Angola

Latest update

This Advice was last issued on Thursday, 17 April 2014.   It has been reviewed and reissued with editorial amendments. We continue to advise Australians to exercise a high degree of caution in Angola overall because of the risk of civil unrest and criminal violence.

Angola overall

Cabinda, Lunda Norte and Sul

Summary

  • We advise you to exercise a high degree of caution in Angola because of the risk of civil unrest and criminal violence.
  • Pay close attention to your personal security at all times and monitor the media about possible new safety or security risks.
  • You should avoid large public gatherings and street demonstrations as they may turn violent.
  • Landmines are a risk throughout Angola outside major cities.
  • We advise you to reconsider your need to travel to the provinces of Cabinda Lunda Norte and Lunda Sul due to the high risk of civil unrest and violence. There have been reports of violent incidents against foreigners.
  • Australia has a Consulate in Angola, headed by an Honorary Consul, which provides limited consular assistance. The Australian High Commission in South Africa provides full consular assistance to Australians in Angola.
  • Be a smart traveller. Before heading overseas:
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Entry and exit

You will need to obtain an appropriate visa before travelling to Angola. Visa on arrival is not available at airports in Angola.

Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) change regularly. We recommend that you contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Angola for the most up-to-date information when considering travel to Angola. Penalties for visa offences include fines, detention and deportation.

Angola is listed by the World Health Organization (WHO) as endemic for yellow fever. Yellow fever is a serious and potentially fatal disease preventable by vaccination. A valid Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate is required for entry into Angola.

As the quarantine requirements for yellow fever vaccination differ between countries, we recommend that you check the yellow fever entry requirements for all countries you intend to enter or transit by contacting their foreign missions in Australia. Some airlines may require passengers to present a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate before being allowed to board flights out of the country. For more information about yellow fever, including Australian re-entry requirements, see the Department of Health website.

Australians travelling to or from Angola through South Africa (including transiting) should read the Entry and exit section of our travel advice for South Africa. In particular, you should note South Africa’s Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate requirements and its policy on provisional travel documents (i.e. one page travel documents).

Travellers are only allowed to take up to USD500 out of Angola. Different regulations apply to residents. For up to date information, contact your nearest Embassy or Consulate of Angola.

Make sure your passport has at least six months' validity from your planned date of return to Australia. You should carry copies of a recent passport photo with you in case you need a replacement passport while overseas.

Safety and security

Terrorism

Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. You can find more information about this threat in our General advice to Australian travellers.

Civil unrest/political tension

We advise you to exercise a high degree of caution in Angola due to the risk of civil unrest and criminal violence in many parts of the country.

You should avoid large public gatherings and street demonstrations as they may turn violent.

Cabinda, Lunda Norte, Lunda Sul Provinces: We advise you to reconsider your need to travel to the provinces of Cabinda, Lunda Norte and Lunda Sul due to the high risk of civil unrest and violence. There have been reports of violent incidents against foreigners.

Militant groups claiming independence are active in the Cabinda province. Clashes with security forces can occur. Armed gangs have attacked foreigners outside Cabinda city, and have warned that attacks involving robbery, rape and murder will continue.

Lunda Norte and Lunda Sul provinces are diamond mining areas with the potential for civil unrest and crime. There have been reports of violent incidents against foreigners in these provinces.

The Government of Angola restricts the entry of foreigners into these provinces. You require official permission and documentation to travel there. Failure to meet these requirements may result in detention or having officials restrict your movements.

Crime

The crime rate is high throughout Angola. Criminal activity is often accompanied by violence. Petty crime (such as pickpockets and snatch and grab robberies), armed banditry and carjackings are common. Criminal attacks can occur at any time, however there is a much higher risk of violent criminal activity at night.

Crime in the capital, Luanda, is a regular occurrence. Armed criminals target vehicles which are stationary or slow moving in traffic for smash and grab robberies. When driving, you should ensure that doors are locked, windows are up and that valuables are kept out of sight.

Avoid crowded places such as markets. You should also avoid walking between bars and restaurants on the Ilha (an island near Luanda), and avoid walking in Luanda at night.

Due to the high prevalence of HIV/AIDS, victims of violent crime, especially rape, are strongly encouraged to seek immediate medical assistance.

Money and valuables

Before you go, organise a variety of ways to access your money overseas, such as credit cards, travellers' cheques, cash, debit cards or cash cards. The US dollar is the most widely accepted currency for exchange. Australian currency and travellers' cheques are not accepted in many countries. Consult with your bank to find out whether your ATM card will work in Angola.

