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Angola

Main attractions

One of Pungo Andongo monoliths, Angola
One of Pungo Andongo monoliths / Malcolm Manners, Flickr, CC BY 2.0.

This enormous country still is opening to the world - there is needed some time to recover after the terrible civil war.

This is also the main reason why Wondermondo is not sure whether the monuments listed below are truly the most impressive in the country. Angola has huge wealth of natural and man made landmarks but most of these landmarks are not much known outside the country.

Highlights of Angola could be the otherwordly cliff formations - such as Pungo Andongo and Tundavala cliffs with ravines. Scientifically important are archaeological landmarks left by many local cultures - but it seems that many discoveries are still to be made. Country has gorgeous waterfalls and also interesting examples of Portuguese colonial architecture.

Natural landmarks

Pungo Andongo, Angola
Pungo Andongo / Paulo César Santos, Wikimedia Commons, CC0 1.0

Cliff formations

  • Miradouro da Lua - Luanda. Group of colourful cliffs, "Moon landscape" shaped by rain and wind.
  • Pungo Andongo - Malanje. Group of giant, rounded cliff monoliths. Site of legends, in many sites small cairns are found.
  • Tundavala Gap - Huíla. Spectacular gorge on the rim of Bié Plateau. Here opens a fine view from the height of 1 km over the surrounding plains. The 1 km tall escarpment continues on both sides, there are perennial waterfalls over its rim.

Waterfalls

Ruacana Falls, Namibia and Angola
Ruacana Falls / Rubend Nazario, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0
  • Epupa Falls - Namibe and Kunene, Namibia. Group of picturesque waterfalls in approximately 1 km wide front, formed by Kunene River. Tallest single drop is 37 m high. Picturesque groves of large baobabs right at the falls. Endemic species of fish.
  • Guilherme Falls (Tembo Falls) - Malanje and Congo DR, Bandundu. Approximately 30 m tall and 600 m wide waterfall on Kwango River.
  • Kalandula Falls - Malanje. Falls of unusual beauty, up to 105 m tall and 410 m wide, some of the most powerful falls in Africa.
  • Ruacana Falls - Kunene and Omusati, Namibia. Unusual, very impressive waterfall. Kunene River here falls by 170 m over a fan shaped, 700 m wide cliff. This sight opens only after heavy rains.

Other natural landmarks

  • Arco - Namibe. Two neighboring natural arches in Namib desert. Deep blue lake is seen through these sandstone arches.
  • Big Sumbe's Cave - Cuanza Sul. Enormous cave - tunnel.
  • Cangalongue Cave - Huila. Small cave with deposites where scientifically important remnants of Pliocene - Pleistocene primates have been found.
  • Pediva Hot Springs - Namibe. Hot water springs which have formed small lake in desert environment. Springs emit sulphuric smell.

Man made landmarks

Prehistoric and later cliff art

Calola petroglyphs, Angola
Calola petroglyphs/ J.Redinha, As gravuras do Alto Zambeze..., 1948
  • Calola petroglyphs - Bengo. Group of interesting petroglyphs, in total 89 pictures in seven groups. Most drawings are geometric figures, including groups of connected spirals.
  • Caninguiri petroglyphs - Bié. Important and rich find of petroglyphs in some 20 m deep cave. Oldest etchings and paintings are made in the Iron Age. Interesting is a group of white painted humans, three of these people have weapons.
  • Delambira petroglyphs - Cuanza Sul. Group of densely drawn petroglyphs, more than 1000 drawings in 61 m long wall of rock shelter. Many paintings show everyday life - agricultural works, food preparation, hunting, animals.
  • Pedra do Feitiço - Zaire. Group of 86 fairly recent petroglyphs from the 17th - 18th century. Most drawing show people, also lizard, crocodiles, hippopotamus, elephants, birds, snakes and ornaments. One drawing shows European ship.
  • Pedra Quinhengo petroglyphs - Cuanza Sul. Rock shelter with hundreds of rock paintings, mostly in black color. It is possible that some drawings show guns.
  • Tchitundo-Hulu Rock Art Site - Namibe. Granite hill with rock paintings and prints. This is prehistoric, more than 4 thousand years old ritual site, drawings were drawn before the coming of Bantu. Site contains etchend spirals, which are connected. Here are located also round stone fundaments of huts. One of interesting sets is on Pedra da Lagoa - large rock face approximately 1 km from the main saite. Here are found enormous etchings of labyrinths (spirals) and other geometric figures.

