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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Lobito, Benguela, and Catumbela Angola

We took advantage of a long weekend and went south for a trip.  We drove about seven hours south and visited Lobito, Benguela, and Catumbela.  It was a wonderful trip and I highly recommend it, if you are in the area. It was amazing to me all the changes in terrain that we saw along the drive - lush, green fields, dry, desert regions, distant mountains along the horizon, and of course, the gorgeous beaches.

















We stayed at a really pretty hotel in Lobito that was steps from the ocean.  The beach at the hotel was nearly deserted.  We spend a lovely morning on the beach playing in the waves and resting under a big umbrella. The pool at the hotel was equally enticing and we spend a few hours there as well.







As for exploring, we managed to see quite a bit while we were there.  In Lobito, we saw the port, the railroad, the beach, and a couple really pretty churches. In Benguela, we saw a bunch of the agricultural areas where the Portuguese use to grow sugar cane (now the Angolans grow corn, bananas, mangoes, etc), the Cuca (Angolan beer) factory, some of the military schools, and a couple of beaches.  In Catumbela, we saw the beautiful Catumbela River (which we were told are full of jacares [alligators], some ruins of an old Portuguese fort and church, the nice new bridge,  a local neighborhood and the big soccer stadium that was built for the African Cup in 2010.














We also went to the Chimalavera National Reserve but didn't get to see anything except the lodge and a random springbok that was hanging out there.  There is no road through the reserve - you just drive along the main road.  We stopped and had a packed lunch and tried not to melt in the heat of the day.






Last stop was Baia Azul (Blue Bay) and the smallest church I have ever seen (I'd say it might fit two rows of pews) the Church of Our Lady of Navigators.




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