In Angola, travellers' cheques and credit cards can only be used at major hotels in Luanda and are not generally accepted outside the capital. We recommend that you ask whether your card will be accepted before you incur any expenditure. Cash withdrawals are not possible. There are a very small number of ATMs in Luanda, however they do not accept foreign cards.

Make two photocopies of valuable documents such as your passport, tickets, visas and travellers' cheques. Keep one copy with you in a separate place to the original and leave another copy with someone at home.

While travelling, don't carry too much cash and remember that expensive watches, jewellery and cameras may be tempting targets for thieves.

As a sensible precaution against luggage tampering, including theft, lock your luggage. Information on luggage safety is available from Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority.

Your passport is a valuable document that is attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. It should always be kept in a safe place. You are required by Australian law to report a lost or stolen passport. If your passport is lost or stolen overseas, report it online or contact the nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate as soon as possible.

You are required to pay an additional fee to have a lost or stolen passport replaced. In some cases, the Government may also restrict the length of validity or type of replacement passports.

Local travel

A large part of the population is internally displaced and infrastructure remains heavily damaged following Angola's 27-year civil war. Landmines and unexploded ordnance are a danger for travellers outside major cities, in the interior of the country and in the border areas with Zambia.

If you travel outside Luanda, we strongly recommend that you do so in the company of persons or organisations experienced in local conditions, as the situation can be difficult and dangerous. You should keep to main roads because of the danger of landmines.

You should carry your identity documents at all times. If photocopies are to be used in place of the original, the copies will need to be notarised by an Angolan Notary Public to have validity. Police and military checkpoints are common. Failure to produce valid identification documents can result in a large fine.

Foreigners travelling into the interior of Angola need an internal travel document. This is normally provided by the Angolan partner sponsoring the foreign group which invited the foreigner to Angola. Permission is not required to travel to the main towns in Lunda Norte (Lucapa and Dundo) and Lunda Sul (Saurimo). However, a permit is required for travel to mining areas and can be obtained from the main police stations in Lucapa, Dundo or Saurimo. Travel is permitted to all other provinces.

Public transport systems are overcrowded, poorly maintained and unsafe.

Road accidents are common due to poorly maintained roads and dangerous driving practices. Street vendors, scooters and pedestrians on the roads pose additional safety risks. Fuel shortages may occur. For further advice, see our road travel page.

Airline safety

You should be aware of concerns about the safety and maintenance standards of aircraft operators, particularly on unscheduled flights within Angola. Airline and air charter safety and maintenance vary throughout the world. It is not known whether maintenance procedures and safety standards used on internal flights are always properly observed or whether passengers are covered by airline insurance.

Airports in regional centres have very limited facilities and runways are generally in poor condition, especially in the wet season (October to May). Delays occur frequently.

Please refer to our air travel page for more information on aviation safety and security.

Laws

When you are in Angola, be aware that local laws and penalties, including ones that appear harsh by Australian standards, do apply to you. If you are arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you but we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.

Information on what Australian consular officers can and cannot do to help Australians in trouble overseas is available from the Consular Services Charter.

Penalties for possession, trafficking and use of drugs, including 'soft drugs', include mandatory prison sentences.

There are severe penalties for the illegal possession of uncut diamonds.

Consensual homosexual acts between adults are not illegal in Angola although they are not considered socially acceptable. See our LGBTI travellers page.

The use of cameras, binoculars, global positioning systems or maps near government buildings or infrastructure of any description is prohibited and may lead to detention or questioning by local police.

Some Australian criminal laws, such as those relating to money laundering, bribery of foreign public officials, terrorism, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, child pornography, and child sex tourism, apply to Australians overseas. Australians who commit these offences while overseas may be prosecuted in Australia.

Australian authorities are committed to combating sexual exploitation of children by Australians overseas. Australians may be prosecuted at home under Australian child sex tourism and child pornography laws. These laws provide severe penalties of up to 25 years imprisonment for Australians who engage in child sexual exploitation while outside of Australia.

Information for dual nationals

Although Angola recognises dual nationality, Australian citizens holding Angolan citizenship will be regarded solely as Angolan citizens by the Angolan authorities. This may limit the ability of Australian officials to provide consular services to Australians who have retained their Angolan citizenship, particularly if they are detained or arrested. We recommend you travel on your Australian passport at all times.

Australian/Angolan dual nationals may be subject to compulsory military/civil service obligations when in Angola. You should seek advice from the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Angola well in advance of travel.

Our Dual nationals page provides further information.

Health

We strongly recommend that you take out comprehensive travel insurance that will cover any overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before you depart. Confirm that your insurance covers you for the whole time you'll be away and check what circumstances and activities are not included in your policy. Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government will not pay for a traveller's medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs.

