May 18 to 28, 2019
Located in southern Africa, Angola is the seventh largest country on the continent. It is bordered by Namibia to the south, the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north, Zambia to the east, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. The diverse ethnic communities – the Ovimbundu, Ambundu, Bakongo, Chokwe, Mbunda and other peoples – to varying degrees maintain their own cultural traits, traditions and languages. Slightly more than half of the population now lives in the cities and there you will find a mixed culture that has been emerging since colonial times; in Luanda, since its foundation in the 16th century. In this urban culture, the Portuguese heritage has become more and more dominant. African roots are evident in music and dance, and are moulding the way in which Portuguese is spoken. This process is well reflected in contemporary Angolan literature, especially in the works of Angolan authors. This tour will explore a land that the modern world has yet to touch. Inland, the landscape becomes almost endless plains. You will meet multiple tribal groups following time-honoured traditions including the hunter-gatherer and of course the Himba, those icons of southern Africa, and here they are far less modernized than their counterparts in Namibia.
Per person sharing in double occupancy (land only): $8,995.00
Single Supplement: $995.00
Price based on a group size minimum of 6 and maximum of 12 participants
Please contact our office for your flight needs
Trip Notes: The Angolan authorities have announced that they will be processing visas on arrival / online visas in 2018, but as far as we know, this change has not yet been implemented and we cannot predict when this process will be in place.
Your tour does not include
- Round trip International flight USA/Angola
- Vaccination required: yellow fever immunization
- Items of a personal nature: beverages, laundry, phone calls, email, souvenirs, etc.
- Hotel accommodations necessitated by changes in air schedules or misconnections.
- Visa (Currently obtainable only at the Angolan missions in USA, but a new system will go into effect soon to acquire online).
- Travel protection insurance (highly recommended).
- Tips to hotel staff or porters.
Your tour includes
- Airport/hotel/airport transfers in every city.
- Accommodation at hotels mentioned or similar.
- Meals as mentioned in the itinerary (B: breakfast, L: lunch and D: dinner).
- All visits to sites, villages, monuments and museums.
- English speaking guide and local guides at various villages.
- Flights within Angola.
- Tips to guide(s) and drivers (as long as minimum participants’ number is met)
- Transportation in minibus and Toyota Prados
II Active – Some hikes, slightly more demanding walks at or to sites, few elevations, comfortable but busy schedule and some long rides.
** -*** Moderate to Superior: Lodges and hotels with additional amenities, refined service and comfort level acceptable to western standards. (3 or 4 stars) in larger cities, while camp in Angola is considered simple, where you will have 2 nights in tents with sleeping bags and pillows; the bathroom facilities are in the wild.
View Tour Itinerary
Sunday, May 19
US - Luanda (Angola)
Arrive in Luanda and transfer to the Hotel Epic Sana or similar for your overnight. As you approach the city, it is impossible to miss the towering obelisk-like structure shooting above the rest of the skyline. This structure is the mausoleum of Augustinho Neto, the first President of Angola. After settling into your hotel, you will head out to visit some of the sights of the city. Begin with the Fortaleza de Sao Miguel, a 16th century building from the earliest period of colonial rule and a self-contained city for the military garrison, as well as a holding point for slaves – an interesting feauture is the ornate hand painted wall tiles. Continue to the 15th century Igreja Nossa Senhora do Populo, the first Anglican Church in Angola, built in 1482. Time permitting, visit the National Museum of Anthropology, home to an impressive array of traditional masks and other artefacts. Return to the hotel for your dinner and overnight. (L, D)
Monday, May 20
Luanda - Lubango
Explore the key sights of Luanda, with impressive old colonial buildings and bustling markets. Later 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. Overnight at the Pululukwa Lodge or similar. (B, L, D)
Tuesday, May 21
Lubango – Chibia - Lubango
