Working for birds in Africa


Thu, 01/10/2013 - 18:00 -- abc_admin

Conda Mountains, Cuanza Sul Province, Angola

Image Credit: 
Claire Spottiswoode

Birding Tours

Birding AfricaBirdquest, Letaka Safaris and Rockjumper run tours to Angola.

Lodge is under new management who are working with birders to develop an interest in the local birds. The website includes a page on birding in Angola.

Trip reports

Conda Mountains, Cuanza Sul Province, Angola
Photo: Claire Spottiswoode

See the following two feature articles in the African Bird Club Bulletin, Volume 11.

Little-known African bird: Gabela Akalat, Angola’s long-neglected Gabelatrix by Michael Mills, Callan Cohen and Claire Spottiswoode.

Birding western Angola by Ian Sinclair, Claire Spottiswoode, Callan Cohen, Michael Mills, Rodney Cassidy, Pedro vaz Pinto and Peter Ryan.


General: we would seriously advise people only to travel to Angola in an organised party which includes a local translator and a local guide.

Flights: there are twice weekly flights from Windhoek in Namibia to Luanda with connections from South Africa, Germany and the UK. Luanda is also served by direct flights from Portugal and Brazil. Flying from Windhoek to Luanda is expensive per kilometre when compared with the cost of the flight from Europe to Windhoek for example.

Visas: visas are necessary for all visitors and must be obtained in advance through your local embassy since it is not possible to obtain visas upon arrival in Angola. Our advice is to check with your local embassy and / or its website and get your visa early as it can be a complicated process.

Vaccinations: your local doctor should obviously be consulted about health matters and the range of inoculations which is advised. A Yellow Fever certificate is essential as proof of vaccination and this is checked thoroughly on arrival and before the immigration desk is reached.

Driving: you would be well advised to use a local person to drive the vehicle. The roads are metalled but crowded in Luanda and the main coast road south of Luanda is also metalled but the surface is badly worn in places and great care should be taken. Fuel supply points are limited outside of Luanda and even in Luanda, long queues can be seen at filling stations. It is advisable to take spare fuel cans for a long trip. The access to many of the areas mentioned in hotspots and elsewhere is along very rough tracks and a rugged and reliable 4WD vehicle with high ground clearance is essential.

Land mines: some areas of Angola were mined during the long running civil war and not all mines have yet been cleared. The areas mentioned in hotspots have tracks which are used by local villagers and you should only use well worn tracks. If you have any doubts, you should ask the local people, always use a guide and don’t stray from the beaten track on your own.

Currency: The local unit of currency is the Kwanza and the exchange rate in 2013 is US$1=100 Kwanza. US dollars are widely accepted throughout Angola although you may lose out on the change given for small purchases. On an organised tour paid in advance, it should not be necessary to change much, if any, money into the local currency.

Timing: Based on our experience in 2005, October is a good time to visit Angola for birding, although travel is easiest during the dry season from June to September. October is at the end of the dry season and the weather is not too hot. There was some cloud and light rain at times with sunny periods. Many of the roads and tracks mentioned in the hotspots section will be impassable in the wet season.

General Safety

Guidebooks, travel companies and websites provide much of the advice one needs, but key points warrant repetition here: (1) be aware of the risk of malaria and seek current advice, sleep in a sealed tent or under a net and take prophylaxis as recommended; (2) always ensure you have sufficient water and some method of purification (even if this comprises a pot and a campfire for boiling); (3) do not underestimate the danger of being in the sun for too long, ensure you use sun-block, drink plenty of water and wear a hat; (4) be aware of the risk of AIDS; (5) ensure that you take a reasonably-equipped first-aid pack with you including supplies of hypodermic and suturing needles. See the following 2 websites or your own country’s embassy for the latest safety and travel information: US Travel and UK FCO.

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