Equatorial Guinea is a small country in West Africa, divided into two parts, the mainland and the islands. The mainland is wedged between Cameroon and Gabon. Unique among sub-Saharan countries, it was a former Spanish colony—their only other large African colony was Western Sahara. It is one of the largest oil producers in Sub-Sahara, behind Angola and Nigeria.
For travellers, Equatorial Guinea is infamous for its high prices and hard-to-get visas, at least for non-Americans. This is nominally a police state, akin to Turkmenistan and North Korea (minus the minders and organized persecution of its inhabitants). As a result, tourist infrastructure is sparse and certainly not a high priority for the government, and you are likely to face harassment by police forces curious of what you are doing in the country as a "tourist". Since the oil companies operating here are mostly American, Americans may receive marginally better treatment compared to other nationalities (e.g. visa-free entry, less suspicion by police).
Since the discovery of oil, Equatorial Guinea has—at least on paper—one of the highest per-capita incomes on the planet. Despite this, income and day-to-day life for many Equatorial Guineans has improved little, due to the endemic corruption siphoning off oil revenue into the hands of a small wealthy elite. Progress is moving along, though, and new infrastructure and modernization projects are under construction or even finished, especially on Bioko and around Malabo. And of course, what dictator's realm would be complete without a vast, lavish capital? Work is in progress (2016) of building this new city, called Oyala or Djibloho, on the mainland between Bata and Mongomo. In spite of the impressive looking new infrastructure, few Equatorial Guineans have access to it, and while the government throws billions of dollars at new construction, less than half the country's population (of fewer than 700,000) have access to clean drinking water. Multi-lane highways and vast new squares in Malabo remain empty.
Equatorial Guinea has 3 official languages: Spanish, French and Portuguese. The colonial language is Spanish, and the country is also a member of La Francophonie. There is an Anglophone population in Bioko that is historically linked to British commerce on the island. Languages such as French and Portuguese are of official use in the country as well. English is spoken by few people, even in the capital city. The Fang language and Igbo are widely spoken.
In the Rio Muni region there is believed to have been a widespread pygmy population, of whom only isolated pockets remain in the north. Bantu migrations between the 17th and 19th centuries brought the coastal tribes and later the Fang.
The Portuguese explorer Fernão do Pó, seeking a path to India, is credited as being the first European to discover the island of Bioko in 1472. He called it Formosa ("Beautiful"), but it quickly took on the name of its European discoverer. The islands of Fernando Pó and Annobón were colonized by Portugal in 1474.
In 1778, the island, adjacent islets, and commercial rights to the mainland between the Niger River and Ogoue Rivers were ceded to the Spanish Empire in exchange for territory in the American continent. From 1827 to 1843, the United Kingdom established a base on the island to combat the slave trade which was then moved to Sierra Leone upon agreement with Spain in 1843. In 1844, on restoration of Spanish sovereignty, it became known as the Territorios Españoles del Golfo de Guinea Ecuatorial. The mainland portion, Rio Muni, became a protectorate in 1885 and a colony in 1900. Between 1926 and 1959 all three regions were united as the colony of Spanish Guinea.
Equatorial Guinea gained independence from Franco's Spain in October 1968. Since then, it has been ruled by two men. Francisco Macías Nguema, the first president, was a brutal dictator who despised intellectuals, killed a large number of the ethnic Bubi minority, banned fishing, and awarded himself a huge number of grandiose titles (including President for Life). He was overthrown by Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo in 1979 and later captured and executed by shooting. Obiang's rule has seen less violence, but his regime is still brutally repressive. Political power is centralised in his small mainland clan, and most senior members of the government are related. The discovery of oil reserves offshore in 1996 has brought considerable wealth to the country, giving it one of the highest GDPs per capita in the world, yet much of the money goes into the hands of a thuggish and corrupt government, with the vast majority of the people remaining very poor.
Equatorial Guinea has two distinctive and very pronounced seasons: rainy and dry seasons. April to October are the wettest months of the year, and December to March are the driest.
The major ethnic groups are the Fang of the mainland and the Bubi of Bioko Island. Sorcerers are still among the most important community of members with some of the most fascinating celebrations in the abira ceremony that helps cleanse the community of evil.
Equatorial Guinea recognises the major Christian holidays. 12 October is Independence Day.
Unless you're an American citizen, this is one of the hardest countries in the world to get a visa to. US citizens do not require a visa, but do need the following to present when entering: two visa applications, two passport photos, bank statement noting a minimum of USD2,000 in your account, as well as proof of yellow fever and cholera vaccinations. In Washington DC, the fee for the visa is USD100.
Citizens of other countries need to submit to an Equatorial Guinean embassy all of the above, plus passport and letter of invitation. If the stars are properly aligned this might be enough to receive a visa.
