Ethnic expedition with Mzungu to 7 most traditional tribes of Angola


August 11 - 21, 2023
Tour Angola

tour to Angola expedition to Himba Muila Mumuhuila Mukubal Dimba tour to Angola tribes Namibe photo tour ethnic expedition Africa Hakaona San Bushmen Ngendelengo

Country full of contrasts, with desert giant dunes, stunning rivers, misty mountains and impenetrable jungles, with mighty baobabs and enormous welwitchias, that has huge diversity of traditional tribes barely known to the outside world. Angola's path to international exposure has just began, and this expedition have unique chance to immerse into indigenous cultures of 7 most fascinating tribes of Angola, including iconic Himba, Mwila, Hakaona and Nguendelengo, as well as one-of-a-kind Humbi and Vatua.

Our ethnic expedition led by Mzungu takes place in August, at the high season of initiation ceremonies and rites of passages of different tribes, so that we have good chances to witness some of them.

Country full of contrasts, with desert giant dunes, stunning rivers, misty mountains and impenetrable jungles, that has huge diversity of traditional tribes barely known to the outside world. Angola's path to international exposure has just began, and our ethnic expedition have unique chance to immerse into indigenous cultures of 9 most fascinating tribes of Angola, including iconic Himba, Muila, Hakaona, Cubal, Ngendelengo and San Bushmen.

Dates: August 11 – 21, 2023

Duration: 11 days / 10 nights

Number of participants: 7 – 12

Cost per person:
• 3 390 USD subject to 11 – 12 participants,
• 3 650 USD subject to 9 – 10 participants,
• 3 890 USD subject to 7 – 8 participants.

Everything is included (also all domestic flights and full board) except for:
- international flight to Luanda roundtrip,
- medical insurance,
- Angola visa (to be obtained in advance on your own in Angola embassy at USD 100 or on arrival in Luanda with mandatory preliminary arrangement of entry permit at USD 120 in total).

Estimated cost of flight Moscow – Luanda – Moscow: USD 1200 – 1800 (Usually bought on your own, we consult you).

Single supplement: USD 450 (single supplement provided along the whole route)


Day 1. August 11, 2023 (Friday). LUANDA – LUBANGO

Arrival in Luanda International Airport. Obtaining visas (you will be arriving with your online pre-visa). Reception of the group by the guide.
Transfer to domestic flights terminal for an afternoon TAAG (or Fly Angola) flight to Lubango. Packed lunch at the airport. The flight will take 1h30.
Departure with TAAG Airlines at 17:50 (the schedule or airlines may change).
Arrival in the South of Angola, the city of Lubango, at 19:25. Meeting with guide, transfer to the hotel Kimbo do Soba Lodge or similar. Dinner and overnight.

* Recommended international flights:
- flight ET-851 Ethiopian Airlines from Addis Ababa at 09:40am on 11 August, arriving in Luanda at 12:25 on 11 August, or
- flight QR-1489 Qatar Airways from Doha at 02:10am on 11 August, arriving in Luanda at 08:35am on 11 August, or
- any other flight arriving in Luanda no later than 13:00 on 11 August.

Meals included: lunch, dinner
Accommodation: Kimbo do Soba Lodge or similar

Day 2. August 12, 2023 (Saturday). LUBANGO – CHIBIA – AMBISH VILLAGE OF MOUNTAIN MWILA TRIBE (70 km, 3 - 4 h drive)

Breakfast. This day will be dedicated to Mwila, or Mumhuila tribe (where prefix "mu" to any name of the tribe means "people"), living on agriculture and cattle breeding. The Mwila are a Bantu-speaking agro-livestock tribe.
We will travel to the mountainous area of Mountain Mwila.
On the way, we will make a stop in Chibia, an old colonial city, and we will make a walk through its streets with beautiful colonial architecture.
After driving some 70 km (almost half by bad quality dirty road), we will find ourselves in the western mountains populated by the Mountain Mumhuila. It is a subgroup of the Mwila who migrated to more mountainous areas of the west to better preserve their culture from the Portuguese colonization.
As opposed to Plain Mwila of Kamuviu valley, Mountain Mumhuila live in traditional huts and fully preserved their culture, as well as traditional clothes and headdresses. Mwila women profusely decorate their hair with clay and glass beads and they wear thick necklaces of mollusks and beads that indicate their marital status and social status.
We stay overnight nearby the small Mountain Mumhuila community and spend the evening with them.
The Mwila are a Bantu-speaking agro-livestock tribe.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: tents

