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Angola: Miradouro da Lua

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Miradouro da Lua | Angola | Africa

[Visited: July 2012]

It proved more difficult than I had thought to arrange a car with a driver in Luanda, and when we were finally on the way from the hotel, the afternoon traffic jams were already being formed. It took us quite some time to leave the city, and I was closely watching the sky on my right to see if the thick cloud cover showed signs of opening up later on. When we finally were out of the city, there were indeed some patches of blue sky, and I hoped we would have some nice sunlight at our destination, the Miradouro da Lua, south of the Angolan capital Luanda. When I saw pictures of the landscape at this viewpoint, and realized it was an easy trip from the city, I had my mind set on seeing it for myself, and calculated it would best be seen before sunset.

Picture of Miradouro da Lua (Angola): Rugged cliff landscape seen from Miradouro da Lua

The sun is casting its rays on the earth now, through openings in the sky, but unfortunately, it would still take us ten minutes to reach the lookout point. When we finally park the car at a small parking lot where part of the asphalt had eroded away, the small openings in the sky have closed again. The sight is not less impressive though. Below me, the escarpment suddenly gives way to steep cliffs, of a deep red colour, under which a band of pinnacles in a much lighter colour, making for clear contrasts. Further down, the cliffs are absorbed by a plain that runs all the way to the Atlantic Ocean, with baobab and other trees scattered around. Even though the sky is grey, I am surprised at the rich red colour of the cliffs.

Picture of Miradouro da Lua (Angola): Pillars formed by nature in the landscape at the cliffs of Miradouro da Lua

This spectacular landscape has been shaped over the centuries by the torrential tropical rains coming down here, sculpting the earth by hands of the water, creating pinnacles and gullies, carving out a landscape that is a feast to the eyes. Of course, the process of erosion did not stop: I saw several trees right at the edge of the escarpment with exposed roots. It reminded me of Bryce Canyon in Utah, with the difference that here, it is not possible to actually walk down into the strange shapes created by nature. The question remains, of course, why this is called the Moon Viewpoint: for some reason, I wondered how the landscape on the moon could look like these rain, wind and erosion shaped cliffs. Little did I care: even though the sun never returned to set the cliffs afire, it was a great sight.

Picture of Miradouro da Lua (Angola): Red cliffs dominating a plain with trees below
Picture of Miradouro da Lua (Angola): Wild landscape just below the cliffs of Miradouro da Lua
Picture of Miradouro da Lua (Angola): Red hill with the beach and ocean in the background
Picture of Miradouro da Lua (Angola): Natural pillars at the cliffs of Miradouro da Lua
Picture of Miradouro da Lua (Angola): Dark bird contrasting with the red earth of the cliffs of the Miradouro da Lua
Picture of Miradouro da Lua (Angola): The cliffs can be seen on the left, the Atlantic Ocean on the right
Picture of Miradouro da Lua (Angola): One of the many baobab trees in the plain below the cliffs
Picture of Miradouro da Lua (Angola): Pillars in the cliff landscape seen from the lunar landscape lookout
Picture of Miradouro da Lua (Angola): Red earth topping a hill right in front of the Miradouro da Lua

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