Miradouro da Lua (Viewpoint of the Moon) – Belas, Angola - Atlas Obscura

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Miradouro da Lua (Viewpoint of the Moon)

Belas, Angola

This striking otherworldly landscape outside Angola's capital city is the product of millions of years of erosion. 


About 25 miles outside Angola’s capital city of Luanda lies an otherworldly landscape. Erosion from wind and rain over thousands of years has carved canyons and ridges out of weathered rock just footsteps off the main road. Miradouro da Lua, Portuguese for “Viewpoint of the Moon,” shows off different colored strata of rock that wrap around an expansive panorama.

From the cliffside, you can see the unusual rock formations that diminish in size as they stretch to the sea. This is known as a karst landscape, which forms from slowly dissolved limestone and other semi-soluble rocks. The actual topography spans a few miles, following the same cliffs that separate the main road from the beach, but Miradouro da Lua is the best location to see the full splendor of the moon-like landscape.

The sharp ravines and striking geography are best viewed at sunset, when the fading sunlight paints them a bright, gleaming red. Miradouro da Lua’s beauty was further immortalized in the final scene of a 1993 film of the same name that examines the relationship between Angola and its Portuguese colonizers through the story of one family.

Know Before You Go

You can reach Miradouro da Lua by following the Nacional Highway 100 about 25 miles on the way to or out of Luanda. Although you can opt to join an official tour, renting a car and driving on your own is just as simple, and much less expensive. There are a few restaurants by the beachside that you can drive down the cliffs to access, but the actual viewing site is right off the main road. Be sure to use GPS, since the sideroad has few sign markings and the entrance is easy to miss. Visitors are advised to watch their step when parking and photographing, as erosion has weakened the cliffside.

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