Angola…..part 1

Recorded on January 12th, 2015

What a transition, from the awful roads in the DRC, to state of the art ones in Angola, with little, or no traffic.

After a few days, bush camping, I managed to find the most beautiful remote beaches, south of Nzeto (a north-western urine stinking town, in total decay). Camping a few hours south, in total isolation, apart from encountering two Marine rangers, on day 6.

There’s nothing more pleasurable, than waking up to flocks of pelicans, doing an early morning fly-by, sauntering down to the gorgeous beach, to see hundreds of turtles, feeding off the rocks. Paradise !

Crabs galore, on the vast beaches, which proved to be Laica’s utopia. Chasing, but not catching them, gave her hours of endless fun.

Photos cannot describe the beauty of a desolate coastline, teeming, with birds and marine life…and no human beings. This is in stark contrast to West and Central Africa, where the majority of beaches have become villages, or alternatively rubbish dumps. What a shame, but they definitely lack the vastness of Southern Africa, where the landscape welcomes you with open arms.

The Kitabanga Turtle project, unbeknown to me, was but a few km’s away, and fortunately had created a track, which I’d initially used, to find my camping site.Great to see wildlife and marine conservancies being given the correct exposure, in preparation of tourism.Six out of seven varieties of sea turtles located around the world are endangered. Five of those types are found in Angolan waters and at least three are laying their eggs along its southern Atlantic coastline. See link

Running out of food and water on day six, saw me head down to Luanda. Driving through 10 km’s of slums, before dropping down to the famous esplanade…what a contrast. One star to five star, in 2km’s. A beautiful esplanade, which would not be out of place in Monaco, with pricing at a similar, or higher level. 13 years on, after the 27 year civil war, is seeing massive investment, by internationals, in Luanda, yet the slums, without basic services, are the most dominating feature.

Hopefully the regeneration, will touch the 70 percent of the nation, who still live below the Usd 2 per day threshold. Ueducated and unskilled, they will never be employed in the mineral sector, and tourism will be their only escape from abject poverty. I do hope the Angolan government realise that they should not just reap the benefits from natural resources, but create an industry with longevity, which will boost the economy overnight, in this wonderful country.

After a day in Luanda, I drove down the coast, looking for suitable camping spots, but was advised against it. 3 hours south of Luanda, hotels on the coast (there being no others), were asking Usd 230-300 per night, for 2-3 star accomodation. Porto Amboim, provided a nice, more cost effective stopover, before heading down the coast, and inland to Lubango.

Tundavalla Gap, some 17 km’s from Lubango has the most incredible views, and the Leba pass, enroute to Namibe, dropping from over 2200 m to 900m , surely has to be one of the spectacular drives in southern Africa.

Lubango, is a wonderful colonial styled city, and certainly does not seem to be as adversely affected by the civil war, as other regions of Angola.

After some rest and repairs, it was off to the coast, south of Namibe. Stark desolate landscape, rolling into the Atlantic. Stunning !

Dolphins, jackals, seals and even a juvenile peregrine falcon, visited the first formal campsite that Ive stayed in since Senegal. So great to have all the facilities on tap, Wi-fi, hot water shower, toilets (not long drops), along with two very interesting Rhodes University scholars.

Every moment was savoured, as its back to the bush again.