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Famous for its beaches, Benguela is situated on the coast in the centre of Angola. It has a tremendous geographical diversity and owes its name to the Benguela cold stream which runs from Antarctica. Its location makes Benguela an important connection between the country's different regions.
The main cities of the province of Benguela are the cities of Benguela, Lobito and Baía Farta.

Due to its nearness to the sea and the influence of its cold current, Benguela has an average annual temperature of 24°C. Its relief is varied, dividing the province into three distinctive geographical areas: the coastline, where the altitude goes from 0 to 500 metres, the centre (500 to 1200 m.) and east, (over 1500 m. average altitude) which is connected to the high plains of the interior of Angola. Annual rainfall levels range from 600 mm. in the north to 100 mm. in the south, making a contrast between the regions, from the fertile Vale do Cavaco to the semi-desert terrain of the southern part of the province, which blends into the characteristic landscape of the province of Namibe, which it borders onto.

The longest railway line in Angola, which crosses the country to its borders with Zambia and DR Congo, departs from its second city, Lobito, which has a deep water port.

In the Baía das Vacas began about 1601 the first landing of Portuguese attracted by an apparent animal richness. After that, Manuel Cerveira Pereira was motivated by the legends of the rich silver and copper mines of the region and he founded S. Filipe de Benguela that would become the basis of penetration in the island.

The location of S. Filipe was very bad since it was surrounded by swamps and was also fatal for the majority of the population that passed away of the worst diseases.

The dream of the Cambambe silver mines fell apart and the copper of Benguela took its place In
the fanatical minds of the big subsoil richness explorers. 

The quality of copper was not very good and a new business appeared: the exchange of goods with the island population. The conquest of Benguela kingdom, the foundation of the city and its evolution during 17th, 18th and 19th Centuries were very troubled.

The bad climate, the bad economic conditions and other circumstantial problems were strong causes of that situation as well as the way it was founded and its first years of living. At the end of 19th Century and beginnings of 20th Century, we can almost say that the situation became stable.

At this point, the colonisation began in Benguela and directed to the inland, to South and mainly East, started to give some profits. As well as the caravans of commercial exchange stimulated by the exchange of colonial goods for articles coming from Europe (cloths, wine and trinkets).

The few dry fish that was produced and salt also gave their contribution to this situation allowing the exchange for goods from the tableland: at the beginning cereals, wax, rubber and ivory and then cattle, manioc, castor oil plant and sisal. Benguela began to be considered as the most important commercial harbour after Luanda; it was the departure and arrival point of exchange caravans.

Mokamba (that in the native’s language means Benguela) was the symbol of commercial prosperity and the Mecca of businessmen. A new life begins and under this climate began to appear villages, intermediary cities and production centres of goods in the inland: the purpose was Benguela. And it was from Benguela that came out the majority of settlers that founded cities to the East. So the myth of Benguela becomes Known – City, Mother of Cities. Catengue, Ganda, Cubal, Quinjenje, Cuma, Longonjo, Lépi and Caála were born.




Then Huambo was named Cidade de Nova Lisboa thanks to the immortal dream of Norton de Matos; in the inland and always to East appeared Bela Vista, Chinguar and Silva Porto (Cuíto). And around these villages others started to appear. One of the most valuable contribution given to this penetration was undoubtedly the work of international value, built rail by rail in thousands of km, discovering new roads and better regions for settlement – that work is the Caminho de Ferro de Benguela (Benguela Railway Road).

The need for an harbour and the wonderful conditions of the ancient Catumbela das Ostras from the time of Manuel Cerveira Pereira, gave form to Lobito. The creation of this harbour and city confirmed the importance of the phenomenon of colonisation made from Benguela in a range of about 1300 km – from the coast to the frontier. But the crisis in Benguela became stronger when the trade with the natives began to disperse. The economic situation got worse after the fall of the international quotation of the sisal produced in the outskirts after the 2nd World War. The square of Benguela worked in great scale with the sisal of the surrounding inland regions and the majority of their capitals was lost with the fall of quotation. So, what was left of those capitals was directed to another kind of business: fishing.

