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A view of the coastline from Port Luanda Angola

Luanda, Angola

On the west coast of southern Africa, Luanda, the capital of Angola, has seen its share of strife, but today it is a rising economic powerhouse. Founded by the Portuguese in 1576, the city struggled through decades of conflict—a war of independence followed by a civil war—before embarking on a renaissance fueled by oil and diamonds. Today, there’s a jolting divide between the haves and the have-nots, with ostentatious displays of wealth among pockets of poverty. Your first encounter with the city will likely take place on the Marginal, a commercial promenade with a jumble of modern high-rises, Soviet-style blocks and colonial houses, which runs along the bay.  Highlights of Luanda include the 16th-century Fortress of São Miguel, which houses the Museum of the Armed Forces and has panoramic views. Nearby, the pink National Bank of Angola is a beautiful example of Portuguese colonial architecture, and the Agostinho Neto Mausoleum, whose 120-meter (393-foot) height dominates the skyline, contains the remains of the first president of Angola. Have lunch at one of the chic restaurants on the Ilha de Luanda—preferably under a palm tree. This sandy spot just across the bay from Luanda attracts the city’s newly wealthy crowds and caters to their expensive tastes. 

Featured Shore Excursions