In general, you shouldn't travel within Angola without the assistance of qualified personnel. However, if you follow some basic rules, travelling in Angola isn't dangerous. First of all, travelling after dark and alone is never a good idea. If possible, join with several cars of the same make and model because of the possible need for spare parts. Carry a satellite telephone in the case of a breakdown or other emergency. Be aware, that while Iridium (http://www.iridium.com) satellite phones have global coverage, Thuraya satellite phones have coverage in most of Angola, but may not have coverage in the southern parts of the country check the Angola Thuraya coverage (http://www.satellitephonefaq.com/thuraya/network/angola/ map for details).
For the city of Luanda, other rules apply. Stay in your car with the doors locked while you're outside reach of security personnel, which you will find at all hotels and restaurants.
Avoid using your camera in front of police dressed in blue uniforms. Photography will result, at best, in a very heavy fine, but could also have more dire consequences. Throughout Angola, taking photographs of sites and installations of military or security interest, including government buildings, may result in arrest or fines and should be avoided.
NEVER step beyond the red and white HALO Trust posts. These denote mine fields. In fact, beware of anything surrounded by any kind of red stones or similar markers.
Due to the high rate of HIV in the country, all forms of prostitution are illegal, and punishments are severe.
Travellers should only drink mineral water or, in an emergency, boiled water, because water in Angola is untreated and therefore not safe. Because malaria is endemic to this country, travellers should also avoid mosquito bites by using insect repellent and repellent-impregnated bed nets. Furthermore, there is a risk of being bitten by the tse-tse fly while in Angola, which causes sleeping sickness. Consult a doctor immediately if you start having insomnia.
AIDS and HIV is prevalent among adults in Angola at 4.0% or 1 in 25.
Angolan visa requirements discourage tourism, especially in comparison with other Southern African countries that give many nationalities visa on arrival. Almost all nationalities must get a visa prior to arrival. Your passport must be valid for another six months minimum and contain two blank pages. Travellers need an international yellow fever certificate in order to obtain a visa, as well as except for tourist visas a letter of invitation from a private individual, organization or company stating that they will take responsibility for your stay. Namibians don't need a visa for Angola. When obtaining a visa from countries to the north, you will often only be issued a five day transit visa for Angola. If travelling by road, this will only give you enough time to get to Luanda where it takes up to four days to get another five day transit visa. If you're coming into Angola from DR Congo, you may well need an Angolan visa before entering DR Congo.
A very low percentage of the local population can communicate in English. Travelling in Angola therefore requires a basic knowledge of the Portuguese language, or a local guide/interpreter. Also, due to the fact that many people migrate from neighbouring countries to Angola, it is sometimes possible to use French, Afrikaans, or English.
There is little literature on Angola available at all, and most of the available literature is in Portuguese or in some cases French.Bay of Tigers: An Odyssey through War-torn Angola by Pedro Rosa Mendes was translated from the Portuguese and published by Harcourt in 2003. Mendes traveled across the country by train in 1997 while the war was still going on in Angola, it's a very fascinating look at the people and the nature of life there during the war.
Try also John Frederick Walker's "A Certain Curve OF Horn", documenting the history of the magnificent and sub species of Antelope unique to Angola - "Palanca Negra Gigante" Hippotragus níger variani.
Another excellent read is Ryszard Kapuściński's compelling journalistic narrative Another Day of Life in which he reports on the chaotic period leading up to Angola's independence from Portugal in 1975. As one of the only journalists in Angola during this very dangerous period, his perspective is rare and full of insight.
Here are a few words and phrases in Portuguese:
How are you?-Como está?
Fine and you?- Bem e tu?
See you later-Até logo