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Angola: Country Information
Swimming in Oil
End to Conflict
Sunflower State
Tainted Love
Industry: Bottled Revival
Banking: Get With the Program
Charming Chaos
Profile: Lactiangol – Milking the Potential
Cabinda: Politics – Let the People Decide
Cabinda: History – Scramble for Cabinda
Cabinda: Oil – Block Buster
Cabinda: Natural Resources – Vegetable Sea
Cabinda: Society – Language Matters
Shell Shocked
The Province of Bengo: Manna from Muxima
The Province of Benguela: In the Bloom of Recovery
The Province of Uige: Out of the Woods
The Province of Huambo: Capital Gains
The Provinces of Lunda Norte and Lunda Sul: Cutting Edge
The Province of Kwanza Norte: Water of Life
The Province of Namibe: Keeping a Distance
The Province of Kuando Kubango: Elephant Crossing
Tourism: Postcard from the Edge
Arts & Culture: Art Movement
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The Province Of Kuando Kubango: Elephant Crossing

Tourism and trade could bring one of Angola's remotest provinces out of isolation

credit: Empresa Nacional de Fotografias
Best known as "The Land at the End of the World," Kuando Kubango is Angola's second largest province, but one of the least densely populated, with an area of 77,000 square miles settled by some 500,000 inhabitants.

It is situated in the far southeastern corner of Angola, bordering with Zambia and Namibia. As much of the province's southern border lies along Namibia's narrow Caprivi Strip, the countries of Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa are also easily accessible. The province thus forms Angola's main gateway into the rest of southern Africa, and has the potential to become a crucial hub for cross-border trade.

"Kuando Kubango is one of Angola's most privileged provinces in terms of geographical position. The only way for our country's trade produce to be transported by land to the profitable markets of Namibia and South Africa is via Kuando Kubango," says the province's governor, Jorge Biwango.

credit: Empresa Nacional de Fotografias
Despite the potential for lively cross-border trade, Kuando Kubango is one of Angola's least developed provinces. Being so far from the capital city, it has become something of a forgotten region. The provincial capital Menongue lies over 620 miles from Luanda, and the only realistic transport link between the towns is by air.

Another reason for Kuando Kubango's lack of development is that it still bears the scars of war. In the years following Angola's independence in 1975, bitter battles were fought there against South African troops, who had occupied parts of the province.

Despite being remote and battle-scarred, Kuando Kubango has the potential to become prosperous. As Jorge Biwango says: "The very name Kuando Kubango refers to our two great rivers, the Kuando and the Kubango. We want to unlock the hydroelectric potential of the rivers, and already have firm plans to build a dam that will provide power for Menongue."

credit: Empresa Nacional de Fotografias
The province is also rich in timber, as yet untapped, as well as unexploited reserves of diamonds, gold and copper. However, the population of Kuando Kubango is mainly engaged in animal husbandry and agriculture, with maize being the principal crop. With investment and encouragment, they could obviously be doing a lot more.

The governor has a vision of great things for the province. One of his main ambitions is to promote tourism as the province is home to one of Africa's great elephant reserves, as well as an abundance of other wildlife.

With tourism already thriving across the borders in Namibia and Zambia, and in nearby Botswana and South Africa, Kuando Kubango could become integrated into one of the transnational game reserves currently being developed across the southern African region.

"This huge province is virgin territory in terms of tourism," he says. "We have been visited by a number of top-end American travel companies who were stunned by the potential for tourism and game hunting."

If tourism takes off, together with an increase in cross-border trade, Kuando Kubango could become the land at the beginning rather than the end of the earth.

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