Equatorial Guinea´s Biodiversity

Riaba-Landscape

Equatorial Guinea´s Biodiversity

Esta entrada también está disponible en: English Español (Spanish)

Biodiversity in Equatorial Guinea is an infinite source of life and resources. From Rumbo Malabo, we encourage responsible ecotourism to preserve those vital resources for its people.

Biodiversity envelops a variety of organized living species. They cohabit with us on the planet: animals, plants, viruses, and even bacteria. Moreover, it also covers their ecosystems and the genes that make each species different from the rest.

History of biodiversity in Equatorial Guinea

Since the human species became fully aware of the natural world for the first time, nature seemed immune and overflowing with flora and fauna, from the mountains and oceans to the continental prairies.

This point of view changed in the last century. Over the past 50 years, technology and globalization have defined the destruction of the environment.

Since the beginning of agriculture, human survival has domesticated wild plants for medicine and food. An example is the Osang or the Ekuk, often used for different diseases

However, many of those plants that our grandparents used are destroyed before we found out whether they had food or medicinal value. Unfortunately, that knowledge is missing due to a loss of communication within generations.

To fan the flames, we now face new dangers. Complete ecosystems are facing environmental tensions, such as the estuaries of the Campo and Muni river, coral reefs, or mountain forests, including Monte Alén. Another factor is pollution, the rising development of neighboring villages, and the new excessive building of infrastructures.

Despite all the mistreatment they endure, these ecosystems clean the water by eliminating contaminants, provide the air we breathe, and produce much of our food. If we lost them, people with low income would face great famine.

Why is biodiversity essential in Equatorial Guinea?

Until now, we lived in small isolated groups in our villages, completely immersed in our local ecosystems. All our food, clothing, shelter, even our medicine came from the product of our environment, including the animals and plants.

If we ask our elders about their way of life, almost all of them, will tell us that they lived from working in the forest: fishing, or hunting. Even playful activities, like the Akong, started from the seeds of nature.

Why is it so difficult for us today to understand the importance of biodiversity?

We have forgotten this mainly because of the invention of agriculture. In the case of Equatorial Guinea, now we have the capacity to import product that is not from the region.

This trade has completely changed the human relationship with the environment. We’ve gone from living together, to being lords and masters of the ecosystems.

What is the difference between living on organic fruits and agriculture?

The answer is very simple. To live at the expense of our comfort, we must destroy the original ecosystems that have served us so well, thus destroying the organic fruits we assumed. We are very much aware of cocoa and coffee, although they do not originate in this region

How can we measure ecological success?

Agriculture completely violated the natural regulation that controlled the size of our population. It was the case of the tribes, many years ago, to which are now settled in the territories we are familiar with. There, we began to grow and expand.

You might think that we are in a continuous race to feed ourselves because each revolution or ingenious expansion in the agricultural field is followed by an increase in population. In simpler words, there are always people somewhere on the verge of hunger.

What are the values of biodiversity in Equatorial Guinea?

The values of diversity are functional (benefits to medicine and agriculture), ecosystem services (vital functions such as oxygen production) and moral and ethical values.

Although we are directly unaware of the reality of biodiversity, we know that these three categories are of vital importance in modern human life.

Practical values of biodiversity

Many think that food comes from the supermarket and we do not have a clear idea of its origin. How many kids think milk comes from the brick?

It is true that, with new advances in biotechnology, humans have learned to inject genes into domestic plants and animals to enhance what we want and eliminate harmful elements. But these genes have to come from somewhere. And that place is nature.

Biotechnology has as a first step the discovery of a genetic factor that performs the function we want within known species of nature and, after extracting it, implements it in another substance to improve it. Can you imagine recomposing the genetic chain of a species from scratch? It would be a colossal task.

There are many examples of wild plants that have contributed to the development of new drugs. A clear example is Madagascar’s Organic-Covid versus Covid-19 (if its benefits are finally proven). There are many examples

The key to avoiding the destruction of biodiversity lies in the correct use of local knowledge to develop environmental conservation activities, always meeting the economic needs of peoples and their inhabitants.

In the case of Equatorial Guinea, there are many examples such as tours in natural parks, and all those people who in one way or another help biological researchers who are in our country.

In short, by destroying ecosystems, we begin to approach the limit that the world itself will dictate about which species will survive, and at that limit, we find ourselves.

