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Luanda

FROM THE AIRPORT

Quatro de Fevereiro International Airport (Airport code – LAD) is 4km from the city. There are local taxis, called candongueiros, that should not charge you more than AOA 50 ($0.31). A private company called Afri-taxi (222311754) has cars at the airport, charging a flat fee of AOA 300 ($1.90) plus AOA 20 ($0.13) per minute.

SLEEP

Options include the Talatona Convention Hotel (Rua Luanda Sul, 226424300, hoteltalatona.com), and the Executive Samba Hotel (Rua da Samba, 919863637, executivehotelsamba.com).

EAT

Kitanda da Esquina (Congresso do MPLA Avenue 39/41, Mutamba, 941907080) has Portuguese cuisine, and you’ll find tasty European food at Seven (Rua Comandante Dangereux 6, Alvalade, 947388700, facebook.com/macau.ilha).

If you don’t want to break the bank, ask locals to direct you to Tia Louisa, a simple, neon-lit restaurant close to the beach in Chicala. It serves delicious traditional Angolan mufete de peixe; grilled, locally caught fish with raw onion sauce and side dishes at a fraction of the price you would pay in “conventional” restaurants.

DRINK

Clubs like the Kings’ Club, Maiombe and theatre/club Elinga ask a cover charge of up to $12 but this will include a couple of free drinks. King’s Club is well known for its fantastic live band late on Saturday nights. W Club and Dom Quixote in downtown Luanda are budget-friendly, fun and very local.

SHOP

Restaurant Tendinha Craft Shop (Rua Missão, opposite Hotel Epic Sana) sells unique stone masks, while El Oscar Craft Market (Rua Rainha Ging) stocks a wide variety of handcraft.

CULTURE

A visit to the Saint Michael Fortress offers picture perfect views over Luanda city and Luanda Bay. Built in 1576, it now houses the Museum of the Armed Forces.

Luanda’s legendary Viking Club organises monthly lectures and free trips into Angola’s provinces under the auspices of the Luanda Field Group.

For poetry nights, stand-up comedy, musical performances and Latin dance nights, go to the fabulously decorated café-restaurant Bahia at Luanda Bay or Theatre Elinga close by.

Angola’s legendary ‘Banda Maravilha’ (Wonder Band) performs Monday nights from 9pm at theatre Cha de Caxinde, where you can also enjoy other musical and theatrical performances.

The Goethe Institut Luanda organises free Cinema on the Roof evenings. Enjoy international art-house cinema with spectacular city views from the roof of Luisiada University every Tuesday evening from 7pm.

Movimento LevArte is a young and hip art movement that organises art exhibitions, poetry nights and cultural events throughout the city. Search their name on Facebook for event updates.

NATURE

Shipwreck Beach, Sangano Beach and Cabo Ledo Beach – yes, there are shipwrecks – is perfect for budding photographers. Build a bonfire, crack open a beer or go surfing. All these beaches offer the best.

For wildlife, visit Kissama National Park (2.5 hours from Luanda). At around $140 per person you get to share a cute bungalow with your partner, a one-hour boat safari, a three-hour jeep safari and a dinner.

To discover Angola’s rich ocean life, get hold of Octopus Diving School (octopus-lda.com).

TOP TIP

The dance and music genres of semba, kizomba and tarraxinha have their roots in Angola. Experience it first hand opposite restaurant Espaco Bahia on Luanda Bay every Sunday before sunset.