Angola > Namibe


Namibe is the capital city of Namibe Province in modern-day Angola. It is a coastal desert city located in southwestern Angola and was founded in 1840 by the Portuguese colonial administration. The city's current population is 132,900. Namibe has a cool dry climate and desert vegetation, due to its proximity to the Namib Desert. The name Moçâmedes was changed to Namibe in 1985.


Moçâmedes was officially founded in 1840 by the Portuguese colonial administration on a bay that the Portuguese originally called Angra do Negro by order of Portuguese prime minister Count of Bonfim, who was also head of the Colonial Department. The area was first explored by the Portuguese in 1785 and claimed for Portugal by Luís Cândido Cordeiro Pinheiro Furtado, who had been sent there in the frigate Loanda by the then governor-general of Angola, Baron Moçâmedes, who also sent an overland expedition headed by Gregório José Mendes to rendezvous with Furtado. It was they who renamed the bay Moçâmedes in honour of the baron. In 1839 the then governor-general of Angola, Admiral Noronha, sent a fresh expedition to subdue the local chiefs and make them vassals of Portugal. In 1840 a factory was established and in July of the same year a fort was built at Ponta Negra. The area was colonized mainly by Portuguese settlers from Madeira and Brazil; in the 1850s the Portuguese government also gave sea passage and financial assistance to a large number of German colonists. The village grew as a fishing port and by the 1960s it had 143 fishing boats and several fish processing factories. The port soon ranked alongside other important fishing ports such as Luanda, Benguela and Lobito. About 200 km from the city of Namibe the Portuguese authorities founded the Iona National Park, Angola's oldest and largest national park, proclaimed as a reserve in 1937 and upgraded to a national park covering 15,150 km² in 1964. During 1966-67 a major iron ore terminal was built at Saco, the bay just 12 km North of Moçâmedes, to serve the iron ore mine inland at Cassinga. Construction of the mine installations and a 300 km railway were commissioned to Krupp of Germany and the modern harbour terminal to SETH, a Portuguese company owned by Højgaard & Schultz of Denmark. Within one year the first 250,000 ton ore carrier docked and loaded with ore in 1967.


The city's Sé Catedral de São Pedro is the cathedral episcopal see of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Namibe, which was established in 2009 on territory split from its Metropolitan's Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Lubango, to which it is a suffragan.



Namibe is the terminus of the Moçâmedes Railway. This line was originally 600mm gauge but was converted to 1067mm gauge in the 1950s.


It has one of Angola's three major ports, alongside Luanda and Lobito.


Namibe is served by the Namibe Airport located about 7 km to the south of the city. The old Yuri Gagarin airport, only about 1.7 km from the city's center, connects the city to the rest of the country.


In 2013, Namibe and the national capital Luanda jointly hosted the 2013 FIRS Men's Roller Hockey World Cup, the first time that a World Cup of roller hockey was held in Africa.


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