Eco-friendly travel guide to Luanda advises how to be a responsible tourist. Learn how to explore the attractions in a sustainable way and how to respect the local people and culture. Make your trip green by supporting locally owned hotels, organic restaurants and other businesses. Read more on how to protect the environment by making conscientious choices and how to travel green in Luanda, Angola.
- Air quality: 4 / 5
- Exploring by foot: 2.5 / 5
- Exploring by bicycle: 2.5 / 5
- Public transportation: 3.5 / 5
- Parks: 4 / 5
- Outdoor activities: 4 / 5
- Locals' English level: 2.5 / 5
- Safety: 2 / 5
- Accommodation: US$30 - $170
- Budget per day: US$200 - $400
- 1 Responsible Travel
- 2 Air Quality and Pollution
- 3 Respect the Culture
- 4 Top 10 Places to Visit
- 5 Explore
- 6 Eat
- 7 Drink
- 8 Activities
- 9 Accommodation
- 10 How to Get There
- 11 Moving Around
- 12 Sustainable Shopping
- 13 Recycling
- 14 Work and Study Abroad
- 15 See Also
Although Angola does not have the reputation of being the safest in the world as crime rates are high in the country that does not stop foreigners from visiting, especially Luanda its capital city. After all, there is a lot to explore in the country.
With the consciousness that there is a high crime rate there, you should know that it is best to walk in groups while in the city to be on the safe side.
It would be best if you also have adequate cash when travelling to Luanda as there are no ATMs, and we know that you do not want to be stranded. It is also wise to make early plans for an accommodation as other foreigners are also visiting, and the hotels may be all booked by the time you arrive.
Air Quality and Pollution
It is right to know the air quality of your destination city before arriving so that it would help you plan on things you need to carry. For those visiting Luanda, you should know that the air quality is always either high or moderate, and does not go below the bar.
It is reliving knowing that you can stay in the city without suffering effects of air pollution as the people put in conscious effort to ensure that it is curbed. After all, how else do you want them to survive or sustain the standard of living?
Although we cannot say that Angola is amongst the wealthiest countries worldwide, the health of its people is a responsibility that the government does not ignore, and they ensure always to put things and laws in place.
Respect the Culture
Angola is not the most comfortable country to stay, but it is not something that you cannot handle. Being respectful in Luanda is a big deal as it determines if you would have a blissful stay or not. One way of showing respect is to know some phrases in the local language and use it when addressing a local. It would please their hearts and help you establish a bond with them.
Another way of being respectful in Luanda is to never talk down on their culture and tradition. There are certain lines that one should not cross, and this is one of it in Luanda. It would help if you are also mindful of the things you say in public so that you do not trigger anyone who finds it offensive.
Top 10 Places to Visit
Ideally, anyone would want to keep busy while in a new place, so here are some of the top places to visit in Luanda:
• Iron Palace: It is an awesome place in the city made for royalty. The architecture of this building is captivating and would always make people take a second look. Interestingly, this iron palace was transported to Luanda from Paris after the 1902 Paris World Exhibition.
• Igreja do Carmo: You cannot talk about religious monuments in Luanda without mentioning this church. It belongs to the Catholic Church and has a compelling factor surrounding it. Foreigners are usually intrigued by everything about it.
• Memorial Doutor António Agostinho Neto: It is one of the sensational sites in the city, so you should be on the lookout for it.
• Luanda Bay: It will be assumed that you did not have a proper view of the city if you do not visit Luanda Bay before leaving. Ensure that you have it amongst your list of places to visit.
• Church of Our Lady of Remedies: It will not be wrong for us to say that this is one of the oldest churches in the city as it was established in 1628. There is always something to get from the story when you visit.
Luanda is not a big city, so it should be easy for you to explore it entirely before leaving. Understandably, some foreigners become lazy when they get to their destination city. However, this is to their detriment as they would not have a fulfilling time while there.
We always tell tourists that you cannot have a full experience of the city if you are always at a particular place or position. No one needs to say to you that exploration is the key to having a happy time in a new location.
The next time you travel, ensure that you properly manage your time so that you can cover all the places that the city has to offer at the end of the day, you will have many knowledgeable stories and information.
Some people can agree that the city parks in different areas are usually exciting, so there is no reason why you should not explore any of them if they are available.
