Angola Avante (Angola Advance)! And so shall we. Welcome to our pioneering tour of Angola, this pearl of Africa has been closed off to tourism for years and has been infamous as an incredibly expensive destination. But YPT is here to the rescue!
Recently Angola’s visa policy has changed drastically and we managed to make a tour in sync with the true YPT spirit.
We start the tour in the capital Luanda. This city of 2.5 million has had its fair share of turbulent history of Angola during the Portuguese times and afterwards with José Eduardo dos Santos. We’ll see the military museum, including its North-Korean-like propaganda, and the famous Iron Palace. After Luanda we’ll be some of the first foreigners on the train towards Malanj, in the middle of the country. Here, you can find one of the most famous landmarks of Angola: Kalandula Falls. We will experience the harsh life people are living here and will discover more about their mystical beliefs.
Upon our return in Luanda we’ll make sure to be ready for a full day of drinks and party, because it’s carnival! This is the biggest day in Angola and we’ll make sure to get a good spot to watch the colourful parade. A trip to Africa isn’t complete without a safari, so perhaps slightly hungover we’ll make our way to Kissama National Park, which is just outside Luanda. We’ll surely see some wildlife during our boat trip.
On our last day we’ll introduce you to Kizomba and we’ll show you some of the more unknown parts around Luanda, before we say goodbye.
Our Angola tour is capped at 10 people so best to book quickly! This tour can be combined with our upcoming tour of Zimbabwe for additional thrill and discounts, get in touch for details. As always, return Pioneer discounts are available.
Arrival in Luanda, airport pick-up and money exchange
Meet your YPT guide and fellow travellers at the hotel and start to get to know each other
Our first stop of the tour is the must-see Fortaleza de Sao Miguel (military museum). This fortress, from the time of Marxist Angola, is famous for the propaganda that decorates it which almost looks North Korean!
At YPT, we do love a mausoleum, so it would be a crime for us not to visit the Mausoleum of Augostinho Neto. This enormous soviet-style concrete tower is where the first president of Angola lies in state.
We then head to the Iron Palace, a local art scene hub as well as a magnificent piece of architecture. Wild stories surround the origin of the building, it was supposedly designed by Gustav Eiffel.
We then proceed to the old colonial church of Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Nazaré, built on the famous 4 de Fevereiro avenue, one of the busiest avenues of the capital.
Angolan dinner in the city with a nice cold beer (or juice!)
Overnight in Luanda
Monday 2nd March – Luanda/Malanje
Early wake-up and after breakfast we embark for the train station
It must be said that we do love a train ride, and today we’ll be heading on the 7 hour rideto Malanje. Along the way you’ll truly get to experience rural Angola with several stops. This is the way local people travel and a wonderful opportunity for us to meet the locals and see the scenery of Angola overland.
Depending on our arrival time we’ll take a walk around town or head straight to our lodge
Dinner and overnight at our lodge
Tuesday 3rd March – Malanje
Today we’ll head for the Kalandula Falls, one of the most famous landmarks in Angola
We’ll have a local guide who will go below the falls with us to see them from below.
Walk around the local neighborhood of Kalandula before heading to the Kwanza Rapids, here you can see the women wash their clothes and see the well-known gaps which drag the water down at phenomenal speeds.
This afternoon we’ll chill at the lodge where later we’ll set a campfire with the locals who will will do some traditional storytelling for us.
Overnight at our lodge
Wednesday 4th March – Malanje/Luanda
After breakfast at the lodge head out to the Pedras Negras do Pungo Andongo. The black stones were a place of resistance surrounded by mystery and magic against the Portuguese colonisers. Our local guide will use this opportunity to tell us more about the struggle for independence of Angola and answer all of our questions about it.
Drive to Cacuso, where we’ll visit a regional training initiative. Here, we’ll have the chance to learn more about how the locals live in this remote area of Angola.
Time to head back to Luanda by car
Late dinner and overnight in Luanda
Thursday 5th March – Luanda – CARNIVAL
After breakfast we head to Shipwreck Beach to look for long-lost forgotten ships from all over the world, bring your camera as we explore the wrecks
Monument to the Kifangondo Battle, our military guide will help us understand the importance of this spot in the struggle for the independence of Angola.
We might be in Africa, but Luanda is just as famous in Africa for its carnival as Rio is in South America. We’ll try to get a good spot so we can clearly see the amazingly colourful carnival parade. We’ll fill up on streetfood and beers and party like Angolans do!
At night we’ll hit the town for some groovy Angolan live music and dinner
Overnight in Luanda
Friday 6th March – Luanda/Kissama National Park
Morning visit to Kilamba, the notorious Chinese built ghost town, today it has picked up a bit and become a slightly more lively area of Luanda. We can still see the very communist architecture found in China but here in Africa! It will provide us with a formidable insight into China’s motivations in Africa and we’ll discuss with locals about their perspective on the matter.
Next we go for a stroll hunting for some of Luanda’s amazing street art and frescos. It’s a big thing here in Luanda and often there’s a political touch to it as artists use this platform to voice their subversive opinions.
Drive to Kissama National Park. This former hunting reserve was largely devastated during the conflict but since 2000 has been revitalised
Once we arrive, we’ll jump on a safari and see what luck can bring us in terms of wildlife sightings (we can expect among many others zebras, elephants and giraffes).
Boat trip along the streams of Kissama National Park in the spectacular scenery looking out for more animals along the wat
We’ll make our way up the famous Moon Viewpoint for one of the great African sunsets
Tomorrow, we’ll have to say goodbye so it is only natural for us to end things with a dinner party composed of traditional Angolan fare with a couple of beers
Overnight in Luanda
Saturday 7th March – Luanda
After a relatively late rise we visit Ilha do Caboa, a small landstrip in Luanda
Visit a community club where we’ll learn about the Kizomba – forget about breakdance or your EDM moves, these guys will show you how to move that body!
Drive to Cacuaco for a stroll around a local fishing village
Early farewell dinner before we head to the airport.
Airport drop off based on your flight details – end of the tour