Luanda is undergoing major redevelopment to return this once magnificent city to its former glory. New buildings are going up at a rapid pace. Be prepared for traffic jams and occasional chaos.
If you're planning a leisure or business trip to Luanda, note that the British Embassy advises against non-essential travel to the interior of the Cabinda Province and to North and South Lunda Provinces because of the high risk of civil unrest. Contact your embassy or consulate in advance for up-to-date travel information and heed local advice on safety.
The Cidade Alta and the suburb of Miramar are home to many embassies and the well-to-do, including the President. Both districts overlook the congested streets of the Baixa business district. An hour's drive south in the green and affluent suburb of Luanda Sul choose fine Italian or seafood dishes in one of the restaurants in the luxury Hotel de Convenes de Talatona. The 8-mile long sand strip known as the Ilha is a major Luanda attraction dance to heady African rhythms in its night spots or dine on lobster in sophisticated open-air restaurants.
For the best 360 degree view of the city, head for the imposing white ramparts of the Fortaleza de So Miguel. The President's Palace and the majestic, pastel-pink National Bank building stand out on the bay side, while out on the ocean dozens of ships wait to berth in the harbour. Next stop is fresh fish and seafood or spicy Portuguese dishes served in one of many excellent beach-side restaurants on the Ilha. Finish the day by viewing tribal costumes and musical instruments in the fascinating Museum of Anthropology.
An hour's drive out of Luanda, Mussulo Island is an ideal spot to escape the heat of city. The drive takes you through the bustling suburbs and the exhilarating 20-minute boat trip is refreshing. Once on the island head to the Atlantic coast for windswept and mostly deserted golden sand beaches or stay close to the jetty and sip an ice-cold Caipirinha (Brazilian rum and lime cocktail) and nibble on fresh, juicy prawns.