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Country Angola – Explore the Wilderness of Africa

The seventh largest country in Africa, Angola is emerging as a favourite tourist destination after being a strife torn country for many years. Scores of tourists reach this region to explore the beautiful Portuguese architecture, enchanting beaches and the less explored nature parks. The simple and welcoming local populace would add up to the unique Angola experience.

Accommodation Options
There is a shortage of accommodation options in Angola, hence advance booking is well recommended. Most of the budget hotels have air conditioning, a private bath or shower, a telephone, radio and TV. The hotels in the main cities like Luanda could be expensive. The back packers could check out the hostel list of the country to pick up some cheap staying options. Hostels provide bath attached furnished rooms, food and basic amenities. Make sure to stay in those located at the main city centres to ensure safety. Sporadic encounters are still on between the guerrillas and the Government troops, so make sure to carry all identification papers while venturing out.

Angola was a Portuguese colony from the 16th century to 1975 when it gained independence. Soon after independence a civil war broke out from 1975 to 2002, which shattered the economy. Though in 2006, a peace treaty was signed with a faction of the FLEC, a separatist guerrilla group from the oil rich Cabinda exclave in the North, sporadic incidents of shoot outs and violence are still reported.

Popular Places
There are many places of tourist interest in this country including the Humbi-Humbi art gallery in Luanda, a treasure trove of the various historical exhibits. The nature enthusiasts would find the magnificent Calandula Waterfalls, located in the Malanje area a real eye feast especially soon after the rainy season.

Getting Around
Taxis are rare to find and costly. Rail services, damaged by the long drawn civil war are yet to be restored fully and could be erratic. The most popular mode of transport in the travel guide of Angola is buses, though these could be slow and crowded. If you are driving your own car, beware of the risk of car jacking and unexploded ordnance pose a safety threat in urban areas.

Places of Entertainment
There are nightclubs and cinemas in Luanda, where you can enjoy the foot tapping fusion music of Angola, which is a mix of Caribbean, Brazilian and Afro sounds. Cinema seats should be booked in advance. There are art galleries and cafes too, which remain late in the evening where you can hang out with your friends. Traditional handicrafts shops in the main cities are worth exploring.

Kwanza (AON) is the currency of Angola, Coins are available in denominations of 10, 20, 50 lwei, 1, 2, 5 and 10 kwanzas. 20 kwanza coins and the bills in circulation are of denominations of 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1000 kwanzas. Currency exchange rates are available online or in news papers.

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