Luanda is the capital and largest city in Angola. It is Angola’s primary port, and its major industrial, cultural and urban center. Located on Angola’s northern Atlantic coast, Luanda is Angola’s administrative center, its chief seaport, and also the capital of the Luanda Province. Luanda and its metropolitan area is the most populous Portuguese-speaking capital city in the world and the most populous Lusophone city outside Brazil, with over 8.3 million inhabitants in 2020 (a third of Angola’s population).
Among the oldest colonial cities of Africa, it was founded in January 1576 as São Paulo da Assunção de Loanda by Portuguese explorer Paulo Dias de Novais. The city served as the center of the slave trade to Brazil before its prohibition. At the start of the Angolan Civil War in 1975, most of the white Portuguese left as refugees, principally for Portugal. Luanda’s population increased greatly from refugees fleeing the war, but its infrastructure was inadequate to handle the increase. This also caused the exacerbation of slums, or musseques, around Luanda. The city is undergoing a major reconstruction, with many large developments taking place that will alter its cityscape significantly.
After departing the hotel, drive along Marginal Bay, with the commercial part of the city on the one side, and views across the bay on the other.
Stop at the San Miguel Fort. Originally built in 1576, its purpose was to defend the port and the city from attack by the marauding French, Spanish and Dutch armies. It was successful until 1641 when the Dutch seized Luanda.
Drive to the new marginal side and stop to see the most unique Agostinho Neto Mausoleum, a huge stylized obelisk. Rumour has it that this is the grave of Angola’s first president, President Agostinho Neto. Having very strong communist affiliations, Neto died in 1979, and it is said that this was erected as a gift from the Russian government.
Thereafter, drive to “Cidade Alta”, or uptown, a pleasant, airy, and calm suburb above the rest of the city, with several pink colonial buildings. Here you’ll have the opportunity to see the Presidential Palace, together with the Prime Minister’s office and the Ministries of Defense, Immigration, Justice, Health, and the British Embassy.
Here, you will have the pleasure of visiting (if possible) the beautiful Catholic Church “Igreja de Jesus”, where many important people of Angolan high society gets married.
Depart “Cidade Alta” and drive back to the hotel.