Kayaking the Kwanza River, Angola's longest river, which stretches for almost 1000 kilometers from Bie to the Atlantic. Photo courtesy Christian Stolte.

Kayaking the Kwanza River, Angola’s longest river, which stretches for almost 1000 kilometers from Bie to the Atlantic. Photo courtesy Christian Stolte.

Kayaking the Kwanza“, a recent three day adventure from Muxima to the Atlantic… The Angola Field Group invites you to drift down the Kwanza River, Angola’s biggest river, with ‘the kayak guys’. Take in their travelogue Thursday, July 10th at 7:45 PM at the Viking Club. They will offer kayaking tips for Angola and have on display one of their boats! (Please note our new starting time).

Water taxi, tranquilo. Photo courtesy Christian Stolte.

Water taxi, tranquilo. Photo courtesy Christian Stolte.

Baby alligator. Every year there are reports of humans, especially women and children, dragged into the river by alligators. Courtesy Christian Stolte.

Baby alligator. Every year there are reports of humans, especially women and children, dragged into the river by alligators. Photo courtesy Christian Stolte.

Glistening waters of the Kwanza River hold many secrets. Queen Nzinga's sister was reputedly drowned in the river by the Portuguese for spying in the 1640's. Photo courtesy Christian Stolte.

Glistening waters of the Kwanza River hold many secrets. Queen Nzinga’s sister was reputedly drowned in the river by the Portuguese for spying in the 1640’s. Photo courtesy Christian Stolte.

In addition, we will also be showing some clips of the historic and culturally rich Luandos region, south of the Kwanza River, home of the former Quicama warriors. Field Group members are invited to the annual Festas Populares dos Luandos , a time for those who left Luandos, to come back to the village and enjoy its traditions, September 12, 13, 14. Representative Serafim Quintino will be on hand to register people and answer questions.

Villagers welcoming visitors to the Luandos Festival.

Villagers welcoming visitors to the Luandos Festival. Photo courtesy http://kudisanza.wordpress.com

Everybody is welcome to attend. In close cooperation with the Viking Club, this event is offered free of charge. Beverages and snacks are sold, coupons must be purchased. The Viking Bar opens at 7:15 PM. The location is: main floor Edificio Maianga, Rua Marien Nguabi, No 118, Maianga, across from Panela de Barro restaurant. You can download a map showing the location of the Viking Club at angolafieldgroup.com/find-us

For Sale: Wild honey and artisanal peanut butter from the Mutti Farm in Moxico. Handwoven baskets from the Zambezi Women´s Cooperative. Natural medicine including Artemesia Tea from ANAMED in Bie. Books about Angola.

Area known as Luandos, located just outside the southeast zone of Quicama National Park.

Area known as Luandos, located just outside the southeast corner of Quicama National Park. Map courtesy http://kudisanza.wordpress.com – click map to enlarge.

Fruit sellers along the road to Bie.

The Field trip to Cuando Cubango has been postponed due to logistic difficulties. In lieu of, the Angola Field Group invites you to go Camping in Bie Province, the source of the mighty Kwanza River, September 3rd to 7th.

We will drive right through the geographic center of Angola and stop for fotos at the little known Cristo Rei statue there. We’ll proceed on to Umpulo and camp at the edge of a miombo woodlands that spreads undisturbed east and south of here. This is as close to the source of the Kwanza River one can get by road. Enroute we will tour the capital, Kuito, the city hit the hardest during the civil war. We will also visit Dondi, once the largest mission station in Angola where many prominent Angolans were educated.

Dondi, once the largest mission in Angola, lays abandoned.

Friday: September 3rd, depart Luanda at 12 noon (earlier if possible) and arrive in Huambo 9 hours later.

Saturday: Early departure for Bie. Visit site of Dondi Mission, located in a lush river valley. Pass through geographic centre of Angola at Camacupa. Continue to Umpulo, establish camp in the bush
Sunday: Explore natural surroundings, hiking, bird watching and fishing in the Kwanza river. Hopefully spot some hippos. Accompany local hunter at night to try to spot wildlife
Monday: Drive back to Huambo and enroute tour Kuito with local guide who endured the 9 month siege during the war. Time permitting shop at Natural Medicine shop run by community.
Tuesday: Drive from Huambo to Luanda
Friday and Monday night we will be accommodated in a homestay run by our guide/host, who will also be providing meals while camping. Cost will be on a per person basis. You are responsible for your own tent, sleeping gear and water.

* * *All Angola Field Group trips are at your own risk. We will be traveling through 6 provinces so you must have original passport with valid visa with you. A complete itinerary and map will be emailed to confirmed participants. To sign up for this trip or if you have more questions please send an email to Henriette at angolafieldgroup@gmail.com . Please let me know if you have room for any more passengers* * *

Kuito’s downtown was nothing but bullet ridden buildings but today reconstruction is in evidence everywhere.

THIS TRIP IS CANCELLED DUE TO FLOODING! We are sorry but we had to cancel this trip since the road to Caxicane is under water and impassable. The local administrator has advised us that there is no alternative route and due to excessive rains, the village will not be accessible by land until July. Please watch this space for details of our next field trip planned for mid May.

