Island Africa - Equatorial Guinea

A short trip to one of Africa’s more unusual corners. Equatorial Guinea has had a reputation for being largely inaccessible, but in recent years has become much easier to visit. We concentrate on its most interesting part, the island of Bioko, a tropical jewel sitting off the Cameroonian coast in the Gulf of Guinea.

Starting in the capital Malabo, we explore its Latin colonial heritage – Equatorial Guinea was one of just two Spanish colonies in Africa – and then from here drive past small picturesque villages and coastlines to the town of Moka. Here we hike through forest to waterfalls, and learn about the wildlife of the island, much of which is found in few other places. Moving on we continue to Ureka and the beach of Moaba, where we wait for turtles to come ashore to lay their eggs. Finally we return to Malabo via the small town of Riaba, the first colonial settlement on the island.

Equatorial Guinea isn’t the most obvious choice for a holiday, and compared to some other destinations its sites are ‘low key’ but what it offers in abundance is the sense of exploration. Very few people visit this tiny nation, and the locals aren’t too used to tourism, but this means that your experience here will be nothing if not authentic…

Island Africa - Equatorial Guinea & São Tomé

Highlights

  • Explore the vibrant capital of Malabo with its markets, hints of Spanish history, and lively nightlife
  • Look for turtles coming to lay their eggs on the beaches
  • Learn about the traditions of the local Bubi people
  • Hike through the forest in search of wildlife
  • Visit the spectacular Iladyi waterfalls

Day 1 - Malabo

Arrive in Malabo and transfer to your hotel. The rest of the day is free. Overnight Yoli Hotel or similar.


Day 2 - Malabo

Spend today exploring Equatorial Guinea’s capital. We visit the city centre with its colonial buildings dating back to the 19th century, including the neo-Gothic cathedral, Independence Square, and Semu market, a colourful and lively place and a good place to get to grips with local culture. We also visit the village of Rebola with great views over the capital and an interesting colonial flavour. Overnight Yoli Hotel or similar. (B)

Malabo

Situated on the north coast of the island of Bioko, Equatorial Guinea’s capital is a fairly small and manageable city. Huge contrasts exist here between the typical Central African scenes of busy markets and run-down areas, and other areas flush with oil money, glittering buildings and ex-pats whizzing past in air-conditioned 4WDs.

The city was first founded by the British in 1827, who leased the island from Spain during the colonial period. Named Port Clarence, it was used as a naval station in the effort to suppress the slave trade. Many newly freed slaves were also settled there, prior to the establishment of Liberia as a colony for freed slaves. While many of them later relocated to Sierra Leone, some of their descendants, called Fernandinos, can still be found in Malabo and the surrounding area, where they constitute a distinct ethnic group, speaking their own Afro-Portuguese pidgin dialect.

When the island reverted to complete Spanish control, Malabo was renamed Santa Isabel. It was chosen to replace the mainland city of Bata as the capital of the country in 1969, and was renamed Malabo in 1973 as part of President Francisco Macías Nguema’s campaign to replace European place names with ‘authentic’ African ones. Today it holds a good number of Spanish colonial buildings – the only real ‘sights’ of the city – sitting awkwardly close to modern banks, restaurants and office buildings, as the city enjoys the wealth created by the oil boom.

Day 3 - Arena Blanca - Moka

After breakfast visit the town of Batete, with its unusual wooden church and cacao plantations. From here we drive to Luba, a small town with colonial architecture, and explore the picturesque coastal area of Arena Blanca. Continue to Moka where we will stay tonight. Overnight Moka Hotel or similar. (BD)


Day 4 - Moka

A full day to explore the village of Moka and its surrounding areas. Located on the heights of the volcanic massif, Moka is a good place to appreciate the island’s endemic forest and learn about the culture of the Bubi people. We visit the Iladyi waterfalls, where three branches of the Iladyi river plunge into a gorge of 250 metres, and hike through the forest (approx. 3 hours). In the afternoon we visit the Moka Wildlife Centre and later experience a traditional Bubi dinner. Overnight Moka Hotel or similar. (BLD)


Day 5 - Ureka

Head to Ureka on the coast. From here we hike to the stunning beach of Moaba (approx. 2 hours) where we stay tonight in a tented camp and hope to see turtles coming ashore at night. Ureka’s other natural jewels include the spectacular waterfalls of the Eoli River. During the dry season in Moraka and Moaba, turtles come to shore to lay their eggs. Since 1996 the villagers have worked as guards to patrol the beaches during nesting season, as part of an NGO protection project. (BLD)


Day 6 - Riaba – Malabo

Drive to the coastal town of Riaba, Bioko’s first European settlement, where we spend time exploring its colonial architecture before returning to Malabo for the night. Overnight Yoli Hotel or similar. (BL)


Day 7 - Malabo

Transfer to the airport for departure. (B)

 


Colonial church in Malabo
Spanish era church in Equatorial Guinea

What's included?

  • Airport transfers

    We include arrival and departure transfers regardless of whether you book flights yourself, or we book them for you. If you’re booking them yourself, then please let us know the details so that we can arrange the transfers.

