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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by tsiklonaut, Jun 30, 2009.
We've not heard from you guys since June 23rd. I hope everything is alright.
Your last report said you were heading into Angola. Hopefully it's just a matter of no wifi... looking forward to the next update and hoping all's well.
Yep...I'm feeling the same...I'm praying for ya.
Safety & Speed,
posted from Angola
For such countries, especially where tourists do not enter, be sure that there must be something interesting, surprising. Nii ka Angola puhul.
So in the case of Angola.
June 25, 2011
Location: Southwest Angola, Lubango
According to this ride report the statue is riddled with bullet holes.
It's been used for target pratice.
It was true what they say about roads in Angola - don't believe what your map is trying to tell you! The fat red line that is supposed to something of major importance may well be just a series of potholes connected by a little bit of tarmac, or a dusty track.
The main road in Angola. Yes, really!
On the way to Lubango.
You can't race on those roads.
Loads of decent baobab trees around.
But the benefit of the bad road is that you go slow and you have time to notice things, and we were lucky to spot a chameleon - a very cool looking reptile.
Chameleon - currently changing colour to match my gloves.
Now the same colour as my gloves.
Set the fellow loose into more safe grounds than the road - started to change its colours again.
I'm glad you are back!!
Thank God you are ok!!
It wasn't so bad
She got it right after 3 tries
And a little deviation from the thread.
Anthony (Motojournalism) had put together a very detailed questionnaire for us to get an inside story. We provided the best answers we could shoot out and hope that it answers some of the questions many of our readers might have and sheds light to the background that isn't directly visible in this ride report.
You can read the interview here:
Part One - Equipment
Part Two - Photography
Part Three is in the making.
Considering a somewhat dodgy reputation that Angola has, it was interesting that we spent our first night there bushcamping. We did not have much choice actually, as the distances between sizeable villages are quite big (or it just takes a whole lot of time to get from one to another due to bad road conditions), so as the sun was setting behind the huge baobab trees aside the road, its red blaze amplified by the fine dust floating around, we just turned off the road and pitched our tent. Later on it became clear that it wasn't more than some 50 meters from someone's house, but no one came to bother us. I guess they were simply too afraid. In the morning though, as we started the engine, the whole family ran out of their compound to wave.
That day we arrived in Lubango, a town of 100 000 inhabitants, although looking at it from above one would say there are a lot more people, most of them living in slums.
Panorama of Lubango from above (click to enlarge)
Since I was raised in South Africa, I was also under the impression that Angola was full of terrorists with AK-47s ...... but after reading MetalJockeys report, I was pleasantly surprised to hear that its a super nice place to explore with very friendly and helpful people.
This is the view that you get from the statue of Cristo Rei, supposedly a smaller copy of Cristo Redentor situated on Corcovado in Rio de Janeiro. If you look closer, the Christ's face and body bear some "scars" from the 27-year war.
See also the people above, on the viewing platform where I took the Lubango panorama.
Lubango folk on the site.
Boy at the Christ statue, enjoying heavenly views of the city.
Glad you both are still riding.
In Lubango we looked up a man called José also known from Metaljockey's ride report. He organised us a room in one wing of his pub, Los Falcoes (The Falcons), which is currently under renovation. Actually a room with a bathroom, although during the two days that we spent in Lubango, there was only running water for two hours. The thing is, that in Lubango water is given only twice a week, so everybody fills up their tanks, but to get the water out of the tank, you need to run a pump, but electricity is also quite elusive, so it is quite tricky. No complaints really - we were thoroughly grateful for a secure place to stay, and for free - according to guidebooks, anything below 100 USD a night in Angola is total crap.
José also took us to see some local bikers, gave us food and drink and helped us through some police checkpoints on the way out of Lubango - he's trained a fair share of local military, and has a black belt in karate. A really nice guy.
At his Falcons biker's pub - currently under renovation.
Since we were in Lubango, we went to see one of the more famous sights in Angola - the Leba pass. Considering the sad road conditions in Angola, this one is a true masterpiece, and quite spectacular as well.
Panorama of Serra Leba - it's a complete contrast to average horrible Angolan roads - it's piece of art, precision and quality! (click to enlarge)
Panorama of the mountains behind Serra Leba (click to enlarge)
But one thing took us absolutely breatheless, and quite literally so. We'd seen a photo of the volcanic fissure of Tunda-Vala near Lubango, but once we got there, we were simply stunned. There are no rails or warning signs, but just some twenty meters off the road there is a deep canyon - and I mean really deep - around thousand meters, on the edge of which it is absolutely strange to stand as it is just unconceivable, and green lowlands stretch to the far end of the horizon. No photo can describe it really. It has a ghostly feel to it.
Road to Tunda-Vala.
Talking about ghosts - there was a time when criminals were executed here, sometimes just shot, but sometimes blindfolded and told to walk across the edge. Makes you feel hollow, especially with the sounds of birds echoing in the darkness of the canyon.
...::: LISTEN :::...
Arriving to Tunda-Vala.
On the edge of Tunda-Vala fissure - the ground is around 1200 meters (4000 ft) below, an almost straight drop!
Tunda-Vala volcanic fissure - the picture simply doesn't reflect it's awe-inspiring massiveness.
Fissure, with ground dragged into two parts.
The view from Tunda-Vala.
Panoramic view from Tunda-Vala (click to enlarge)
Although Angola is one of the fastest growing countries in the world, having lots of oil, diamonds and gold, the uneven distribution of wealth is striking. It is strange to see children attending open-air schools installed in and around old Portuguese buildings, not even having a chair to sit on. But the Portuguese buildings are majestic, and obviously the most developed buildings around - after the "white guys" left, nothing much has been built, except for the good old mudbrick houses, or some Soviet architecture.
Panorama of an Angolan village (click to enlarge)
Women washing clothes and themselves in the village-side river.
School inside and outside the church - they even don't have chairs or tables in schools, they have to sit on the ground and write on their knees.
Great questions, great responses. Well done, and thanks for the update!
Glad to see you back with us!
Given your great talent at capturing the essence of places, that is really saying something.
Anyone whose heart is in their throat just looking at these photos, raise your hand...