A city abundant in resources and natural beauty, Luanda is an exciting prospect for expats and is filled with potential for a truly unique experience. A prominent port city on the west coast of Southern Africa and capital of Angola, Luanda certainly is easy on the eye with a beautiful bay and pretty seafront promenade.
Of course, life in the city does have both pros and cons, and expats shouldn't underestimate the challenges they're likely to face. Indeed, the adjustment to the day-to-day may be a difficult and slow one for many expats.
The noticeable inequality between the rich and poor is perhaps the most jarring aspect of a move to Luanda. While much of Luanda’s population continues to live in poverty, expats will likely find themselves living in an insular expat community in the newer and more affluent Luanda Sul area to the south of the city. This area is home to a number of international schools and is the best area to live for those with small children.
Expat compounds offer a good quality of life, with large houses, swimming pools and a high level of security. While there is plenty to keep expats in these compounds occupied on weekends, many choose instead to escape Luanda for the beaches and resorts outside of the city. Accommodation is in high demand in Luanda and will be an expat’s biggest expense, so it’s important to factor this into any contract negotiations before moving to Angola.
Roads and driving standards are in a poor state and traffic congestion is a daily frustration. Nevertheless, major road reconstruction is underway. While Luanda has basic public transport, most expats have a car and driver provided by their company.
While there are undeniable drawbacks of living in this African city, expats moving to Luanda with an open mind are likely to have a richly rewarding experience, both culturally and financially.