Prehistoric burials

  • Kapanda necropolis - Malanje. Group of 23 dry stone structures - burials. Finds of Venice glass hint that these structures are farily new, from the 17th century.
  • Quibala tumulus - Cuanza Sul. Group of prehistoric burials, mostly located on tops of granite hills. Some burials have impressive dry stone domes over them. Some dry stone structures are adorned with simple stone ornamentation. Nearby are found many petroglyphs.
  • Quibaxe tumulus - Cuanza Norte. Prehistoric burial - stone cairn with passages in two levels. Diverse artefacts were found in the burial - earthenware vessels, grinding stones and others.

Colonial fortifications

  • Kambambe Fortress - Cuanza Norte. Historical fortress, built in 1604. Served as a centre of local slave trade, fell in disrepair since 1925.
  • Kikombo Little Fort - Cuanza Sul. Small fort, constructed in the 17th century during the colonial war between Portuguese and Netherlands.
  • Massanganu Fortress - Cuanza Norte. Old fortification, originally built in 1583 in order to gain access to legendary silver mines.
  • Muxima Fortress - Bengo. Historical fortress, founded in 1599. Served as a prison for slaves. Structure is in bad condition now.
  • São Francisco do Penedo Fortress - Luanda. Portuguese built fort, constructed in the 17th century, rebuilt in 1765 - 1766. Building is in poor condition.
  • São Miguel Fortress - Luanda. Well preserved fortress, built in 1576 on a hill overlooking the city. This site was of key importance for slave traffic to Brazil. Now contains Museum of the Armed Forces.
  • São Pedro da Barra fortress - Luanda. Old fortress, possibly built already in the 17th century. Current building was constructed in 1703 and is in poor condition. Fortress served as a transfer station for slaves.

Churches

Muxima church, Angola
Muxima church / Paulo César Santos, Wikimedia Commons, CC0 1.0
  • Cathedral of Luanda - Luanda. Historical building, constructed in 1628 in Mannerist style.
  • Kambambe church of Nossa Senhora do Rosario - Cuanza Norte. Old church, built in Mannerist style in 1603.
  • Muxima church of Nossa Senhora da Conceiçào - Bengo. Historical church, built in 1599. Now the church is in a rather good condition.
  • Nossa Senhora do Cabo church - Luanda. Oldest Portuguese built church in Angola, constructed in 1575, shortly before the founding of Luanda city.
  • Nossa Senhora do Carmo church and convent - Luanda. Carmelite monastery and church, constructed in 1660 - 1691 in Mannerist and Baroque styles. One of the most beautiful European structures in sub-equatorial Africa. Especially impressive is the interior of the church, adorned with polychrome paintings and blue and white tiles.
  • Nossa Senhora da Nazaré church - Luanda. Ornate church, constructed in 1664. Valuable details of interior, such as the the blue-white tiles.
  • Nossa Senhora da Victoria church - Cuanza Norte. Oldest present church in Angola outside Luanda. It was built in 1583 - 1590.

Other man made structures

  • M'banza Kongo historical centre - Zaire. Former capital of the Kingdom of Kongo, possibly the largest town in sub-equatorial Africa in the late 15th century, at the time when Europeans came here. City centre contains ruins of this indigenous city as well as some of the oldest European structures in sub-equatorial Africa. Ruins include remnants of cathedral, which was built in 1549.
  • Palácio de Ferro - Luanda. Unusual, prefabricated structure, built around the 1890s. Design of this ornate building is attributed to Gustav Eiffel.

List of described attractions by provinces

Angola is divided into 18 provinces, including the exclave of Cabinda.

Bengo
Benguela
Bié
Cabinda
Cuando Cubango
Cuanza Norte
Cuanza Sul
Cunene
Huambo
Huila
Luanda
Luanda Norte
Luanda Sul
Malanje
ArrowKalandula FallsWaterfalls
Moxico
Namibe
Uíge
Zaire

Map of Angola

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