"LUANDA" Top 5 Page for this destination Luanda by scarm

Luanda Travel Guide: 139 reviews and 259 photos

The People are the Treasure of Angola

First of all, this Luanda page is a little different from the others that are out there. There is already sufficient information about the restaurants and bars on the island, and information about the hotels, so I thought I would put some information here that is not already out there. My favorite beer to drink in Luanda, by the way, is "Super Bock", which is imported, but very good, especially when it is served "bem gelada"!!

Now, About Those People
Passive and tranquil, surprizingly friendly and joyful in spite of so many difficulties and such hardship during so many years of war.

Nobody goes to Luanda on holiday. First of all, it is very expensive to get there, from almost anywhere, and second of all, the city offers very little to the tourist.

People who go to Luanda generally go for one of three reasons:

1.) They are working for an international oil company or international company that performs services for the international oil sector.

2.) They are working in the area of importation of goods, which are badly needed, as Angola in general has no industrial or commercial production, and all goods must be imported (they do make soft drinks, known as gasosas, and beer, but not much more). These people that bring container loads of everything imaginable into the country are of the get-rich-quick types, similar to what were called "carpetbaggers", who invaded the defeated southern states after the Civil War in the USA.

3.) Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO's), such as Feed the People, United Nations, etc. etc., of which there are a lot, but it seems that the general perception is that the emergency is over, and many of these care-givinig types are leaving in search of countries that need more help than Angola.

It is interesting to see the "tree huggers" and the oil and industrial people together at the same social functions, as it would seem that they would not have a lot in common, except the color of their skin.

Life is Hard if you Don't Own the Country

Luanda is a city of about 4 million people, they say, although nobody really has any idea how many there are. Most of these people - about 95 percent - live in the slums, or mosseques, (which in Brazil would be called favelas).

In these areas, people build their little huts out of cinder blocks they make themselves out of cement, sand, and water, or they buy the blocks from any of the hundreds of backyard block factories, and they put a corregated tin roof on top, held down by stones, bricks, or discarded tires. Most houses have no electricity and no running water, and therefore no bathroom facilities.

Most people do have a simple stove that uses bottled propane gas, which they purchase in the street. About $25 worth of gas can last up to six months, if used conservatively. The women generally carry water on their heads, that they buy from a neighbor fortunate enough to have a domestic water tap. A five gallon jug of water costs about 20 cents, but this is not purified water. They often drink it anyway.

Water is used much like it was used in the old west in the USA. The cleanest water is used for cooking, the dirtiest water is used for washing the floors. Cleaner water is used for washing the clothes, and somewhat cleaner water is used for the final rinse of washed clothes. Watching these people conserving and grading the cleanliness of the water for different purposes makes one think about the water we use with one flush . . .

The Government Does not Seem to Help Much

Why don't these people have sewers? Why does sewage run through the streets regularly? Why don't the people have access to clean water? Why are there garbage piles covered with flies everywhere? Why is Malaria rampant and a way of life? Why are giant potholes left un-repaired for months on end?

The country produces 2 million barrels of oil every day. At current oil proces, this adds up to $120 million per day, or $44 billion per year!! This does not even count the diamonds!!! Surely, after the international oil companies producing in Angola (Chevron, Total, and Exxon Mobil) pay their employees and take their profit, there would be enough money left over to make some infrastructure improvements.

There has been a lot of discussion about what happens to the oil revenues, but you might do a search on google, and look up the words "world bank" or "imf" and "Angola", to get an idea of what the well-known and well-documented problem is!! The Luandans are very aware of what the problem is.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Passive, Positive Thinking, Funloving People
  • Cons:Difficulties everywhere
  • In a nutshell:Not for Tourists
  • Last visit to Luanda: Jun 2005
  • Intro Updated Jul 16, 2005
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Reviews (29)

Comments (8)

  • EnitPine's Profile Photo
    Feb 10, 2008 at 3:07 AM

    I think you should be more careful with your judgments. I took a candungeiro several times, and nothing bad happened to me! And for the local transport system, they are necessary!!

  • sprdak11's Profile Photo
    Jan 17, 2007 at 10:31 AM

    Interesting tips and pictures. Best wishes.

  • Apr 18, 2006 at 7:06 AM

    Great tips..I am moving to Luanda this summer 2006. Eager to learn all I can. Great photos and info.

  • hindu1936's Profile Photo
    Mar 25, 2006 at 4:19 AM

    Have to say your tips have sure changed our concept of Angola. Thanks for them and for the englightment.

  • maykal's Profile Photo
    Feb 14, 2006 at 4:32 PM

    You've shown Luanda to be a city very different to what i imagined...very interesting page :@P

  • Dec 15, 2005 at 7:08 AM

    G'day scarm, I'm due to arrive in Luanda sometime in July 06. If your around I look forward to having a beer with you. Great photos and info.

  • zizkov's Profile Photo
    Aug 18, 2005 at 4:54 PM

    Fascinating place on somewhere way of the track for most - I just checked flight costs and got it down (!) to about £1300 rtn from Scotland - so I think it will stay off the track for me.

  • bijo69's Profile Photo
    Jul 22, 2005 at 7:26 PM

    Great page about an unsual destination!


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