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Angola travel guide

About Angola

Its name may be synonymous with strife, but since the civil war ended in 2002 Angola has been enjoying something of a renaissance. Safe and welcoming, this friendly nation transports the laidback, community-orientated lifestyle of southern Portugal to continental Africa – and travellers are once again discovering its charms.

Most enter the country via the capital, Luanda, which has the dubious and surprising distinction of being the most expensive city in the world. With its gleaming skyscrapers, grand government buildings and palm-lined promenades, downtown Luanda’s prosperity probably comes as a revelation to many visitors. But the spoils of Angola’s considerable oil wealth soon give way to unofficial shantytowns, proving that not everyone is benefitting from the black gold rush.

It is along Angola’s stunning 1,700 km (1,000 mile) coastline, in cities like Luanda, where Portugal’s colonial influences are most striking. The faded, art deco splendour of cities like Benguela and Namibe provide a welcome distraction from the country’s sandy shores.

Further inland, the landscape becomes one of almost endless plains. Here remote national parks are slowly being restocked with wildlife, while the newly renovated Benguela railway wends through the seemingly endless countryside. One of the world’s most evocative rail journeys, riding through the landscape with its people is a great way to delve into the psyche of laughter loving Angolans.

To the north – and separated from the rest of Angola by a 40 km (25 mile) arm of the Democratic Republic of Congo – the exclave of Cabinda is Angola in miniature, with empty beaches once popular with expats, elegant towns and virgin rainforest full of wildlife.

Youthful and energetic, Angola, like its people, has its own way of doing things. Fun-loving and eager to impress, it is a country still shaking off its troubled past while looking firmly at the future.

Key facts


1,246,700 sq km (481,354 sq miles).


25,830,958 (UN estimate 2016).

Population density:

15.7 per sq km.





Head of state:

President João Lourenço since September 2017.

Head of government:

President João Lourenço since September 2017.

Travel Advice

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) provides advice about risks of travel to help British nationals make informed decisions. Find out more about FCDO travel advice

Areas where FCDO advises against all but essential travel  

Your travel insurance could be invalidated if you travel against FCDO advice.

Cabinda Province, except Cabinda city 

FCDO advises against all but essential travel to Cabinda Province, except to Cabinda city. This is due to separatist groups carrying out targeted attacks on foreigners and the risk of kidnap. 

Border areas in Lunda Norte Province 

FCDO advises against all but essential travel to within 1km of the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in Lunda Norte province, except for official border crossings and their access roads. This is due to poor conditions, insecurity and banditry. 

Find out more about why FCDO advises against travel.

Before you travel 

No travel can be guaranteed safe. Read all the advice in this guide and any specific travel advice that applies to you: 

Follow and contact FCDO travel on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You can also sign up to get email notifications when this advice is updated. 

Travel insurance 

If you choose to travel, research your destinations and get appropriate travel insurance. Insurance should cover your itinerary, planned activities and expenses in an emergency. 

This advice reflects the UK government’s understanding of current rules for people travelling on a full ‘British citizen’ passport from the UK, for the most common types of travel. 

The authorities in Angola set and enforce entry rules. If you’re not sure how these requirements apply to you, check with the Angolan immigration department or contact the Consulate General of Angola in the UK.

COVID-19 rules 

There are no COVID-19 testing or vaccination requirements for travellers entering Angola. 

COVID-19 restrictions 

Some shops, banks, restaurants and markets may have reduced opening hours. You may have to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination record to enter some venues.  

Passport validity requirements 

Your passport must have an ‘expiry date’ at least 6 months after the date you arrive in Angola and have at least 2 blank pages.  

Check with your travel provider that your passport and other travel documents meet requirements. Renew your passport if you need to.  

You will be denied entry if you do not have a valid travel document or try to use a passport that has been reported lost or stolen. 

Visa requirements 

You do not need a visa to visit Angola for up to 30 days.  

If travelling for work, study or business, you must get a visa in advance. If you do not have a visa, or if you have the wrong visa, you may be stopped from boarding or detained at the airport on arrival. Angola’s deportation process can take a long time.  

You can be fined 15,000 Angolan kwanzas a day if you overstay your visa. You may not be allowed to leave the country until your fine has been paid. You may also not be allowed to re-enter Angola. 

The Angolan authorities can fine you for visa offences, including: 

  • working, studying or living in Angola without the correct visa 
  • changing employment without notifying the authorities 
  • employing staff with incorrect visas 
  • failing to renew residence cards  
  • changing address without notifying the authorities 

Vaccine requirements 

There is a risk of yellow fever transmission in Angola. This means you will need a certificate of yellow fever vaccination for some onward travel, including to South Africa. 

For full details about health entry requirements and recommended vaccinations, see TravelHealthPro’s Angola guide

Customs rules 

There are strict rules about goods you can take into or out of Angola. You must declare anything that may be prohibited or subject to tax or duty. 

