Originally founded by the Portuguese, Benguela is one of Angola’s most captivating destinations. Today, the coastal city is dotted with beautifully preserved colonial architecture. You can spend your days soaking up the sunshine on the Benguela’s sun-drenched urban beaches or exploring a string of cultural attractions.
Things to do in Benguela
One of the best ways to get your bearings in Benguela is on a stroll along the Praia Morena promenade. It’s lined with vibrant street stalls selling everything from tasty snacks to colourful African souvenirs.
Along the way, you’ll pass landmarks like the stately Governor’s Palace. The grand manor house was purchased from a slave trader in 1880 and serves as the current seat of Benguela’s government.
If Benguela’s tropical climate has you hot and bothered, why not head down to one of the city’s urban beaches? Praia Morena is the busiest stretch of sand, with plenty of umbrellas and sun lounges on offer. Baia Azul, Caotinha and Santo Antonio are also popular beach destinations.
Formerly a slave holding area, the National Archaeology Museum showcases a fascinating collection of relics. Nearby is the Church of Nossa Senhora do Populo, one of Africa’s finest examples of Portuguese baroque architecture.
Getting around Benguela
Downtown Benguela is compact and walkable, which means it’s easy to explore on foot. If you’re heading to the nearby beaches, it’s best to take a taxi or hire a private driver for the day. The city of Lobito is 35 kilometres up the coast, with the drive taking around 45 minutes. Most travellers fly into Lobito Airport and make their way down to Benguela.