Welcome to Equatorial Guinea
Equatorial Guinea is a Central African country comprising the Rio Muni mainland and 5 volcanic offshore islands. Capital Malabo, on Bioko Island, has Spanish colonial architecture and is a hub for the country’s prosperous oil industry. Its Arena Blanca beach draws dry-season butterflies. The tropical forest of the mainland’s Monte Alen National Park is home to gorillas, chimpanzees and elephants.
This one-time Spanish colony is one of the smallest countries in continental Africa, both in terms of size and population, and is ranked by the United Nations among the ten least visited countries in the world. 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, where you’ll find pristine national parks teeming with wildlife, incredible white-sand beaches and a wealth of small, traditional communities. Travel here may not always be straightforward, but the rewards are worth it for such a unique experience in the heart of tropical Africa’s only Spanish-speaking nation.
Geography of Equatorial Guinea
Equatorial Guinea is a country located in Central Africa, with an area of 28,000 square kilometres (11,000 sq mi). Formerly the colony of Spanish Guinea, its post-independence name evokes its location near both the Equator and the Gulf of Guinea. Equatorial Guinea is the only sovereign African state in which Spanish is an official language. As of 2015, the country has an estimated population of over 1.2 million.
Equatorial Guinea consists of two parts, an insular and a mainland region. The insular region consists of the islands of Bioko (formerly Fernando Pó) in the Gulf of Guinea and Annobón, a small volcanic island south of the equator. Bioko Island is the northernmost part of Equatorial Guinea and is the site of the country’s capital, Malabo. The island nation of São Tomé and Príncipe is located between Bioko and Annobón. The mainland region, Río Muni, is bordered by Cameroon on the north and Gabon on the south and east. It is the location of Bata, Equatorial Guinea’s largest city, and Oyala, the country’s planned future capital. Rio Muni also includes several small offshore islands, such as Corisco, Elobey Grande, and Elobey Chico.
Weather of Equatorial Guinea
As its name suggests equatorial Guinea lies on the equator which means it has a tropical climate. The islands and the mainland generally experience high humidity, warm temperatures and heavy rainfall, but there are cloudy days throughout the year. Rainfall is particularly frequent from May to June and from September to October. Temperatures often average between 86-94°F during daytime and 62-68°F at night. There are two distinct seasons to do tourism in Equatorial Guinea: dry and rainy. The wettest months are April to October, while December through March is the driest.
Gastronomy of Equatorial Guinea
The gastronomy of Equatorial Guinea has a wide variety of dishes and is influenced by African cuisine, as well as by the European.
In the rural areas, the food is based on meat and fish, and in the large cities we can find restaurants in which to try traditional African food as well as western dishes, and especially, Spanish dishes such as the potato omelet and paella.
At present, in the two large cities, Malabo and Bata, hotels can be found with very wide possibilities of menus, as well as pizzerias or small restaurants where the gastronomy of the area is combined with more western food. There are no strict rules regarding hours, so it is easy to eat at any time of the day, up to the closing time.
The principal difference between the African and European cuisine is rooted in the use of sauces made from typical products such as peanuts, ñame or the ocro. Another clearly differentiating element is the use of wild animals in the preparing the dishes, such as crocodiles, pangolins, snakes, monkey, antelope, turtle, gazelles, to name a few.
Fish also form part of the national gastronomy. When trying it, it is worthwhile to look for places that serve an exquisite, recently-caught fish, and simply ask for it charcoal broiled. In some towns they even serve an incredible, recently-caught lobster. Furthermore, you can’t miss, if possible, a delicious dish of typical or biolas snails.
The Pepesup (spicy fish soup) is one of the basic dishes of Equatoguinean cuisine, as is pangolin with chocolate, bambucha or peanut soup. And nearly all of them are usually accompanied by rice or by green plantain.
One of the main secrets of the Guinean cuisine is the use of the condiment called andok, which is gathered for local use, but in times of good harvests it is also exported to other countries.
The typical drinks are palm wine or tope (coming from palm trees) and malamba (sugar cane), although today the most popular drink is beer, which is also most appreciated by the tourists, since their favorite brands can be found almost any place, and it is especially pleasant for confronting the hot and humid tropical climate.
In the typical markets of Guinea, we can also find an enormous variety of fruit and vegetables. We can find papaya, pineapple, plantain, banana, avocado, mango, coconuts, bisongs, guayaves, engongs… and a long etcetera, which are really exceptional, for their size as well as for the quality and taste.
Malabo - The Capital
Malabo is the capital and largest city of Equatorial Guinea and the Bioko Norte Province. It is located on the north coast of the island of Bioko -island formerly known by Bubis, its native inhabitants, as Etulá, as Fernando Poo by Europeans and has a population of approximately 287,302 inhabitants.
The official languages of the city and across the country, are the Spanish (main and practically the only language used), French and Portuguese.
Malabo is the oldest city of Equatorial Guinea. This is why you can see a lot of buildings with colonial architecture that simultaneously coexist with modern buildings built in the last and recent stage. The downtown streets, with a square design, reveal the ancient conception of modern city with pedestrian areas in all of them. The city also offers numerous green and leisure areas. This phenomenon causes a sensation of architecture tempered by short stature of buildings in a combination of architectural westernization and Africanism pressure.