Equatorial Guinea

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Introduction to Equatorial Guinea

Equatorial Guinea is a poor country with few attractions aside from the beach and the many local bars. But it is precisely the underdeveloped, backwater feel - combined with the opportunity to party with the locals - that appears to attract adventurous visitors.

While most of its two regions are densely covered with the type of forest that made Tarzan swing, the recent discovery and subsequent exploitation of underwater oil resources looks set to boost the fortunes of the country. See it while it's still as is.

Full country name: Republic of Equatorial Guinea

Area: 28,050 sq km

Population: 500,000

Capital City: Malabo

People: On Bioko, Bubi with some Fernandinos, Fang; in Rio Muni, primarily Fang

Language: Spanish, French, Fang,

Religion: Roman Catholic (85%), traditional African (15%)

Government: republic

Head of State: President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo

Head of Government: Prime Minister Miguel Abia Biteo Borico

GDP: US$660 million

GDP per capita: US$1,500

Inflation: 7%

Major Industries: Petroleum, fishing, timber, natural gas, cocoa

Major Trading Partners: USA, Japan, Spain, China, Nigeria, Cameroon, France

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Traveler Facts

Visas: All visitors to Equatorial Guinea require a visa, which is usually valid for 30 days. In Africa, the easiest places to get a visa are Cameroon and Gabon, though it's not very difficult anywhere, with same-day service the norm.

Health risks: Giardiasis, fungal infestions, rabies, tuberculosis, schistosomiasis (bilharzia), diphtheria, malaria, typhus

Time Zone: GMT/UTC +1

Dialling Code: 240

Electricity: 220V ,50Hz

Weights & measures: Metric



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Events

The most interesting events in Equatorial Guinea coincide with Christian or traditional religious ceremonies. Many of these are family or village based, but some public celebrations may occur. Independence is celebrated on 12 October and this is the most likely time to see public events in Malabo and Bata.

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Best time to Visit

Rain is the main factor to consider when travelling in Equatorial Guinea. Dirt roads become extremely muddy, and you could find yourself stranded for some time. To avoid the wet season, the best time to travel in Equatorial Guinea is between November and April.



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Currency / Costs / Approx. Spending

Currency: Central African CFA Franc

Meals

Budget: CFA500-1600

Mid-range: CFA1600-3200

High: CFA3200-5500

Deluxe: CFA5500+

Lodging

Budget: CFA2000-5300

Mid-range: CFA5300-10,000

High: CFA10,000-25,000

Deluxe: CFA25,000+

While Equatorial Guinea is not the cheapest place in Africa, it's also not the hottest or sandiest, which makes it quite attractive. And although those on a tight budget can stay put in the capital of Malabo for under US$15 a day, you can live a lot more comfortably in a hotel, and eat better food, for around US$40. If it's a top-end lifestyle you're seeking, look elsewhere. It's hard enough locating an expensive restaurant, let alone finding a top hotel to stay at. Given that the two provinces of Equatorial Guinea are split by a couple of hundred kilometres (over 125mi) of water, hire cars are a pointless option. They're expensive on Bioko and non-existant in Rio Muni. Travel by foot, taxi, truck and minibus are the best options.

There is only one bank in Malabo and one in Bata with currency exchange facilities. Exchange from euros is easy, however other currencies occasionally provide difficulties. Always keep your purchase receipt - unlike most other African countries, it's routinely requested in Equatorial Guinea.

Tipping is expected in the more expensive places and in those frequented by tourists. Basically, if you look like a hitchhiker, take buses or shared taxis and eat at African restaurants, you won't be expected to tip. If you're clean-cut and look rich you'll probably be expected to tip 10% in restaurants, hotels and taxis. The same rule applies whether you're a Westerner or a wealthy African.

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Attractions

Malabo

Small, beautiful and Spanish in influence, Malabo is not the biggest city in Equatorial Guinea, but it's certainly the most vibrant and tourist-friendly. Outdoor bars, thriving nightclubs and colourful markets are the highlights of a town in the heart of the real African tropics.

With ocean waves to the north and the imposing mountain to the south, Malabo is seemingly the perfect recipe for tourism - just drink local brews as beer is pricey. The petroleum boom has created strong contrasts in wealth and modernization, the city's fancy neighborhoods sit alongside shantytowns.

Bata

Capital of the mainland region of Rio Muni and larger than Malabo, Bata is a clean, charming town with wide streets. Lacking the spectacular volcanic views of Malabo, Bata is nonetheless quite lively, with busy markets and lots of restaurants, bars and hotels.

There are few man-made attractions on the mainland, however those wanting a secluded African beach experience are in luck; to the north and south of Bata are some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Bata is over 200km (125mi) across the Bight of Biafra from Malabo.

Luba

Although there is a general air of neglect around Luba, it is a good launching pad to explore many of the island's natural attractions. Nearby are isolated beaches boasting white sand, including the beautiful Arena Blanca, as well as several small fishing villages and two hiking trails.

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Disclaimer: We've tried to make the information on this web site as accurate as possible, but it is provided 'as is' and we accept no responsibility for any loss, injury or inconvenience sustained by anyone resulting from this information. You should verify critical information like (visas, health and safety, customs, and transportation) with the relevant authorities before you travel.

Sources: CIA FactBook, World FactBooks and numerous Travel and Destinations Guides.

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