Luanda: Dancing in a Singing Angola
Luanda Dances In Angola, A Country That Sings
It welcomes everyone and, in a certain way, we can say that is heading towards the future. It symbolizes the city’s upward movement and enhances the mix between the European influence and the African way of life. It was recently renovated and nowadays is a meeting point for those who like to spend some quality time outdoors.
Throughout its 3 kilometers, the bay’s new seaside road offers a lot of green spaces, several shops, bars, sports fields, the finest restaurants and a lively atmosphere. Here, you can always enjoy your day: you can do some jogging, go fishing or even go to concerts. In the end, it’s just like an animated postcard you can’t afford to miss.
A kind of Manhattan… in Africa
Yes, some call it the “African Manhattan” and many think that this is how it will be known in the future. Luanda is one of Africa’s most cosmopolitan cities and its recent economic development has been reflected in the construction of numerous buildings and skyscrapers. The landscape is changing, in a vertical way, based on the city’s economic context.
On the other hand, surrounding the city center, there are a large amount of poor neighborhoods (musseques) which remind us that, around here, life can be tough and the standard for living can be very rudimentary. Yes, it’s a capital made of extremes and challenges, but the important thing you should keep in mind is: you must know how to discover it.
Flavour and art in the streets, on the markets and in life
The street vendors are part of the African spirit and, indeed, of Luanda. With humble smiles and willingness to sell this is the day by day of many Luanda’s citizens. Fruit, vegetables, a large variety of fish, fresh bread and handicraft — everything is for sale, in order to accomplish a better life.
Along with the improvised sales spots on the street, the markets have an important role too: to organize and centralize, as much as possible, the sale’s hustle and bustle. Various markets in the city set the example: the Municipal Market of Samba or Kifica (a more traditional craft sale market), the Municipal Market of Cazenga or the Municipal Market of Cacuaco. If you visit one of these markets or points of sale, you should take with you kwanzas (Angolan currency) for trade in addition to a genuine interest in natural products.
From Luanda… to the moon
Well, more precisely, to a viewpoint called Miradouro da Lua (Viewpoint of the Moon). And why this name? Well, because it is formed by a set of cliffs that remind us of the most beautiful and challenging lunar landscapes. This amazing viewing point is situated in the area of Belas, to the south of the Luanda, very close to the sea. What you’ll find once you get there is a poetic landscape that, in fact, is a natural result of the erosion caused by the tropical rains and by the wind in a soil made of a mixture of shades of ocher. The different colours change according to the intensity of the sunlight. It’s the perfect scenery for a magical photograph at sunset.
Along the coast, not very far from the center, you’ll find Mussulo island, which is actually a peninsula. It’s one of the most popular places in the province of Luanda. Along its coast, there are countless clear sandy beaches, which are in turn bathed by a warm deep blue sea. It is almost as if this place had two distinct personalities.
The most crowded beaches are situated on the continental side. The resorts and hotels guarantee the ideal vacation or weekend for tourists or even for the locals. These are some of the reasons that make Mussulo one of the main points of interest in the country. Once there, you can choose from a variety of water sports and leisure activities or you can just relax at the end of the day in a charming terrace, enjoying the beautiful sunset. It is common knowledge that the sun rises for everyone, but in Angola it rises and sets to be unique and unforgettable. Mussulo is also a place where the local children sell handicrafts for a living. They bring carefully handmade necklaces and bracelets in exchange for kindness and, of course, some kwanzas.
Then, you have the other side of the island. It is an almost secret place filled with beautiful wild beaches. Only the fishermen and the more adventurous travellers can reach it after a long walk under the hot sun. Small villages and coconut palms set up the scene. Enjoy it!
And Luanda tastes so good!
The Angolan gastronomy results from many influences (such as the Mozambican, Portuguese or Brazilian), but, essentially, the food tastes like… Africa. If you visit Luanda you must try, for example, the muamba chicken, calulu fish, the mufete, the funge with cassava or corn and the extraordinary and sweet roasted banana with jinguba.
In a singing Angola, Luanda dances
This is Africa, so we can feel the heat of the rhythms everywhere. We can listen to music all the time, there’s complicity and a genuine invitation to dance. It’s like an everlasting celebration! When the music starts, everyone start dancing! Kizomba, semba, rebita and kuduro are the contagious rhythms that dominate Luanda’s nightlife. They uplift everyone’s spirits, including those people who are just passing by. It’s always an intense experience! The music, the dances and the joy, all together, make for a night to remember on the dance floor. You just can’t stay still or be sad.
Paulo Flores, one of the main references of the Angolan music, expresses this unique feeling in one of his songs: “with a sincere hug, I hope you’ll be by my side listening to Angola that sings. Put that sadness aside, wear that smile. It’s all right, Angola that sings.”