On Sunday, February 1, join the Angola Field Group for a geological field trip to Bengo province, departing Luanda at 7:00 AM and returning around 5:00 PM. We will drive north from Luanda to Barra do Dande where we will look for fossils along cliffs at the foot of the beach (including Cretaceous Pelecypods/sea shells and ammonites). We will continue for 10 km northeast on the new road to the Lifune River where we will examine some historically well known (since the early 1800’s) naturally-occurring oil seeps in Libongos, today an asphalt quarry. If time allows, we will visit a second asphalt quarry as we loop south to Caxito. This whole area is known as the Kwanza Sedimentary Basin.

Looking for fossils at the foot of a sedimentary outcrop.

Looking for fossils at the foot of a sedimentary outcrop.

The Angola oil industry was born in Bengo, not in Cabinda as some people believe. Old records indicate that as early as 1820, the Portuguese shipped out barrels of asphalt probably from the Libongos seeps. The first drilling for oil was carried out in 1915 by the Portuguese company “Companhia de Pesquisas Mineras de Angola” along the banks of the Dande River about 15 km inland from Barra do Dande. The first commercial discovery of oil was not made in Angola until forty years later in 1955 onshore at Benfica, just south of Luanda, and oil production commenced the same year.

Stirring a pot of oil at the Libongos Oil Seeps.

Stirring a 'pot' of crude oil naturally ocuring at the Libongos Oil Seeps.

The field trip will be led by geologist Tako Koning. He will explain the geology of the area and its significance to Angola’s oil industry using maps and satellite imagery. This will be the 8th time Tako has done this field trip and although there have never been any safety or security problems, be sure you have the approval of your Security Supervisor to go on this trip. Landmines do occur in the Caxito area and are marked by signs and red flagging.

Just outside the town of Caxitio is Mabubas, a hydroelectric dam we will visit that watered vast fields of sugar cane that used to grow in this area, one of the focal points of Angola’s former sugar industry. The dam was sabotaged by UNITA during the war. Lunch will be overlooking the waterfall on the Dande River just below the dam. Make sure to pack your own lunch and drinks.

Hydroelectric dam located outside of Caxito.

The deck of the Mabubus Dam overlooking the Dande River.

There is a provincial border crossing at the turn off going to Barra do Donde where frequently foreigners’ documents are examined by immigration, so you must have with you your passport and a valid visa. Notarized copies of passports and visas are unacceptable so if your documents are not in good order, then you should not sign up for the field trip. All Angola Field Group trips are taken at your own risk.

Our meeting point and further details will be provided once you sign up for the trip. To sign up email angolafieldgroup@gmail.com as soon as possible since limited space. Your vehicle should be a 4 wheel drive. If you have space in your vehicle for passenger/s, please indicate. There are many vehicle-less people who would appreciate the opportunity to explore some of the countryside.


Cretaceous Pelecypods/Sea shells can be found in the Kwanza Sedimentary Basin.

Close up of fossil.