MODERNO TROPICAL AND AFRICAN REVOLUTIONARIES
LUANDA – HUAMBO – BENGUELA – LOBITO – NAMIBE – TOMBUA
This tour is offered on a regular monthly basis from May to September. Let us know your desired departure month by clicking on the learn-more button below: we will match your preferences with the next relevant scheduled group departure. If you are still unsure about your desired departure date, then simply tell us a period or a season of the year and we will provide you a range of scheduled group departures: just pick up yours!
Our scheduled group departures don't suit your plans? If you are travelling with more than 4 friends, you can set your own departure date: we will arrange a bespoke tour just for you for the same price per person advertised below. If you are travelling solo or with less than four companions, we will then organise a slightly more expensive tailored tour according to your time schedule and specific geographical preferences.
Please note: this tour has a strong focus on architecture. If you are more into natural attractions (i.e. waterfalls) and/or natural wonders (gorges, lakes and gentle slopes alike), we can easily design a bespoke itinerary according to your own specific preferences. Get in touch for more details on our tailored routes in Angola.
DAY 1/2/3 - Luanda
Our guide will meet you at Luanda International Airport and drive you to our hotel of choice (exact hotel name and address will be communicated well in advance per email).
Introductory briefing about the region, the route and the set of rules to observe while travelling in Angola.
After a couple of lazy hours at our beach hotel to recover from the jet-lag and the redeye flight behind us, we'll spend the following two-and-half days touring Luanda, the ever-changing groovy capital of the country.
Highlights of our stay in and around Luanda will include:
o the North-Korean-built Agostinho Neto Mausoleum (devoted to the world-famous African hero and first president of Marxist Angola);
o the thriving musseque (working-class hood) of Sambizanga (markets, music and the real rough-and-ready face of Luanda);
o a vast plethora of tropical modernist gems and Portuguese-suave cinemas from the 60-70s (such as the Atlantico, the Karl-Marx and the Nacional, just to mention a few);
o earlier colonial grandeur and fading imperial glories such as the Saint Miguel Fortress and the National Bank of Angola;
o the Soviet-style planned neighbourhood of Prenda with its high-rise concrete blocks and Eastern-Bloc flair;
o a rich cornucopia of socialist monuments and memorials such as the Monument to the Angolan Heroines, the 4th-February Memorial and the Kifangondo Landmark;
o the eerily tidy and hopelessly empty Chinese-built satellite town of Kilamba;
o the saudade atmospheres along the Ilha de Luanda and the dystopian sceneries of Karl Marx Beach, a long sandy stretch of Atlantic coast dotted with an unimaginably large number of rusty shipwrecks: somber and photogenic at the same time!
Meals and overnights in Luanda.
DAY 4/5/6 - Cuanza Sul & Benguela Provinces
We’ll leave Luanda early in the morning and head down south for the colonial port of Lobito.
Before making our farewell to the capital, we’ll visit the essential Slavery Museum to better understand the gruesome side of the country’s five-hundred-year colonial dominance.
We’ll then drive along a scenic road running along the wild and wide Atlantic coast stopping en route in Miradouro da Lua (viewpoint over a lunar landscape of sandstone pillars) and in Caboledo (scenically secluded cove and little-know surfing paradise).
Far more interesting than the postcard-like vistas mentioned above will be, however, our visit to the seaside town of Port Amboim, home to one of the largest fish markets in southern Africa, and to Sumbe, the regional capital, which boasts a couple of fine examples of Moderno Tropical architecture as well as an entire socialist model neighbourhood, the Bairro E-15, built by the Cubans back in the 80s.
We’ll eventually arrive in Lobito in the evening (possibly in the night) and then devote the following two days to the architectonic and cultural richness of the Benguela Province: the modernist gems scattered along the Restinga in Lobito and around Benguela downtown, the old Catumbela railway now merely connecting the two cities but once crisscrossing the entire country, the informal African markets of Lobito’s western outskirts, the saudade-filled almost deserted town of Dombe Grande and the pristine Atlantic beaches of Baia Farta and Caota.
Dinners and overnights in Lobito.
DAY 7/8 - Huambo Province
From Lobito we’ll head for the vast interior of the country: the Huambo Province is up next!
The province saw some of the bloodiest battles during the 30-year long civil war that ravaged Angola and the traces of the conflict are visible everywhere, especially in the provincial capital Huambo, once known as Novo Lisboa (New Lisbon).
The five-to-six-hour drive from Lobito to Huambo will take us across a landscape of traditional villages, small colonial towns, thriving agricultural land, lush vegetation and solitary rock formations.
