Ver Angola

Tourism

Uhenha Resort: the “glory” of tourism in Saurimo

Located in Saurimo, the Uhenha Resort is one of the main hotel units in the diamond city. Built in the middle of the forest, it offers tourists a combination of the traditional - inspired by the way of life of the Lunda-Cokwe people - and the concept of international hotels.

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Most tourists, national or foreign, when making tourist plans or planning to take a walk during the weekend, immediately think of the southern coastal provinces (Benguela, Lubango and Namibe). The lack of accommodation conditions and quality service in the other provinces of the country is seen as the main reason.

However, it is always positive to try to discover other places in Angola. Whether they are distant destinations not yet explored by mass tourism, or for a weekend stroll in unusual places.

Realizing this reality, Miguel da Silva, a businessman from Lunda-Sul province, decided to build the Uhenha resort (which means 'glory' in the Cokwe language), a small hotel complex, located in Bosque Alto, northwest of Saurimo , which blends traditional design inspired by the way of life of the Lunda-Cokwe people and modern service quality.

The place - which used to be a thicket frequented by miscreants - has become one of the biggest hotel references, when it was built in the forest reserve in the Tchicumina area. Despite being little known by most of the region's population, the space is very popular with members of the government, businessmen and senior officials in the diamond sector.

The structure began to be designed in 2012 and, just three years later, construction began, which ended in 2018, the year in which it was inaugurated. "We had many difficulties in finding an architect who could conceive the idea we had for this project, which is why this structure took six years to be built", says Miguel Silva, the space's promoter.

To give you an idea, the space is a combination of the traditional and the conventional, in which the outer part simulates a sanzala, although modernized and organized with access roads, walkways, artificial waterfalls, concrete statues, lamps and painted houses. Designed for two phases, the first has 22 units between houses with suites, medium-sized rooms and normal rooms. For the second phase, already under construction, another 20 units will be born, making a total of 42 units.

Inspired by the rivers of the province

Miguel da Silva, says that the idea of ​​creating a resort inspired by the tradition of the Lunda-Chokwe people came from the time he was working for the United Nations, back in the 1990s, when he was given the task of taking a Norwegian delegation from Luanda to the province of Lunda-Sul.

"After crossing the Cuango River (Lunda-Norte), they told me that they had never seen in their course around the world, so many successive rivers per linear kilometer. And, they asked me what was the greatest wealth of this land? I replied that they were diamonds, and they said no. The greatest wealth is water resources," recalls the businessman.

Miguel da Silva, better known in business as Ipupu, says that, when he started to build the Uhenha Resort, he decided to name each room in the complex after the province's rivers. For example, he details, the rivers with the greatest flow, namely the Kassai, Tchiumbe, Luangue, the Luatchimo and Chicapa rivers, represent the 'vips' suites. The medium-flow rivers, namely the Luvu, Peso, Luavur and Kuilo rivers, represent double rooms and the lower-flow rivers represent the single rooms: Tchicumina, Mongo and Nhama rivers, all of them surrounding the city of Saurimo.

The hotel's huts are equipped with a kettle and each room is equipped with air conditioning, a flat-screen TV, minibar, rustic furniture and decorative items inspired by utensils used in rural areas of that region. There is a continental breakfast service served at the property.

The gardening concept, the trailer system and the landscaping were all conceived by the employees of the Uhenha Resort, because, according to him, there were many difficulties in convincing the architects both in the construction and in the decoration area.

In addition, the rooms include a private bathroom: "In addition to being a hotel, it is, above all, a tourist resort that represents Cokwe culture, tradition, life, language and wealth, and we want everyone who passes by around here (Saurimo), come and visit us to see what we offer in this combination of nature versus housing", he stresses.

"The concept is all different and the rooms differ from each other in the form of decoration and in the form of construction and we had to do various arithmetic to be able to reconcile what appears perfectly to fit here", says Miguel, revealing that with his wife's help managed to adapt the decor to the concept he wanted for the space, where you can see a combination of wood, reeds and bambooAnother secret at Resort Uhenha is the local cuisine, which is served in the main dishes. Examples of this are the local grilled meat, the famous "cabra do mato", the "homemade chicken" grilled or in giblets. But that's not all. There are also local juices made with wild fruits such as Ginguenga, Maboque and Bamboo juice. "It is necessary that people investigate this juice because it is spectacular and also serves to make tea", advises the person in charge.

On the cultural front, the traditional Tchianda (the most popular dance in the Lundas region) is what dominates, with presentations by various dance groups at weekends. "As you know, the Lundas represent a very wide cultural depth, so, on weekends, we have groups here that parade what is the reason for our way of life".

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