The coast of Benguela was a true wealth: the boats came full of fish and fish meant real money. Money started to appear. Sea workers arrived from Portugal settling there and like this the kingdom of fishing began. Thanks to the profits, lots of houses, little an big buildings were built by destroying the old “adobe”. In 1948 the urbanization plan of Benguela began. The development of Benguela is due to the fishing industry meaning a jump to progress that can never be equalled.

The cultural and social events have been relevant through the times. Benguela was the pioneer of journalism in Angola and the cradle of athletes and teams that made history in the Angolan sport. In the surroundings of Benguela there is a group of the most interesting beaches: Caóta and Caotinha, Baía Azul and Baía Farta are their names and in all of them are ideal conditions for sportive fishing and scuba diving. In Baía Azul there is a touristic infrastructure run by the Baía Azul Hotel.


Praia Morena: You can see Benguela smiling at you on the fine white sands of this beach, which starts in downtown Benguela, where the main govemment buildings and hotels are located and stretches out over I 000 metres. This beach is popular among young courting couples.

Baía de Santo António: Three kilometers long

Praia da Caota: Ten km. from the city centre, it is 400 metres long. Its clean waters are smooth, this beach being a mixture of sand and pebbles, making it a good spot for scuba diving.

Praia da Caotinha: 20 km. from the city centre, it owes its name ("Little Caota beach") to its size (just 150m. long). You can reach this beach going round the Morro (hill) da Caota.

Praia da Baía Azul: This is a splendid beach south of Benguela, three kilometers long. It is named after its blue waters. Baía Azul is considered as the Mother of Beaches in the Baía Farta area, many of which can be found in inlets along the coastline.


From the “soba” called Quitumbela, derived the name of this place. The water was good and it had a better climate than Benguela – reasons that led the restorer of Angola to think to move the capital from Benguela to Catumbela in 1650.

The great business of Catumbela began by the trade with inland mainly after the opening of the road to Bailundo and Bié.

The trade of rubber began in 1888 and was the basis of a tremendous development. “It was a real rubber excitement – everything was made of plastic, there was a lot of money and everyone wanted to be dealer. The most important commercial houses opened offices in Lisbon and many firms were born. With such an evolution, the links between Catumbela and Benguela, served by roads with excellent art works, needed a modern system of transport faster than the bull car and than the boats that navigated near the coast.

That’s how the idea of the railway was born. The last two decades of 19th Century can be considered the peak period of Catumbela, helped by special geographical aspects related to the commercial life with the local populations. Catumbela, famous and beautiful village, is today a stable land. The present and the future give it agricultural traditions that imposed it in the past to the conquerors from the kingdom of Benguela. They made it famous for its precious source of richness during the tough periods of lack of food.


The development of this city, entirely dependent from the construction works of the Railway Road of Benguela and the Harbour of Lobito, went along very slowly with its settlement. By the Right of Administration of 17 November 1948, Lobito became a city.

In that time was also approved its urbanisation plan. In 1949, it was published an edict that established the legal rules to legalise clandestine constructions. The Resting of Lobito was then urbanised becoming a more noble residential area and the best meeting point in moments of leisure.

By order of 28 November 1902, the great statesman and council president, Teixeira de Sousa, granted in the name of the Portuguese government to sir Robert Williams the contract of concession to construct and explore during 99 years the railway road that would link Lobito to the tableland of Benguela getting to the East till the luso-Belgian frontier. When the construction works began in 1 March 1903 it also began the brilliant history of the harbour of Lobito and were born at the same time the roots of this important city.

The excellent bay that shelters the harbour of Lobito, measures approximately 5 km of length, it has an entry of 600 m, the wider part measures 1,5 km with depths between 15 and 36 m and the biggest tide amplitude is of 1,9 m exceeding its 300000 square m of area. The first place of the works was finished in 31 January 1928 but there was afterwards the need to enlarge the quay that happened in 1957 giving Lobito two quays of 1.122 m forming an “L”. It was also built a shipyard called today “Estalnave”, the biggest of Angola.

