This southern African country´s mostly arid coastline runs 994 miles (1,600 kilometers) along the Atlantic Ocean, so that leaves plenty of room for a bevy of beautiful – even stunning – strands. They range widely in amenities, from full service to wild and practically deserted. Here are the top 11 worth noting, running from nearest to farthest from capital Luanda:
Can´t get closer than this! Extending out into Luanda Bay and just a few minutes from downtown, Luanda “Island” is actually a spit of land, a little over four miles (seven kilometers) long. And thanks to its good beaches and proximity to the city, this is probably the most popular beach (and general R&R) destination in the country, where luandenses go to let their hair down and packed with amenities from water sports to hotels, bars, restaurants, shops, and nightspots, along with the Club Náutico yacht club.
About an hour-and-a-half drive south of Luanda (it´s easier and faster to go by boat from the city´s Capassoca terminal) Mussulo Island is in fact a peninsula - and one with a nature reserve dubbed "the lung of Luanda." In any case, it´s a picturesque getaway with pristine beaches surrounded by lush vegetation and waters practically as flat as a lake. It´s also fairly popular for water sports like windsurfing, kitesurfing, and jet skiing, and has restaurants, beach clubs, and a few resorts, but even more vacation rental properties – some quite luxe indeed.
Praia do Sangano
Just 15 minutes or so farther south of Mussulo, this stretch of palm-and-evergreen-fringed golden sand also has plenty of amenities (bars, cafés, restaurants, water-sports rentals) and is known for its relaxed atmosphere and is usually less crowded than Mussulo (especially during the week).
Praia do Cabo Ledo
About a couple hours south of Luanda, located in the Kissama National Park in a cove surrounded by cliffs and palm trees, wide Cape Ledo (above and top) can also boast its fair share of amenities at hand and Is also a favorite of both locals and visitors, plus its consistent waves attract a good number of surfers.
Praia do Sumbe
A bit farther south – and a 5½-hour drive down from Luanda – this sandy stretch fringed with palms near the good-size city of Sumbe (pop. 280,000) is uncrowded; has clear, calm, and mostly quite shallow water (therefore great for families with young kids); and is known for its natural beauty. And there are of course plenty of services and places to stay right nearby.
Praia da Baía Azul
Way down south near one of Angola´s bigger cities, Benguela (pop. 809,000, an hourlong flight or ten-hour drive from Luanda), Blue Bay Beach is famous for its striking blue waters, fantastic fishing, and natural beauty, surrounded by dramatic cliffs and rock formations to explore if you´re so inclined. With very calm waters, Baia Azul is also fairly quiet but does have a few hotels and restaurants as well as some water sports on offer.
Also near Benguela, one of the country´s most popular and best known beaches (above and top) features golden sands and clear blue waters and is also known for its vibrant atmosphere with bars, restaurants, and live music. And by the way, you might also want to find a bit of time to fit in a visit to Benguela´s National Museum of Archaeology, which overlooks Praia Morena and is housed in a limestone 17-century slave depost and presents a variety of exhibits and more than 9,100 artifacts dating back to prehistoric times.
Praia da Caotinha
This fairly small beach (a mere 328 feet/100 meters long), also on a little cove surrounded by cliffs, is a bit south of Benguela, with a vibe that´s serene and castaway, with limited amenities.
Praia da Baía Farta
About a half hour north of Benguela, this expansive beach in the city of Baía Farta is known for its calm, clear waters –making for great diving and snorkeling – and because of its length it never feels crowded. Be sure to try the fresh seafood at one or two of the beach restaurants here.
Praia da Restinga
Near Baía Farta near the city of Lobito, this wide strand on a three-mile sandspit is clean, pretty, and uncrowded, with plenty of the usual amenities at bargain prices.
For more info, check out WelcometoAngola.co.ao.