Through Leba pass

Lubango Airport, province of Huila, Angola. Early morning and no one on the outside. We wait a bit, and hurrah! Our car is coming. 

Three boys and me inside a rented white Toyota Hilux — yes, if you want to do a trip by south Angola, rent a car. We found the best prices in Huila Car Rental office in the city of Lubango. Besides, they assure our transportation from and to the airport.

We went out the city in style. Our goal — Namibe. And to get there we had to go through Leba pa

ss. Serra da Leba, a mountain range, is most-known by its steep pass — a zig-zag road at an elevation of 1845 m, or 6053 ft, with 12 hairpin bends from which 7 turns are located on a 1.7 km short section.

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The view is shaped by several waterfalls and impressive rock formations. You feel small. Better, you feel tiny.

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The project were engineered in the 1970s by, between others, a portuguese woman Mária Alice Leba, from who it took its name. Some say, she died on the very day the pass was finished after had viewed it. Called “The Beautiful Precipice” by many, Leba pass is one of the angolan roads with more fatalities known due to the lack of effective guard-rail protection. Nevertheless, despite the 26 year-long civil war, the road surface is, actually, in pretty good conditions. One can justify this amazing fact with the significant distance from Leba to the main conflict areas.

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Entering Angola is not easy for someone who is not a national, or does not work or have family there. You will need an invitation card and a lot of patience to pass the security check. Nonetheless, if you can, travel there. You will find, for sure, trash cities, but neither this or the dangerous neighborhoods can put you of from discovering angolan outstanding landscapes. 

* All photos by Duarte Lima Villas.

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