There is a wierdness about parts of Angola, as you can still see remnants of the civil war. It´s been six years now and for the most part Angolans have reestablished their homes and communities, but the war has left many visible scars throughout cities and countryside. On our week long trip in October, and each time we head south past the Kwanzaa river for a stay at the beach we are reminded again of the outrageous circumstances that endangered the lives of so many Angolans.
The most alarming signs of war are the red and white markers along the road just before and after the Kwanzaa River bridge (a high traffic area as it provides access to the south) which indicate landmines. I haven´t counted, but there are at least 50-100 markers, some of them right next to the road. Exploring in certain areas is definitely not an option.
Strangely there are almost no signs of war in the city of Luanda as it is said to have been a impenetrable fortress during the war. It was the only safe haven. As a result, over a million Angolans migrated to Luanda during the war escaping the threat of death and violence in their villages and seeking job opportunities in order to support their families. Prior to the war Luanda was a city of roughly 250,000 inhabitants and today is home to over 1.2 million residents. We´ve heard stories from a few locals that they or their family members had to flee their villages and journey up to 1000km on foot through mountains or deserts to reach Luanda. Since the war ended, they predict less than 5% have returned to their villages, leaving Luanda responsible for 4 times the population it was built for.