Day 3. August 13, 2023 (Sunday). MOUNTAIN MWILA TRIBE — MUKUMA – XANGONGO – HUMBI TRIBE (280 km, 5 h driving)

Breakfast. Early morning pictures with young and old Mwila women (also men but more westernized). Dance performed by traditional Mwila women.
After farewell from our hosts, drive to Xangongo (265 km) to see Africa's widest baobab trees and remnants of the Civil War (1975-2002).
Picnic lunch and short drive to Humbe area to meet the Humbi tribe and their unique hairdos – elephant ear style.
Meet the local queen and explore the village.
Although the vast majority of the Humbi are now westernized, some traditions are passed down from generation to generation.
Every year at the height of the dry season, the Humbi hold initiation ceremonies, the initiation of girls into the adulthood. The process of initiation is carried out through the Fico ceremony, when Mufiсo girls dress in traditional clothes and prepare one of the most ingenious hairstyles in the world. This hairstyle can only be performed by individual masters.
Photo session with 4 Humbi initiated young women in full dress.
Overnight in tents.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: tents

Day 4. August 14, 2023 (Monday). HUMBE – OTCHINJAU — DIMBA TRIBE — ONCOCUA — VATUA TRIBE (250 km, 5-6 h driving)

Breakfast. Drive back to main road. Stop in a Dimba village around Otchinjau to meet some Dimba women with special hairdos and their beautiful painted houses.
Dimba (Mudimba) hairstyles are different from the hairstyles of other tribes, for example, women with young children have amazing afro hairstyles, resembling those of Melanesian tribes. Each hairstyle is a piece of art and a unique feature of this African tribe.
Picnic lunch on the way to Oncocua through Angola's wildest nature.
Reach Oncocua town in the afternoon after a long drive through the bush. Camp at Maria's place or another local guest house with European toilette, shower facilities and cold drinks.
Afternoon short drive to the village of Vatua people (3 km from Oncocua).
Vatua is the hunter gatherers, who live in the sacred mountains of Oncocua and imitate the dressing style of the Himba, while being anthropologically closer to Khoisan bushmen. Unique tribe! Vatua live quite poorly, but in their features you can see the pride of Himba and the beauty of Khoisan.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: tents

Day 5. August 15, 2023 (Tuesday). ONCOCUA — HAKAONA TRIBE — ONCOCUA — HIMBA TRIBE (25 - 50 km, 2-3 h driving)

Full day of tribal immersion. Oncocua is the most traditional place in Angola where the most authentic tribes survive. The area is inhabited by four traditional Bantu tribes. Three cattle herders: Dimba, Hakaona, and Himba and one small group of hunter gatherers — the Vatua.
Very early morning, before sunrise, we drive southward, some 6 km from Oncocua, to the traditional village of Hakaona tribe.
The Muhakaona (Hakaona) are traditional cattlers and farmers, wrongly referred to as black Himba. Unlike the latter, they are involved not only in cattle breeding, but are also engaged in agriculture. The Muhakaona language has many borrowings from the Mukubal language, and is not related to the Herero (Himba) language.
The Hakaona were probably nicknamed the "black Himba" for their unique hairstyles. To fix braided hair, they use a mixture of black peat and butter. Without the addition of ochre, their hairstyles have a deep black color, unlike the ochre-red Himba's ones.
Hakaona will tell us about their culture and give a dance.
Back to the camp in Oncocua to have late breakfast and short rest.
Midday walk around this small town, settled by the Portuguese in the 1940s decade. In the local market of this city, a variety of tribal groups gather to buy food.
Drive towards remote shores of Cunene River (natural border with Namibia). Enjoy virgin ecosystem and meet semi-nomadic Himba in the area.
Himba (Muhiba) – one of the most famous tribes of Africa, who also live in Namibia. Despite the European influence, Himba continue wearing traditional clothes and rub the skin with animal fat and red powder, which looks very impressive. Himba live in very small villages and are cattle breeders, which makes them one of the richest tribes of Angola. It is also very well visible in their rich adornments.
Evening Experian's with Himba, traditional dance.
Stay overnight in tents nervy Himba village.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: tents

