Huambo is a province of Angola. With an area of 34,270 km 2, it is one of the geographically smaller provinces, situated in the Central Region approximately 450 km south east of the capital, Luanda.
The province has an estimated population of 1.9 million people, approximately 15% of the national total of 15.7 million. More than half, 55%, of the population is urbanized, concentrated in Huambo city (822,000 people) and Caála municipality (239,000 people).
The foundation of the Central Plateau is a vast slab of primeval crystalline rock that frequently outcrops in the form of isolated rocks or massive peaks. The most prominent peak in the province is Mt. Môco in Londuimbali, with 2,620 metres. The peak is the highest point in Angola. The headwaters of the Kunene River rise on the Central Plateau near Huambo town. Much of the soil in Huambo Province is of poor quality, and has been impoverished in many areas by overuse and erosion. However, it is generally of better quality than in the adjoining regions to the east, north and south.
Striking differences can be observed between the vegetation of the highlands and the lower zone towards the coast. One characteristic feature of the coastal area is the baobab (Adansonia Digitata, or imbondeiro, in Portuguese). Tropical forests can also be found in the areas that receive significant rainfall. Until recently, the highlands were covered with a variety of trees; today, however, except in isolated areas in Bailundo and other regions, grasslands have taken the place of forest and woodland. Traditional methods of agriculture, slash-and-burn techniques (queimadas) and overpopulation by large concentrations of people displaced from their homes during the war (1975–2002) have caused significant deforestation. The use of wood fuel for the Benguela Railway until the 1980s was also responsible for deforestation. Large extensions of native forest have been cut down and replaced by rapid-growing and soil-depleting eucalyptus and pine trees.
The Central Plateau is well within the tropical zone, but altitude and the effect of the southwestern Antarctic current combine to produce a moderate climate. The annual variation of temperature is small, with maximum temperatures varying between 17 and 28 °C during much of the year. The average maximum is approximately 22 °C. During the winter months (May–July), temperatures may reach as low as 5 to 8 °C. Mean annual rainfall varies from 800 to 1600 mm, according to region. In the Central Plateau, seasonal rains begin with a few showers during September, increase during October and November, have a break of two to four weeks in December, January or February, and continue until the end of April. The heaviest rainfall is usually in November or December.