Field Trip – Friday, May 01 is a national holiday and we are planning a History Field trip via Cacuaco to visit the War Memorial at Quifangondo where a decisive battle was fought in November 1975. Then we will head east through the Bengo River valley to the town of Catete to visit the recently inaugerated Cultural Centre there. On the way we will have a photo stop at the old abandoned train engine sites. From Catete we will drive to Caxicana, a small village on the banks of the Kwanza River, birthplace of the first president of Angola, Agostinho Neto. From there we will continue down the main road and then head due east on a dirt trail that winds uphill to a viewpoint that offers a scenic vista of the floodplain of the Kwanza River. We will have a picnic lunch here before heading back to Luanda via Viana.

This trip requires a 4 wheel drive vehicle. Pack your own lunch and drinks and sun protection. We will depart Luanda at 7 a.m. If you want to participate in this field trip please contact Henriette at angolafieldgroup@gmail.com and indicate how many people are in your car and if you have room for vehicle-less people. Or if you need a lift, please indicate. Limited space. All fieldtrips are at your own risk.

On Saturday, October 11, we will boat up the Kwanza River to Muxima, and visit the site of a fortress built in 1599 on the banks of the river by the Portuguese to defend their access into the interior and act as the base of the slave trade. We will also see the historic church in Muxima, the spiritual mecca of Angolan Catholics. Thousands make a pilgrimage here every September to supplicate the 400 year old statue of Mama Muxima inside the church in what is reputedly the biggest annual religious pilgrimage in sub-Saharan Africa.

To sign up email Henriette Koning at angolafieldgroup@gmail.com as soon as possible since space is limited. 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. Read on for details and more photos.

Church and fort, Muxima.

Church and fort, Muxima.

We will depart Luanda at 6:30 AM and return around 6:30 PM. Our route: we will drive north from Luanda via Catete to the Kwanza River where we will park the cars (no 4 wheel drive necessary) and take a motor boat up the river for a relaxing hour and a half trip.

We will be joined by Serafim Quintino who was born near Muxima and will give us some historical background on the area. Serafim works in community and cultural development and organizes the popular ‘3-day visit to a remote village’ Field trip.

There is a fee of 2,000 kwanzas per person for the 3 hour round trip boat trip. You must pack your own picnic lunch and bring adequate liquid. There’s limited space for coolers on board. Also, you must have a passport and a valid visa to travel in the provinces. 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. Meeting point and further details will be provided once you sign up for the trip.

Devotees praying to Mama Muxima inside the church.

Devotees praying to Mama Muxima inside the church.

A refreshing trip up the Kwanza River.

A refreshing trip up the Kwanza River.

A small fishing village on the banks of the Kwanza River.

A small fishing village on the banks of the Kwanza.

Crocodiles, monkeys, lizards and lots of birds can be seen on the boat trip.

Crocodiles, monkeys, lizards and lots of birds can be seen on the boat trip.

 

On Saturday April 26, travel up the Kwanza River by motor boat from the mouth of the river to Quicama Park headquarters. For 5 hours we will explore the river’s lagoons and creeks, watch the birds and alligators and photograph isolated villages along the river shore.

Angola Field Group member Peter Holmström has kindly volunteered to organize and coordinate a river field trip that will leave Saturday morning at 10 AM from Barra do Kwanza (launching place will be confirmed to participants) and terminate Saturday afternoon at Kawa in Quicama Park. Here you will have dinner and spend the night in one of the bungalows and depart by car for Luanda the next day after an early morning game drive followed by breakfast on the terrace overlooking the Kwanza River valley. At least two cars and drivers are still needed to meet everyone at the park early Sunday morning. There will be some space for people without vehicles. Peter’s vehicle and driver will transport your luggage from Barra do Kwanza to the park resort so no luggage needs to be taken onboard the boat.

Prices: If there are ten people going, the rental for the boat is $40.00 per person. A bungalow costs $200.00 doubles or $160 singles, breakfast included. Dinner and drinks extra. Tents and mattresses are also available at $60.00 for doubles, breakfast included. The game drive is $20.00. Participants need to pack a lunch to eat while cruising the river. Take along enough liquids for the boat trip as well as sunscreen and sun hats and your documents. All trips are at your own risk.

Contact: To sign up for this trip or if you have questions, please email Peter Holmström directly at pho@welho.com. He will need confirmation of attendance as soon as possible in order to firm up the reservations of the bungalows. Thank you Peter for offering to organize this river adventure!

River taxi on the Kwanza, Quicama Park. Courtesy Peter Holmstrom.

Kwanza River taxi, Quicama National Park. Photo courtesy of Peter Holmström.

Wild life on the Kwanza River, Quicama Park. Courtesy Peter Holmstrom.

Wildlife on the Kwanza, Quicama National Park. Photo courtesy of Peter Holmström.

Kawa Resort, Quicama Park. Courtesy Peter Holmstrom.

Kawa Resort, Quicama National Park. Photo courtesy of Peter Holmström.