Luanda, AngolaHaving prospered from an oil boom, the Republic of Angola is starting to catch the eye of smaller cruise lines and luxury operators.

A former Portuguese colony, the country achieved independence in 1975 and has seen a massive growth pace since the 1990s, coupled with the discovery of natural resources and the conclusion of a civil war.

Thus, this coming season, 10 ships are booked, including the Silver Explorer, Quest for Adventure, Astor, Hanseatic and Albatros, according to Jose Cabral of Travelgest, a travel agency and tour operator that services cruise ships in the country.

Next season will see the trend continue, with calls continuing from Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, Phoenix Reisen and Silversea, and also adding the bigger Crystal Serenity.

“It’s a country that is now at peace for over 10 years and is under a huge restructuring process:  new roads, new hotels, new airports and other factors that are important to become a developing country,” said Cabral. “Luanda, the capital, is the attraction for now.”

Attractions include city tours, and more, with popular sites including the Iron Palace, anthropology museum and the S. Miguel Fort that was built by the Portuguese in the XVI century.

Golfers should find refuge as well, with a state-of-the-art course an hour’s drive from Luanda playing host to the PGA tour later this year.

Three ports can receive transit calls, including Luanda, Lobito and Nambie.

“The government is working on the rehabilitations of those ports to receive cruise ships, because until now they mostly work as commercial ports,” added Cabral, who said the government has recently adopted a new, pro-active cruise strategy.