Luanda

KA­TIA FI­DALGO’S NEW HOME IN AN­GOLA SUR­ROUNDS HER WITH IN­SPIR­ING ART AND EX­CIT­ING PARTY SPOTS

Marie Claire (South Africa) - - TRAVEL - WORDS KA­TIA FI­DALGO

get­ting around the busy streets of Luanda can be tricky, but you can spend de­light­ful Satur­day af­ter­noons in An­gola im­mersed in art in quiet places like the con­tem­po­rary art gallery Ce­la­mar. It’s a city filled with so much cre­ativ­ity and sen­si­tiv­ity, where artists paint with joy over cloth can­vasses stretched over bare sand. It is hon­est art, raw art, bru­tal and po­lit­i­cal art with a strong Por­tuguese in­flu­ence.

BROWSE HERE, SHOP THERE

Track down plas­tic artist Guil­herme Mam­puya’s emo­tive and colourful work, or visit the pri­vate gallery at his home. He started paint­ing in 2002 as the civil war ended and is one of the friendli­est people in the city. Face­book.com/ guil­herme mam­puya. wola Stock up on great swimwear at AZUL. It’s a beach­wear shop at the start of the is­land strip and the per­fect place to find the most gor­geous biki­nis. Rua Mur­tala Mo­hammed, Ilha de Luanda Aside from the new shop­ping malls, the stores on the side of streets like Rua Amíl­car Cabral are worth a browse. They may be dusty but many pur­chases from these gems have made their way into my wardrobe. You’ll walk away with great finds full of An­golan flavour.

EAT THIS, NIB­BLE ON THAT

In the morn­ings, grab a quick espresso with a de­li­cious pas­tel de nata – a Por­tuguese egg-tart pastry – over the counter at Café Nilo. Rua da In­gom­b­ota Known for their suc­cu­lent steak with black-pep­per sauce, For­taleza is an old home that has been con­verted into a restau­rant. Re­lax out­side in the gar­den area un­der the stars. Cal­cade de S. Miguel, s/n, Ci­dade Alta An­gola stops for lunchtime (or am­loco in Por­tuguese). Try Em­baix­ada Dos Sa­bores – great for fresh fish caught that day. Rua do Lar do Pa­tri­ota The per­fect spot for sun­down­ers and great sushi, Cais de Qu­a­tro faces the An­golan bay and has the coolest view. Cais­d­e­qua­tro.com Owned by the daugh­ter of the An­golan pres­i­dent, José Ed­uardo dos San­tos, Oon.dah is an exquisitely de­signed restau­rant where ev­ery­thing, from the venue and the ser­vice to the menu, feels in­cred­i­bly in­dul­gent. Oon­dah.com

PAUSE HERE, PARTY THERE

An­golans live by the motto ‘ A vida é uma festa’, mean­ing ‘Life is a party’. The iIha, or is­land side of the bay, is filled with beach lounges and bars along the shore serv­ing re­fresh­ing cock­tails and light snacks. Here are my favourites: Dance at Lookal. Most in­ter­na­tional DJs play at this ocean-fac­ing night­club and beach bar. 13 Rua Mur­tala Mo­hammed, Ilha de Luanda For lo­cal mu­sic and flavour, try Caribe. And don’t be afraid to dress up! Learn to dance ‘Ki­zomba’, one of the most pop­u­lar gen­res of dance and mu­sic orig­i­nat­ing in An­gola. It’s very sen­sual, full of en­ergy and rhythm that con­tains tango el­e­ments. Caribe-luanda.com Hang out with Luan­dans at the beau­ti­fully dec­o­rated Chill Out. All par­ties start at mid­night – they are a costly treat so be pre­pared. Chill­out-luanda.com

STAY HERE, SLEEP THERE

Cur­rently un­der ren­o­va­tion, Ho­tel Trópico, in the cen­tre of Luanda, is a great place to start your in­tro­duc­tion to An­gola. You’re bound to bump into some­one in­ter­est­ing. Td­ho­tels.com/tropico/ing Epic Sana is a mod­ern ho­tel over­look­ing the bay in down­town Luanda, with a great break­fast lounge. It’s also host to many lo­cal events so there is al­ways some­thing en­ter­tain­ing hap­pen­ing just down­stairs in the lobby. Luanda.epic.sana­ho­tels.com

Clock­wise from top left A coastal sub­urb in Luanda; pedes­tri­ans carry goods on their heads as they cross a road in An­gola’s cap­i­tal city; some pas­tel de nata; back­stage at An­gola Fash­ion Week 2013; one of the many pop­u­lar night­clubs in Luanda; a work by lo­cal plas­tic artist Guil­herme Mam­puya.

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