Expedition to Angola

STYLE Small Group
BETWEEN Luanda and Luanda
Contact Diesel for all departure dates and latest pricing
Airport Transfers All Accommodation
All tour transportation All meals as listed in itinerary
Entrance fees as listed Professional Tour Guides
Visas Airport taxes
International Flights Travel Insurance

Trip Overview

Angola is a wild part of Africa that is slowly just starting to open again to tourism. This fascinating region is a lost treasure chest of African anthropology. Focussing on the remote south, a land of unspoiled wilderness, we travel to remote communities and settlements in an effort to understand the customs and ancient practices of the region’s most traditional peoples, staunchly holding on to their way of life and for whom the outside world is barely relevant. Join us on a unique journey through the fascinating country of Angola.

Expedition to Angola

Accompanied by expert guides, carefully designed and researched, this trip is one of a kind and offers intrepid travellers the chance to see a world which may not exist for much longer, and travel on paths that few have ever imagined, let alone trodden. Join us on the ultimate Angolan adventure.

Powered by Native Eye


Day 1: Luanda

Arrive in Luanda and transfer to the hotel. After time to check in and freshen up, begin exploring the key sights of the city, with impressive old colonial buildings, bustling markets and the Forteleza de Sao Miguel. Overnight tourist class hotel.Luanda Luanda is a city under construction – after the long lasting civil war (1975-2005) the city seems to be permanently expanding, fuelled by the oil boom which has also made Luanda one of the most expensive cities on the planet. The centre is divided into three distinct sections – Baixa de Luanda (lower Luanda) from the port to the fortress, Cidade Alta, the upper part of the city, home to the presidential palace, and Ilha do Cabo, a peninsula surrounding the bay with beaches, nightclubs and restaurants. Behind and above the historic centre, central bairros include Maianga and Alvalade (residential) and Miramar (embassies), as well as Kinaxixe and Maculusso, which are characterised by Portuguese apartment blocks. Further outside the centre, the neighborhoods become more informal, dotted with 1970s Cuban apartment blocks and new developments. Upon arrival in Luanda, it is impossible to miss the towering obelisk-like structure shooting above the rest of the city, a mausoleum dedicated to Augustinho Neto, the first President of Angola. Other sites worth visiting include the Fortaleza de Sao Miguel, a 16th century building built during the earliest period of colonial rule and a self contained city for the military garrison, as well as a holding point for slaves –the highlight here are the ornate hand painted wall tiles. The National Museum of Anthropology is home to an impressive array of traditional masks and other artefacts, while the 15th century Igreja Nossa Senhora do Populo is the first Anglican church in Angola, built in 1482.

Day 2: Lubango

Transfer to the airport and fly to Lubango, the main city in southern Angola. Set in a lush valley guarded by a statue of Christ, Lubango is rich in colonial heritage mixed with the vibrancy of local culture. We explore the city on foot and by vehicle. Overnight tourist class hotel. (BD)

Day 3: Chibia

Drive to the town of Chibia and explore its old colonial centre. Chibia is a centre for the Muila people, known for their incredible body decorations, and this afternoon we head out to one of their communities to spend the night. Overnight camping. (BLD)

The Muila people

The Muila people are a cluster of semi-nomadic ethnic group living on the Huila Plateau. Women coat their hair with a red paste called oncula, which is made of crushed red stone. They also put a mix of oil, crushed tree bark, dried cow dung and herbs on their hair. Ontop of this they decorate their hair with beads, cowrieshells and even dried food. Having their forehead shaved is considered as a sign of beauty. The plates, which look like dreadlocks, are called nontombi and have a precise meaning. Women or girls usually have four or six nontombi, but when they only have three it means that someone died in their family. Mumuila women are also famous for their mud necklaces, which are important as each period of their life corresponds to a specific type of necklace. When they are young, girls wear heavy red necklaces, made with beads covered with a mix of soil and latex. Later girls start to wear a set of yellow necklaces called vikeka, made of wicker covered with earth. They keep it until their wedding, which can last 4 years. Once married they start to wear a set of stacked up bead necklaces called vilanda. Women never take their necklaces off and have to sleep with them.


Day 4: Garganta – Cangolo

Returning first to Lubango we have some time to explore its colonial centre before heading to the desert region of Namibe. In the abandoned Portuguese hamlet of Garganta we meet the Nguendelengo people, who live by hunting, gathering and rearing livestock. We then head to Cangolo to meet the Mucubal people. The Mucabal are semi-nomadic pastoralists with many fascinating customs, including the practice of teeth sharpening. We camp next to the village. (BLD)