It is important to consider your physical and mental health before travelling overseas. We encourage you to consider having vaccinations before you travel. At least eight weeks before you depart, make an appointment with your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and any implications for your health, particularly if you have an existing medical condition. The World Health Organization (WHO) provides information for travellers and our health page also provides useful information for travellers on staying healthy.

The standard of medical facilities in Angola is very poor. Access to adequate medical facilities is limited. There are several clinics run by expatriate organisations in Luanda but otherwise health care is extremely basic. There is a shortage of trained specialists, safe blood supplies and pharmaceuticals.

Medical treatment is expensive, and clinics will normally expect cash payment before commencing treatment. In the event of a serious illness or accident, medical evacuation to South Africa or another destination with appropriate facilities would be necessary. Medical evacuation costs could be considerable.

Outbreaks of poliomyelitis have occurred in Angola. All travellers to polio infected countries should ensure they have completed a primary course of polio vaccinations and a booster dose prior to travel. If you are unsure of your polio vaccination status, check with your doctor or travel clinic, at least eight weeks before you depart.

The rate of HIV/AIDS infection in Angola is high. You should exercise appropriate precautions if engaging in activities that expose you to risk of infection.

Water-borne, food-borne, parasitic and other infectious diseases (including dengue fever, typhoid, cholera, leishmaniasis, hepatitis, tuberculosis, hemorrhagic fever and rabies) are prevalent with more serious outbreaks occurring from time to time. We advise you to boil all drinking water or drink bottled water, avoid ice cubes and raw and undercooked food. Do not swim in fresh water to avoid exposure to certain water-borne diseases such as bilharzia (schistosomiasis). Seek medical advice if you have a fever or are suffering from diarrhoea.

Mosquito-borne diseases

Angola is listed by the World Health Organization (WHO) as endemic for yellow fever. Yellow fever is a potentially fatal viral disease transmitted by mosquitoes, which is preventable by vaccination. We strongly recommend that you are vaccinated against yellow fever before travelling to Angola. See the Entry and Exit section for important information about vaccination certificate requirements. For more information about yellow fever, see the Department of Health website.

Malaria is a high risk in all parts of Angola throughout the year. Other insect-borne diseases (including filariasis and African sleeping sickness) also occur.

Consider taking prophylaxis against malaria and take measures to avoid insect bites, including using insect repellent at all times, wearing long loose-fitting, light coloured clothing and ensuring your accommodation is mosquito proof.

Where to get help

Australia has a Consulate in Angola, headed by an Honorary Consul. The Consulate provides limited consular assistance by appointment only. You can obtain full consular assistance from the Australian High Commission in South Africa.

Australian High Commission

292 Orient Street
Arcadia
Pretoria, South Africa
Telephone (27 12) 423 6000
Facsimile (27 12) 342 8442
Email pretoria.info@dfat.gov.au
Website http://www.australia.co.za

Contact details for the Consulate are:

Australian Honorary Consulate, Angola

Physical address:
Rua Amilcar Cabral 33
Mutamba, Luanda, Angola

Postal address:
Caixa Postal 6269
Luanda, Angola

Telephone: (244) 222 395 890 or (244) 222 397 60
Mobile: (244) 923 214 101 or (244) 935 447 536
Facsimile: (244) 222 331 426
Email: australia.consulate.angola@gmail.com

The Honorary Consul is available by appointment only.

If you are travelling to Angola we recommend that you to register with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. You can register online or in person at any Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate. The information you provide will help us to contact you in an emergency - whether it is a natural disaster, civil disturbance or a family issue.

In a consular emergency, if you are unable to contact the Embassy or Consulate you can contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or 1300 555 135 within Australia.

Additional information

For parents

For general information and tips on travelling with children see our Travelling with Children page.

Natural disasters, severe weather and climate

The rainy season is from October to May when flash flooding may occur. Flooding may result in damage to infrastructure and cause delays when travelling. Information on natural disasters can be obtained from the Humanitarian Early Warning Service. If a natural disaster occurs, follow the advice of local authorities.

Wildlife

Australians are advised to respect local wildlife laws and to maintain a safe and legal distance when observing wildlife, including marine animals and birds. You should only use reputable and professional tour operators and closely follow park regulations and wardens' advice.

Swimming in lakes and rivers can be unsafe because of the possibility of attacks by wildlife and the risk of catching water-borne diseases.



While every care has been taken in preparing this information, neither the Australian Government nor its agents or employees, including any member of Australia's diplomatic and consular staff abroad, can accept liability for any injury, loss or damage arising in respect of any statement contained herein.

Maps are presented for information only. The department accepts no responsibility for errors or omission of any geographic feature. Nomenclature and territorial boundaries may not necessarily reflect Australian Government policy.