The beaches of Lobito, in the city itself, are easy to get to and are near hotel accommodation. The best known are Restinga, Cabaia, Compão and Liro in the baía de Lobito, which is so large it could accommodate the /th Fleet of the US Navy.

There are many places ofhistorical and cultural interest around Benguela: Ermida da Nossa Senhora da Graça (7 km outside the city), Ermida da Nossa Senhora dos Navegantes (7 km.), Ponta do Sombreiro, (Faro, 27 km.), a pátio with a panoramic view at caotinha (26 km.), the Church of Nossa Senhora de Popolo (National Monument built in 1748).

In the surroundings of Lobito: Palácio do Governo (old colonial style architecture), Igreja da Nossa Senhora da Arrábida (17th century), Quilve lighthouse, Termas (Spa) da lomba (22 km.), Barra do Rio Cumbal (32 km.), Bela Vista belvedere, Vila da Catumbela (8 km.), São Pedra da Catumbela lighthouse (9 km.), Nossa Senhora Aparecida belvedere (9 km.)

The Camival of Lobito is famous all over Angola, this being the second largest in the country, after Luanda.

Useful information

: Tel.: (072) 36373
Traffic police
.: Tel.: (072) 32679
Hospital Central de Benguela
: Tel.: (072) 32533
Hospital Municipal de Lobito
: Tel.: ( 072) 24088
Angola Telecom
: Tel.: 109

Where to Stay


Rua do Mercado, Tel.: (072) 34487/30110



Tel.: (072) 31292/31261

Tel.: (072) 80048 


Av. 25 de Abril, 52/56; Tel.: (072) 24481/82 

Av. Marechal Carmona, 219; Tel.: (072) 22255/22276


Rua 28 Maio; Tel.: (072) 23236 GRANDE HOTEL

Tel: (072) 22742


Pç. Salazar; Tel.: (072) 223421 43

Where to eat


Rua 10 de Fevereiro, 43/45; Tel.: (072) 34174

Rua da Ponte, 192; Tel.: (072) 33601

Ilha da Madeira, 2; Tel.: (072) 33152

Rua Cândido dos Reis; Tel.: (072) 091 570866

Rua Bemadino Correia, 2


Lgo. 28 de Agosto, Ponta da Restinga; Tel.: (072) 091573 754

Av. da Independência, 121; Restinga Tel.: (072) 23039


Ponta da Restinga; Tel.: (072) 091 533448

Ponta da Restinga; Tel.: (072) 21682


How To Get There

Three airlines fly to Aeroporto Albano Machado: TAAG - Linhas Aéreas de Angola, SAL - Sociedade de Aviação Ligeira and SONAIR, all of them on a daily basis, the first by Boeing 737, the second by Beetchcraft 200 and the third, Focker. There are also airports in the cities of Lobito and Catumbela.

By Road
Due to its position on the coast in the centre of Angola, you can reach Benguela from Luanda or the cities in the centre and south of the country. Ali of these routes brings the visitor into contact with thousands of kilometers of natural beauty and a great variety of local cultures.

Nature reserves and parks

Cimalavera: With an area of 150 km.2, the Parque Natural Regional da Cimalavera is the main nature reserve of the province of Benguela. It was set up as a special reserve in 1971 and upgraded to National park in 1974. It has a great variety of fauna, its main attraction being the cabra de leque, a species of goat.

Búfalo: The Reserve parcial do Búfalo was set up in 1974.400 km.2 in area, it also has a great variety of species of animais, its name deriving from the black buffalo.

Others: Morro do Capelongo, Planalto Grande, Morro de Cimalavera, Maitse, Binga, Catengue, Coporolo and Coalongo. In these áreas, you can find animals ranging from smaIl antelopes to lions and elephants, apart from zebras, buffalos, ongires and palancas. As far as the flora is concerned, the most important forest reserves are those between Cubal and Catumbela, 600 km2. of woods and savannah and the reserve at Chongoroi, 650 km.2 of dry wood, savannah and steppe.