Some of them in Luanda are:
• Miramar Park: It is in the city center, and has a perfect environment for both adults and children to hang out. There is always background music to keep the place lively, and there are different available activities you can do while there. Your kids will always be happy if you bring them here and you will never want the twinkle in their eyes to dim.
• Belas Business Park: It does not operate as a regular park as reputable organizations are surrounding it. However, walking around this place would put leave you with a smile as the ambience is perfect and soothing for the mind.
The federal government of a country is responsible for handling the management of national parks in any city, and Luanda is not an exception.
You can also decide to explore such places as it helps you to keep busy and there are many available opportunities like meeting someone, creating friendships, gaining new knowledge, and much more.
The national parks in Luanda are:
• Fortress São Miguel: It started as a Portuguese fortress built in Luanda, and it is now an armed forces museum. People say that it is a beautiful place to visit, and it would be best to verify the claims personally. If you are always itching to know more about the environment, visit this place and get more historical facts that will help you understand things better.
• Parque Nacional Do Quicama: At this park, you will experience nature and wildlife. It may not be what you are used to at home, so this is the opportunity to do something different.
It seems normal when a foreigner steps into a new city and starts asking about the beaches as people automatically assume that you can relax and enjoy at the beach. We are not saying that this is not valid, but we understand that it is not the preference for everyone.
If you love the idea of walking on beach sand while enjoying the calmness of the water, then there is no reason why you should not add exploration of different beaches to your to-do list when you travel.
Are you in Luanda? Then you should visit:
• Thomas Beach: It is a resort where you can spend time away from the reality of the city. People usually do weekends here, and you can connect and make friendships while engaging in different activities. If you are ever stressed, this resort will act as a form of therapy.
A landmark is a unique place or thing, and there are many of such in Luanda. Some of the landmarks that can help you are:
• Igreja do Carmo: It is a church that was completed in 1689 and still in a perfect condition presently. The mystical nature of this place makes it hard for anyone to miss, so it is an ideal landmark.
• Estação Central de Luanda: It is the train station in the city, and almost every local or foreigner who has been there for a long time can direct you to it. It is a navigation guide that stays at the top of the mind.
• Fortress São Miguel: As a significant fortress in Luanda, it is not surprising that this place is one of the landmarks, especially as it has a museum with statutes that are outstanding.
There is no better place in a city to get information about its history and other factors than at the museum. It is one of the perfect places to explore, and we sometimes see people spending long hours there as most museums are captivating and will leave you hooked while exploring.
There is always something to learn irrespective of the museum you visit. Some of the museums in Luanda are:
• Museum of Natural History: As the name implies, it houses documents that tell stories of the history of the city. It was formerly located within the fortress, but it is now at another location. The records cover different aspects, and you should ensure to visit it.
• Museu da Moeda: It is a clean and organized place with different interesting exhibitions. Visiting this museum will always be worth your time, and you should not miss it.
Some people love to inquire about the meals to expect at a city before arriving. It could be that you are curious or for any other reason. However, it is also true that it is almost impossible for a foreigner to stay at a place without eating their traditional foods before leaving.
Luanda does not slack in terms of local foods, and we know that you will enjoy the different options, including Fish Calulu. It is cooked with different ingredients and food items, serving it with beans in palm oil. In case you want to start drooling, wait until you see this meal and you will not regret it.
Mufete is another meal on the traditional menu of Lunada, and we know that seafood lovers will like this option as it is prepared with fish.
Keep an open mind while in the city and be ready to try new options.
Traditional Local Restaurants
It makes perfect sense that anyone willing to try the local meals will be looking for traditional restaurants in the city.
When people eat at a traditional local restaurant, there is that assurance that the meal would be of high quality as it is assumed that local foods are their specialty, so you are going there to please your stomach. This is not to say that other kind of restaurants cannot prepare traditional meals, but the chances are higher at a local restaurant.
Here are some of your options:
• Restaurante Kuia Bué: It is a restaurant with customer satisfaction as its mission. The goal is to ensure that you enjoy all their meals and keep coming back. The serene nature of this place also serves as a plus to keep customers hooked.
Vegetarian and Vegan
If you are a vegetarian, here are some of the restaurants where you can comfortably eat while in Luanda:
• Sizzling: Everyone who visits this place always commends their meals, and we are sure that you will as well. It has a sense of style and class, making it comfortable for you to enjoy your food while there. The meals are delicious and will sometimes leave you asking for extra portions.
