Luanda Travel Information
Electrical current in Angola is 220 volts, 50Hz. Round pin attachment plugs are in use.
The official language of Angola is Portuguese. Multiple other African languages are spoken including Umbundu and Chokwe. Some French and Spanish is also spoken.
Yellow fever vaccinations are required for entry to Angola if coming from infected countries. Malaria, hepatitis A and B, rabies and polio are all prevalent in the country, which has poor medical facilities excluding those in Luanda. Travellers should practise food and hygiene measures. Drinking water should be treated or bought in sealed bottles (avoid ice cubes in drinks) and care should be taken with hygiene and food, particularly street food. It is wise to take Malaria prophylaxis when travelling through Angola. In Luanda there are one or two good private clinics, but these are extremely expensive and require on-the-spot payment. Comprehensive medical insurance is therefore necessary, with provision for medical repatriation by air. The water supply is unsafe to drink, visitors should drink bottle water. Visitors should also avoid eating unpeeled, unwashed fruit and vegetables and be wary of milk and milk products, as these items are often unpasteurised.
If a service charge is not included in the bill, a tip of 10% is acceptable, though tipping is not officially encouraged in Angola.
Most foreign governments warn against non-essential travel to Angola due to civil unrest and threats to personal safety of travellers. However, visitors careful with personal security and travelling in a group should encounter few problems. Travel after dark is not recommended. The greatest risk for travellers is crime, particularly in the capital, Luanda, where muggings, car-jackings and armed hold-ups are commonplace. Many civilians are armed. Those for whom travel outside of Luanda is essential should travel only with sponsors who have made arrangements for safety and security support. Particularly dangerous are the north and south Luanda Provinces, where the police and armed forces have been actively expelling illegal immigrants and unlicensed diamond prospectors. Cabinda Province is also dangerous; kidnappings and attacks on foreigners have occurred. Travellers should be cautious due to the widespread poverty, disease and shattered infrastructure and the vast amount of unexploded ordnance still present throughout the country. There have been reports of scams by airport officials in Luanda who try to extort money from visitors without a yellow fever vaccination card.
Do not take photographs of government buildings, or use binoculars near them, as this could lead to arrest. Homosexual practices are frowned upon. Drunk passengers arriving at the airport may be refused entry and deported.
Oil is the main industry in Angola, but diamond mining is also important. It is essential to develop personal, face-to-face relationships with local business contacts. Knowledge of Portuguese, the official language, is an advantage as there are limited translation services and outside the oil industry few people speak English fluently; French and Spanish are also useful. Angolan business dress is usually casual; ties are not necessary for men. Office hours are Monday to Friday 7.30am to 6.30pm with a break from 12.30pm; many businesses close on Fridays while some offices will also be open on Saturday mornings from 8.30am.
The international dialling code for Angola is +244. There are many more mobile telephones than fixed lines and the mobile coverage around Luanda and other main centres is much more reliable than fixed lines. Internet access is available at most major hotels.
Travellers to Angola over 18 years do not have to pay duty on 400 cigarettes or 500g cigars or other tobacco products; 250ml eau de toilette, 50ml perfume or aftershave; 2 litres wine or 1 litre spirits and gifts or souvenirs to the value of about US$ 860. Prohibited and restricted items include firearms, ammunition or explosive materials; dangerous medicines, foodstuffs or drugs; pornographic material; plants originating from infected areas; gaming machines; pure alcohol; animals without corresponding certificates and stamps of value.
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