Luanda is the capital city of the Republic of Angola. It is a coastal city that lies at 8°49’S 13º14’E. It has a subtropical semi-arid climate which is hot and humid but dry, due to the influence of the Benguela current. This city is the capital of Luanda province and serves as Angola’s major seaport and administrative center. Luanda is also the hub of education in Angola and is home to renowned universities including the Catholic University of Angola and Public University of Agostinho Neto.
The city is divided into 9 districts called municipos. It is a fast growing city and has already expanded beyond its official limits. With a population of 5 million, Luanda is Angola’s most populous city. It has the third largest population of Portuguese speaking people for any city in the world after San Paulo and Rio de Janeiro of Brazil. In 2011, it was adjudged the most expensive city for expatriates by Mercer. In 2013, Luanda along with Namibe city will be the proud host of the 2013 FIRS Men's Roller Hockey World Cup, a first for Africa.
Benguella, also called Sao Felippe de Benguela is the capital of Benguela province and lies on the bay that shares its name. It lies south of Luanda and is one of Angola’s most populous cities. During Portuguese regime it was a prosperous city and an important center of trade, particularly slave trade to Cuba and Brazil. It also served as a port, though not a major one.
Benguela is a popular tourist spot and is known for the beauty of the S.Felippe and S.Antonio Churches. There is also a hospital in Benguela famous for its architecture. Apart from these, the magnificent fortress and stone built houses dating back to 1911 are also popular with tourists. Lying close to the city is Baia Farta where salt was manufactured during Portuguese rule. The beautiful Baia Azul beach, known for its blue water, is not far from the city.
Huambo is the second largest city in Angola after Luanda and is the capital of the Huambo province. It is located near the source of the Kunene River, at the Angolan highlands, 136 miles to the east of Benguela. Formerly known as New Lisbon, Huambo derives its name from one of the 14 Ovimbundu kingdoms Wambu. Huambo has a subtropical highland climate, but due to its high altitude, it enjoys spring like temperature throughout the year. The dry season lasts from May to September and rainy season between October and April.
Founded by Portuguese General Hose Mendes Norton de Matos in 1912, Huambo boasts of a number of colonial buildings which are popular with tourists. It also has a number of parks and gardens, the most prominent of them being the Parque Almirante Americo Tomas. Another famous tourist destination is the Kovonogue Forest Reserve
Located in eastern Angola, Lucapa is the capital of the Lunda Norte province. As a result of internal displacement during the civil war and resettlement in the last 15 years, it has become quite difficult to estimate the actual population of the city.
Lucapa is primarily a mining town and thousands of its residents are involved in this industry. It is also attracting tourists of late and the best time to visit Lucapa is between June and September.
Lobito is a coastal city and lies in the Benguela province. The city was founded in 1893 and was one of Angola’s major ports during Portuguese rule. It was also an important tourist spot and the carnival of Lobito was quite a popular event. The city was badly affected by the post independence civil war, but since 2000 it is well on the path of reconstruction and development.
Lubango Located at 14.55’S 13.30 E coordinates, Lubango is a city that lies at 1760 meters above sea level at the Huila Plateau. It was founded by Portuguese settlers from Madeira and today it is the capital of the Huila province of Angola. It was named Sa da Bandeira by the Portuguese after Bernardo de Sá, 1st Marquess of Sá da Bandeira. It was the only Angolan city with white majority due to the refusal of Nhaneka-Humbe tribe to live in this city. Post independence, it was again renamed Lubango.
Malanje is a beautiful city located in 9º32’S 16º21’E coordinates. It was founded in the 19th century and is the capital of Malanje province. During the colonial period it was famous as an open air market or feira and was an important center for both agricultural and manufactured goods.
It has a humid climate and the rainy season falls between October and May. Malanje is an important tourist destination. The famous Calendula Falls is in Malanje. Another important tourist site is the Pedras Negras de Pungo Andongo, massive blocks of black rocks. Malanje is also home to Giant Sable Antelope which is found in Cangandala National Park. Other important places of tourist interest are religious buildings and the tomb of the local Robinhood Jose do Telhado.
Namibe is located in the southwestern part of Angola and due to its proximity to the Namib Desert, it has a dry and cool climate with desert vegetation. It was founded in 1840 by the Portuguese and it is the capital city of Namibe province. Namibe is a busy sea port since Portuguese rule. Angola’s largest and oldest national park, the Iona national park is located in this city. Namibe is the co-host of the 2013 FIRS Men's Roller Hockey World Cup along with Luanda.
Formerly known as Silva Porto, Kuito is the capital of the Bie province located in central Angola. Kuito was a part of the traditional Ovimbundu kingdom before it was colonized by the Potuguese. It became a center of slave trade. The city was ravaged during its occupation in 1993/94 and 1998/99 by UNITA rebels and reconstruction of the city is underway.
Despite its tropical location, the climate of Kuito is cool with an average annual temperature of 18ºC. It experiences a cool and dry season from May to August while it is hot in September and October. Precipitation is highest between November and April. Tourism is catching up and both the government and private parties are making concerted efforts to develop Kuito into an important tourist spot. Soyo
Soyo, the capital of Zaire province is one of the key producers of oil in Angola. Located on the banks of river Congo, this city was formerly known as Santo António do Zaire. Historically, Soyo was a part of the Kingdom of Kongo. In 1670, when the Portuguese invaded Soyo with the intention of conquering Kongo, the Portuguese were defeated in the Battle of Kitombo on October 18, 1670 and till date it is celebrated.
Jamba is an important tourist site located in the Cuando Cubango province of Angola. This city is known for its scenic beauty and the presence of large number of elephants in the area. In fact, the name Jamba stands for elephant in Ovimbundu language. This city was also the hub of UNITA. Heavy discount during festivals makes Jamba a shopper’s paradise.
It is city located in the Cabinda exclave of Angola. The city was founded by the Portuguese and was a center of slave trade during Portuguese rule. Cabinda has oil reserves in offshore and thus is economically very important to Angola.
Other important cities of Angola are
- M’banza-Kongo,home of Kongo ruler Manikongo and current capital of Zaire province
- Uige, Capital of Uige province and important tourist site.
- Sumbe, the internationally renowned Sumbe Music Festival is held here
- Caxito, Capital of Bengo province
- Caluquembe, in Huila province, center of Roman Catholic and Evangelical Protestants.