Located on the south-western coast of Africa, the Republic of Angola covers a geographical area of about 481,353 square miles, (1.247 million square kilometres) which is larger than Texas and California combined. Angola's neighbours include Namibia to the south, Zambia to the east, and Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north.
After decades of brutal civil war, Angola is picking up the pieces and rebuilding the country. It is potentially a rich country, with vast reserves of oil and diamonds, but the civil war and ruling elite have not helped the distribution of its resources. While in 2005 the country is still quite tough for travellers (who do not speak Portuguese), it is improving by the month and may become a worthwhile extension of a visit to southern Africa or even a destination in its own right in a few years.
Luanda is the capital of Angola and the biggest city; quite overwhelming for the average traveller. Along the coast, the cities of Lobito and Benguela are more tranquil, but certainly worth a visit. Further south Lubango offers magnificent scenery and quiet surroundings, connected by Angola's best road, to Namibe - a lovely and quiet coastal town.
By 1974, a total of ten conservation areas could be distinguished in Angola. Six of these areas were national parks spread over the various provinces. Luando, home to the unique Giant Sable, was designated as a special reserve while Chimalavera was classed as a provincial reserve. Excluding the nature area at Namibe, the rest of the conservation areas consisted of the Cuando-Cubango’s public hunting reserves at Longa-Mavinga, Luiana, Luengue and Mucusso.
The wildlife in all the parks have been almost completely wiped out after the devastation wrought by decades of war. Kissama (Quiçama) National Park is located some 70 km south of Luanda. Iona National Park is located some 200 km south of Namibe and borders Namibia's Skeleton Coast.
lona National Park:
The 1.6 million hectare lona National Park, which lies in the Namibe province, was proclaimed a national park on 2 October 1937. Its natural borders include the Atlantic Ocean in the west and the perennial Cunene in the south with the Curoca river forming both the northern and eastern borders. The present status of animals are unknown and some species such as the black rhino could have been completely wiped out.
Kissama (Quiçama) National Park:
Quiçama covers an area of roughly 1.2 million hectares and was established as a game reserve in 1938, and proclaimed a National Park on 11 January 1957. The Atlantic Ocean forms the Kissama (Quiçama) National Park’s 120 km long western border, while the perennial Cuanza and Longa rivers constitute the northern and southern borders respectively. The eastern border consists of a belt of dense, tall thicket.
Accommodation is offered at Pousada Càua, comprising self-contained thatched chalets which overlook the flood plain of the Cuanza river, has been renovated and are open to eco tourists.
A luxury lodge of world class standards will be built within the foreseeable future at the mouth of the Cuanza river. The lodge will be unique in that it will incorporate both a sea and river front. Activities will include fishing, sunning on the beach, cruises on the river, bird-watching as well as game drives into the Park. This will be a lodge set within unsurpassable surroundings with a myriad of activities to choose from.