Luanda is the capital of the Republic of Angola and was once considered to be one of the most beautiful cities on the western coast of Africa. Its original name was Sao Paulo de Loanda and was founded on the 25th January 1575. The population began to settle on the Island of Cabo, and only later did the town begin to grow on the mainland across from the island, becoming a city in 1605. The port was very important not only to export the products arriving from the interior, but also to embark slaves for America.
The largest ethnic race living in the province are the Ambundo, which include the Axiluandas (sea men), who developed a culture of their own. The Axiluandas hold various cultural feasts such as Carnival and other traditional celebrations. Some of the traditional outfits are the “pescador” (fishermen), the “quitandeira” and the “bessangana” name given to the women from the Island of Luanda). They also dedicate many rituals to Kianda (mermaid or spirit of the waters). The main national language in Luanda is Kimbundo.
With respect to the economic activity, fishing is very important for the population that lives on the coast and on the banks of the River Bengo and Kwanza. Agriculture is also very important and all the big industries and concentrated in the capital.
Visit Fortaleza de Sao Miguel, the fort was built in 1576 and presently houses the Armed Forces Museum which has recently been restored. Other museums in Luanda include the Natural History Museum, the Museum of Anthropology and the National Slavery Museum.
The nightlife in Luanda is very lively and you have various options both in the city and on the island. There are restaurants and esplanades with live music, and pubs and discos with various styles. There are also cinemas, shows and cultural centres.
In Luanda you can find many beaches on Cabo Island such as Buraco, Palmeirinhas, Cacuaco and Santiago. There is also the well known Mussulo Island and the Barra do Kwanza which are situated south of Luanda where the River Kwanza flows into the sea.