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What you need to know about Malanje

Malanje (also Malange) is the capital city of Malanje Province in Angola . Near it are the spectacular Calandula waterfalls, the rock formations of Pungo Andongo, and the Capanda Dam.
Portuguese settlers founded Malanje in the 19th century. The construction of the railway from Luanda to Malanje, in the fertile highlands, started in 1885. The environs of Malanje included the principal cotton-producing area of Portuguese West Africa and drove its development since the beginning. The town developed in the mid-19th century as an important feira (open-air market) on Portuguese Angola’s principal plateau, between Luanda — the territory’s capital and largest city, 350 kilometres (220 mi) to the west – and the Cubango River valley, inhabited by Northern Mbundu peoples, 200 km (120 mi) to the east. Situated at an elevation of 1,134 metres (3,720 ft), the town had a high-altitude tropical climate, ideal to several agricultural productions. The city developed as an important agricultural, manufacturing, trading and services centre. Its productions included cotton, textiles, coffee, fruit and corn, and among its facilities it had cinema, hospital, railway station and airport. The Cangandala National Park, was established by the Portuguese authorities on 25 June 1970, having previously been classified as an Integral Natural Reserve on 25 May 1963.
The withdrawal of the Portuguese in conjunction with Angola’s independence in 1975, and, later, the Angolan Civil War (1975–2002), severely hampered the production of cotton as well as that of coffee and corn (maize). Malanje was partially destroyed during the civil war, but reconstruction efforts in the years following the end of the conflict have rebuilt the city and its surroundings.

Area: 2,422 km²
Population:222,000

Currency

    • The New Angolan Kwanza (KZ) is the currency used in Angola. It’s split into 100 cêntimos and is issued and managed by the Banco Nacional de Angola.
      Currently, printed banknote denominations are 10, 50, 100, 200, 500, 1,000, 2,000 Kwanzas. Coins are split into denominations of 1, 2, 5 kwanzas 10, 50 cêntimos (10 and 50 cêntimo coins are no longer used as their value is negligible).
      The international currency code for Kwanza is AOA, and the currency symbol is Kz.
      It is advisable to bring American dollars instead of euros with you as euros are scarcely recognised in Angola.
      There are restrictions on the amount of money that you can bring into and take out of Angola. The limit is currently at US$15,000. If you wish to import more than this amount you should declare it when arriving in Angola with the official forms. If you are re-importing currency over the $15,000 limit you will need to show your original declaration form to customs at the airport.You will need to obtain authorisation from the National Bank to export the currency if you have made over $15,000 whilst in the country.
      Be alert that if you fail to make the necessary declarations on import or export money of over $15,000, the money could be seized. You should verify the current amount with the National Bank as it is subject to change.

Weather

The climate is tropical and humid ranging from 20 ° C to 25 ° C.
The coldest month is June with an annual average of 21 º C and the hottest months are March and April, with an average of 25 º C. Throughout the year note up two seasons: rainy during approximately nine months (August to May) and the other is the season of ‘cacimbo’ which runs from May to August.

The climate here is tropical. In winter, there is much less rainfall than in summer. This climate is considered to be Aw according to the Köppen-Geiger climate classification. The average annual temperature is 20.9 °C in Malanje. The rainfall here averages 1125 mm.

Language

Portuguese, the only official language, is known by 80 of the population as the primary or secondary language. The population has a very diverse origin, inserted into 3 language groups: Kimbundu, Kikongo and Ambundo.
The national language most spoken in the province of Malanje is Kimbundu.

Health and security

  • Health in Angola is rated among the worst in the world. Only a fraction of the population receives even rudimentary medical attention.
    From 1975 to 1992, there were 300,000 civil war-related deaths, USAID has reported that the Angolan Government has not had much success in developing an effective health care system since the end of the 27-year-long Angolan Civil War in 2002. According to USAID, during the War as many as 1 million people were killed, 4.5 million people became internally displaced, and 450,000 fled the country as refugees. Due to lack of infrastructure and rapid urbanization, the government has been unable to promote programs that effectively address some of the basic needs of the people. Health care, specifically, is not available for many of the people in the country.Some improvements have been made regarding the health care system in Angola since the end of the Civil War. However, many problems continue to exist. According to UNICEF reports in 2005, 2 percent of the nation’s public expenditures were allotted to health care. That number has increased since 2005. Larger problems include the shortage of doctors, the destruction of health care facilities throughout the country, and disparities between rural and urban primary care availability
  • You should avoid political gatherings and demonstrations, be vigilant and respect advice and instruction given by local security authorities.
    You must get a valid visa and/or work permit before you travel to Angola. The process can take a long time and you should apply several weeks before your intended travel date.

DON’T

  • Ground travel in some parts of Angola can be problematic due to land mines and other remnants of war. Do not touch anything that resembles a mine or unexploded ordnance.
  • Despite Angola’s great progress in rebuilding highways and bridges, the infrastructure remains poor. Police and military officials are sometimes undisciplined, but their authority should not be challenged.

DO

  • Malanje is a good starting point for visiting the Kalandula waterfalls, a spectacular site.