Angola Carnival is a Brazilian-style carnival held throughout Angola around Easter period. It starts on the last Thursday of the Lenten season and runs on through to Tuesday.
In Luanda, the carnival is extravagantly celebrated with an official parade witnessed by the President and members of his cabinet.
The carnival D-day (Tuesday) is an official public holiday in the country.
SERRA DA LEBA PASS
Serra da Leba pass is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 1.845m (6,053ft) above the sea level, located in the province of Huíla, in Angola. The road to the top is asphalted and pretty steep. The most challenging part of the climb is a short section of 1.7km, with 7 hairpin turns. It’s one of the famous hairpinned roads in the world.
The surface of the road is asphalted, and chains or snow tyres can be required throughout the year. Located near the city of Lubango, Serra da Leba is famous for its altitude, for its beauty and also for the road over the pass. The road to reach the summit is a sharply winding and precipitous ascent in a steep and narrow zig-zag section.
The road is called Estrada Nacional 280 (EN280). The drive is definitely worth it. Legend has it that the Serra da Leba pass is named after a Portuguese woman who designed and built the road, who died after she viewed it on the very day the project was finished. Being one of the country’s postcard images for decades, the road is a marvel of engineering given the era of its construction. In spite of its beauty, the road offers little guard-rail protection and has been the venue of many road fatalities; thus bearing the long assigned name ‘the beautiful precipice’.
The road is difficult and it’s a nightmare in the wet or dark (or both). Situated some 20 miles west of the city of Lubango, the Serra da Leba Pass is a national landmark in Angola. This breath taking mountain road built in the 1970s, spirals down from the ‘plano alto’ (high plateau) elevation of 1.845 meters to almost sea level in just over 10 kilometers; literally traversing 3 or 4 different climate zones during any ascent or descent.
There is little room for error on this road. It’s normal for your palms to sweat looking at those photos, imagine what it must have been like before the barriers. It’s incredibly disorienting to look over the edge, or even just to see the valleys a couple thousand feet below you. It’s a mind numbing vertical drop of hundreds of meters so you might want to give it a miss on a windy day.
Kalandula Falls (formerly Duque de Bragança Falls) are waterfalls in the municipality of Kalandula, Malanje Province, Angola. On the Lucala River, the falls are 105 meters (344 feet) high and 400 meters (1,300 feet) wide. They are one of the largest waterfalls by volume in Africa. The distance from Luanda is 360 km.
For best effect, try to visit during the rainy season from September to April (the rains are heaviest between November and January). Until recently the closest place to stay was Malanje, some 85km to the east, but a hotel has now opened in the nearby town of Kalandula. If travelling by taxi from Malanje, allow one hour to reach the falls.
THE GIANT SABLE ANTELOPE
The giant sable antelope, (Hippotragus niger variani), also known in Portuguese as the palanca-negra-gigante, is a large, rare subspecies of sable antelope native and endemic to the region between the Cuango and Luando Rivers in Angola.
The giant sable antelope is the national symbol of Angola, and is held in a great regard by its people. This was perhaps one of the reasons the animals survived the long civil war. In African mythology, just like other antelopes, they symbolize vivacity, velocity, beauty and visual sharpness.
The giant sable antelope is evaluated as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.