version of it in Lobito, and it’s called Restinga! Restinga is a slightly smaller 5 km long and has little traffic (which is sometimes a problem on the Island), the sand and water are cleaner than in the Capital city and, as always in Angola, warm. As expected, you get the usual restaurants and bars but less massive than Luanda… Angola is blessed with these kinds of beaches!
#11 Beaches of Benguela
In general, Angolan beaches are amazing, but the ones around Benguela are the best in Angola. Our two favorites are Baia Azul and Baía Farta.
Baía Azul (blue bay) is a 3 km long bay with soft, clean sand and strong blue seawater. It’s considered the main beach of Benguela and great to relax and play in the sand. The warm waters make it perfect to swim and even for water sports.
Baía Farta is a fishing village/town and loosely translates to a bay of plenty. With very few people, it’s very different from Baía Azul; however, the scenery is even better. As you approach the water, you realize how beautiful the scenery is and the privilege of having to yourself (or barely so) a world-class beach. After 300 meters of walking in the sand under the strong African sun, a dive in that blue/turquoise and crystal clear is heavenly.
#12 Binga Falls
Not really in Benguela province, but in South Kwanza province. It’s only in this category because it’s a mandatory stop when you are making a road trip from Luanda to Benguela. The Binga waterfall is in the Keve River on the way to Gabela. They are very impressive and in the rainy season have a huge flow. The old colonial bridge gives it a unique charm.
Places to visit Lubango and Namibe
You probably noticed that we really liked the beaches in Benguela, but those aren’t our favorite attractions in Angola! That title is reserved for the region on Lubango. We had the pleasure of spending a long weekend there. The scenic mountains, the great food, and the perfect getaway resort called Pululukwa really got into our hearts!
#13 Tundavala Gap (Fenda da Tundavala)
Fenda da Tundavala is an enormous abyss in the mountain of Serra da Leba located only 18 km from Lubango. The mountain plateau has 2200 meters of altitude and suddenly falls 1000 meters creating an abyss. It looks like somebody cut a slice of the mountain. This natural abyss promotes stunning views. It is one of the great natural wonders of Angola.
#14 Serra da Leba
Serra da Leba is only 50 km from the city of Lubango, though it’s already in the province of Namibe. The most stunning part of the mountain is the mountain pass road with 56 curves, built during the colonial era to connect the cities of Lubango and Namibe.
Don’t forget to go to the viewing point of Serra da Leba, where you can see the whole picture of the mountain and the pass and take awesome photos.
#15 Namib Desert
The Namib desert goes from the South of Angola to South Namibia and ranges 1600 km. Unfortunately, we didn’t have a 4WD so we could venture into the desert, but we had the opportunity to explore the Namibian part of the desert during our escapade to Swakopmund. This is one of the aridest regions in the world and where you will find the unique Welwitschias.
#16 Pululukwa resort
The Pululukwa resort is ideal for relaxing and enjoying the scenery and nature. Throughout the park, you will find wild animals, zebras, antelopes, Angolan chickens, and even Ostriches and crocodiles. With 100 acres and remarkable treks, you have a lot to explore: wooden paths, several lakes, different resting points, and even fruit farms.
We also need to mention the restaurant in Pululukwa because it is fabulous! There are great (and expensive) restaurants in Angola (particularly in Luanda), but the one in Pululukwa is our favorite.
Although we lived in Angola, we didn’t visit the whole country! Angola is huge, so there are many other places that we couldn’t travel to or just weren’t even aware it existed. We understand that not many people will be able to travel to Angola, it is, after all one of the least touristy destinations in the world. However, it’s also an amazing country with a lot to offer to the few who can actually visit Angola and get to know it. If you have the opportunity, seize it!