The Mucabal people

Mucubal (also called Mucubai, Mucabale, Mugubale) people are a subgroup of the Herero ethnic group, with a lifestyle based on cattle and agriculture, and some very specific customs and traditions. Girls have their upper teeth sharpened and lower ones removed. In order to convince young girls to have their lower teeth removed, Mucubal elders make them believe that their teeth leave their mouth during the night, to go in a hole dug to relieve themselves and return to their mouth covered with excrement. Their nomadic lifestyle is based on cycles, between nomadism and staying in villages. The Mucubal believe in a god called Huku, and also worship their ancestors’ spirits called Oyo. Divination is very important in their culture, and they use talismans and amulets for numerous purposes such as to protect their herds or prevent adultery. Funerals can last several days or weeks, and graves are decorated with cattle horns. The number of cows sacrificed is in relation with the importance of the deceased. Cattle is only killed on special occasions, as Mucubal usually don’t eat meat but rather corn (when they manage to grow some), eggs, milk and chicken. They don’t eat any fish because according to the legend, one of their chieftains was brought to the sea by the Portuguese and never came back. Mucubal women are famous for the way they dress, the most notable example of which is an original and unique headdress called the Ompota. It is made of a wicker framework, traditionally filled with a bunch of tied cow tails, decorated with buttons,shells, zippers and beads. But tradition is disappearing as some women use modern items to fill their ompota headdress. Women whether they are married or not can wear jewels. Ornaments like iron anklets and armlets are worn by girls as well as adult women. Mucubal women are also famous for the string they have around their breast, called oyonduthi, which is used as a bra.


Day 5: Namibe

Drive through the desert towards the Atlantic Coast, to the city of Namibe. After lunch explore the town with its fading colonial architecture. Overnight tourist class hotel. (BLD)

Day 6: Tchitundu Hulo – Capolopo

Drive towards Virei, stopping en route to see the prehistoric weltwishcia plants. After lunch visit Tchitundo Hulo to discover a vast collection of prehistoric rock art, with paintings of animals, plants and men – possibly up to 20,000 years old, but no-one really knows. These were made by some of Angola’s earliest inhabitants, and we spend the night with their descendants, the Mucuis, near the rocks. Overnight camping. (BLD)

Day 7: Iona National Park

We head for Angola’s largest protected area, stopping at Pediva, an oasis in the desert with the ruins of an old elephant hunter’s lodge. Once a paradise for wildlife, Iona suffered badly under the civil war and the huge populations which were found here no longer exist. However we hope to see species such as oryx, zebras and ostriches as we cross through the savannah and deep into the heart of the Angolan bush. Overnight camping. (BLD)

Day 8: Oncocua

Drive through wild landscapes to the small town of Oncocua, a former Portuguese settlement in the middle of a cultural ‘island’, inhabited by three different ethnic groups – the Himba, the Mucawana and the Mutua. We spend time visiting these communities and learning about their culture. Overnight camping. (BLD)

Day 9: Cahama – Xangongo

Drive into the territory of the Mudimba people, to gain more of an insight into the rich cultures of southern Angola. From here we head to Cahama where we can see the remains of tanks and other military vehicles abandoned during the war. Here we also meet the Mugambue people, quite different to the people we have met before, and whose women wear thick and elaborate necklaces. Continue to the town of Xangongo for the night, on the shores of the Cunene River. Overnight camping. (BLD)

Day 10: Lubango - Luanda

Drive back to Lubango, and fly to Luanda. Overnight tourist class hotel. (B)

Day 11: Luanda

Visit Santiago Beach to see the numerous shipwrecks in the bay, then continue to the Mirador de Lua, with its impressive rock formations. Finally return to Luanda and transfer to the airport for your onward flight. (B)

Tour Dossier Notes

Airport transfers – Includes arrival and departure transfers regardless of whether you book flights yourself, or we book them for you. If you’re booking them yourself, then please let us know the details so that we can arrange the transfers.

Accommodation – Accommodation as listed in the dossier. The nature of the destinations that we operate may sometimes mean that we need to change hotels, but we’ll always endeavour to keep the same standards. Please be aware that as we operate in many countries where tourism is in its infancy, hotel standards may not be the same as you’re used to elsewhere.

Guides – In most cases you will be accompanied by one guide from start to finish. However there may be occasions when this is not practical, for example if your trip covers a number of different countries. In these cases it often makes more sense to include different guides for each place, to take advantage of their specific knowledge of the destination.

Meals – As listed within the itinerary / dossier (B-Breakfast, L-Lunch, D-Dinner). These will vary from trip to trip– in some areas it makes sense to include all meals while in others there is a good choice of restaurants and we feel people might like to ‘do their own thing’ now and again.

Entrance fees – Entrance fees are listed for those sites that we mention within the itinerary. If there are any other sites that you’d like to see, these would be at your own expense.

Visas – We don’t arrange visas for our travellers, but if an invitation letter is necessary then can request for this to be arranged for you. If you need any advice with visas just give us a call, or alternatively a visa agency such as CIBT can assist.

Airport taxes – If there are any departure taxes to pay that are not included within the cost of your ticket, you’ll need to pay these yourself.