Tourism in Angola

The tourism industry in Angola is based on the country's natural beauty, including its rivers, waterfalls and scenic coastline. A Washington Post article on tourism in the country says that "Angola is a giant jigsaw puzzle of different climates, landscapes, cultures and colors." Angola's tourism industry is relatively new, as much of the country was destroyed during the post-colonial civil war which ended in 2002. Unlike most countries in the region, which generally give US, EU, and many other citizens a visa on arrival or require no visa at all, Angola has complicated and onerous Soviet-style visa requirements (official letter of invitation, documents concerning purpose of travel, copy of travel itinerary, proof of funds, etc., all of which are sent back to Luanda for approval). This antiquated attitude to tourism places the country at a disadvantage in a competitive market for international tourism.

Visitor attractions

Cameia National Park
Cameia National Park is a visitor attraction in Angola. It is a national park in the Moxico province of Angola, located at about 1100 m above sea level. It shares its name with the nearby municipality of Cameia. The Cameia–Luacano road forms the northern boundary of the park with the Chifumage River forming the southern portion of the eastern boundary and the Lumege and Luena rivers the south-western boundary. Much of the park consists of seasonally inundated plains that form part of the Zambezi river basin, with the northern half of the park draining into the Chifumage river. There are also extensive miombo woodlands, similar to those in the Zambezi basin of western Zambia. The park is a sample of nature not occurring elsewhere in Angola. Two lakes, Lago Cameia and Lago Dilolo (the largest lake in Angola) lie outside the park boundaries and both have extensive reedbeds and grassy swamps that are rich in aquatic birds.

Cangandala National Park
Cangandala National Park is another visitor attraction in Angola. It is the smallest National Park in the country and is situated in the Malanje province. It is situated between the Cuije river and 2 unnamed territories of the Cuanza River, with the towns of Culamagia and Techongolola on the edges of the park. The park was created in 1963 while Angola was still under Portuguese colony.

Iona National Park
Iona National Park, located in Namibe Province, is another popular tourist destination. It is about 200 km from the city of Namibe and, at 5850 sq. miles, the largest in the country. Before 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.

Mupa National Park
Mupa National Park in the southwestern Cunene province was proclaimed a National Park on 26 December 1964 while the country was still a Portuguese colony. The park is significant for its expected wide (though generally unstudied) avifauna. Many Angolans reside within the park, which, along with nomadic pastoralists and mineral prospecting threatens to destroy the park's birdlife. According to one article, "Even though the park was initially proclaimed to protect the giraffe sub-species, Giraffa camelopardalis angolensis, by 1974 none were left because the morphology of the White Giraffe leaves it particularly vulnerable to landmines left over from Angola's civil war compared to other giraffe sub-species. Other mammals which occurred, include lion, leopard, wild dog and spotted hyena".

Coastline
Angola borders the Atlantic ocean and has 1,650 km of coastline.