Angola Road Network

By | November 1, 2022

According to wholevehicles, Angola’s main numbered roads. A considerable part of these roads is unpaved or does not yet exist in real life.

In 2011, Angola had a network of 62,560 kilometers of road, of which 36,399 kilometers are formally classified. In 2011, only 17% of this (approximately 6,200 kilometres) was asphalted. In 2017, the network of paved roads was approximately 20,500 kilometers long.

Angola’s road network used to be quite extensive, but has been destroyed by decades of wars. Since the peace of 2002, large-scale investments have been made in the road network, both by the EU and China. Several roads have been modernized and are of European quality. A 55-kilometer-long ring highway has been constructed around the capital Luanda, the country’s first motorway, called the Via Expresso. In the northwest of Angola, the Autoestrada N’zeto – Soyo was opened in 2017.

In the east of the country in particular, many roads are in such bad shape that motorists and truck drivers have made parallel sand routes through the roadside. However, one has to be careful with landmines, which are still everywhere and hamper the development of infrastructure in rural areas. Despite this, the road network is quite limited, there is an east-west axis from Luanda to Luau on the Congo border in the east, and a north-south route from Kinshasa to the border with Namibia. In the middle an east-west axis runs from the port city of Lobito to Luau and from Lubango a modern road branches off to Namibia. The north-south route is largely paved, but the east-west routes are not. There are almost no paved roads in southeastern Angola.

Road classes

There are three categories of road in Angola: the Estradas nacionais (national roads), Estradas municipais (municipal roads) and Estradas especias (motorways, bypasses, expressways).

The Estradas nacionais are divided into three classes: the 1st class is for roads with a traffic volume of 2,000 to 5,000 vehicles per day, the 2nd class is for roads with a traffic volume of 800 to 2,000 vehicles per day and the 3rd class is for roads with a traffic intensity of 300 to 800 vehicles per day.

Road management

The national road authority of Angola is the Instituto Nacional de Estradas de Angola (INEA).

Motorways

In Angola there are two highway-like roads, the bypass of Luanda (Via Expressa Fidel Castro) and the Autoestrada N’zeto – Soyo.

A master plan for Angola has also been developed which envisaged the construction of a network of 3,878 kilometers of motorways, with two north-south routes, three east-west routes and a number of other routes. Motorways were provided for this between all the larger cities and to all neighboring countries.

National roads in Angola
Via Expressa Fidel Castro • Autoestrada N’zeto – Soyo

History

The Colonial Period

In the Portuguese colonial period, Angola’s road network was only developed to a limited extent. There were only a small number of main roads;

  • Luanda – Dondo – Nova Lisboa (Huambo) – Sá da Bandeira (Lubango) – Namacunde (gr. Namibië). From primaire noord-zuidroute van Angola
  • Dondo – Salazar (N’dalatando) – Malanje – Henrique de Carvalho (Saurimo) – Luau (gr. DR Congo). De primaire oost-westroute van Angola
  • Lobito – Benguela – Nova Lisboa (Huambo) – Luau. From tweede oost-westroute van Angola
  • Luanda – Ambrizete (N’zeto) – Nóqui (gr. DR Congo). The primary route to Kinshasa

There were roads elsewhere, but they were secondary in character. It was striking that there was no main coastal road and in the vast inland there were really only 3 important roads. The road network in the southeast and northeast was the least developed, but the southwest also had few roads. In the exclave of Cabinda there were a number of roads.

Road construction in Angola did not gain any significance until after the Second World War. The officially established road network grew from 35,500 kilometers in 1960 to 72,000 kilometers in 1967.

Road management was carried out in colonial times by the Junta Autónoma de Estradas de Angola (JAEA). The number of registered vehicles in Angola was 32,800 in 1952 and 168,200 in 1972.

Angolan civil war

Immediately after independence, a civil war broke out that would last 27 years (1975-2002). This was a continuation of the Angolan War of Independence (1961-1974), which led to more than 40 years of conflict in Angola. This conflict has severely damaged the existing colonial infrastructure, but has also paralyzed the further development of the infrastructure. Where the other countries in southern Africa developed their infrastructure in the 1970s, 80s and 90s, this came to a standstill in Angola, the situation mainly deteriorated compared to 1960.

