Angola

Driving Directions Angola

ANGOLA is situated on the Atlantic coast of southern Africa, with the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north, Zambia to the east, and Namibia to the south. Cabinda, a small enclave of Angola, is enclosed by the two Congos a few kilometers north.

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The enclave of Cabinda has importance disproportionate to its size due to the discovery of offshore oil. An inland plateau makes up most of the country. This averages 1,000-1,500 meters or 3,280-4,920 feet in height, with Mount Mocothe’s highest point at 2,620 meters or 8,595 feet. The plateau is separated from the coastal plain by a strip of hills and scarps, varying from 30-150 kilometers or 18-93 miles in width. The country becomes arider to the south, where it merges into the Namib Desert.

There are tropical rainforests in the north, while in the south are grasslands and poor desert vegetation. In between is a mix of trees and grasslands. This provides a good habitat for a typical mix of African wildlife, including elephants, rhinoceros, zebra, hippopotamus, and lions. The climate is tropical, and the rainfall is heaviest in inland areas where there are vast equatorial forests.

Around 70 percent of the workforce is engaged in agriculture. Although deposits of manganese, copper, and phosphate are as yet unexploited, the country is rich in minerals. Diamonds are mined in the northeast, and oil is produced near Luanda. Oil production is the most important aspect of the economy, making up about 90 percent of exports, including diamonds, fish, coffee, and palm oil.

The Angolan economy has been severely damaged by the civil war of the 1980s and 1990s.

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Most of Angola is covered with broad tablelands (broad areas higher in elevation than their surroundings) that are greater than 1,000 meters (3,300 feet) high. Angola also has high plateaus in the central and southern regions, as high as 2,400 meters (7,920 feet). There are many rivers in Angola, but only a few are navigable (suitable for boating). The Cabinda region, which lies between DROC and the Republic of the Congo just north of the Angolan mainland, is also a part of Angola. The wet regions of the north and northwest, including Cabinda, are covered with thick forests. Simultaneously, the drier areas in the center of the country support sparse savanna-like grassy vegetation. Land abuse, such as desertification (land losing its ability to support plant life), forest loss, and water impurity, are significant environmental problems.

Angola’s western coast borders on the Atlantic Ocean. The waters off the coast support a fishing industry that contributes to export income.

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