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Transport and driving in Angola are some of the most challenging aspects of living in the country. Much of the road infrastructure was destroyed and neglected during years of conflict, and despite efforts to rebuild, much of the network is still riddled with potholes and little is paved.
Public transport in Angola
Angolan public transport is largely comprised of poorly maintained blue-and-white minivan taxis or buses that are known for their reckless driving as they careen in and out of the gridlocked city traffic.
There are a few privately-owned taxi companies in Luanda, but cabs are not common on the city streets. Uber does not have a presence in Angola, although there is a local company called Kubinga that uses the same remote ride-hailing model as Uber.
Due to poor safety standards, expats rarely use public transport in Angola, rather opting for a vehicle and a driver.
Driving in Angola
Many roads in Angola shouldn't be attempted without a four-wheel-drive vehicle, and hazards such as wandering livestock and heavily overloaded vehicles mean that expecting the unexpected is the best course of action.
Most companies provide a car and driver, and also cover maintenance and fuel costs of their senior expat employees. Alternatively, companies may have a pool of cars and drivers available to their staff.
Few people buy a personal car due to the expense; a vehicle in Angola can easily cost double what it would in the US. The added costs of fuel and maintenance make cars unobtainable for many.
Most expats live in Luanda Sul, south of the capital, and it’s much easier to get around in a private vehicle there, since traffic congestion isn’t as bad as in the city centre. But the excess of vehicles in Luanda’s city centre takes congestion to outrageous extremes.
In the rainy season, roads should be navigated with extreme caution, as the many potholes can leave vehicles badly damaged if drivers aren’t careful. Local drivers are also known for aggressive driving; combined with the fact that few roads are tarred and properly demarcated, this provides further incentive to hire an experienced driver.
►Working in Angola gives an overview of the Angolan work environment
"Public transport is mainly only used by the locals. As an expat you definitely need a car and a driver at first to be able to get around and understand the roads." Lebanese expat Youmna has some sage advice for those moving to Angola in her expat interview.
"Traffic is a big problem in Luanda – drivers are chaotic and aggressive and policemen randomly stop people wanting bribes. A journey across town can take seven minutes or well over an hour. When it rains the streets become rivers." An anonymous expat shares their experiences of driving locally in their expat interview about Angola.
Are you an expat living in Angola?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Angola. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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