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The Country

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Map of Angola, Luanda Capital

Map of Angola, Luanda Capital

Angola is situated in the western part of Southern Africa and has the following geographic data:

• Latitude – North – 04°22'G / South - 18°02'.

• Longitude – East  – 24°05'E.G / West – 11°41'.

• Area: 1.246.700 square kilometres.

• Extension of the Atlantic Ocean: 1.650 kilometres.

• Land Border : 4.837 kilometres.

• Neighbouring countries to North: Republic of Congo and Democratic Republic of Congo

• Neighbouring countries to East: Democratic Republic of Congo and Republic of Zambia

• Neighbouring countries to South: Republic of  Namibia.

• West: Atlantic Ocean.

Angola is comprised of 18 provinces:

Province Area Capital
Bengo 33.016 Caxito
Benguela 39.826 Benguela
Bié 70.314 Kuito
Cabinda 7.270 Cabinda
Kuando-Kubango 199.049 Menongue
Kwanza-Norte 24.110 N'dalatando
Kwanza-Sul 55.600 Sumbe
Cunene 87.342 Ondjiva
Huambo 34.270 Huambo
Huíla 79.022 Lubango
Luanda 2.417 Luanda
Lunda-Norte 103.000 Dundo
Lunda-Sul 77.367 Saurimo
Malanje 97.602 Malanje
Moxico 223.023 Luena
Namibe 57.091 Namibe
Uíge 58.698 Uíge
Zaire 40.130 M'Banza Congo

About 65 percent of the territory is situated between  1000 and 1600 metres of altitude.

The official currency is the Kwanza. The Official Language is Portuguese, besides various local languages of which the most widely spoken are: Kikongo, Kimbundo, Tchokwe, Umbundo, Mbunda, Kwanyama, Nhaneca, Fiote and Nganguela.

The Climate

Angola has two stations: the rainy station, which is hotter, between September and May and the “cacimbo” or dry station, which is less hot from May to September.

The country has a very peculiar geographic setting, as it lies in the inter-tropical and sub-tropical zone of the Southern hemisphere, near the sea and for the particularities of its relief, it comprises two distinct climatic regions:

• The Coastal Region – with annual relative humidity of 30 percent and average temperatures higher than 23°C;

• The Inland Region, sub-divided in Northern Zone, and heavy rains and high temperatures, Zone of Altitude that covers the central planaltic regigons, with a dry station, of low temperatures and the Southwest semi-arid Zone, as a result of the proximity of the Namibe desert, an extension of the Kalahari desert, subject to large masses of continental tropical air.

The country’s average temperatures are: 27°C maximum and 17°C minimum.

This climatic diversity corresponds to a tourist potential represented by a very rich natural asset of diversified flora and fauna, propitiating the practice of all sorts of leisure activity, hobbies and adventure.

The Flora

Angola presents five types of natural zones: the dense rain-forest like that of Maiombe (Cabinda), that holds the world’s rarest timber; the savannas, normally associated with the jungles, as it is the case of the provinces of Lunda-Norte and Lunda-Sul; the dry savannas, with trees and shrubs in Luanda, Baixa de Kassanje, in the province of Malanje and also some areas in the Lundas.

There are also steppe zones along a strip that ranges from south of Sumbe,  in Kwanza-Sul, and finally the desert that covers a narrow coastal strip in the far southern part of the country, where we can find, in the Namibe desert, a world unique and endemic vegetal species that characterises this country,  the “Welwitchia Mirabilis”.

The Fauna

There are in Angola innumerous species spread around various regions. In the Maiombe forest, in  Cabinda, there are gorillas, chimpanzees and parrots. In the most humid natural zones of the north, centre and east, we can find the “golungo”, the sable giant antelope, an endemic species in the world, threatened with extinction, the “seixa” and the elephant. In the drier regions, herds of springbok, gemsbok or oryx, gnus, impalas, leopards, buffalos, elephants, zebras and giraffs can be spotted. Animals can be found in almost all of the territory which includes hyenas, red antelope, lion, leopard and hippopotamus.

The marine fauna includes a large variety of fish and shelfish which are also found in rivers that are also the home to crocodiles or alligators.

Main Rivers

Angola’s main river is the Kwanza, after which the national currency is name. Of its 1500 kilometres of length, only 240 are navigable. Then comes the Kubango (975 kilometres), Cunene (800) and, finally, on the list of the country’s four rivers, the Zaire (150), which is navigable over all its stream.

The Angolan rivers provide opportunities for businesses of tourist interest of mixed commerce-tourism type and even eco-tourism.