• Poke: Although not many people know of this restaurant in the city, those who do describe it as a hidden gem. It caters to the needs of vegetarians, and their meals are always delicious; it leaves you drooling from the sight alone. They have an array of options that ensures you never run out of what to try. It is one of the best places for a vegan to eat.
One type of food that people do not always talk about is street food. Research shows that it is amongst the top eaten meals anywhere, as it usually captures the heart of both locals and foreigners.
Street food usually comes in handy as the vendors are accessible, and it is quick to eat. If you love cassava, you should be open to the idea of trying roasted cassava (Bombó Assado) while in Luanda. It is one of the top street food and snacks in the city.
Another street food option that you should try before leaving is Ginguba Torrada, also known as roasted peanuts. Paracuca is a variant of the Ginguaba, but with sugar. You can go for any of them and enjoy. If you are a lover of ice-cream, ensure to purchase Picolé while in the city.
There are no restrictions on drinking in Luanda, so you have the liberty to choose either alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverages. It is dependent on your preference, with the only hindrance being your age as the legal age for drinking alcoholic drinks is 18 years in Luanda.
One of the top drinks in this city is Maluva, also known as palm wine. It comes from the palm tree, as there are people who know how to tap the juice.
It would be best if you also try out the different Angola beers while in this city, including Mongozo. Asides beer, you can also enjoy the various available spirits.
Carbonated drinks like Sprite, Coca-Cola, Mirinda, and others are also popular in Luanda. There are your options for non-alcoholic beverages. There is also Kissangua, a non-alcoholic drink from corn flour.
Luanda, the capital city of Angola, does not have a high reputation when it concerns drinkable tap water. It usually serves as a constraint to foreigners as they bother about the water to drink.
Water is one of the essentials of life, and it is not thinkable to stay without it. However, water pollution is high in this city, so you should avoid drinking tap water. Instead, you have the option of boiling it before drinking or buying bottled water.
It is also wise if you do not use the tap water to brush so that you do not mistakenly get any of it into your body system as contaminated water can make one ill. After all, no one wants to be sick while in a foreign city.
It is agreeable that one eats healthy when you choose an organic café. Since this is not arguable, some people have it as their preference and will always be on the lookout for these cafes when they arrive at a new place.
Some organic cafes in Luanda are:
• Café da Verena: It is a warm place that is appealing to anyone, especially with its artworks. The meals are always healthy, delicious, and well-prepared. Some people say that it is the best café in Luanda, and you should go and check it out. We know that you will not regret your visit.
• Gelati Luanda: If you want to enjoy healthy ice-cream while in Luanda, this is the place to visit. It always puts a smile on the faces of everyone.
Foreigners inquire about the breweries in a city for different reasons, so we cannot pinpoint any specific one. If you are in this category of people who ask questions about a brewery, we want to assure you that there are good breweries in the city, so you will not run out of alcoholic beverage options.
Some of these breweries produce only one beer, while some have up to four different kinds of beer. The goal is to ensure that their drinks can get you in high spirits, and you will have a smile to pass on to others.
It should not be heard that you visited Luanda without trying its various beer options as there is an array of them. You could also bond with locals and other foreigners by sharing drinks.
While people are engaging in different activities to keep busy in a new place, fishing and kayaking are amongst those activities that caught our attention. The thrill behind these activities is something we know can leave people in a happy mood, so why not try it out?
Understandably, your city needs to have water bodies before you can engage in these activities. Since there are water bodies in Luanda, it is expected that the people there engage in fishing and kayaking.
However, we have noticed that kayaking is not popular, and we do not know the reason for it. Fishing, on the other hand, is something that many of the people do, and we know that you will enjoy the experience if you join them. Ensure that you participate so that you do not stay idle.
Yoga and Retreats
Yoga has come through for different people in many ways. It could be your escape from reality as you use it to relax the mind, or it could be a source of revenue if you are a yoga instructor. Whatever the case might be, the thing is to check if people do yoga in the country you are visiting.
Yoga is gaining grounds in Luanda, but we cannot say that it is a common activity. Many people have an idea about it, but they do not put in the effort to engage in it. Also, the yoga studios in the city are not much.