There are two paved airports, one a few miles from Malabo (SSG), and one in Bata (BSG). The country's main airline is Ecuato Guineana de Aviación, which operates national and international flights out of Malabo International Airport. Other airlines flying to Malabo airport include Iberia (from Madrid), JetAir (from Gatwick airport in London), Air France (from Paris) Swiss (from Zurich), and beginning April 1st, Lufthansa flies direct from Frankfurt to Malabo. Delta Air Lines planned to begin service to Malabo from Atlanta in June 2009, but postponed the start of this route due to the financial crisis.
The capital is on an island. However, the mainland may be accessed from Gabon via paved(tarmac) roads and from Cameroon via dirt tracks (inaccessible in rainy season). Many roads in EG, however, are in a very dilapidated state(even for West Africa) and 4x4 is necessary many months of the year, however, others are newly constructed.
Tthe entry from Campo can be often closed. Also, the entry from Kye-Ossi and Ebebiyin may deny entry for visa-free Americans if sufficient reason for entry is not presented or if one is not ethnically Caucasian.
Extortion by security forces is not uncommon in Equatorial Guinea, even to the level of local police exacting bribes for trumped-up traffic violations.
There are lots of beaches so that would be a good thing to take in mind when considering sight-seeing. It would be advised to take precautions listed in the 'Stay Safe' category.
The currency of the country is the Central African CFA franc, denoted FCFA (ISO currency code: XAF). It's also used by five other Central African countries. It is interchangeable at par with the West African CFA franc (XOF), which is used by six countries. Both currencies are fixed at a rate of 1 euro = 655.957 CFA francs.
Everything is extremely expensive in Equatorial Guinea. A decent room with very limited amenities (bring all the necessary stuff like towel, soap, and shampoo as the hotel may not have any) will be in the range of €100-400. A simple lunch will cost at least €30 (without drinks like wine, beer or soft drinks) in a clean and air conditioned restaurant.
There are several good places to go to eat particularly in Malabo. The coffee shop at Hotel Sofitel (located just across the Cathedral along the north coast) offers French cuisine. Hotel Bahia's main restaurant is also a favourite destination for both local and expats. If you like pizza and pasta, the Pizza Place is the best place in town. For Asian cuisine, Restaurante Bantu offers authentic Chinese cuisine. For Moroccan and other European food, try La Luna. Try An Equatorial Guinean Cuisine such a Smoked Beef with a black pepper. There is also a roast duck with cheese and onion leaf.
Ebebiyin is known for its large number of bars. They drink a lot of wine. Locally produced beer, Guineana is very good.
Due to the influx of foreign workers and foreign investment in Malabo as well as on the continent, there is an ample choice of hotels.
Taking photos of any government properties is strictly prohibited without permission. Don't photograph airports, government buildings, or anything of military or strategic value. Local folks including children are generally averse to foreigners taking their picture. As a general rule, it is not advisable to bring a camera while walking around town as this can cause real trouble with the police. In the recent past, a permit from the Ministry of Information and Tourism was necessary to take photographs in public. Although this requirement has been lifted, police may unknowingly or not attempt to fine or even arrest persons trying to take photographs.
Equatorial Guinea has tropical weather and is normally very hot. It is best to wear lightweight clothing. Avoid wearing dark colors due to mosquito concerns.
Despite being a country with enough resources and the highest economic growth in Africa, Equatorial Guinea does not provide any legal certainty for foreigners working there.
Local people are very hospitable and have a certain familiarity for everything related to Spain, as the country was a Spanish province until 1968 (the short lived democracy in the country was paradoxically permitted by the Francoist regime), taking the last century as the beginning of the presence of settlers in the island and coastal areas where they had a large number of plantations. In addition, half of the country's population emigrated to Spain between 1966 and the 1990s.
You must visit with a guide and need special permits in some locations. Consult the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
An organized tour is recommended to avoid unpleasant situations with military checkpoints on the roads especially in the island of Bioko, where the presence of Westerners is obvious and therefore the risk is particularly evident.
Food/Water: There are no 'potable' or clean water sources in Equatorial Guinea. Travellers should drink only bottled water. Take care when consuming any fruits or vegetables that may have been washed or drinks that may contain ice cubes or 'water' additives such as coffee, tea, lemonade, etc.
Malaria Medicine: Malaria is a leading cause of death in this country. It is advised that visitors consult their doctor for malaria tablets. Plasmodium falciparum malaria is the most common strain in E.G.; it is resistant to the anti-malarial drug chloroquine.
