Amazing Angola Pt. 3

While recuperating on the beach not far from the bigger city of Benguela, we extend our one month Angola visas. The process is not difficult or expensive, and one of the officers speaks English and is happy to help us through all the forms and copies. After about two hours and multiple copies we submit the application along with $9USD each, and the extensions are ready two days later. In a very kind gesture, they are not just extend a month from the date of application, they are extended a month from our original visa date, so we actually get almost two more weeks, for a total of 10 weeks in Angola if we choose.

jeep beach cliff angola 720x480

Between the ocean and the cliffs

I drive around town and quickly spot the tell-tale guys standing on the street corner with fancy-looking knapsacks. When I nod they quickly come to the Jeep and we get down to business changing money. I want to change so much ($725USD into Angolan Kwanzas) they actually have to call over their boss, a very friendly and jovial guy. He is carrying a monster stack of bills – I estimate it’s worth over $10k USD.

I sit in the drivers seat, and we negotiate with the calculator on his iPhone, because I can’t seem to get the large numbers across in Spanish (they speak Portuguese). Soon we agree, and the big guy is more than happy to count off a massive stack of bills and hand them right to me. He patiently waits while I count the entire stack twice, all while still holding my USD.

When satisfied, I hand over my stack, and he counts it all twice. When we are both happy we warmly shake hands and thank each other before parting ways.

I have always imagined changing money on the street would be a tense and scary affair, always worried about being ripped off. My experience here has been typical of my entire time in West Africa – extremely friendly, relaxed and not a worry in the world.


Once I am rested and fully over Malaria, we continue to move mostly South. Immediately the landscape changes dramatically, and in the span of just a few miles I find myself in a dusty, hot, dry desert.

angola desert jeep 320x480

And the desert begins

angola wide open 720x480

Wide open spaces

After many, many months of wondering when it would happen, here it is. No more jungle, no more humidity. I have driven from the Sahara desert in the North, through the jungle Equatorial region to the Namib desert in the South.  I am immensely happy to be rid of the humidity and mosquitoes, at least for a while.

angola desert vista 720x480

The desert is beautiful

jeep rocky desert 720x480

The rocky desert is huge

With no particular destination we stick close to the coast, on horrendously bad gravel roads through the sparsely populated desert.

angola cave 320x480

The cave went in about fifty yards from the beach

Highlights include a natural rock arch formed next to a dry lake bed by erosion, and a fantastic wild camp on the beach sandwiched between the ocean and the cliffs.
The ocean here is extremely powerful, and has worn a cave deep into the sandstone cliffs behind out camp. I walk in something like fifty yards, with the cave never being more than a couple of yards across.

angola rock arch 720x480

The famous rock arch, created by erosion

angpla rock arch 2 720x480

Looking out at the dry lake bed through the arch

Angola is only the second country I have extended my visa for – that should tell you how much I am enjoying my time here!

dan jeep cliff 720x480


6 Responses

  1. bob says:

    HI Dan!
    I would advise you to go to the Lubango, its not far from Namibe desert. Visit Sierra de Leba and Tundavala,
    it’s just incredible places(near Lubango). You will not regret it. And if You have a little bit more time You can visit fazenda Cabuta, which producing cafe. the road to fazenda is just incredible ;). boys on wooden bicycles, very old
    bridge over the Kwanza River and others. if you have any questions i”ll glad to help you.

  2. bob says:

    I hope you use a mosquito net while sleeping? it is better not to joke with malaria. take care , good luck!

    • Dan Grec says:

      Hey Bob,

      Absolutely. My sleeping setup is very mosquito-proof. I think it’s in the early evening when I’m still outside cooking or reading that I get bitten. I have to be more careful, and I’m already being very careful!


  3. Bob says:

    Sweet Jesus,

    What if you had gotten Malaria in the DRC!?

Leave a Reply to Dan Grec Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>