It is expected that it would become more popular with time, but that should not stop you from practising while in the city.
Luanda is a top city of visitation in Angola, and we see that there is always a steady inflow of foreigners into this country. It lets you know that the hotels and other accommodation options are usually filled up, and you might be stranded if you do not make early preparations.
Suppose you decide that you want to visit Luanda. In that case, you should start researching about the various accommodation options immediately so that you can make a choice and book it down instantly. Understandably, some people may only decide on where they want to stay, but will not want to book it down. This might work in some other places, but there are slim chances in Luanda.
It is a huge relief when your accommodation is properly sorted as you know that you are a step closer to thoroughly enjoying your stay.
A green hotel is one of the options you can get when it concerns accommodation, especially in cities that practice eco-friendly systems. The idea that governs this type of hotel is to have facilities in place protects instead of harming the environment.
Thankfully, Luanda has some green hotels, and they are:
• Talatona Convention Hotel: Anyone would want to lodge at this place when they behold its elegance. It has friendly staff that are always concerned about the wellbeing of customers, and the place is always clean. It has many amenities for comfort in place, including a bar and restaurant. Thus, you do not need to seek them in another location. Smoking is also not allowed at this hotel.
• Skyna Hotel Luanda: Although it is one of the old hotels in the city, it has not stopped rendering efficient services. It is close to the airport, and also has facilities that would make your stay enjoyable.
Hostels and Guest Houses
We do not know what you think or how you feel about staying at a guest house or hostel when in a new place, but we can assure that you would find comfortable ones, and they are usually affordable.
Some of these options are:
• Guest House Terezinha: It is quick to get to this place from the airport. We cannot say that there is anything overly exceptional about lodging at this guest house, but we know that you will be comfortable. It offers free Wi-Fi to lodgers, and also allows you to bring in your pets. It is one of the feasible accommodation options.
• Residencial Maculusso: The staff and management of this place are hospitable, so you will feel welcome if you lodge there. If you have any issue, do not hesitate to approach them as they are always ready to help out. We know that you will not regret staying here.
An apartment serves as a mini-home, bringing you comfort even when you are in foreign terrain. The idea is that you do not need to limit your convenience because you are away from home.
At an apartment, there is adequate space and many facilities in place to assist you. Little wonder that some foreigners are comfortable staying indoors and feel reluctant to go out and explore.
If you are travelling in a group, it would be best to get an apartment since it is bigger. Some individuals might also prefer apartments, and their choice is respected. However, you should know that staying in an apartment is usually more expensive than other accommodation options. Thus, you should only choose it if it aligns with your budget.
Have you heard about Couchsurfing before? It is one way that assists you in spending less when travelling to a new city. With Couchsurfing, you do not need to pay for accommodation as you can squat in the house of a local.
Many people might not be open to this option because your full comfort is not assured, and it might be that you are a burden to the local. However, you do not have any other choice if you are on a budget.
Typically, willing locals indicate their interest to host a foreigner on the Couchsurfing website, and all you need to do is check and connect with the person. These locals put in the effort to ensure that you are comfortable, but you also need to meet them halfway.
Camping is something that has been around over the years, and we keep seeing it evolve. Back in the days, people choose a spot in a place that helps them connect with nature, and camp there for some days.
Nowadays, there are campsites that make camping possible, although it is not compulsory to use a campsite. In Luanda, there are some campsites available, so it is your choice.
People say that the idea behind camping is to create stronger bonds, and we might have to agree with this claim as we see that people are usually happy when camping, and there is a unity to make it work out.
As a foreigner, it will not be a bad idea for you to join in camping and engage in exciting activities.
How to Get There
Another challenge that one might encounter when travelling to a new place is to know how to reach there. We typically see people choosing locations that they have never visited for their holiday. After all, it gets more exciting when it is a new experience.
The hurdle that stays in place is how to reach there. We would assume that this should be one of the first things anyone would research once they have a place in mind as you would not have a holiday if you do not know how to reach there.
Researching how to get there involves knowing the different means of available transportation that go from your current location to your destination and their prices. Once you know all this, you are set for your trip.
Flying to a place has never been a hassle as using air is usually the quickest means of transportation. You know that you can reach your destination within minutes or hours, depending on how far your present city is from your destination.
