Threat level: High Present security situation
The current travel safety advice for Angola is to be very cautious and remain vigilant. The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office has advised against all but essential travel to the provinces of Cabinda unless it’s the main city and also the Lunda Norte area. This is due mostly due to the atrocities perpetrated by MPLA – the ruling political party.
Recent security risk events
In recent years several foreign tourists have been shot dead and seriously wounded at the Angolan-Namibian border.
Many areas of Angola, mostly in the southern regions, are very dense with landmines and other unexploded ordinance. De-mining operations by the UN have decreased the threat significantly, however the risk is still high. Foreign travellers should keep a high level of caution in the southern regions of Benguela, Bie, and Cuando Cubango, all of which have larger amounts of unexploded landmines than other regions.
General crime is a real issue in Angola and especially in the city of Luanda. Armed robberies can occur in any area at any time of the day or night. There is a high rate of organised crime in Angola with groups targeting foreigners.
In the province of Cabinda this has included rape, murder and kidnappings of foreigners. The threat from terrorist activity is low in Angola, but as with any country with aa Islamic presence, Westerners should take care.
You should avoid travelling in the evening hours and refrain from display signs of wealth wherever possible as with many of the developing countries you can easily make yourself a target by doing either.
Theft of mobile phones is common and there have been incidents where criminals have attempted to stop vehicles by causing minor road traffic accidents and then stealing the vehicle, or worse kidnapping the occupants in Luanda.
Angola is a member of the United Nations, OPEC, the Southern African Development Community and the African Union. The country is a strong supporter of the U.S. foreign policy as the Angolan economy is dependent on U.S. foreign aid. Angola has a strong relationship with South Africa. The African National Congress in South Africa and the MPLA in Angola fought on the same sides during both the Angolan Civil War and South African Border War. They helped to eliminate UNITA rebels, during the civil war in Angola.
Police check points are common place and travelling at night should be avoided. Mines and unexploded ordnance remain a problem in many areas of the countryside. Information on this can be gained locally or via the United Nations.
Many of the ATMs in Luanda can sometimes be found to be empty, you may need to check with your credit card issuer if it will be accepted in Angola. As credit cards are not widely accepted, it may be best to rely on cash during your stay.
November though to April is the rainy season. Bridges and roads are at risk being washed away by sudden floods and there is an increased chance of mines becoming displaced and surfacing outside known mine fields. Visitors should think about transport and logistics if they are planning on travelling for any distance out of Luanda, or any of the other major cities or large towns.
Official languages: Portuguese Religion: Christianity and Islam Currency: Kwanza (AOA)
To enter Angola a valid visa and/or work permit are required before travelling to Angola otherwise you will be detained at the airport and then deported.
Check all entry requirements with your nearest Angolan Embassy as they may differ between nationalities. Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry into Angola.
It is advised that visitors to Angola are up-to-date with primary boosters such as MMR. It is essential that you get vaccinated against Yellow Fever as there is risk of the disease throughout the country. It is an entry requirement that you present a certificate proving your immunisation. This should be completed at least 10 days prior to departure.
It is further recommended that most travellers get Tetanus, Typhoid and Hepatitis A vaccinations. You may also want to consider a Rabies jab as there is a small risk in some areas of the country. Check with your local health professional prior to travel if you are unsure.
Other health risks
Schistosomiasis (parasitic infection also known as bilharzia) is also an issue, so contact with fresh water including activities such as swimming, bathing or paddling in fresh water lakes and streams is advised against.
The viral illness Dengue Fever is transmitted to humans by mosquito bites and is an issue in Angola. Although there is no vaccine, precautions such as sleeping with a mosquito net and wearing suitable clothes can prevent bites. More information on Dengue fever can be found here: Dengue Fever facts
Personal hygiene must be paramount, the local water supply avoided at all costs and bottled water inspected prior to consumption. A number of cases of bottled water being refilled with tap water and re-sold have come to our attention.