Day 6. August 16, 2023 (Wednesday). HIMBA TRIBE — ONCOCUA – CAHAMA – LUBANGO (370 km, 7 h drive)

Early morning photo session in Himba village.
Himba women are one of the world's most photogenic tribes.
Himba nomads, resembling the Hamer tribe from the Omo Valley in Ethiopia, are believed to have migrated from East Africa. Intricate hairstyles made with ocher and animal are different depending on womens age. It determines their social status.
Himba men in Angola still wear the unique hairdos as well.
Breakfast and farewell from Himba. Drive to Cahama via Oncocua. Lunch in a local restaurant and continue to Lubango.
Arrive in Lubango in the late afternoon. Dinner and relax in the lodge.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: Kimbo do Soba Lodge or similar

Day 7. August 17, 2023 (Thursday). LUBANGO – GARGANTA — NGUENDELENGO TRIBE (115 km, 3-4 h drive)

After breakfast, visit the observation desk with the great view onto Lubango city and the valley, where the statue of Jesus the Redentor mounted (the same as in Rio de Janeiro but of smaller size).
Short drive to visit Tunda Vala panoramic views not far from Lubango, as well as waterfalls nearby.
Glass of wine in the colonial hotel nearby the cascades and drive to the north west, to Leba Mountains where some 300 of Nguendelengo people still survive.
Villages of Ngendelengo (Munguendelengo) with interesting wooden storage constructions are scattered about 2000 meters high.
Like other tribes of Angola, the Nguendelengo are notable for their unique hairstyles. Boys still maintain (in very rare cases) the culture of wearing mohawks, and women braid a mixture of ground tree bark and oil from the kernel of the mupeke fruit into their hair.
All this and the wild landscape of the Leba Mountains, endlessly reminding me of the Alantika Mountains on the border of Cameroon and Nigeria, make the Nguendelengo one of the most interesting tribes in Angola.
Evening visit of the Nguendelengo village.
Overnight in tents.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: tents

Day 8. August 18, 2023 (Friday). NGUENDELENGO TRIBE — GARGANTA — NAMIBE (160 km, 3 h driving)

Before sunrise, go to the village of Nguendelengo, some 3-4 km trekking, to visit and photograph these amazing people at sunrise with the huge baobabs on the background.
The size of this tribe is gradually declining, making it the last representative of groups speaking the rare dialect of Nuaneca. They live by goat farming, hunting and gathering.
Back in the camp, breakfast.
Drive down towards the Atlantic Coast and the city of Namibe. Stop on the way in Giraul oasis with nice desert scenery. Picnic lunch. Arrival in Namibe. Urban walking tour around Namibe art decó cinema and dinner in the restaurant on the Atlantic coast.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: Infotour Hotel or similar

Day 9. August 19, 2023 (Saturday). NAMIBE – IONA NATIONAL PARK — TOMBUA — NAMIBE — LUANDA (200 km, 3 h drive)

Breakfast and early descent towards Iona Desert. Nice desert scenery en route. Here we can see the part of Iona National Park. Iona National Park is a continuation of the Namib Desert, and includes unique plants, such as Welwitschia, and very few rare animals, most of them were vanished by the war.
On the Atlantic cost of Tombua we can see the biggest Welwitchia prehistoric plant — symbol of Namibia, as well as meet the sand dunes of northern part of Namibe desert.
If time permits, photographing of fishermen in the town of Tombua. Tombua has long been the largest fishing port.
Drive back to Namibe, directly to the airport.
Evening flight to Luanda with TAAG Airlines departure at 20:15 (schedule or airlines may change).
Arrival in Luanda at 22:00. Transfer to the hotel. Dinner and overnight.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: Hotel Ilha Mar or similar in Luanda

