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Bela Angola

When I received the offer to go to Angola, the first place I went was the travel section at Barnes & Noble. There’s nothing like glossy, colorful pictures of beautiful places and cultural sites to quell my fears and give me that first sense of excitement that I usually get when traveling to new and unknown territory. But I didn’t find a guidebook on Angola. It took me a few minutes to realize it wasn’t there. Maybe someone had perused it and forgotten to put it back in alphabetical order on the Africa shelf. There was a guidebook on Sudan, but not one for Angola? I didn’t even find an honorable mention in the travel book on Southern Africa – not even a few pages to inform the reader that Angola was also a country in Southern Africa. When I finally did find a few pages in the huge Sub-Saharan Africa guidebook, it wasn’t flattering. It basically said: travel at your own risk.

I was going to devote this blog entry to how the guidebooks had it all wrong. But the more I’ve thought about it, the more I realize that the “average” tourist may find the conditions unfit for their traveling tastes (note the distinction between traveler and tourist). Surely, they would all come back to their home country with stories of the wild and crazy adventures and near-death experiences in Angola. And they would be right of course. There are the inconveniences (sections of unpaved, pot-holed roads; few bathrooms, hotels or restaurants on the way) and the real dangers (landmines, high rate of car accidents, car trouble – you know, like wheels coming off, electrical fires under the hood, 4x4s sliding down an embankment). That’s what makes traveling in Angola that much more exciting. You just never know what’s going to happen. I have the benefit of traveling with people who know the land and who travel prepared (fire extinguishers, tow ropes, first-aid kits, etc.). They know where to go, and more importantly, where not to go.

Angola has a lot to offer in terms of untouched, breathtaking, natural beauty. What is even more wonderful about them is that there aren’t ANY signs of tourism. When traveling in Angola, you truly are at your own risk. But with any risk, the prepared know how to hedge their bets and enjoy great rewards.

Below are a few pictures from various places around Angola.  And lastly, I am posting a new link to my blog page on Luanda night life (on the sidebar to the right). There are lots of great pictures of bars and restaurants for those who are interested in seeing a few pictures of Luanda.

(The Leba Pass – the road between Lubango and Namibe;  Arco – an oais in the middle of the Namibe desert; Cristo Rei overlooking the city of Lubango; and, Tundavala)

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. January 22, 2010 at 1:58 pm

    There’s a new English language guidebook on Angola now, called the Bradt Guide to Angola, available wherever books are sold. I bought it for my roommate who is traveling with me to Angola this summer and have seen for myself that it’s spot on.


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