Taking money into and out of Angola 

Declare cash or travellers cheques if the value is 5,000 US dollars or more (10,000 if you’re a resident). You’ll get a certified declaration to show you brought it in with you.  

You cannot take out more than 5,000 US dollars (10,000 if you’re a resident) or its equivalent in any foreign currency.   

You can take out up to 50,000 kwanzas in cash in addition to the foreign currency. 

Officials at the airport may search you to make sure you’re not leaving the country with more than the allowed amount.

This guide also has safety advice for regions of Angola


There is a high threat of terrorist attack globally affecting UK interests and British nationals, including from groups and individuals who view the UK and British nationals as targets. Stay aware of your surroundings at all times.      

UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. Find out how to reduce your risk from terrorism while abroad.

Terrorism in Angola 

Although there’s no recent history of terrorism in Angola, attacks cannot be ruled out.


There is a high level of crime in Luanda, some of it violent. Muggers can be armed and some attacks have been fatal. If you are attacked, hand over your money and valuables immediately.  

Most international companies and organisations operating in Angola have security rules for staff. If your company has rules, read and follow them. 

Protecting yourself and your belongings 

Criminals target areas popular with foreigners. You should be particularly careful when withdrawing money from banks and ATMs, as you could be followed and robbed. 

You can reduce your personal risk by: 

  • using pre-arranged cars or hotel cars when withdrawing money 
  • not walking around in Luanda, especially not alone or after dark 
  • not wearing expensive-looking jewellery or watches or using a mobile in public places 
  • not walking between bars and restaurants on the Ilha do Cabo 
  • avoiding crowded places like markets and all large gatherings 

Put your valuables and cash in a hotel safe where practical. Keep a certified copy of your passport’s photo page in a separate place. 

Vehicle crime 

Theft from stationary or slow-moving cars is common in downtown Luanda. Keep valuables out of sight and do not use mobiles or laptops while in traffic. When driving, keep doors locked and windows closed. Do not respond if anyone signals you to pull over. Thieves may fake a minor traffic incident to get you out of your car. If they succeed, they may rob you and also steal the car. 

Sexual assault 

Incidents of rape have been reported in popular nightlife areas, as well as in private homes. Never travel alone at night.

Laws and cultural differences  

Personal ID 

Always carry ID – it is safest to carry a certified copy your passport’s photo page. If travelling outside of Luanda and the provincial capitals, take the originals with you, packed as securely as you can. If you do not have any ID, you may get an on-the-spot fine of 15,000 kwanzas. 

Illegal drugs and prison sentences 

Drug taking and smuggling are offences. Punishments can be severe and prison conditions are very poor. 

Using cameras and binoculars in secure areas 

Do not use cameras, binoculars or GPS equipment near any government buildings. Taking photographs in the streets can draw the attention of the authorities and they may confiscate your camera. 

LGBT+ travellers 

In January 2019, Angola’s parliament made it illegal to discriminate against people on the basis of sexual orientation. However, public attitudes towards same-sex relationships are less tolerant than in the UK. Showing affection in public may attract negative attention.

Read more advice for LGBT+ travellers.

Wildlife, animal products and souvenirs 

If you’re caught buying or trafficking goods made of ivory it’s likely you’ll be prosecuted and get a prison sentence or fine.

Transport risks  

Road travel  

If you are planning to drive in Angola, see information on driving abroad. To reduce the risk of breakdowns or accidents, use off-road vehicles for longer journeys. Outside major towns, foreign visitors usually travel in convoys of at least 2 vehicles for safety and in case of breakdowns. 

Although you can drive on a UK photocard licence for up to 30 days, it is helpful to get the 1949 version of the international driving permit (IDP) as well. Make sure you have your driving licence, IDP, and ownership and insurance documents in the car. You will need to show them at the frequent police checkpoints. 

Road conditions and landmines 

Roads outside Luanda and the provincial capitals are often in poor condition. Landmines and unexploded bombs and weapons are still a problem on roads, verges and bridges.  

During the rainy season from November to April there is an increased chance of mines shifting due to flooding and resurfacing outside known mine fields. 

There have been incidents where mines have exploded with loss of life in places previously thought to be safe. Even in ‘cleared’ areas, keep to well-established routes and take up-to-date advice from the United Nations or an international non-governmental organisation. 

Taxis and minibuses 

Book airport taxis in advance using your hotel or travel operator. In most cases your sponsor will arrange to meet you at the airport and to provide transport throughout your trip.  

For taxi travel in Angola, always use pre-booked taxis. You can book using apps, including ‘Yango’ and ‘Heetch’. Check the driver’s identity details match before getting in. Local minibus transport is unsafe.  

