The capital of Angola, Luanda sits on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean and is divided into two parts; Baixa de Luanda and Cidade Alta. It is the administrative, cultural and urban centre of the country, as well as being the third most populous Portuguese speaking city on the world. It is a fast growing city, with major reconstruction and development projects popping up all over the city, which has attracted numerous Portuguese immigrants over the past few years.
Visit the Saint Michael Fortress:
This Portuguese fortress was built in 1576 by Angola’s first Captain-Governor Paulo Dias de Novais. It was once the administrative centre of the country and, unfortunately, became a holding place for slaves being sent to Brazil.
One of the things that is most beautiful about the fortress are the ornate wall tiles that tell the story of Angola’s history. It also displays plenty of other ancient relics.
In 1996 the Saint Michael Fortress became a UNESCO World Heritage site. Since then, it has become one of the most popular places to visit in the city.
Walk along the harbour:
Avenida 4 de Fevereiro, which is also known as Marginal, runs parallel to the Luanda Bay and is a great place for a nice stroll. Not only does it boast great views of the sea and the boats coming in and out of the port, but it is also lined with some beautiful buildings, like the Banco de Angola.
At one end of the avenue is the port, which is famous for its clock tower, while the old fort sits at the other end. It is the most prestigious street on the city and where many of its luxury hotels can be found.
Avenida 4 de Fevereiro is named after the struggle of independence in Angula, which was also the beginning of the Portuguese Colonial War.
Wander around a palace:
The Palácio de Ferro (Iron Palace) is a magnificent palace that was built in the city by world-renowned architect Gustave Eiffel. It is not as iconic as the builder’s other structures, but it is a stunning piece of architecture.
It is believed that the palace was built in France with the idea to have it moved to Madagascar by boat, but instead it ended up along Angola’s Skeleton Coast due to drifts from the currents. Portuguese rulers than brought it to Luanda.
It is a striking yellow building with fine wood details and decorative fencing. It has recently opened up as a diamond museum.
Meals generally consist of fish or meat stewed in a rich sauce with vegetables such as okra and served with rice or funge (an Angola staple that draws comparisons to polenta). At their most basic, dishes consist of funge and sauce alone.