The track right after the border crossing in Noqui, Angola, would be a nightmare. At least that’s what they made us believe. But with the rainy season coming to an end and the track being dry, the ride to Mbanza Congo was pretty enjoyable. The Congolese kept us waiting way too long at the border and as a result we had to ride the last bit of tarred road in the dark. Finding a cheap hotel appeared to be impossible this time and at a steep price of 30 EUR – about three times our usual sleeping budget – we booked into a basic room with a bucket shower. Angola isn’t cheap, that much was clear. But there was pretty tasty, good food. The African mama at the side of the road had about 5 different veggie dishes and cold beer. It’s been a while since we last had that!
The track to Uige should be feasible many people assured us. That one bloke at the start of the piste mumbled something about a river and a ferry I think, but I couldn’t make up what he was trying to say really with my limited knowledge of Portuguese. The track was just a wonderful ride. Lingering up and down between the grassy hills, with parts washed away and just challenging enough for both Caroline and myself. And then there it was: a river way to wide and deep to cross it by bike. But there was no trace of a ferry or even something that looked like it. That’s when suddenly two locals came out of the bushes, pointing at a little rowing boat and then at the bikes. No fuckling way! That is never going to work! Their doubtful expressions could not really convince us, despite them assuring us it wouldn’t be too much of a problem. Well, we didn’t have any other options here. 4 Angolans lifted the bike in the boat and I almost shit my pants when I saw the rear of the boat sticking out just a mere 5 cm above the water level. What if the boat sinks and bike goes down? Damn. We finally made it to the other side but it costed me 10 years of my life for sure.
We headed further to Uige, then to the enormous Kalandula waterfalls and the giant boulders of Pedras Negras. We got to camp again in the wild for the first time since quite a while. A view on a small waterfall and no one around to disturb us: priceless! You didn’t even have to think about trying that in the Congo’s…
The plan was to go couch surfing in Luanda, the capital of Angola, with Felipe and Tiago and we didn’t regret it. The two Portuguese guys did everything to make our stay as enjoyable as possible. And we could definitely appreciate a few days with a little more luxury. I have worked in Luanda about 18 years ago. At that time, Angola was in the middle of a civil war. I did hardly recognize the city after all those years: the skyline counts numerous skyscrapers and modern buildings and you can find just about A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G in Luanda nowadays. We went shopping in a hypermarket – imagine! We drank real coffee in the morning – unbelievable! There was a seat on the toilet – crazy! We went for a day on the paradise beaches of the Mussulo peninsula after which we left our Portuguese friends and headed further south.
We passed Sumbe, Lobito, Dombe Grande and every day we found a camping spot with a magnificent view. We met Dan, Didi and Daniela, a German – Australian crazy bunch of RTW 4WD travelers and exchanged travel stories around the camp fire. We had freshly brewn coffee in the morning with a view on the rough Atlantic with its waves pounding against the cliffs. Now we are in Namibe, southern Angola and booked into a room for the first time since about a week. Tomorrow we will take the piste to Namibia.