Ecosystems are essential for our planet

The question is obvious: why should we care about the health of the Rio Campo ecosystem if we no longer live there? Could we not live on the species we already know and collect? The answer is unambiguous: NO, it is not possible.

The global ecosystem is the sum of all local ecosystems, so they are inevitably correlated. Moreover, because of our ignorance, we do not know how much more or less will affect our local ecosystems to a global impact.

Where does atmospheric oxygen come from? Of course, as we all learned, from photosynthesis. However, what our environmental knowledge teacher didn’t tell us is that microscopic single-celled organisms found in the sea produce most of the world’s oxygen supplies. Of course, with the help of terrestrial forests.

If we do not take care of the mangroves, such as those of Riaba, the Rio Muni Estuary, or the Rio Campo Estuary, these mangroves will cease to offer the current protection to our shores, and deforestation will pollute the water, which will make our fisheries resources no longer viable and functional.

There can therefore be no doubt that the biosphere system plays a much more important role than we assume on a day-to-day basis. We are used to vegetables, but it will be possible to continue growing these species as long as we do not ruin the global system by destroying local ecosystems.

A moral and aesthetic importance

As we have previously commented, that the species of the biosphere are necessary for our basic necessities such as food and water, there is another aspect which is the country´s aesthetic.

In essence, it is the thought that human beings cannot be happy or have a full and successful life surrounded by steel, concrete, and plastic. Doesn’t a walk through the waterfalls of Ureka bring you happiness, what about the ascent to Lake Biao? Which is at stake.

The famous biologist E.O. Wilson defines the term biophilia as the innate feeling of belonging to the natural world that is present in all of humanity. And it seems to us that the same sentiment forces us to act against the sixth extinction.

Is it possible to have sustainable tourism in Equatorial Guinea?

Sustainable tourism is the future of Equatorial Guinea. This tourism is based on developing activities that are respectful of the environment and ecosystems, with minimal impact on the environment and promoting local culture. In addition to the economic aspect, this type of tourism seeks to generate employment and basic income for the indigenous population.

That is the reason why, from Rumbo Malabo, we have reinforced our commitment by being members of initiatives that promote responsible animal tourism with international agencies such as  FAADA (Foundation for Advice and Action in Defense of Animals).

Biodiversity in Equatorial Guinea: Our conclusion

The conclusion seems clear: our egocentrism and the excessive destruction of our habitat are causing the extinction of thousands of species around us. In Equatorial Guinea, we have a clear example of leatherback turtles, gorillas, and pangolins.

The direct destruction of ecosystems is producing a cumulative effect on the services of each ecosystem, which is vital to prevent our own extinction.

Join our fight and defend ecosystems when you travel to Equatorial Guinea.

Rumbo Malabo

Rumbo Malabo

Tour Operator in Equatorial Guinea

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Equatorial Guinea in fiction: Film, Literature and Series

series en Guinea ecuatorial

Equatorial Guinea in fiction: Film, Literature and Series: 11 options that will transport you

Esta entrada también está disponible en: English Español (Spanish)

Are you thinking of visiting Equatorial Guinea? Then you will love this post. We are going to talk about some pieces of fiction that will make your imagination fly. It will be just like traveling to Equatorial Guinea. Put your seatbelt on!

Equatorial Guinea is a country with a lot of history, culture, beautiful landscapes. And all this has inspired us to find an emerging flow of cinema, series, and literature in the country. And that’s not all; Equatorial Guinea also appears in other examples you may already know.

Here are 11 examples of works of fiction in which Equatorial Guinea has something to share:

Equatorial Guinea in cinema: the perfect shot for a film

The world of cinema in Equatorial Guinea has not come out of anywhere. The first cinematographer arrived in the country in 1904 with the desire to create a film culture. Today, most Equatoguineans enjoy the film as entertainment. However, something more is gradually emerging: a desire in young people to unite and create cinema. On the other hand, Equatorial Guinea has also had the leading role in other films from industries such as Spain.

We recommend these four films to prepare for your trip if you are thinking of vacationing in Equatorial Guinea. Ready with your popcorn?!

Feguibox

The film is the perfect example of the new trend of Equatorial Guinean cinema. Its director, Rubén Monsuy, decided to found the first Guinean Film Association (ASIGE) to promote cinema and encourage other directors to follow his lead.