Day 10. August 20, 2023 (Sunday). LUANDA — MIRADORA DE LUNA — SHIPWRECK BEACH — LUANDA

Breakfast. PCR TEST (if needed). Excursion to the Moon Mirador (1 hour driving towards the south of Luanda). Back to the capital. We will stop in the Slavery Museum area where we can take a tour of the artisan market.
Lunch and visit shipwrecks beach in the afternoon, at 40 km to the north from Luanda, with the big ship cemetery.
Back in Luanda, overnight in the hotel.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: Hotel Ilha Mar or similar in Luanda

Day 11. August 21, 2023 (Monday). LUANDA – RETURN FLIGHT

Breakfast. Morning short city tour around colonial town and at the indicated time, transfer to the airport. Flight back home in the afternoon.

* Recommended international flights:
- flight ET-850 Ethiopian Airlines to Addis Ababa, departure from Luanda at 13:50 on 21 August, arrival in Addis Ababa at 20:35 on 21 August.
- flight QR-1490 Qatar Airways, departure from Luanda at 13:45 on August 21, arrival in Doha at 00:10am on August 22, or
- any other flight from Luanda no earlier than 13:00 on 21 August

Meals included: breakfast
Accommodation: no

Cost includes:

• Domestic flight tickets Luanda – Lubango and Namibe – Luanda
• All transfers to and from the airport
• Transportation from day 2 to day 9: in a/c equipped 4x4 SUV vehicles (such as Toyota land Cruiser, Toyota Hilux or similar), with 1 participant in front and 2 participants on the back seat.
• Transportation in Luanda: a/c minibus (for up to 6 participants) or a/c Coaster bus (for 7-12 participants)
• Petrol and toll gates
• Full board meals (3 times a day) along the route
• Mineral water along the itinerary
• Accommodation in hotels, based on double / twin rooms
• Accommodation in tents based on Single (or DBL for couples)
• Camping equipment: tents, mattresses, cooking stuff, dishware, cutlery, technical water for bucket shower (except for sleeping bag)
• English speaking guide,
• experienced drivers
• Cook and the cook assistant during the camping days
• Russian-speaking and English-speaking team leader
• All travel permits
• Visits to the tribes and excursions, financial support of local communities/tribes
• Visa support

Cost excludes (to be additionally paid):

• international flight to Luanda roundtrip
• international medical insurance
• tourist visa of Angola purchased in advance in the embassy of Angola on your own or upon arrival in the airport of Luanda with preliminary entry permit arrangement (up to you)
• drinks other than mineral water
• personal expenses
• personal payment for photos
• tipping guides and drivers
• single accommodation
• any service not mentioned in "Cost includes" section

To take with:

- sets of clothes suitable for the weather conditions, including lightweight clothes (shorts, T-shorts), and one set of warm clothes (hoody or light jacket), long sleeve clothes
- sun hat/panama
- swimwear
- raincoat
- comfortable trekking footwear, light footwear (sneakers)
- sleeping bag for warm weather
- mosquito net for sleeping place (is a must!)
- personal hygiene items (towel, wet tissues, soap)
- sunblock set (cream, spray)
- sunglasses
- big backpack for stuff (up to 80 l)
- small backpack for radial walks (25 – 30 l)
- head torch
- individual medical kit (analgesics, antiseptic, antibiotic, antiviral, intestinal, multivitamins, rehydration, court plaster, your personal medications)
- malaria prevention pills (up to you to decide but recommended)
- yellow fever certificate (is a must!)
- certificate with negative result of PCR coronavirus test might be needed (to be clarified before departure)
- various repellents (is a must!)
- favorite meals (chocolate, nuts)
- photo and video camera, tripod
- powerbank, batteries
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