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Home to unique landscape and obvious contrasts, the capital of Angola is a growing business centre. And one of the most expensive in the world.
Go beyond the skyscrapers
A former portuguese colony, Luanda has several marks evoking the past. The fortress of São Miguel is only one of them – transformed nowadays into a Central Museum of Armed Forces. In the downtown area, the unmistakable Iron Palace is believed to be designed by Gustave Eiffel. And the baroque Sé Cathedral is one of the city’s main spot, with more than 300 years of existence.
Find the best sunset
Which might be seen from Miradouro da Lua, outside of Luanda, with a great view over the cliffs by the sea. Or the Mussulo bay, closer to the city, where coconut trees and warm water decorate the beach sand. At night, there’s no escape from taking a walk on the promenade. Or heading to Luanda’s island, where dinner is always more fun!
Culture and Business
Make sure you have your passport and boarding pass with you. Depending on your country of origin, arrange your visa or other required documentation well in advance. Go to the traveler's office and take all the necessary vaccinations and prevention medications, if applicable.
On the coast, the average temperature is 21ºC in the summer and 16ºC in the winter. The dry season is typically from May to October and the hot and rainy season from November to April.
GMT + 1
Geography and Politics
Angola is a country in southwest Africa, with an Atlantic Ocean coastline. It has a combination of African traditions and the influence of hundreds of years as a Portuguese colony. The current political regime in Angola is a presidential system, in which the president is also the head of government, has legislative powers and also appoints the supreme court.
Tips and Payment
The local currency is the Kwanza (AOA). The banking system is well developed, especially in large cities. Check with your bank in advance if your card will be valid in Angola. Tips are not mandatory. It is up to you whether to tip, depending on the quality of the service provided.
Language and expressions to memorize
The official language is Portuguese. Other national languages exist, such as Umbundu and Kimbundu. Some useful phrases in Portuguese are: “olá” = hi, “por favor” = please; “muito obrigado/a” = thank you very much; “desculpe” = sorry.
What to do
You can be at ease with your body language - Angolans are a very close people. They feel more comfortable dealing with people they already know and trust, so try to establish a personal relationship before you talk about business.
What not to do
You must not interrupt someone when they are talking, it is a sign of disrespect. At your first meeting with someone to talk business, do not immediately start with business talk. This moment usually serves for everyone to get to know each other better.
What to wear
The business world, especially in Luanda, is as formal as it is in the Western world and it is normal to wear a suit when doing business.
The most common form of greeting is the handshake. Sometimes a slight bow is also made when meeting someone senior in age or status. Asking for the family and being genuinely interested is a sign of respect. Hierarchy is important, and titles and surnames are usually used as a demonstration of respect.