Luanda, Angola Report of what it's like to live there - 04/15/09
Personal Experiences from Luanda, Angola
1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?
No, I have lived in Latin America (Ecuador, DR, Cuba, Mexico) Africa (Mozambique, South Africa, Ethiopia) and Asia (Philippines & Vietnam).
2. How long have you lived here?
3 months (just got here).
3. Travel time and best routes to this city from Europe or the US:
21 hours (through London with one long layover).
4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?
Housing, Groceries & Food:
1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?
Apartments, small, expensive (anywhere from US$2,500 to 10,000 a month). I spend US$2,500 for a two bedroom apartment, very poor electricity and poor water supply.
2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?
High costs but you can find most anything (ex. Cauliflower=US$35).
3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?
Lots of sunscreen (1 bottle=US$30) and bathing suits for the kids.
4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?
Bobs burgers can get you two "value" meals for over US$50.There are other restaurants, price is high! Best place for us has been Tamariz pizzas (on the beach).
5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?
Mosquitoes (malaria is a problem). Other than that, we have giant flies in our apartment
1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?
2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?
US$250 for a helper (1/2 day) for 5 days a week.
3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?
I have seen them, price is limiting.
4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?
You can use them in the caixa Multicash but I have heard of sorted thefts.
5. What English-language religious services are available locally?
6. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?
High cost but available.
7. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?
Very important! Portuguese (or at least Spanish).
8. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?
1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?
Not safe & price increases as a foreigner gets on board.
2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?
4x4 and bring it here! Cars are ultra-expensive.
Phone & Internet:
1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?
2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?
Bring a cell.
1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?
2. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?
Forget your pet! There is currently a large issue with rabies in Luanda and many vagrant dogs.
Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:
1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?
You must have a permit before you come into the country.
2. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?
People normally get dressed up for everything here.
Health & Safety:
1. Pollution index (Good, Moderate, Unhealthy, or Very Unhealthy)?
2. What immunizations are required each year?
Yellow fever plus the normal.
3. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.
Mild, just be careful.
4. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?
Malaria is an issue. Medical services are available.
5. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?
Nice, really mild weather. Great beach days, some rain.
Schools & Children:
1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?
Limited (make sure you have a space before you get here!!). There are two English schools (ESCOLA and International), two Portuguese, and one French. Extremely expensive (approximately US$20,000/year). Spaces are held for children of the employees of big oil companies.
2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?
3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?
Wish I could find one, very difficult!
4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?
Still looking for some. I found a swim class for children so far in Miramar.
1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?
2. Morale among expats:
3. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?
Mainly for singles (then it is great!).
4. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?
Singles mainly. Very difficult for families. Nowhere for children to play beyond the beach.
5. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?
6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?
7. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?
Beaches are fantastic! A quick trip to Mussulo and you are in a quiet relaxing place!
8. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?
9. Can you save money?
Nope, not a chance. The most expensive city in the world.
Words of Wisdom:
1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?
Certainly not, wish I could be more positive but this is a rough spot. Expensive and the quality is poor.
2. If you move here, you can leave behind your:
3. But don't forget your:
Sense of humor