You also know that travelling by air is comfortable; so many people would prefer to use it. However, the cost is also usually high, and this comes as a constraint for some people.
As you research on using air to reach your destination, you should check if it is possible to get a direct flight from your current location. If you are travelling to Luanda, it is possible to get a direct flight if you are within Africa.
If you are outside Africa, you may need to fly to where you can get a connecting flight.
If you are a fan of travelling by road, we know that you would not mind using a bus to reach Luanda. Some people would not like this option because it means spending long hours getting there, and it may make them weak, putting them in a sour mood.
Using a bus comes with its advantages and disadvantages, but it is a feasible means of reaching the city as there is a good and reliable road network. However, this option is also dependent on your current location.
Undoubtedly, you cannot get a bus to Luanda if you are on a different continent. Also, it is not from all African countries that you will see a bus to this city. You need to check if there is a bus down there from your current location to know if you can use this option.
The Luanda railway, also called the Angola railway has been in place for a long time, so trains work in this city. You know that you cannot think of using a train down there if there is no railway connection.
Typically, there is also the need to have a railway at your present location to determine the feasibility of using a train to Luanda. If there is a railway station and you are sure that you want to use a train, the next thing is to check the connectivity so that you can know if there is a train that can take you directly to Luanda.
We would say that using a train is more feasible if you are in a city already within Angola, or you are in a nearby country.
The idea of hitchhiking is almost similar to that of Couchsurfing, as we can see similarities. Both of them are strategies to cut down on cost, so they work for people who are travelling on a budget.
Suppose you are not familiar with hitchhiking. It is a concept of staying by the roadside to flag down cars, with hopes that one would stop and give you a free ride to your destination. It is a proven means that have worked overtime, but it does not work in all cities.
Although you can try this in Angola, we would not recommend it because of the crime rates in the country. Hitchhiking in this country is not safe, and your safety should be paramount before any other thing.
Although there are water bodies in the city, we cannot say that a foreigner can use a boat or ferry in reaching Luanda. It is not a means of transportation that has been generally accepted, but there are hopes that it will soon happen so that there can be more ways of getting to the city.
Some people prefer travelling via water, and they say that it gives them a sense of calm. Others are scared, and we can agree that choices differ with preference.
Suppose passenger ferries are entering the city, you would need to check your present location if anyone can get you to Luanda. Unfortunately, there are no passenger ferries, and the thought of getting there through water is only a dream for now, and foreigners should stick to other means of transportation.
Another thing that foreigners need to figure out when they travel to a new city is how to move around. Typically, this is the essence of a landmark as it helps you keep track of areas you are passing so that you can know your way back. However, moving around a city goes beyond the navigation process as you need to also know the available means of transportation within the city.
When you know the different available means of transportation that operate within Luanda, you will get to know their prices as well, and it will be a determinate in knowing which of them you will be using during your stay in the city.
Others factors also playing a role in your choice and decision-making, but knowing these available means of transportation is necessary.
Some people will say that it is easy to walk around Luanda, and foreigners can adopt it as a means of moving around. While this is true, it is also unsafe to walk around this city due to its high level of crime. Pickpocketing is common in Luanda, and foreigners are usually the target since they know that you are not familiar with the terrain. It is why we advocate that you move in groups and you have friends among the locals.
It will be harder for you to get attacked if you are in a group, so you should try avoiding walking alone. If any situation arises where you need to walk alone, you should not do it at night, and you should stick to busy areas.
Foreigners realize that Luanda has bike trails when in the city, and it motivates them to rent bicycles to aid their moving around. You will also see that many of the locals use cycling as a way of moving around.
Using a bicycle comes in handy as it serves as a means of beating the heavy traffic in the city, so many tourists do not think twice before renting one. However, you should know that it is not always easy to use a bicycle in Luanda.
While the navigation process on the roads might be easy, you should know that there are high chances of being attacked if you are alone or in a lonely environment. You should always be safety conscious as you cycle around the city.
If you would like to use an electronic vehicle like a scooter when in Luanda, you can rent one, the same way anyone would want to rent a bicycle. However, you should know that you may need to obtain a riding permit from the local authorities as they see riding a scooter the same way they view people who drive a car.
It would help if you are also on high alert and be security conscious as you need a scooter around Luanda so that you will not be caught unawares by perpetrators of evil.
