Yesterday we had quite an adventure! We had heard from a few about a beach north of town full of wrecked and abandoned ships. We had no idea how to get there, but we booked a van and headed out. On Google Earth we saw that the beach, called Praia de Santiago, was only about 23km north of town. Not bad, right?
Well, we finally experienced the horrible traffic that everyone always talks about. It took us about 3 hours to get there. Yup, 23km in 3 hours! We went through town and past the main port without major delays. However, just north of the city we were stuck behind huge delivery trucks, went through loads of roadside construction and passed by the largest open-air market in all of Africa. Of course being caught in traffic sucks, but we saw so many interesting things along the way like women carrying baskets on their heads full of fish, bread, toilet paper, pineapples…you name it. It seems you could buy almost anything roadside. We also saw many washing their cars and trucks down in a riverbank. Children playing soccer in huge dugout and flattened ditches waiting for sewage pipes to be installed. Half demolished houses to make way for new roads. And trash…loads and loads and loads of trash strewn everywhere. It’s hard to get many pictures of these things while in a moving vehicle, but I’ll try so you have an idea of what the ‘real’ Luanda looks like (as apposed to life in the expat bubble).
Anyway, once we were outside the city we turned off onto a dirt road and drove about 2km west to get to Praia de Santiago. From a distance you can see the horizon spotted with various ships. Some upright and others tipped onto their side. It was fascinating! There were at least 25-30 ships abandoned on or close to the shore, and most were very badly rusted and had certainly been there for ages. Now, I was told by someone that there was some crazy current that caused the ships to get stuck or crash (I even talk about that in the video), but that is not the case. This is actually a ship ‘graveyard’. These are broken or unwanted ships abandoned along the shore. Some are pushed right up onto the beach and you can climb into them (if you’re brave enough). Rodrigo actually attempted to climb up the ladder of a huge oil tanker, but got nervous on the third rung thinking that the frayed ropes holding the ladder onto the ship wouldn’t hold his weight.
We had an amazing time and took some great pictures!!! Hope you like them.