Feguibox premiered at the Göteborg Film Festival and the Riviera Maya Festival. The film tells the story of two young men passionate about boxing and struggling to make it to the Olympics. According to the director, it is a story of perseverance and motivation that shows the country’s spirit.

Anunciaron Tormenta

Premiered at the famous Berlin Film Festival, Anunciada Tormenta is a historical documentary that narrates the different events during the Francoist period and how Equatorial Guinea moved forward.

The Equatoguinean director, Javier Fernández Vázquez, is an anthropologist. His passion for learning more about the history of Equatorial Guinea led him to this research project. Moreover, his desire to portray the consequences of colonialism.

Misión Blanca

Awarded for its screenplay in the Second Edition of the Film Circle Writers’ MedalsMisión Blanca tells the story of a religious mission in Equatorial Guinea during the last years of colonization. It is a dramatic film directed by Juan de Orduña and starring Manuel Luna. Another example of a great story about Equatorial Guinea.

Palm trees in the Snow

Palmeras-en-la-nieve-Guinea-Ecuatorial

One of the best-known Spanish films about Equatorial Guinea is Palmeras en la Nieve. It tells the love story between a young bourgeois and a Bubi woman. The film is a portrait of the time and is an adaptation of Luz Gabás’ self-titled bestseller. Thanks to his fantastic cinematography, the film was awarded two Goya Awards.

The plot takes place at Finca Sampaka. However, one of the most curious facts is that although its narration is in that cocoa plantation, the filming did not occur in any location in the country. This film was shot mainly in the Canary Islands.

Palmeras-en-la-nieve-Guinea-Ecuatorial

These films are a reflection that Equatorial Guinea is the perfect canvas to start and narrate a story. And this is just the beginning. Its history is worth knowing. You can enjoy it by visiting Equatorial Guinea!

Equatorial Guinea in literature: from imagination to books

Books have the magic of transporting us to places we can never imagine. That’s why, if you’re planning a trip to Equatorial Guinea, we recommend these four books to transport you back to the country. These writers will be able to teach you Equatorial Guinea even if you’ve never been to the country before

La Bastarda

The Equatorial Guinean writer Trifonia Melibea Obono wrote this book about the experiences of a young woman of the Fang ethnic group. Its reading will take you on a journey through Equatorial Guinea and tell you the experiences that will transform the protagonist. The book also describes the country’s features and the consequences of colonialism.

Historia de una maestra

Josefina Aldecoa elaborated a narrative that emerges from the truth, memory, and authentic feelings. Historia de una maestra tells the story of a teacher who starts working in rural schools in Spain but decides to move to Equatorial Guinea. The protagonist lives these experiences, and, at the same time, you can see the historical changes in Spain and Equatorial Guinea due to the first Spanish republic.

La República Fantástica de Annobón

The second Spanish republic is also the protagonist of this work. With its arrival, radical changes are taking place in Equatorial Guinea. A second sergeant of the republic embarks on a mission in the country and discovers an entirely different world. Francisco Zamora mixes fiction with history, giving rise to a romance amid so many social changes.

Equatorial Guinea and the series: if you’re more of a "small screen"

If you are one of those who enjoy longer stories and are also thinking about sightseeing in Equatorial Guinea, you will love this list. Equatorial Guinea has been the inspiration for exciting series that you can already enjoy. We bring you some!

Peace Force

Fuerza de Paz Guinea Ecuatorial

Peace Force is a drama created by Aurora Guerra that has started its shooting this year. It will tell the story of a Spanish contingent in Equatorial Guinea on a military base. Everything will begin to change when a suicide occurs on the spot. Spanish Television has decided to bet on this drama that will feature the participation of Felix Gomez and Martiño Rivas.

Fuerza de Paz Guinea Ecuatorial

Two lives

Dos vidas, serie ambientada Guinea Ecuatorial

Televisión Española broadcasts this daily series set in present-day Spain and the colony of Spanish Guinea in the 1950s. It tells the story of two women who are not satisfied with life. Grandmother and granddaughter decide to take control of their lives and find love and passion.

