Ethnic expedition to 7 most traditional tribes from Leba Mountains to Cunene River, during the season of ceremonies


August 16 – 26, 2024
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, 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, Nguendelengo and Humbi.
Our ethnic expedition 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 16 – 26, 2024

Duration: 11 days / 10 nights

Number of participants: 7 – 12

Cost per person:
• 3 690 USD subject to 11 – 12 participants,
• 3 950 USD subject to 9 – 10 participants,
• 4 190 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 (not required for citizens of the Russian Federation).

Estimated cost of flight Moscow – Luanda – Moscow: USD 1300 – 1800 (Usually bought on your own, we consult you).
Estimated cost of flight Paris – Luanda – Paris: from USD 900 (Usually bought on your own, we consult you).
Estimated cost of flight Lisbon – Luanda – Lisbon: USD 900 (Usually bought on your own, we consult you).
Estimated cost of flight Addis Ababa – Luanda – Addis Ababa: USD 1000 (Usually bought on your own, we consult you).

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


Day 1. August 16, 2024 (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.
Departure with TAAG Airlines at 16:30 (the schedule or airlines may change).
Arrival in the South of Angola, the city of Lubango, at 17:40. Meeting with guide, transfer to the hotel Kimbo do Soba Lodge or similar. Dinner and overnight.

* Recommended international flight:
— from Moscow with Ethiopian Airlines, departure at 22:00 on August 15, departure from Addis Ababa ET-851 at 9:40 am on August 15, arrival in Luanda at 12:25 pm on August 16, or
— from Paris with Air France direct flight, departure at 22:40 on August 15, arrival in Luanda at 6:10 am on August 16, or
— from Lisbon with TAAG Angola Airlines direct flight, departure at 23:00 on August 15, arrival in Luanda at 7:30 am on August 16, or
— from Casablanca with Royal Air Maroc direct flight, departure at 22:15 on August 15, arrival in Luanda at 5:20 am on August 16, or
— any other flight with arrival in Luanda no later than at 12:30 pm on August 16.

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

Day 2. August 17, 2024 (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. The Mwila are a Bantu-speaking agro-livestock tribe.
We stay overnight nearby the small Mountain Mumhuila community and spend the evening with them.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: tents

Day 3. August 18, 2024 (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.
During the dates of our expedition, there are high chances to see the part of Fico initiation ceremony which normally goes in number of stages.
Photo session with 4 Humbi initiated young women in full dress.
Overnight in tents.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: tents

Day 4. August 19, 2024 (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.
Nowadays it is really not easy to find Dimba women with traditional hairdos, but we have an idea to visit the market, where local Dimbas can bring us to the place.
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.
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.
We will camp with Vatua people to become friends. In the evening we drive shortly to Oncocua to Maria's place or another local guest house with European toilette and shower facilities and cold drinks, to take a shower.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: tents

Day 5. August 20, 2024 (Tuesday). VATUA TRIBE — 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 cattle herders 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 Vatua village to have late breakfast and short rest. And if we like, we can play football with our Vatua friends. Last time we lose :)
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 experience with Himba, traditional dance.
Stay overnight in tents nearby Himba village or late night back in Vatua village.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: tents

Day 6. August 21, 2024 (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 women's 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.

* If we are lucky, we can witness some special ceremony in one of the tribes in Oncocua area, as it is the best season to encounter it. In this case we may slightly change the program while there in the area.

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

Day 7. August 22, 2024 (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.
On the way one more scenic stop for lunch. We will have it at Serra da Leba pass with amazing view to the serpentine road on the mountains.
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 23, 2024 (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 24, 2024 (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.
Then we drive deeper to Namib Desert until the place called Praia do Navio where we find ourselves on the miradora with the view to the big sand dunes!
Drive back to Namibe, directly to the airport to catch our flight. Packed lunch in order to be on time for the flight.
Afternoon flight to Luanda with TAAG Airlines departure at 16:10 (schedule or airlines may change).
Arrival in Luanda at 17:55. Transfer to the Hotel Ilha Mar. Dinner and overnight.

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

Day 10. August 25, 2024 (Sunday). LUANDA — MIRADORA DE LUNA — SHIPWRECK BEACH — LUANDA

Breakfast. Drive 40 km to the north from Luanda, to visit shipwrecks beach in the morning, or another visit outside of Luanda.
Back to the capital. Lunch en route.
Visit to the Slavery Museum and also big artisan market nearby, when you can buy any souvenirs including masks from different countries.
In the afternoon, excursion to the Moon Mirador (1 hour driving towards the south of Luanda), where at the sunset light we will see extraterrestrial landscapes of Miradora de Luna.
Back in Luanda, overnight in the hotel.

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

Day 11. August 26, 2024 (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:
— to Moscow with Ethiopian Airlines, departure from Luanda at 13:50 on August 26, departure from Addis Ababa at 23:30 on August 26, arrival in Moscow at 7:40 am on August 27,
— to Moscow with Turkish Airlines, departure from Luanda at 18:55 on August 26, departure from Istanbul at 7:10 am on August 27, arrival in Moscow at 11:00 am on August 27,
— to Paris with Air France, departure from Luanda at 22:25 on August 26, arrival in Paris at 7:50 am on August 27,
— to Lisbon with TAAG Angola Airlines, departure from Luanda at 12:40 pm on August 26, arrival in Lisbon at 19:30 am on August 26,
— any other flight with departure from Luanda no earlier than at 1 pm on August 26.

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 (+12 C)
- 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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