Likelihoods are, you probably won’t be visiting Angola anytime soon … but it’s always good to be equipped. Here’s a starting point.
Angola’s climate varies according to latitude and altitude but the dominating influence is the cold Benguela Current which keeps temperatures bearable and rainfall down, at least on the coastal strip. In broad terms the country can be divided into four climatic zones: the north, where the rainfall is very heavy and the temperatures high; the central plateau, which is generally dry with average temperatures of 19°C, though much colder at night; the coastal plain which is cooler and dry; and finally the hot, dry Namib Desert towards the south.
- When to visit
Luanda is pleasant during the dry season from May to August, though early mornings and evenings can be chilly; lows vary between 19°C and 23°C and highs range from 24°C to 29°C. It will not rain during this period and so it gets very dusty. Even in the hot and rainy season, from September to May, it is rarely uncomfortably hot, but on days when the humidity is high, Luanda can get rather steamy. The first few days of rain in September wash away the months of accumulated dust and give the city a cleaner and brighter feel. Most rain falls in March and April and can occasionally cause severe flooding in Luanda and throughout the rest of the country.
- National parks
Safari-style game view trips to the Kissama National Park are popular with tourists and expatriate residents of Luanda alike. Kissama is about three hours’ drive south and it is possible to visit the park and return to the capital the same day, though an overnight stay in the park or one of the nearby lodges on the Kwanza River is recommended.
- Travelling in Angola
Lobito and Benguela are pretty and relaxed towns some 550 kilometre or so south of Luanda. Both have fine beaches. The road is now very good and it is possible to drive from Luanda in about five or six hours. Whilst it is possible to do the journey in one day you could avoid this by staying in comfortable lodges on the Kwanza or Longa rivers. All of these lodges serve tasty home-cooked food, usually based around fresh fish and seafood. There is also a handful of reasonable hotels and restaurants at the halfway point in Sumbe.
- Beaches and waterfalls
If you are a beach-lover, Luanda, Benguela, Lobito, Sumbe and Porto Amboim all have beaches that are easily accessible. Pack your board and long shorts for a weekend of surfing at Cabo Ledo. There are also loads of deserted beaches just waiting to be discovered – but only for those with a 4×4 and a sense of adventure.
If waterfalls are your thing, you won’t be disappointed. The falls at Kalandula are said to be Africa’s third-highest at 105 metres, and Binga Falls are a worthwhile side trip from sunny Sumbe. Hunguéria Falls are not easy to find, but getting there is fun.
Author: Gesture Chidhanguro