The great majority of the inhabitants are of Bantu-Negro stock with some admixture in the Congo district with the pure negro type. In the south-east are various tribes of Bushmen. The best-known of the Bantu-Negro tribes are the Ba-Kongo (Ba-Fiot), who dwell chiefly in the north, and the Abunda (Mbunda, Ba-Bundo), who occupy the central part of the province, which takes its name from the Ngola tribe of Abunda. Another of these tribes, the Bangala, living on the west bank of the upper Kwango, must not be confounded with the Bangala of the middle Congo. In the Abunda is a considerable strain of Portuguese blood. The Ba-Lunda inhabit the Lunda district. Along the upper Kunene and in other districts of the plateau are settlements of Boers, the Boer population being about 2000. In the coast towns the majority of the white inhabitants are Portuguese. The Mushi-Kongo and other divisions of the Ba-Kongo retain curious traces of the Christianity professed by them in the 16th and 17th centuries and possibly later. Crucifixes are used as potent fetish charms or as symbols of power passing down from chief to chief; whilst every native has a "Santu" or Christian name and is dubbed dom or dona. Fetishism is the prevailing religion throughout the province.
The dwelling-places of the natives are usually small huts of the simplest construction, used chiefly as sleeping apartments; the day is spent in an open space in front of the hut protected from the sun by a roof of palm or other leaves.
The chief towns are Sao Paulo de Loanda, the capital, Kabinda, Benguella and Mossamedes (q.v.). Lobito, a little north of Benguella, is a town which dates from 1905 and owes its existence to the bay of the same name having been chosen as the sea terminus of a railway to the far interior. Noki is on the southern bank of the Congo at the head of navigation from the sea, and close to the Congo Free State frontier. It is available for ships of large tonnage, and through it passes the Portuguese portion of the trade of the lower Congo. Ambriz - the only seaport of consequence in the Congo district of the province - is at the mouth of the Loje river, about 70 m. N. of Loanda. Novo Redondo and Egito are small ports between Loanda and Benguella. Port Alexander is in the district of Mossamedes and S. of the town of that name.
In the interior Humpata, about 95 m. from Mossamedes, is the chief centre of the Boer settlers; otherwise there are none but native towns containing from 1000 to 3000 inhabitants and often enclosed by a ring of sycamore trees. Ambaca and Malanje are the chief places in the fertile agricultural district of the middle Kwanza, S.E. of Loanda, with which they are in railway communication. Sao Salvador (pop. 1500) is the name given by the Portuguese to Bonza Congo, the chief town of the "kingdom of Congo." It stands 1840 ft. above sea-level and is about 160 m. inland and 100 S.E. of the river port of Noki, in 6° 15' S. Of the cathedral and other stone buildings erected in the 16th century, there exist but scanty ruins. The city walls were destroyed in the closing years of the 19th century and the stone used to build government offices. There is a fort, built about 1850, and a small military force is at the disposal of the Portuguese resident. Bembe and Encoje are smaller towns in the Congo district south of Sao Salvador. Bihe, the capital of the plateau district of the same name forming the hinterland of Benguella, is a large caravan centre. Kangomba, the residence of the king of Bihe, is a large town.
Caconda is in the hill country S.E. of Benguella.