Malabo © Ipisking
Lush and lovely, but hiding a complicated past, Equatorial Guinea is certainly off the beaten tourist track. Wealthy in natural resources such as oil, the country has had a troubled past with failed coups and severe corruption. However, adventurous visitors will find plenty of charm on these beautiful shores.
The country consists of a mainland territory, Rio Muni, and five island territories within the Gulf of Guinea, the largest of which is Bioko Island. Rio Muni, despite being the largest region, is not the epicentre of the country. Rather, this is the home of gorillas, chimpanzees, forest elephants, and many more fascinating species that call reserves such as the Monte Alen National Park their home.
By a strange quirk, the beating heart of Equatorial Guinea lies to the north, off the coast of Cameroon. The beautiful volcanic isle of Bioko Island plays host to the capital city of Malabo, a city of contrasts where fascinating colonial architecture contrasts with sleek high rise buildings and the traditional African markets and bustling port. Small villages populate the north of the island, while further south the rainforest takes hold. Rare primates live in the dense forests around Luba Crater, while Ureca is the breeding ground for four different types of turtle.
Equatorial Guinea is a beautiful country, rewarding exploration for those brave enough to visit, but it is not a well-known tourist destination and travel through its rich jungles and islands is not risk-free. Officials make travel difficult by frequently demanding to see papers and sometimes expecting bribes. Tourism infrastructure is almost non-existent and visitors should come prepared to travel rough, but those in search of an adventure will find stunning beaches and pristine rainforest to reward their curiosity.