This is the only English language guide to Equatorial Guinea, one of the last truly unexplored corners of sub Saharan Africa. Ranked by the United Nations among the ten least visited countries in the world, this tiny nation is slowly opening up thanks to the discovery of vast oil reserves in the nineties and the resultant influx of foreign workers and capital. In 2004 Equatorial Guinea gained worldwide notoriety following British former SAS Officer Simon Mann's failed coup d'état. However, there is much more to this tiny nation than international political intrigue and mercenaries. From the oil rich capital of Malabo on the volcanic island of Bioko, set out to explore the jungle interior via the Spanish colonial outpost of Bata. Here you will find pristine national parks teeming with wildlife, incredible white sand beaches and a wealth of small, traditional communities. The authorities will not make it easy, but a few shakedowns and the mountains of red tape are a small price to pay for such a unique experience in the heart of tropical Africa's only Spanish speaking nation. With first-hand descriptions of all seven provinces (including the islands and the mainland), plus practical details, this is all the information you need to successfully tackle this challenging but rewarding travel experience.
A brief yet detailed report on the country of Equatorial Guinea with updated information on the map, flag, history, people, economics, political conditions in government, foreign affairs, and U.S. relations.
Selected as one of the six best nonfiction books of 1990 by the editors f the New York Times Book Review, this is a compelling and entertaining account of the author's two-and-a-half year adventure in Equatorial Guinea, and his efforts to get this small bankrupt African nation on the path of structural development.
: Equatorial Guinea tourism adventure. Equatorial Guinea is a squarish country on the Atlantic coast, situated between Cameroon and Gabon. It's got that bustling African tropics feel, has some stylish Spanish architectural influences and is pretty much in shape with an admiration by tourist community. The mainland constitutes most of the land area, but the island of Bioko boasts some delightful attractions. The island's volcanic landscape makes for a beautiful backdrop, as well as excellent hiking opportunities. The biggest town, Malabo, affords an energetic nightlife - there's just something about the combination of tropical weather, African culture and Spanish flavours that makes for a great night. The mainland (known also as Rio Muni) has less stunning features, but has all the good beaches, as well as a large wildlife population.For those who relish new experiences, Equatorial Guinea offers a true adventure. On Bioko Island you will find volcanic views, rainforests full of endangered primates and shores of nesting sea turtles. The capital city is Malabo, based in the island region of Bioko. It has retained much of its colonial-era architecture, with historical buildings including the former Palace of the Government, cathedral, City Hall and Casa Verde.This eBook titled: “Equatorial Guinea Travel” is provided for your Guide and information when touring Equatorial Guinea, you don’t need to get lost or frustrated during your tour in any way, and you will have the knowledge of the environment and the places you intend to visit ahead of your visit. Security information is very important when touring a country. Our security information in this book is complete to provide you the security guide, once you abide to the instruction given in the book.You may need to read and understand the information related to Equatorial Guinea tourism and its content without traveling to Equatorial Guinea in person, you can only achieve this by making this book your tourism informer (presided for Equatorial Guinea tourism), you will not have any information to miss out
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Discover Equatorial Guinea like you have never seen it before. Whether you are a first time traveler or avid visitor of this region of the world, this book is the perfect guide for you. Read about all the amazing surprises you could find and all the must see places. Included in this book is the information about Malabo Government Building, The Elobey Grande and everything in between. With content from a huge community of contributors, you get the convenience and security of a real print travel guide, but with fresh data and content. Earth Eyes Destinations represents a new publishing paradigm, allowing disparate content sources to be curated into cohesive, relevant, and informative books. To date, this content has been curated from Wikipedia articles and images under Creative Commons licensing, although as we increase in scope and dimension, more licensed and public domain content is being added. We believe books such as this represent a new and exciting lexicon in the sharing of human knowledge.
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Equatorial Guinea Foreign Policy and Government Guide
The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The purpose of this Travel Advice is to provide up-to-date information to enable you to make well-informed decisions.
Although the crime rate is lower than that of other countries in the region, petty crime and corruption do occur, particularly in Bata and Malabo. Armed robberies and muggings involving foreigners have increased in Malabo. Avoid walking alone after dark and avoid groups of young men congregated near bars and restaurants.
Maintain a high level of security awareness at all times and avoid public gatherings and street demonstrations. Ensure that personal belongings, passport and other travel documents are secure at all times.
Most roads in Equatorial Guinea are paved and traffic signs are adequate. Excessive speeds, increased traffic, and driving habits pose risks. Avoid travel after dark. Do not pick up hitchhikers. In the event of an accident, you should not move your vehicle until the police arrive. Minibuses and taxis are available throughout the country. Car rental companies also exist.
Pirate attacks occur in coastal waters and, in some cases, farther out at sea. Mariners should take appropriate precautions. For additional information, consult the Live Piracy Report published by the International Maritime Bureau.
Police and military checks and roadblocks are common. If you are stopped for a small traffic violation, cooperate with local authorities and request a citation, to be paid at the local court.