Drive to Chibia, a center for the Muila people, known for their incredible body decorations. Visit the Mukuma tribal market, one of the best places for meeting this intriguing ethnic group. Return to Lubango in the afternoon. The Muila people are a 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. On top of this they decorate their hair with beads, cowrie shells and even dried food. Having their forehead shaved is considered a sign of beauty. Return to the lodge for your overnight (B, L, D)
Wednesday, May 22
Depart on a full day’s drive south to 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. Pass villages belonging to the Mugambue people, and visit a community of some of the last surviving Kung (bushmen) people in Angola. Overnight at a simple tented camp. (B, L, D)
Thursday, May 23
Spend today visiting the different tribal groups that live in this area, taking time to learn about their culture and customs. This is one of the most traditional areas of Angola and visitors are rare, but the local people are friendly and welcoming. Return to the camp for your overnight. (B,L,D)
The Mucawana people seem impervious to change, still living and dressing in strictly traditional ways, with the hairstyles of the women made with a mix of cow dung, fat, and herbs for fragrance. When not working, Mucawana people like to celebrate, an intoxicating medley of singing, dancing and clapping. The women at such festivities look dazzling, with multicolored braids, bead corsets around their waists and curiously Teutonic-looking iron crosses dangling down their backs. The Mutua
The Mutua live in small settlements in the deep bush and their livelihood depends on honey and fruit gathering. They do not possess land or animals and are considered as a lower caste by neighboring tribes. At first glance, they appear similar to the Himba, but a closer look will reveal that they are shorter, their dress is shabby and hairstyles less sophisticated compared to those of the Himba and Mucawana. The Himba
The Himba may be one of Africa’s most photographed tribes, but even so nothing can really prepare you for meeting them in the flesh. As in many ethnic groups these days, the women maintain their style of traditional dress much more so than the men. They still dress in skirts made from animal skin and fashion their hair into unique styles with the aid of butter fat and ochre, with different styles denoting their age and marital status. The same substance is used on their bodies, giving them an orange brown sheen that is considered a sign of beauty within Himba society.
Friday, May 24
Otchinjau - Lubango
Drive to the town of Otchinjau to meet the Mudimba people – the women are known for their afro-style hair. Continue to Cahama, the site of a decisive battle in the civil war when Cuban and Angolan forces stopped the advance of South African tanks. Return to the Pululukwa Lodge (or similar) in Lubango for your overnight. (B, L, D)
Saturday, May 25
Descend from the plateau on the famous Serra de Leba pass towards the Atlantic coast and the city of Namibe. Stop at the Mangueiras market as well as a nearby village to meet the people of the Mucubal tribe. Arrive in Namibe in time for lunch. Set out afterwards on an afternoon walking tour of the city. Overnight at the Hotel Chik Chik or similar. (B,L,D)
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 are 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 legend, one of their chieftains was brought to the sea by the Portuguese and never came back.
Sunday, May 26
Garganta - Lubango
Drive to the village of Garganta to meet the Nguendelengo people. Numbering just three or four hundred individuals, they live by hunting, gathering and rearing livestock. Return to Lubango and visit the Tunda Vala escarpment for stunning views over the surrounding area. Overnight at the lodge. (B, L, D)
Monday, May 27
Hoque - Lubango - Luanda
Drive to Hoque to meet the last traditional tribe of Angola, the Handa. The older women of this ethnic group wear enormous beaded necklaces and complex hairstyles. Visit a local market where you will have the opportunity to interact with them. Continue to Lubango and visit the Tunda Vala escarpment, before transferring to the airport for the flight to Luanda. Overnight at the Epic Sana Hotel or similar. (B, L, D)
Tuesday, May 28
Luanda - USA
Visit Santiago Beach to see the numerous shipwrecks in the bay, as well as the small but interesting anthropological museum. Transfer to the airport for your return flight to the USA arriving on the 29th of May. (B, L)
We (STS) reserve the right to change hotels, restaurants or the order of activities if/as needed