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Southern Angola

  • Driving the Death Acre (Doodsakker)
  • Visit to the Iona National Park
  • Chance encounters with the Himbas
  • Driving the Leba Pass
  • Viewing the ancient Welwitschia Mirabilis

Overview

Angola is mysterious, unknown and untouched by the tourism masses. If you are looking for a different adventure, don’t think twice. This is a programme packed with highlights. While driving, the natural wonders will continuously amaze you as you explore awesome rock formations, numerous dry riverbeds, wide open beaches, beautiful Welwitschia plants and an untouched coastline.

The area is also steeped in history. The remains of war can be seen in buildings covered in bullet holes and the red and white paint on trees marking where land mines were. You will come across shipwrecks, the ghost town of Tombua and visit the bustling port of Namib, formerly known as Mocamedes.

Definite bucket list experiences include driving through the Iona National Park, stopping at Foz du Cunene where the wind might blow you away, negotiating ‘die Doodsakker’ (Death Acre), driving the Serra da Leba that rises over 1 800 meters above sea level and admiring the view from the cliffs of Tundavala.

Angola is an undiscovered gem just waiting to be explored. Start planning, pack and meet us in Ruacana!


Please note that this itinerary is an adventure and serves as an indication of the route. It will be adjusted according to local conditions and therefore crossing the border into Namibia after the tour can be a day earlier or a day later than anticipated.

Itinerary

PRE-DEPARTURE: RUACANA – NAMIBIA

Plan your itinerary to arrive no later than 17h00 at Ruacana Eha Lodge. Attend a briefing from your guide and meet your fellow travellers.
Accommodation options are limited in Ruacana. We therefore suggest Eha Lodge. (Accommodation for this night is not included in your tour package. Please contact your consultant to assist with either camping or lodge accommodation at Eha Lodge.)

** Please ensure that you have filled up on fuel, wood and water before arriving at Eha Lodge.

Included: Dinner

DAY 1: BORDER CROSSING – WILD CAMPING

We will have an early morning departure for the Ruacana border post as crossing the border can be time-consuming. En route you will soon spot the mist of the Ruacana Falls where it plunges 120 m downwards. We cross the border and once all border formalities have been completed, we travel in a western direction towards Oncocua. The road is challenging and driving will be slow. This will allow time to take in the beauty of the area, which might remind you of Namibia’s Kaokoland. Depending on our progress, we set up camp en route.

O/N Camping: Wild camping
Included: Dinner

DAY 2: ONCOCUA

As we travel further towards the mouth of the Kunene River we might come across the nomadic people of this area, the Himbas. The tribes move around the area and even cross the border back to Namibia depending on water and food availability for their animals. Seeing them is therefore not guaranteed, but if you do come across them, please respect their culture and let your guide first obtain permission for photographs etc.

O/N Camping: Wild camping
Included: Breakfast and dinner

DAY 3: IONA NATIONAL PARK

We head for the Iona National Park. The park covers an area of about 15,200 km²; the largest in the country. Before the independence of Angola and the Angolan Civil War, Iona was an "animal paradise”, rich in big game. However, as is true for most Angolan national parks, illegal poaching and the destruction of infrastructure have caused considerable damage to the once rich park. The park is also known for unique flora and incredible rock formations.
Iona is Angola’s oldest and largest national park, it was proclaimed as a reserve in 1937 and upgraded to a national park in 1964. We will be driving through the park to our overnight stop en route.

O/N Camping: Bush camp
Included: Breakfast and dinner

DAY 4: FOZ DU CUNENE

Today we reach the mouth of the Kunene River.
An amazing picture awaits you where the mighty Kunene meets the Atlantic Ocean. In the lagoon, you will find rich birdlife and across the river on the other side, a picture of yellow Namib sand tumbling into the river. From the mouth of the Kunene we turn north to where we take on the first part of the Death Acre before setting up camp for the night.

The name for this stretch of beach between ocean and dunes goes back to the time when the people left South Africa due to the growing pressure of the Brits and moved to what is known today as Angola. They only had ox-carts to travel with, which was much slower than our 4x4 vehicles of today, which explains where the Death Acre got its name from.

O/N Camping: Beach camping
Included: Breakfast and dinner

DAY 5: SHAMBESANA

Today we negotiate another part of the Death Acre should the tide allow it, to Shambesana. The Death Acre must be driven during low tide. It is important to have an experienced guide with you to navigate your safe passage through hidden rocks and muddy pools. It is an amazing stretch of beach and only one of two in the world where the dunes run perpendicularly into the sea. Wow, this is what off-road driving is all about … timing, adrenalin and adventure. We set up camp behind the dunes.
If the tide is not favourable for beach driving, an alternative route via the beautiful dunes will be taken.
We head for Shambesana with its beautiful sandstone cliffs.