We’ll devote the following day to Huambo exploring the scarred urban landscape and the resilient humanity characterising this city of glorious and troubled past.
Dinners and overnights in Huambo.
DAY 9 - Huíla Province
We’ll leave Huambo in the early morning and head for Lubango, a pleasant provincial capital built by the Portuguese on the wind-blessed high grounds of the Huíla Plateau.
Along the road from Huambo to Lubango we’ll stop at the pretty colonial towns of Caluquembe and Cacula and then head for the traditional market town of Chibia where we will able to meet with members of the Mwila, a traditional indigenous tribe tribe shunning modern comforts and polyester clothes.
Disclaimer: we neither practice nor support tribal tourism as we consider it a voyeuristic practice fuelled by Western-centric exoticism and neo-colonialist stereotypes doing more harm than good to the locals. Please never ever hand over money or candies to tribe members in order to get a nice posed shot of them. This common attitude among tourists have turned these once shy and proud tribes into photo-beggars. Your behaviour can make a difference. Be respectful, be discreet, don’t pay-and-shoot.
For sunset we’ll eventually reach the impressive Tundavala Gap, a much-photographed viewpoint in the rim of the great Serra da Leba escarpment: a romantic conclusion to our long day of travelling.
Dinner and overnight in Lubango.
DAY 10 - Namibe Province
From Lubango we’ll move further south to Namibe, a melancholic frontier town and the capital of the namesake province.
The relatively easy drive from Lubango to Namibe is filled with plenty of scenic panoramas and interesting roadside stops.
We’ll first visit the bustling bazaar at Humpata and then descend to the coastal plains via the gorgeous serpentine road crossing the Leba Pass.
Once in the flatlands, we’ll tour the tribal market at Mangueirinhas and the dystopian Mad-Max settlement of Caraculo, before eventually reaching Namibe in the afternoon.
We’ll take an architecture-focussed tour around town, visit the Independecia Shipwreck and then stock on food and beers in anticipation of the following day.
Dinner and overnight in Namibe.
DAY 11 - Baía dos Tigres
Today we’ll head down south towards the border with Namibia crossing the spectacular Angolan stretch of the Namib desert, one of the most arid region on Earth and the only true desert in southern Africa.
Our first stop will be the rarely visited Iona National Park with its outlandish sandstone formations at the Colinas do Curoca and lush green oasis at the Lagoa dos Arcos.
We’ll then visit the god-forsaken fishing hamlet of Rocha (straw huts and metal barracks lost amid the coastal dunes of the Namib desert) and the nearby Fish Factory Informal Settlement (basically an entire village built within the ruins of an abandoned fish-processing facility from the Portuguese-era).
From the Fish Factory we’ll continue on to the formerly prosperous town of Tombua stopping en route at the Senhora Dos Navegantes, a crumbling solitary modernist church built on top of a high cliff overlooking the entire coastal stretch north of Tombua.
After having toured the rather appalling downtown of Tombua with its fair-share of fading colonial glories and post-colonial despairs, we’ll head for the final destination of our trip, the cherry on the cake, the ideal epilogue to our architecture-centred journey: Baía dos Tigres a ghost town rising from the windswept sands of an island that was cut off from the rest of the country when the ocean broke through the tiny isthmus that used to connect it with the Angolan mainland.
We’ll spend the entire afternoon touring and photographing the eerily mesmeric atmospheres of the island, set up a camp (no need to bring any gear, we’ll take care of that) and then spend the night gazing at zillions of stars over our heads.
Dinner and overnight in Baía dos Tigres.
Day 12 - Flight back home or transfer to further destinations
After enjoying a last Angolan-style picnic breakfast together we'll take care of your transfer to the airport/station of choice.
For those flying out: transfer to Namibe Regional Airport for your flight back home via Luanda International Airport.
For those wishing to take the bus to reach further destinations: transfer to the local bus station.
For those wishing to explore neighbouring Namibia: we can arrange bespoke tours to the country especially focusing - needless to say - on SWAPO history and monumentalism.
End of the tour.
3 to 8 participants: 3990 € per person
The price includes: double/twin room accommodation (breakfast included; single supplement: 18 euro/night), private transport in the region (car or minivan), entrance fees to the attractions listed in the itinerary, guiding and translation service.
The price does not include: international flights and any other flight not explicitly included in the tour price and itinerary, meals, drinks and tips, transport to and from the airport of arrival/departure (35 euros/ride), visas if required, entrance fees to attractions not listed in the itinerary, insurance.
The route of this tour has been carefully designed after several research trips in the region. It is, however, always possible to slightly modify the itinerary according to the needs and the suggestions of the participants. Our motto is flexibility.