Day 36 – 41: Luanda to Santa Clara border

Total distance in Angola: 3 772 km

Total distance travelled on this trip from Malelane: 10 050

Luanda to Kwanza Lodge

From Shipwreck Beach we entered Luanda from the north. The traffic was crazy for about 15 km.

The centre of Luanda is clean, tidy and has a lot of new buildings. The beachfront compares to any European city on a beach. Somebody in the group compared it to Barcelona.

Luanda CBD

We spent two nights at Kwanza Lodge in a room. We just relaxed, while there were sunset cruise and deepsea fishing options.

View from room – Kwanza Lodge
Kwanza Lodge

Jakkals, our guide, and Eric, Dewald and Anton went fishing and they caught three large dorados and some smaller fish. Eric was seasick after he caught his dorado and spent the time from late morning until late afternoon below the deck.


Kwanza Lodge to Lobito

We followed the coastal road to Seles and then turned away into the Kumbira forest. A winding road through small towns and villages where we spent the night high up in the mountains.

Malbrouck’s Monkey at Kwanza River
Selling fish and chillies near the Kwanza River

Binga Falls:

The falls from above
Mountain village
Camping spot
On the way to Lobito

The next day we proceeded to Lobito where we camped on the beach next to a restaurant. The owner of Alfa Bar allows free camping on the property on the condition that dinner is taken at the restaurant.

Old farm implements outside Lobito

Lobito to Klofie

From Lobito southwards the landscape changes to desert. In the river beds the locals have patches of maize and vegetables and lots of goats.

Outside Lobito

Dombe Grande is a small town in the desert where the government has some joint projects of farming with the locals – maize fields, fruit and vegetables.

Near Dombe Grande

The road was horrible. Fom Lobito the road is tarred for 100 km, then unfinished with only bridges built for another 100 km with a horrible corrugated winding narrow road next to the planned abandoned road. Then it was tarred again for 100 km. The whole day to drive this stretch of 300 km.

Abandoned road building project
Half built bridge…

We camped at Klofie. It is a beautiful setting with red sand formations and we really enjoyed the scenery.

Camping at Klofie
Klofie beach
Cave in the sand formations

Klofie to Lubango via Namibe

Another stretch of driving next to an abandoned road project towards Namibe, and then some newly finished tarred road.

Namibe is also a bustling busy town. Art deco buildings, and half finished buildings.

Namibe harbour
Namibe – neat and clean!!!!!!

Then we proceeded inland to Lubango via the Leba Pass. The landscape around Lubango is just incredible.

Serra da Leba is a national landmark in Angola. This breathtaking mountain road built in the 1970s, spirals down from the ‘plano alto’ (high plateau) elevation of 1.845 meters to almost sea level in just over 10 kilometres; literally traversing 3 or 4 different climate zones during any ascent or descent. The drive is very steep, hitting a 34% of maximum gradient through some of the ramps.

Legend has it that the Serra da Leba pass is named after a Portuguese woman who designed and built the road, who died after she viewed it on the very day the project was finished. Being one of the country’s postcard images for decades, the road is a marvel of engineering given the era of its construction.

Serra de Leba pass


After Angola’s Independence from Portugal due to the events of the April 25, 1974 Carnation Revolution in Lisbon, the city was once again renamed Lubango. During the Angolan Civil War (1975–2002), Lubango served as a major base of Cuban, SWAPO and government troops. The current population of around 1 million people makes Lubango the second largest city in Angola competing with Huambo

Cristo Rei statue overlooking the city

The Tundavala Gap is the main natural and geological attraction of the Huíla province. This awe-inspiring abyss near Lubango is located right at the rim of the Serra da Leba mountain range. From here onwards, Angola’s Central Plateau abruptly drops from over 2 kilometres high to just 1 km, takes on a curious wave-like form and extends westwards towards the Namibe beaches.

Tundavala view in the morning
Tundavala gap

Lubango to Santa Clara border post

We crossed the Kunene river halfway to the Santa Clara border to Namibia for the last day

Kunene river

Angola gave us more than we expected. The magnificent landscapes that changed from area to area was wonderful to experience. The many baobab forests along the highlands and coastal areas were impressive.

The infrastructure was destroyed during the war. From time to time we could see some improvement, but there is much to be done to rebuild it after the war.

The diesel price was R5/ltr. Why do we have to pay more than R20/ltr while a country almost next door to us is producing fuel and we cannot access it?

The absolute neat and clean feeling – everywhere! The Angolans have an internal respect for their surroundings.

We noticed a total lack of wildlife. We saw monkeys and baboons at the Kwanza river and nothing else.

Birds were much less than what we expected to see.

The people are really friendly and they seem content with their lives.

In Luanda, Huambo and Lubango the huge difference between the very rich and very poor was noticable.

The tour group was awesome! Friendy, intelligent, organised, well-read, well-travelled. We had many hours of interesting conversations during the tour.

It was worth every minute and every cent and we can now tick off Angola as a destination on our bucket list.


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