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sub-Saharan Africa Topics specific to sub-Saharan Africa. (Includes all countries South of 17 degrees latitude)
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Old 21 Apr 2008
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Angola experience

Hi,

we just drove from Capetown to Luanda.

Although we had proper Angolan visas, we were refused entry at the main OSHIKANGO border. Explanation: each passenger was required to carry "sufficient funds" in cash, 200 US$ per day of visa duration (30 days) = 6.000 US$ per person. This means we would have been required to carry 24.000 US$ in cash in the car !!!

Probably this was just a way of extorting a bribe (although illogically this would further lower our insufficient cash). We returned into Namibia and enjoyed the most exciting drive in a long time, thanks to that stupid border guy. We continued west along the Namibian-Angolan border until the next post: RUACANA, passing 7 Kunene river floodings with the help of locals, who guided us safely as long as 300m through the water with the water level hitting the windscreen once.

The border process in Ruacana was very friendly and easy, however the following road to CAHAMA was not. For the 200km via Chitado and Otchinjau we needed 15 hours, bringing our Landrover to its limits. This is basically a jeep track with a dozen river crossings, steep climbs, terrible rocks. We got stuck twice (a winch would have been helpful) and had one blown tyre. Nevertheless a beautiful drive, where you get to meet friendly locals including Himba people, who have very rarely seen foreigners.

The road from Cahama to Lubango and then to Lobito is a bigger one, but partially bad laterite or at least very potholed. At one point 10 big trucks got stuck in the mud and blocked the way entirely for an hour.

In LUBANGO there is apparently a nice place to stay called CASPER Lodge. We stayed in the acceptable GRAND HOTEL at ca. 200 US$.

In LOBITO there is an unexpectedly nice luxury beach hotel called TERMINUS, priced at ca. 200US$.

The road from Lobito to Luanda is entirely new tarmac.

LUANDA has monstrous traffic. The Hotel Alvalade seemed the best in town, priced at 300 US$.

We got the impression that Angola is a safe place to travel to. On the main road you can cross the whole country in three days, if you really push.

Regards,
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Old 21 Apr 2008
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Great that you made it through afterall.

Was traveling from north to south a couple of months back on a bike, and was refused entry into Cabinda from Point Noire. The reason we were given was that we weren't allowed to enter Cabinda with a vehicle. Errr....ok. Spent more than a week pounding our heads against the diplomatic wall, and ultimately airlifted ourselves and two bikes over Angola and directly into Namibia (couldn't go through Brazza due to high bandit risk at the time).

Interesting that you pretty much give the same account about Angola that many others here give. Extremely difficult diplomacy and paperwork, but a friendly population along with relative safety. Not something Angola has been known for, for a long time. So, good to hear.
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Old 21 Apr 2008
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Sounds like you had a great trip. We passed through Angola in December and ran into the same issue at the border. Luckily I produced two credit cards in the place of the cash and they agreed to let me through. As you point out the hotels in Angola are very very expensive but the people are very friendly so it is very easy to find a place to pitch a tent. In two weeks there we only payed for a camping place one night.
Cheers
Josh
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