The conflict was a proxy war of the greater Cold War and saw not only financial and material support, but also the actual large-scale deployment of foreign ground forces. South Africa and Cuba where most involved. Most foreign troops left the country in 1975 and 1976, but the Cubans still remained, with large numbers of soldiers and equipment. Angola was also militarily in conflict with neighboring countries Zaire and Namibia. South Africa again intervened in the war from 1981 to 1987 with the deployment of thousands of soldiers. The Cubans were present in the 1980s with 60,000 ground troops and 1,000 tanks. In 1988, Cubans and South Africans withdrew from Angola.

The conflict was therefore very extensive and different from that in countries where rebels were mainly active in isolated areas. The Battle of Cuito Cuanavale was the second largest in African history (after El Alamein in World War II). In the 1990s, there were large-scale and devastating sieges of cities in the interior of Angola. The conflict ended in 2002, especially after the leader of the rebel group UNITA was killed. During the war, most of the infrastructure was destroyed, including the three railways and many bridges. Many roads were also in disastrous condition due to decades of war violence and lack of maintenance. An additional problem was the enormous amount of land mines, also along roads and dirt roads.

A 2014 study found that of Angola’s 4,200 bridges on the national road network, 1,500 had been destroyed during the war, 800 of which were on the primary road network. Many of the bridges that were still in use predate 1970 and were largely in poor condition due to under-dimensioned design coupled with decades of little or no maintenance.

Recovery and development

In 2002, Angola had a seriously neglected and damaged road network, after decades of war. The country had a much less developed road network than the other countries in southern Africa. It scored very low on many indicators.

The road network has been refurbished at a fairly rapid pace after the end of the civil war. This was possible thanks to substantial revenues from oil extraction. The capital Luanda was transformed with large-scale reconstructions of roads, neighborhoods and buildings. New apartment blocks were also built in the suburbs. This made Luanda more modern than, for example, Kinshasa or Brazzaville. In the period 2002-2011, the existing asphalt roads between the largest cities were mainly repaired, with the focus being mainly on the corridor from Luanda to Huambo. In the period up to 2014, 946 bridges were also repaired or newly built.

From 2011, the Programa de Manutenção das Infraestruturas Rodoviárias (PRIR) was launched, in the period 2011-2020 13,232 kilometers of road were paved, which tripled Angola’s paved road network in 10 years and most of the larger towns were connected by a paved road.

The Plano Director Nacional do Sector dos Transportes was also launched, in which 5 crucial connections were expanded into paved roads. These were the following corridors in 2020;

  • Corridor 1: North-South: 1812 kilometer, 95% verhard
  • Corridor 2: Luanda – Soyo – Cabinda: 539 kilometers, 74% verhard
  • Corridor 3: Lobito – border DR Congo + branches to Zambia: 1,206 kilometers, 45% paved
  • Corridor 4: Luanda – Malanje – DR Congo: 1,155 kilometer, 97% verhard
  • Corridor 5: Namibe – Luiana: 1,502 kilometers, 56% paved

Development was therefore least advanced on the east-west routes, especially in the south-east and central east of Angola, where the important international corridors were still unpaved. The Trans-Africa Highway 3 runs north-south through Angola and is largely paved. The Trans-Africa Highway 9 leads east-west through Angola and half of it was still unpaved.

Road numbering

The main road network consists of the estradas nacionais (national roads), abbreviated EN, sometimes just N. They are marked as N on the signage, but as EN in the written text.

The national roads are numbered in a system. The prefix is ​​’AND’, with a 3-digit number. The 1st number indicates the location: a number starting with a 1 is a north-south route (longitudinal), a number starting with a 2 is an east-west route (transversal) and a number starting with a 3 is a diagonal route. The second and third tracks run from west to east (longitudinal routes) and from north to south (transverse routes). The diagonal routes run from northwest to southeast and from northeast to southwest.