O/N Camping: Camping
Included: Breakfast and dinner

DAY 6: PIPPAS BAY

Today we will travel to Namibe. The city was founded in 1840 and until 1985 had the name of Mocamedes. Namibe has the third largest port of Angola, after Luanda and Lobito. It is also the terminus of the Namibe railway. The town has a gigantic market where you can buy nearly anything. Today you will also have some time to wet your fishing lines and maybe catch your dinner.

O/N Camping: Beach camping
Included: Breakfast and dinner

DAY 7: TUNDAVALA

Today we depart for Lubango. We approach Lubango via the spectacular Leba Pass. The road spirals like a snake with 12 hairpin bends from sea level to 1845 meters above sea level. It is believed that the pass was designed by a Portuguese lady who passed away on the day that the construction of the road was completed. Humpata is 20 kms from Lubango. It has a strong South African connection as it was here where the Thirstland Trekkers settled in 1881. The Monumento do Christo Rei keeps a watchful eye over the city of Lubango. The white marble statue is 30 meters high and situated on a hill near the city. The statue is a smaller version of the one in Rio de Janeiro and Lisbon.

O/N Camping: Camping
Included: Breakfast and dinner

DAY 8: KAPLYN

We break up camp and turn our noses towards the border leaving the main Cahama to follow an old “kaplyn”. A “kaplyn” is a military term that describes an unscrambled piece of land on the battlefield between two fighting powers where trackers watch for traces crossing from one side to the other. During the time of the Bush War lots of activity and operations took place in this area.

O/N Camping: Camping
Included: Breakfast and dinner

DAY 9: BORDER CROSSING - RUACANA

Today is the last day we break up camp as a group. The border is in sight. We travel to the border post and should cross the border at Ruacana around 11:00. Once back in Namibia it is time for fond farewells. Each person is responsible for their own onward travel arrangements. (Please ask a consultant to assist with bookings for your journey home, if required.)

Please note that the time is only an indication of when you will reach the border and is not guaranteed.

Included: Breakfast

END OF TOUR

Dates

On Request

Rates

On Request

Included

  • Meals as per the programme
  • Experienced guides with own vehicle 
  • Dinner at Eha Lodge
  • Two-way radios for vehicles 
  • Camping fees 
  • Concession fees 
  • Camp shower and toilet

Excluded

  • Yellow Fever certificates 
  • Cross-border fees
  • Travel and Medical insurance
  • Beverages and water
  • Items of a personal nature

IMPORTANT NOTES:

  • It is very important that everyone carries enough fuel. The travel distance is approximately 2500 km and you will be able to fill up when passing through certain towns. Please note that fuel is not readily available everywhere and only cash is accepted in Angola for fuel.
  • Costs are based on current government taxes and regulations, should this change we will have to adjust the tour cost accordingly.
  • Please ensure that you are holding a valid passport (expiry date must be 6 months after date of return with at least 4-5 empty pages).
  • Please ensure that you have sufficient medical and travel insurance from the moment you confirm the booking as life is unpredictable. Should you cancel, we would need to adhere to our cancellation policies which can be found on our booking form under terms and conditions. Please ask for the terms and conditions document, should you not have received it.
  • If your vehicle is from Namibia, you need a police clearance certificate. Vehicles from South Africa do not need police clearance.
  • Please remember to always keep your headlights on when driving in Namibia (day or night).
  • Please note that your guide will assist with changing currencies to Kwanza before you cross the border into Angola. The ROE is usually best if you change ZAR or NAD, however USD is also accepted.
  • Please note that we advise that you also have USD 500 with you for emergencies in Angola.
  • Fuel needs to be paid in cash in Angola – Kwanza only. No petrol, credit or debit cards are accepted.
  • Please note it is important to take a spare wheel in case of unforeseen circumstances, especially as some of the roads in Angola that you will be driving, are in bad condition.
  • Lunch stops will give everyone sufficient time to prepare lunch and relax a bit. Comfort breaks will also be made along the way.
  • Children in Angola love soccer. If possible, please take along some (soccer) balls and / or old clothes for the children. This is a charity project that we are involved with.
  • Please ensure that you have 5 copies of each of the following documents: passport (certified), vehicle registration documents, copy of drivers licence (drivers only) as well as your yellow fever certificate.
  • If your vehicle is still under finance, please include the permission letter from the bank allowing you to take your vehicle over the border. If you are not the owner of the vehicle, please include permission from the owner (signed).