A city abundant in resources and natural beauty, Luanda is an exciting prospect for expats and is brimming with potential. A prominent port city on the west coast of Southern Africa and the capital of Angola, Luanda certainly is easy on the eye with a beautiful bay and pretty seafront promenade.
Living in Luanda as an expat
Life in Luanda 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 difficult and slow for many expats.
Working in Luanda can be highly lucrative for expats with experience in the mining or oil industries. Other large industries include agriculture, manufacturing, construction and tourism. Most expats come over as part of a contract with a multinational company.
Expat compounds offer a good quality of life, with large houses, swimming pools and a high level of security. These tend to be on the expensive side, but expats in these compounds usually work for large multinational companies that take care of the costs.
The public transport in Luanda is fairly limited. Minibus taxis are abundant but fairly reckless. Most expats prefer having their own vehicle, but due to the dangerous road conditions, most find having a driver with local experience to be their best bet. Cars here drive on the right-hand side.
Healthcare in Luanda is better than in the rest of the country but even here, public healthcare is below the standards of Western countries. Most expats invest in private healthcare and private health insurance. Serious emergencies may require travelling to South Africa or another country. Pharmacies are relatively abundant in Luanda, but any chronic medication should be brought from an expat’s home country.
Cost of living in Luanda
Luanda can be surprisingly expensive. Accommodation is in high demand in the city and will be an expat’s biggest expense, so it’s important to factor this into any contract negotiations before moving to Angola. Locally sourced produce is often reasonably cheap, but imported goods are pricey. Overall, though, expats earning foreign currency have a high quality of life here.
Expat families and children
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.
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. Surfing and nature hikes are popular among expats and tourists alike.
Climate in Luanda
Luanda has a tropical climate, and can get rather humid. With a long dry season and short wet season, expats often need to adjust to the hot weather. We recommend staying cool and hydrated to combat weariness or heat stroke.
While there are undeniable drawbacks of living in this African city, expats moving to Luanda with an open mind are likely to have a rich and rewarding experience, both culturally and financially. Nature buffs are sure to love the surroundings and anyone open to exploring the culture and getting to know the locals will be welcomed with open arms.
►Also read about moving to Angola
Are you an expat living in Luanda?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Luanda. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
Expat Health Insurance
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