Also, it will be best if you have your safety gears like a helmet and shin guard in case of emergencies. The goal is to be safe at all times, and you should never downplay it.
There is almost no city where you would not see public buses operating in different variations, and Luanda is not any different. It is the common means of transportation as you would see people rushing to get on a public that would get them to their various destinations.
Using a public bus in Luanda is affordable, and would explain its rush. However, the traffic in this city is almost unbearable as you could be in it for hours. If you want to use a public bus, ensure that you step out early.
Tram, Train and Subway
Using a train within Luanda is almost as common as using a public bus. It comes as an alternative to the bus as it is believed that it will help to reduce the traffic.
Although it has not helped in traffic reduction, it is efficient in taking people from to destination to the other, creating more available means of transportation.
Some people may complain that using a train is slow, but there is no other choice.
It should not be shocking news that the government and people of Luanda are interested in sustainability, so they try to infuse it into different areas of life, including shopping.
When you visit the city, you will see people selling eco-friendly items, and we urge you to patronize their business. By doing this, you ate engaging in sustainable shopping, and it will be a win-win situation as all parties will be happy. Ensure that you are a responsible and eco-friendly foreigner.
Some of the food markets in Luanda are:
• Intermarket: It is a supermarket where you can get any food item you desire. We cannot say that it is a cheap place, but it always comes through with different options. The environment is clean, and they promote healthy interaction between staff and customers.
• The Catinton Square: It is one of the popular food markets in the city, and we assure you that it will always meet your needs. Since this place is always busy, you need to be fully prepared before visiting it.
Some of the flea markets in Luanda are:
• Mercado da Madeira: Due to the dynamic nature of this place, you will encounter traffic while trying to get there. However, it is a small price to pay as you are sure that you will get anything you desire at the market. The market sometimes gets messy, and it is something that its management needs to improve. It is also at a strategic location, making it accessible for anyone.
Second Hand Stores
Some of the second-hand stores in Luanda are:
• Gude: It is a store that deals on used furniture. Everyone can agree that buying new furniture is not feasible for many people due to the cost, so the next best alternative is to buy second-hand. Although they have been used before, These furniture are usually in a perfect state.
• Novipeças, SARL: If you have been looking for where to get affordable auto parts, this is the store for you when in Luanda.
Clothing and fashion have taken another twist with eco-fashion. The idea centers on having sustainable clothes that make a statement.
Many of the clothes that models use to walk the runway in Luanda are part of eco-fashion, and it makes them outstanding. It is also soothing when you know that you are conserving and protecting the environment through what you wear.
When in the city, you can get a fashion designer who would help you with eco-fashion clothing items.
There is currently a recycling plant in Luanda, so you know that they take recycling seriously. Many companies are on the ground to assist with recycling as they believe that it is essential.
There is always a conscious effort to sort waste and send the recyclables to the recycle plant. As an individual, you can make the work easier by not mixing your thrash, or going to further mile to send it to the recycle plant personally. Everyone should ensure to play a part.
Luanda struggles with littering, and we can say that environmental pollution is the order of the day. The government puts in the effort to ensure that there is an effective waste management plan, but the output is not out yet.
It may be that they need to enforce strict laws or fine offenders, but we move for a time when cleanliness will be associated with Luanda and Angola as a whole. Keeping the city clean is one way people volunteer in Luanda.
Work and Study Abroad
The idea of working while studying is something that many students do, and the schools in Luanda do not have restrictions against it.
As an individual, you should be sure that it is something you can handle before engaging in it so that it does not affect your studies. The worst mistake that many students make is to sacrifice one for the other.
Although it is not easy, you must be able to strike a perfect balance between your work and studies.
Running exchange programs is not something new, and universities in Luanda do it. You see them partnering with schools in other countries to get their students and send some students from Luanda to other places for some time.
If you are intrigued with Luanda and wish to spend some time in the city, you can do that through exchange programs if your school is in partnership with any university or college in Luanda.
People now get jobs quickly with au pair. As a foreigner, it might be hard for you to get a job since you do not understand how things operate in that area, and some companies may be hesitant for one reason or the other.
However, the au pair makes things easier as locals post some minor jobs on the site, and you can connect with them if interested.
It is easy to be a volunteer in any city, although you may need to do some documentation. However, it would be best if you are focused on your goal and ensure that you get results.