Photo courtesy of Luena Amaro. All Rights Reserved.
Angola lies on the West coast of Africa between Namibia to the South, Democratic Republic of Congo to the North and Zambia to the East. Angola was a Portuguese colony for centuries. Portuguese is the main language and strong commercial and cultural ties with Portugal remain. Angola gained independence in 1975, but sadly this was followed by a brutal and destructive civil war, that lasted over 25 years, costing many lives and destroying much of the country's infrastructure. Peace finally came in 2002 and helped by an oil boom, the economy prospered and the cities expanded dramatically. The recent downturn in the oil market has slowed this recovery in the last few years and resulted in efforts to diversify the economy, away from its dependence on oil. Angola is a beautiful country, with many varied landscapes from the desert in the South to the tropical rainforests in the North and the higher central plateau to the East. Luanda is the capital and is a large sprawling city with a population of more than 5 million and a wide range of hotels and restaurants serving mainly Portuguese food.