Mineral Resources

Angola is a potentially rich country in mineral resources. Its subsoil is estimated to hold 35 of the 45  most relevant minerals in the world trade, with stress to oil, natural gas, diamond, phosphate, bituminous substances, iron, copper, magnesium, gold and ornamental rocks.

Tourism

With the approval of the Angola Tourism Master Plan for the  2011-2020 period, on 12 October 2011, by the Cabinet Council Standing Commission, the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism enters a new cycle of actions, focusing on the implementation of a strategy that is wanted firm, differentiated and capable of affirming the values, historic-cultural assets and natural wealth that comprises the Angola’s tourist potential.

The perspectives of the sector envisage the creation one million direct and indirect jobs, with revenues of about four billion US Dollars, significant increase of the sector’s contribution to the Gross Domestic Product and 4.6 million local and foreign tourists, which are very important indicators for the attainment of the goals and expected results.

Religion

There are in Angola various  religions organised into churches or similar forms. There are no reliable data on the number of believers, but most of Angolans profess a Christian-inspired religion. About half of the population is associated with the Catholic Church, while another part with one of the protestant churches introduced during the colonial period: the Baptist, the Methodist and the Congregational, besides more reduced communities of reformed Protestant and Lutheran. In addition, there are the Adventist, the Neo-Apostolic and a large number of Pentecostal churches.

Finally, there are two churches of syncretic type, the   Kimbanguistas, with origin in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Tocoistas, that was formed in Angola in 1949, both with communities around the whole territory. While significant, the number of people without a religion is difficult to establish. The followers of traditional African religions form a small minority, of residual character but, among the Christians,  there are often creeds and costumes that are derived from those religions. The moslem community is of one to two percent, mostly immigrants from other countries (especially from West Africa).

Culture

One of Angola’s main values is no doubt its culture in all its manifestations. The Angolan music, both traditional (semba, rebita), and so-called modern (kizomba, kuduro, zouk) have been able to tread their path, with some international projection.

There are a few traditional musical instruments worth mentioning, which are part of the Angolan cultural and traditional rich, like the “batuque”, the  “kissange” and the “marimba”. In one of his poems, the first Angolan president, António Agostinho Neto, would say: “To our marimba and kissange, to our Carnival, we shall return".

The extremely rhythmic traditional dances take a relevant place, leaving no one indifferent.

The Carnival is no doubt one of the cultural expressions worth watching , harmoniously combining music and dance, like the “samba”, “varina”, “cabetula”, “kazucuta” and “cabecinha”.

In terms of handicrafts, Angola has a lot to offer.

Wood craft is probably the most expressive but there are other materials that are exploited with considerable skill like clay, “mateba” (palm tree leave fibre), bronze, ivory and horns.

Population

According to 2013 estimates, Angola has a population of 20 million inhabitants, distributed mainly over the coastal and the central highlands of the country. The country’s first population and housing census after independence is set to be conducted in 2014.

Angola’s population is mostly of bantu origin. Among them, stress goes to the ovimbundus, the  kimbundus and the bakongos.

But there are other ethnic minority groups like the Koysan (in southwestern Angola).

The official language is Portuguese and there are about 42 languages, being Kimbundu, Umbundu,  Kicongo, Tchokwe the most widely spoken.

Some data of interest

Driving Side – right.

Bank Hours – 8:00 am to h 3:00 pm (there are branches that open on Saturdays).

Official Language – Portuguese.

National Currency – Kwanza.

Electricity – 220/240V 50Hz.

Time Zone – GMT/UTC +1

Phone Code – +244
Unit of Measurement – Metric

Complementary data

STATISTIC DATA
Head of State President José Eduardo dos Santos
Capital Luanda
National Day 11th November 1975
Official Language Portuguese
Currency Kwanza (AKz)
Area 1.247.000 km²
Population 20 million (2013 estimate)
Literacy 40%
Urbanisation 26%
Natural Resources Diamond, oil, fish, wild animals, agriculture, sea and marine resources.

Obs.: All data refer to the year 2000,  except for those otherwise indicated.

NATIONAL HOLIDAYS
New Year 1st January
Beginning of National Liberation Struggle 4th February
International Women’s Day 8th March
Carnival Between February and March
Peace and National Reconciliation Day 4th April
Holy Friday Between 22nd March and 25th April
International Workers Day 1st May
National Hero’s Day 17th September
All Souls Day 2nd November
National Independence Day 11th Novembe
Christmas 25th December
NATIONAL CELEBRATION DATES
Colonial Repression Martyrs Day 4th January
Angolan Women Day 2nd March

National Armed Liberation Expansion Day

15th March
Angola Youth Day 14th April
International Children Day 1st June
African Children Day 16th June
Africa’s Day 25th May
Human Rights Day 10th December