Benguela

Travel Guide Africa Angola Benguela

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Introduction

Benguela was founded in 1617 under Manuel Cerveira Pereira the Portuguese governor of Angola. It used to be a trade center, especially for slaves to Brazil and Cuba, but goods had to be transferred to small boats. Nearby Lobito has a deepwater port. The Benguela Railway, built in the early 20th century to connect Benguela and Lobito to the Copperbelt of Katanga, DR Congo and Zambia, achieved great success. The railway was rebuilt recently until the DR Congo border.

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Sights and Activities

  • There are several beautiful beaches around Benguela, including one right in the city center! The best beach resort hotel, though, is in Lobito. The beaches outside the city are close by and easy to reach by car, either your own or a hired taxi. They're really beautiful too, with the bluest water, the whitest sand, and most are flanked by dramatic cliffs. But remember that tourist facilities are limited and beaches are not well-maintained. A visit with high expectations of a tropical paradise vacation risks disappointment.
  • The Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Populo church built in 1748 is probably the oldest stone building in Benguela.
  • The Palacio de Governo.
  • The Palacio das Bolas.
  • Several Art Deco buildings like the Benguela Radio Building or the Cine Teatro Monumental.

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Getting There

By Plane

The airport is about halfway to Lobito in Catumbela, TAAG Angola Airlines is flying to Luanda and Lubango.

By Train

There is a daily train to Huambo and further east and 10 trains per day to Lobito.

By Car

The road to Luanda is terrible, especialy the part between Lobito and Sumbe. To Lubango the road is alright except some potholes 100 to 130 kilometres south of Benguela.

By Bus

Macon is apparently the biggest and best organised bus company and goes now to most towns in Angola. Ango-Real is another big bus company. Macon and Ango-Real have their own bus terminals, in Benguela each only one, fairly central located. Some eratic buses and minibuses, or shared taxis, ply some other usually shorter routes.

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Getting Around

By Car

The streets in the town are quite bumpy.

By Public Transport

By blue and white shared minibuses, 150 Kwanza and motorcycle taxi, 250 Kwanza.

By Foot

You can walk to most places, Benguela is quite compact.

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Eat

The Tudo na Brasa and the Restaurante a Grelho are ok, the Benamor Cafe is stylish but annoying with very long waiting times and incorrect change, all are in the Avenida 10 de Fevereiro. The El Flamingo (a bakery not a restaurant) is quite good, in Rua Antonio Jose de Almaida.

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Sleep

  • Nancy's English School & Guesthouse is a reasonable place to stay, at Largo de Pioneiro 16.
  • Hotel Duas Faces (Baia Azul), ☎ +244 922 508 508. An attractive boutique hotel at Baia Azul with ocean views, parking, and an on-site restaurant. It's not right on the beach. 19,000-38,000.
  • Praia Morena Hotel, R. José Estevan, 25, ☎ +244 916 076 902.

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Keep Connected

Internet

There is free WiFi in the El Flamingo Cafe.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The country calling code to Angola is 244.
To make an international call from Angola, the code is 00.

Telephone connections, cellular and landline, are heavily overloaded, making communication difficult at times. International lines are, however, often better.

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Benguela Travel Helpers

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This is version 26. Last edited at 19:20 on Apr 25, 19 by Utrecht. 3 articles link to this page.

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