Air travel 

The UK Air Safety List (ASL) lists all known airlines in Angola that do not meet international safety standards and are banned from operating commercial air services to and from the UK. Check the UK Air Safety List when considering which airlines to fly with. The list is maintained by the Department for Transport, based on advice from the UK Civil Aviation Authority.

Extreme weather and natural disasters 


During the rainy season from November to April, there are storms and heavy downpours. This can cause sudden, serious flooding in and around cities, including Luanda. Flooding can damage roads, buildings and bridges. Stay indoors during storms. 

This section has safety advice for regions of Angola. It only covers regions where the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) has specific advice.  

You should also read FCDO’s overall travel advice and safety and security advice.  

Cabinda Province, except Cabinda city 

FCDO advises against all but essential travel to Cabinda Province, except to Cabinda city.  

There are regular violent incidents including rape, murder and kidnappings in Cabinda Province. These have involved both foreigners and Angolans.  

Separatist groups in the northern exclave of Cabinda (a province not joined to the rest of Angola) have been known to carry out attacks involving both foreigners and Angolans. Groups claiming responsibility for these attacks have said they’ll continue attacks against foreigners. 

Border areas in Lunda Norte Province 

FCDO advises against all but essential travel to within 1km of the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in Lunda Norte province, except for official border crossings and their access roads.  

FCDO also advises against all travel to the provinces of Kasaï and Kasaï Central, across the border in the Central Democratic Republic of Congo

The rest of Lunda Norte and Lunda Sul 

FCDO advises against travelling to Lunda Norte and Lunda Sol unless absolutely necessary. Get security advice and travel with the support of a security company or sponsoring organisation.  

The Angolan authorities are sensitive to the presence of foreigners in diamond-producing areas, which includes Lunda Norte and Lunda Sul. They may impose restrictions on your movement in these provinces. If you do not comply, they may arrest you and detain you. 

The diamond mines increase the threat of crime and banditry on roads leading to and from these areas. Bandits may carry out armed hold-ups. 

Areas outside Luanda and the provincial capitals 

If you travel outside Luanda and the provincial capitals, go with people or organisations that know the area, as conditions can be difficult. There is widespread poverty, limited infrastructure, and social exclusion and disease. There are mines and unexploded weapons in many parts of the country. 

Transport and accommodation are extremely limited outside Luanda. Officials are likely to ask for your passport and visa or entry stamp, so take the originals with you.

Before you travel check that: 

  • your destination can provide the healthcare you may need 
  • you have appropriate travel insurance for local treatment or unexpected medical evacuation 

This is particularly important if you have a health condition or are pregnant. 

Emergency medical number 

Call 112 and ask for an ambulance. 

Contact your insurance company quickly if you’re referred to a medical facility for treatment. 

Check TravelHealthPro’s current advice on Angola to find out how to reduce the health risks you’ll face there. 

TravelHealthPro also lists the recommended vaccines that could apply to you. At least 8 weeks before you travel, check how to get vaccines and whether you have to pay on the NHS travel vaccinations page

Altitude sickness is a risk in parts of Angola. Read more about altitude sickness on TravelHealthPro


The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or bought in the UK can be different in other countries. 

Read best practice when travelling with medicines on TravelHealthPro

The NHS has information on whether you can take your medicine abroad

Healthcare facilities in Angola 

There are several competent private clinics in Luanda. They charge high fees in advance. Outside Luanda healthcare is very limited. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation. 

FCDO has a list of medical providers in Angola where some staff will speak English.  

Travel and mental health 

Read FCDO guidance on travel and mental health. There is also mental health guidance on TravelHealthPro

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) cannot provide tailored advice for individual trips. Read this travel advice and carry out your own research before deciding whether to travel. 

Emergency services in Angola  

Ambulance: 112 

Fire: 118 

Police: 110 

Contact your travel provider and insurer 

Contact your travel provider and your insurer if you are involved in a serious incident or emergency abroad. They will tell you if they can help and what you need to do. 

Refunds and changes to travel 

For refunds or changes to travel, contact your travel provider. You may also be able to make a claim through insurance. However, insurers usually require you to talk to your travel provider first. 

Find out more about changing or cancelling travel plans, including: 

  • where to get advice if you are in a dispute with a provider 
  • how to access previous versions of travel advice to support a claim 

Support from FCDO 

FCDO has guidance on staying safe and what to do if you need help or support abroad, including: 

Contacting FCDO 

Follow and contact FCDO travel on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You can also sign up to get email notifications when this travel advice is updated. 

You can also contact FCDO online.  

Help abroad in an emergency 

If you’re in Angola and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the British Embassy in Luanda.  

FCDO in London 

You can call FCDO in London if you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad. 

Telephone: 020 7008 5000 (24 hours) 

Find out about call charges 

Risk information for British companies 

The Overseas Business Risk service offers information and advice for British companies operating in Angola on how to manage political, economic, and business security-related risks. 

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