When travelling outside of Bata and Malabo, we recommend that you carry a letter from your employer or other organization stating the purpose of your travel. Proper identification must be carried at all times. Failure to do so may result in detention. You should contact local authorities before travelling outside the main cities. A security permit issued by the government is required to visit the Bioko Island destinations of Pico Basile, Moka and Ureca.
On February 17, 2009, an attack occurred near the presidential palace in Malabo. Military personnel were deployed throughout the city to ensure general security. Airports and seaports were closed for a few hours. Although such incidents are not common, you are advised to remain vigilant, monitor local news reports and follow the advice of authorities.
In case of emergency, dial 113 for the police and 115 for fire emergencies. For ambulance services, call La Paz Medical Clinic Bata: 333 083403/333 083501 or La Paz Medical Clinic Malabo: 55 6666 153.
Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.
Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread by contaminated food or water. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or through personal contact with unwashed hands. Get the flu shot.
Measles occurs worldwide but is a common disease in developing countries, particularly in parts of Africa and Asia. Measles is a highly contagious disease. Be sure your vaccination against measles is up-to-date regardless of the travel destination.
There is a risk of polio in this country. Be sure that your vaccination against polio is up-to-date.
Rabies is a disease that attacks the central nervous system spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from a rabid animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (i.e., close contact with animals, occupational risk, and children).
Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among travellers going to rural areas, visiting friends and relatives, or with weakened immune systems. Travellers visiting regions with typhoid risk, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should consider getting vaccinated.
Yellow fever is a disease caused by the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
|* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.|
|Country Entry Requirement*|
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
In some areas in Central Africa, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in Central Africa. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
Schistosomiasis is caused by blood flukes (tiny worms) spread to humans through contaminated water. The eggs of the worms can cause stomach illnesses like diarrhea and cramps or urinary problems. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Avoid swimming in contaminated water. There is no vaccine available for schistosomiasis.
In some areas in Central Africa, certain insects carry and spread diseases like African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), chikungunya, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, dengue fever, leishmaniasis, lymphatic filariasis, malaria, onchocerciasis, Rift Valley fever, West Nile virus and yellow fever.
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
Onchocerciasis (river blindness) is an eye and skin disease caused by a parasite spread through the bite of an infected female blackfly. Onchocerciasis often leads to blindness if left untreated. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from blackfly bites, which are most common during the daytime and close to running water. There is no vaccine available for onchocerciasis although drug treatments exist.
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Certain infections found in Central Africa, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that attacks and impairs the immune system, resulting in a chronic, progressive illness known as AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome).
Practise safe sex while travelling, and don’t share needles, razors, or other objects which could transmit infection.
Remember that HIV can also be spread through the use of unsterile medical equipment during medical and dental procedures, tattooing, body piercing or acupuncture. Diseases can also be spread though blood transfusions and organ transplantation if the blood or organs are not screened for HIV or other blood-borne pathogens.
Tuberculosis is an infection caused by bacteria and usually affects the lungs.
For most travellers the risk of tuberculosis is low.
Travellers who may be at high risk while travelling in regions with risk of tuberculosis should discuss pre- and post-travel options with a health care provider.
High-risk travellers include those visiting or working in prisons, refugee camps, homeless shelters, or hospitals, or travellers visiting friends and relatives.
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
You are subject to local laws. Consult our Arrest and Detention page for more information.
Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking of illegal drugs are strict.
Homosexuality is not widely accepted and displays of intimate affection are illegal.
Photography of the presidential palace and surrounding areas, airports, military installations, harbours, and other sensitive areas is strictly prohibited. Special permits may be needed for other photography or filming. For more information, contact local authorities.
The import or possession of camouflage clothing, large knives, binoculars, firearms, or similar items may be deemed suspicious by authorities. These items could be confiscated and you could be detained. Satellite phones are legally permissible, but not all immigration officials may be aware of this. If stopped, make an effort to speak to a higher authority, or if you are forced to leave the satellite phone with an official, ensure that you receive a receipt or some other identification of the confiscator to facilitate the return of the item at a later date.
An Equatorial Guinean driver's licence is mandatory for residents. The licence is renewable each year.
An International Driving Permit is recommended.
The official currency is the Central African franc (CFA), issued by the Banque Centrale des États d’Afrique Centrale (BEAC). You may be required to declare all currency you are carrying on arrival and departure. As certain import and export limits may apply, you should contact local authorities for information. You should exchange foreign currency at banks. The economy operates on a cash basis. Credit cards and travellers cheques are not accepted.
The climate is hot and humid. On Bioko Island, the rainy season extends from July to January. On the mainland, there are two rainy seasons - one from April to May and one from October to December. Severe windstorms occur occasionally. Some roads may be impassable to all but four-wheel-drive vehicles during the rainy season. You should keep informed of regional weather forecasts and plan accordingly.