Geology

The rock formations of Angola are met with in three distinct regions: (1) the littoral zone, (2) the median zone formed by a series of hills more or less parallel with the coast, (3) the central plateau. The central plateau consists of ancient crystalline rocks with granites overlain by unfossiliferous sandstones and conglomerates considered to be of Palaeozoic age. The outcrops are largely hidden under laterite. The median zone is composed largely of crystalline rocks with granites and some Palaeozoic unfossiliferous rocks. The littoral zone contains the only fossiliferous strata. These are of Tertiary and Cretaceous ages, the latter rocks resting on a reddish sandstone of older date. The Cretaceous rocks of the Dombe Grande region (near Benguella) are of Albian age and belong to the Acanthoceras mamillari zone. The beds containing Schloenbachia inflata are referable to the Gault. Rocks of Tertiary age are met with at Dombe Grande, Mossamedes and near Loanda. The sandstones with gypsum, copper and sulphur of Dombe are doubtfully considered to be of Triassic age.

Recent eruptive rocks, mainly basalts, form a line of hills almost bare of vegetation between Benguella and Mossamedes. Nepheline basalts and liparites occur at Dombe Grande. The presence of gum copal in considerable quantities in the superficial rocks is characteristic of certain regions.

Climate

With the exception of the district of Mossamedes, the coast plains are unsuited to Europeans. In the interior, above 3300 ft., the temperature and rainfall, together with malaria, decrease. The plateau climate is healthy and invigorating. The mean annual temperature at Sao Salvador do Congo is 72.5° F.; at Loanda, 74.3°; and at Caconda, 67.2°. The climate is greatly influenced by the prevailing winds, which arc W., S.W. and S.S.W. Two seasons are distinguished - the cool, from June to September; and the rainy, from October to May. The heaviest rainfall occurs in April, and is accompanied by violent storms.

Flora And Fauna

Both flora and fauna are those characteristic of the greater part of tropical Africa. As far south as Benguella the coast region is rich in oil-palms and mangroves. In the northern part of the province are dense forests. In the south towards the Kunene are regions of dense thorn scrub. Rubber vines and trees are abundant, but in some districts their number has been considerably reduced by the ruthless methods adopted by native collectors of rubber. The species most common are various root rubbers, notably the Carpodinus chylorrhiza. This species and other varieties of carpodinus are very widely distributed. Landolphias are also found. The coffee, cotton and Guinea pepper plants are indigenous, and the tobacco plant flourishes in several districts. Among the trees are several which yield excellent timber, such as the tacula (Pterocarpus tinctorius), which grows to an immense size, its wood being blood-red in colour, and the Angola mahogany. The bark of the musuemba (Albizzia coriaria) is largely used in the tanning of leather. The mulundo bears a fruit about the size of a cricket ball covered with a hard green shell and containing scarlet pips like a pomegranate.

The fauna includes the lion, leopard, cheetah, elephant, giraffe, rhinoceros, hippopotamus, buffalo, zebra, kudu and many other kinds of antelope, wild pig, ostrich and crocodile. Among fish are the barbel, bream and African yellow fish.