So there is a grid network, partly theoretical, because many EN roads are just dirt roads. However, the network of numbered roads is very extensive, more than in most other countries in southern Africa.

North-South Routes

# No. Route Length
IN 100 Massabi – Cabinda (…) – Soyo – N’Zeto – Luanda – Sumbe – Benguela – Namibe – Foz do Cunene 1.800 km
EN101 Sanga Mongo – Buco Zau – Dinge – Pedro Cota – Tando 150 km
EN105 Benguela – Lubango – Techiulo 605 km
EN110 Luanda – Catete – Quilenda – Caconda – Xangongo 1.100 km
EN120 Noquí – M’Banza Congo – Uige – Quibaxe – Bula Atumba – N’Dalatando – Dondo – Huambo – Ondjiva – Namacunde 1.790 km
EN140 Maquela do Zombo – Damba – Negage – Malange – Kuito – Menongue – Savate 1.565 km
EN160 Sacandica – Quimbele – Marimba – Quela – Quirima – Longa – Cuito Cuanavale – Xamavera 1.920 km
EN165 Muginga – Cuango 190 km
EN170 Camaxilo – Cacolo – Cangamba – Mavinga – Dirico 1.350 km
EN180 Dundo – Saurimo – Luena – Luiana 1.375 km
EN190 Mucumbo – Muconda – Luacano – Lumbala Caquengue 900 km
EN195 Caianda – Calunda – Macondo 250 km

East-West Routes

# No. Route Length
IN 200 Bitchequete – Buco Zau – Miconje 135 km
EN201 Cabinda – Fubo – Zenze do Lucula 65 km
EN202 Text – Zenze do Lucula 40 km
EN210 N’Zeto – M’Banza Congo – Sacandica 480 km
EN220 Ambriz – Uige – Sanza Pombo 560 km
EN223 Cuilo – Dundo – Canzar 360 km
EN225 Luanda – Caxito – Quibaxe – Quiculungo – Marimba – Caungula – Camissombo 910 km
EN230 Luanda – Catete – N’Dalatando – Malange – Cacolo – Saurimo – Chiluage 1.130 km
EN240 Sumbe – Quibala – Mussende – Quirima – Dala – Muconda – Luau 1.110 km
EN245 Sumbe – Ucu Seles – Waco Kungo 180 km
EN250 Lobito – Bocoio – Balombo – Kuito – Luena – Luacano – Caianda 1.330 km
EN260 Catengue – Cubal – Huambo – Tempué – Cangamba – Lucusse – Macondo 1.350 km
EN280 Namibe – Lubango – Matala – Cuvango – Menongue – Cuito Cuanavale – Mavinga – Rivungo 1.160 km
EN295 EN-100 – Oncocua – Ondjiva – Savate – Cuangar – Dirico – Luiana 1.350 km

Diagonal roads

# No. Route Length
EN311 Onzo – Muxaluando – Quibaxe 75 km
EN312 Caxita – Canacassala – Onzo 110 km
EN313 Dange – Camabatela – Tango – Cangola 140 km
EN321 Maria Theresa – Dondo 65 km
EN322 Dondo – Cacuso – Calandula 230 km
EN323 Micanda – Caombo – Malange 150 km
EN346 Cuangula – Cuango 115 km
EN350 Goat – Mungo – Bailundo – Huambo 180 km
EN352 Huambo – Catchiungo 50 km
EN354 Cuima – Caconda – Caluquembe – Cacula 245 km
EN358 Huambo – Gandavira – Chipessa – Calombo 145 km
EN372 Caiundo – Ondjiva – Bereaved 395 km
EN380 Catoca – Saurimo 40 km

Signage

The signage in Angola is identical to that of Portugal, with white signs with black letters. However, there are also blue signs with white letters. Brown (tourist?) targets are also used. Horizontal traffic lights with countdowns are also common in Luanda.

Maximum speed

The following speed limits for passenger cars have been established in the 2008 Highway Code;

  • Within built-up areas: 60 km/h
  • Motorways: 120 km/h
  • Motorways: 100 km/h
  • Other roads: 90 km/h

Angola Road Network