    Please note though that if you arrive earlier than Day 1 of the tour, and leave after the final day, we may need to make an additional charge for an airport transfer.

  • Accommodation

    Accommodation as listed in the dossier. The nature of the destinations that we operate may sometimes mean that we need to change hotels, but we’ll always endeavour to keep the same standards. Please be aware that as we operate in many countries where tourism is in its infancy, hotel standards may not be the same as you’re used to elsewhere.

  • Guides

    In most cases, you will be accompanied by one guide from start to finish. However, there may be occasions when this is not practical, for example, if your trip covers a number of different countries. In these cases it often makes more sense to include different guides for each place, to take advantage of their specific knowledge of the destination.

  • Meals

    As listed within the itinerary / dossier (B-Breakfast, L-Lunch, D-Dinner). These will vary from trip to trip – in some areas it makes sense to include all meals while in others there is a good choice of restaurants and we feel people might like to ‘do their own thing’ now and again.

  • Entrance fees

    Entrance fees are listed for those sites that we mention within the itinerary. If there are any other sites that you’d like to see, these would be at your own expense.

What's not included?

  • Visas

    We don’t arrange visas for our travellers, but if an invitation letter is necessary then we will arrange this for you. If you need any advice with visas then just give us a call, or alternatively, a visa agency such as Travcour can assist.

  • International flights

    Many of our travellers arrive from different destinations and so we don’t include international flights in the cost of our tours. If, however, you would like us to book flights for you, then just give us a call and we’ll be happy to discuss your options.

  • Travel Insurance

    If you need any assistance with this, then let us know – although we can’t arrange it ourselves we can point you in the direction of a reputable provider that can assist.

Visas

UK and EU travellers will require a visa to enter Equatorial Guinea, which must be obtained before travel. US travellers do not require a visa for Equatorial Guinea.

Visa regulations can change however and so we recommend that you contact your nearest embassy for the most up to date information.

Health and vaccinations

We are not medically qualified and so we recommend that you speak to your doctor or nearest health professional for advice concerning recommended vaccinations. For more advice on vaccinations, you can also visit www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk.

Please note that Yellow Fever is a compulsory vaccination for entering Equatorial Guinea and you must bring your vaccination certificate with you, otherwise you may not be allowed to enter.

Insurance

It is a condition of joining our tours that you have suitable travel insurance in place, and we cannot accept travellers without insurance. All policies differ in terms of what they will cover, but as a minimum you need medical and health cover which will cover you for the whole time that you are away. Most policies will also include cancellation cover, which will cover you if an unforeseen circumstance obliges you to cancel your trip. We recommend that you obtain your insurance as soon as you book your trip.

Please note that government travel warnings often affect the validity of your travel insurance, and you should check this with your insurance company.

Money

The local currency in Equatorial Guinea is the Central African CFA, a currency that is shared with many other countries in the region. It is not, however, the same as the West African CFA, and the two are not interchangeable. It is best to bring Euros for exchange purposes as the CFA is not obtainable outside of the region.

Local conditions

When travelling to some of the destinations we offer you need to bear in mind that things won’t always work here as we’re used to them working at home. Travelling in underdeveloped and untouristed destinations requires both patience and a sense of humour. There may be problems with infrastructure, attitudes may be different, and maintenance may not be as high a standard as we would always like, but this is very much part and parcel of travelling in such a place.

In addition, roads throughout the parts of Africa that we visit are often poorly maintained (if at all!) and distances between key sites of interest can be long. Travelling in Africa can be tiring, hot and dusty at times, and inevitably it can be frustrating. While there are some issues that we are able to solve, others are intrinsic to the countries that we travel through, and you should be aware that many of the countries that we operate in cannot be compared to others on the continent that have better infrastructure – for example the popular tourist destinations of east and southern Africa.

Although travelling in these countries can at times be an ‘unpolished’ experience, this is all part of the adventure. We aim to resolve any issues as quickly as possible, and putting up with a pothole (or ten) is undeniably worth it for the amazing sights and cultural experiences you will encounter along the way.

While Sao Tome is used to tourism, almost all western visitors to Equatorial Guinea are here for business, and the concept of tourism is not particularly well understood. You can expect officials and police to ask questions along the way, and we ask that you let your guide deal with these. Despite the reputation, most encounters with officials tend to be dominated by curiosity rather than anything else.

Travel advice

We keep a very close eye on the travel advice issued by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office so that we can keep you up to date with any warnings. At the time of writing the FCO does not advise against travel to any parts of Equatorial Guinea.

This relates to advice from the British government – other nationalities need to check the stance of their own governments.

Please note that the information contained above is highly susceptible to change, and while we endeavour to keep up to date we recommend that you use this as a guide only. Should you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Updated 31 January 2019

Colonial church in Malabo
Spanish era church in Equatorial Guinea
Date(s)
Price (PP) Exc. Flights
Single Supplement
Trip Status
Date -
17 January 2022
Price (PP) -
£2,999
Single Supplement -
£370
Trip Status -
Available