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