Ondjiva, Angola

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Ondjiva, Angola

Region: Cunene

Geographic Coordinates: -17.066700, 15.733300
Temperature Range: 18.0°C to 35.0°C (64°F to 95°F)
Climate: Dry and hot climate with very little rainfall throughout the year.
Population: 121537
Language: Portuguese

Ondjiva is the capital city of Cunene province in southern Angola, Located on the border with Namibia. The population of the city is estimated to be around 100, 000 people. Ondjiva has a rich history dating back to pre-colonial times when it was a trading hub for various tribes in the region. The architecture of Ondjiva reflects its colonial past, With many buildings featuring Portuguese-style facades and balconies. However, Recent development projects have transformed the city’s skyline with new buildings and infrastructure.

Forte Roçadas is one of the most notable landmarks in Ondjiva – an old Portuguese fort built-in 1910 to defend against German attacks from Namibia during World War I. Today, Forte Roçadas serves as a museum showcasing artefacts from Angola’s colonial past. Ondjiva has a vibrant market scene where locals sell everything from fresh produce to handmade crafts and textiles. Visitors can immerse themselves in local culture and try traditional Angolan food such as funge (a type of porridge made from cassava flour) or muamba de galinha (chicken stew).

The surrounding countryside offers breathtaking views of rolling hills dotted with baobab trees and small villages where traditional Himba people live. Visitors can take guided tours or hire cars to explore this beautiful region. In terms of climate, Ondjiva experiences hot temperatures all year round due to its location close to the equator. However, Heavy downpours during the rainy season (November-March) can cause flooding that may disrupt travel plans.

Overall, Ondjiva offers visitors an opportunity to experience both modern-day Angola as well as its rich cultural heritage dating back centuries – exploring historical landmarks or immersing oneself in local markets and cuisine – there is something for everyone in this vibrant city!

Important Landmarks

  1. Cunene River: The Cunene River runs through Ondjiva and offers scenic views and outdoor activities.
  2. Ruacana Falls: Located about 150 km from Ondjiva, Ruacana Falls is a popular tourist attraction known for its stunning waterfalls.
  3. Forte Roçadas: A historical landmark located in the city center of Ondjiva, Forte Roçadas was built by Portuguese colonizers in 1910 to protect against German colonial forces.
  4. Municipal Market: A bustling market where visitors can find local goods such as textiles, crafts, and fresh produce.
  5. Oshetu Caves: Located about 50 km from Ondjiva, the Oshetu Caves are a series of underground caverns with unique rock formations that attract adventurous tourists.
  6. Namib Desert: While not technically located in Ondjiva itself but nearby regions like Namibe Province or Huila Province; it’s worth mentioning as it’s one of Africa’s largest deserts and attracts many tourists for its stunning landscapes and wildlife viewing opportunities.

Primary Industries

  1. Agriculture: The city is known for its production of crops such as maize, beans, peanuts, and sorghum.
  2. Livestock: Ondjiva has a significant number of cattle farms which produce beef and dairy products.
  3. Retail: The city has several markets where local vendors sell their products such as fruits, vegetables, clothing items etc.
  4. Mining: Although not as prominent as other industries in the region, Ondjiva does have some mining operations that extract minerals like diamonds.
  5. Transportation: As a major hub for transportation in the region, there are many businesses involved in logistics and transportation services including trucking companies and bus operators.
  6. Tourism: With its unique culture and natural beauty of the surrounding areas like Cunene River or Kameia National Park attracts tourists to this area creating opportunities for hotels or restaurants to grow their business here.

Noteable History

  1. The Angolan Civil War: Ondjiva was heavily affected by this war that lasted from 1975 to 2002. It was a strategic location for both government and rebel forces due to its proximity to Namibia’s border.
  2. Battle of Ongiva: In August 1981, South African forces attacked Ondjiva as part of their efforts to support UNITA rebels against the MPLA government. This battle resulted in heavy casualties on both sides and widespread destruction in the city.
  3. General Kamorteiro: Born in Ondjiva, General Kamorteiro was a prominent military commander who fought for UNITA during the civil war and played a key role in several battles against government forces.
  4. Antonio Agostinho Neto: He served as Angola’s first president after independence from Portugal until his death in 1979.
  5. Cunene River: It flows through Ondjiva and is an important source of water for agriculture and livestock farming in the region.
  6. Omuhaturua Tjituka: He served as governor of Kunene Region from 2000 to 2010 and played an important role promoting cross-border cooperation between Namibia and Angola regarding trade and infrastructure development.
  7. Forte Roçadas: Located just outside of Ondjiva, Forte Roçadas is a historic Portuguese fort built during Portugal’s colonial rule of Angola that now serves as a popular tourist attraction.

Museums and Things To See

  1. Cunene River
  2. Ondjiva Museum of Culture
  3. Monument to King Mandume Ya Ndemufayo
  4. Ombala yo Mungo National Park
  5. Calueque Dam and Reservoir
  6. Forte de Santa Rita de Cassia
  7. Iona National Park

Cultural Events

  1. Ondjiva City Day: This is a celebration of the founding of the city and takes place on August 11th every year.
  2. Carnival: A colorful and vibrant carnival parade takes place in Ondjiva during February or March each year.
  3. Independence Day: Angola gained its independence from Portugal on November 11th, 1975, and this day is celebrated annually with parades and cultural events.
  4. Cultural Festival of Namibe Province: This festival celebrates the culture of Namibe Province in Angola with traditional music, dance performances, food stalls selling local cuisine, and crafts exhibitions.
  5. International Trade Fair of Angola (FILDA): This is one of the largest trade fairs in Africa held annually in Luanda but attracts visitors from all over Angola including Ondjiva to showcase their products.
  6. Okavango Music Festival: The Okavango Music Festival brings together musicians from across southern Africa to perform various genres such as jazz, hip hop, reggae among others.
  7. National Heroes Day: Celebrated on September 17th every year to honor Angolan national heroes who fought for independence during colonial times including those who died fighting against apartheid South Africa’s army (SADF) during the border war that ended in 1988.

Note that some events may be canceled due to COVID-19 restrictions; therefore it’s advisable to check before attending any event or festival mentioned above as they may change without prior notice depending on government regulations at any given time.


  • Churrasqueira Ondaka – Known for its grilled meat dishes and traditional Angolan cuisine.
  • Restaurante Kandimba – Offers a variety of Angolan dishes such as Muamba de Galinha (chicken stew) and Calulu (fish stew).
  • Restaurante Tchivinguiro – Serves traditional Angolan food like Moamba de Galinha and Feijão Tropeiro (bean stew).
  • Confeitaria Cunene – A bakery that offers fresh bread, pastries, cakes, and other desserts.
  • Bar e Restaurante Sabor Tropical – A bar-restaurant that serves seafood dishes like grilled prawns and fish soup.
  • Pizzaria La Bella Italia – Offers Italian-style pizzas with a local twist.
  • Casa da Comida Tradicional – Specializes in traditional Angolan dishes like Mufete (grilled fish) and Xindunguila (a spicy chicken dish).

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