Travellers who like to stray off the beaten path are booking flights to Angola to discover one of the most interesting emerging travel destinations. Fully recovered after the civil war ended in 2002, now oil revenue and wealth from other natural resources have helped create a strong infrastructure.
Now’s the time to visit, before the tourist crowds discover this beautiful South African country, replete with stunning beaches, a vibrant local culture, and a fun-loving party scene in the capital city Luanda. The country's motto, Virtus Unita Fortior, means ‘virtue is stronger when united' in Latin, a phrase that its citizens take to heart.
Getting to Angola is easy. Catch one of three flights a week from Dubai to the capital where Quatro de Fevereiro International Airport sits just 2km south of the city centre.
The Portuguese were the first Europeans to settle in the country, and some of their influence remains in the language and the culture. But tribes like the Ovimbundu, Ambundu, Bakongo, Chokwe, and Mbunda add their own distinct flavour to the spirited city. There's no better place to experience it all than at the National Festival of Angolan Culture, a country-wide celebration between late August and mid-September which highlights the varied aspects of Angolan culture.
Luanda offers plenty of places to stay with top destinations including Hotel Tropico and Epic Sana. From there, you can easily access attractions like the former Portuguese fortress of Sao Miguel, which dates to the 16th century, the island of Mussulo and the Church of Sagrada Familia. And make sure to spend some time in one of the city's many nightlife venues where the party and the beats go on all night. You might even see Leila Lopes, Miss Angola 2011, who won that year's Miss Universe pageant.