Dos vidas, serie ambientada Guinea Ecuatorial

Elùb: intrigue and passion

elub serie TVGE

This telenovela-style series tells the story of a group of wealthy young men from Equatorial Guinea struggling to find love, pretty much the Equatoguinean Gossip Girl . The story is full of passion, infidelities, and the desire to reclaim their destiny.

Conclusion

As we can see, writers, directors had found inspiration in Equatorial Guinea.  However, Equatoguineans are struggling to tell these stories. With this list of works of fiction, you have the perfect opportunity to dig into the culture. You are one click or book away to discover more about the country.

After checking out these examples, you are more passionate about visiting Equatorial Guinea. You can look at our routes and excursions. We are happy to help you discover Equatorial Guinea. You will see that it is indeed a country worthy of many films.

Rumbo Malabo

Rumbo Malabo

Tour Operator in Equatorial Guinea

Do not hesitate to follow us on social media to keep up with all our news and articles

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How is the food in Equatorial Guinea? – Modica Sauce

salsa-modica

How is the food in Equatorial Guinea?

Esta entrada también está disponible en: English Español (Spanish)

Tasty, spicy, and delicious are some of the adjectives that define Equatorial Guinea’s food. With ingredients that cover tubers, spices, sauces, and so many flavors. However, for many still unknown.

Today, in Rumbo Malabo, we would like to talk about African food and its recipes. For doing so, it is a pleasure for us to introduce Mayra Adam Chalé.

Who is Mayra?

She is part of the Bööbe ethnic group on the island of Bioko, the beating heart of Equatorial Guinea. However, she grew up in Zaragoza, Spain, where she always had her Africa inside her.

 

Thanks to that, the African traditions such as culture, ethnicity were always present in her education

Mayra-Adam-Chele-mi-cocina-africana

Our guest is currently working as a massage therapist, chiropractor, reflexologist, and Pharmacy technician. She has been working for 14 years in those professions in Madrid and Equatorial Guinea, where she can put into practice her passion for health and wellbeing.

She is also a working mother. Simultaneously, she runs one of the best Instagram accounts in Spanish specialized in African food: “mi_cocina_africana”.

But not only that, but she also has a YouTube Channel.! She is nowadays a referent in African cuisine.

In her own words, her passion for food and stoves was always there. However, when she was pregnant with her first child, it marked a before and after African food. She only had cravings for typical African dishes! The dishes of her childhood.

Therefore, thanks to that experience and several phone calls with her mother, the commitment to our cuisine became stronger. Many Africans and their children share the experience.

Mayra states that even if she were far away, food would always bring a memory of her land, similar to an invisible string that connects two people. And we could not agree more!

So, without further due, we would like to leave you with Mayra Adam Chalé.

What do Africans eat?

What are those signature dishes in African cuisine? Do we eat like the rest of the world? Do all the countries in Africa cook the same?

I would like to start by saying that African cuisine is rich and varied; it’s a cuisine that comprises an entire continent with many cultures and people.

Society tends to generalize the problems in Africa, and they only focus on the precarious situations (poverty and hunger) as a sample for the entire continent.

It is like we decide to change Europe's world image and only present the Cañada in Madrid or the barracks in Barcelona or any other shantytown in the Valencian Community. 

Mayra Adam

When we talk about African gastronomy, the collective imagination is to think that there is culture. The reason why is because people evoke the image of children in hunger.

Nevertheless, behind those images are wonderful recipes, very varied, rich in flavor and history. Moreover, carefully elaborated, and where you are not only going to enjoy but you will become obsessed and asking for more!

My name is Mayra Adam Chalé. I am from Equatorial Guinea, and I consider myself a person who loves her continent, cultures, and food!

And since we are talking about African food:

What is Modica Sauce?

All of my life, I have been eating Modica sauce. I cannot picture my childhood without this dish. The flavor is very characteristic, but it also combines those slow stews, full-bodied bathed in red wine similar to the Spanish gastronomy.

The Modica sauce is a typical Nigerian dish, where they call it Ogbono Soup. The dish arrived in Equatorial Guinea thanks to Nigerian migrants in 1920.

At the time, Guinea was a Spanish colony where cocoa and coffee crops were growing. The Spanish settlers imported labor from other countries such as Liberia and Nigeria to finish their harvests.

Since then, we adopted the dish, and it is one of the essential sauces in our traditional recipe book.

How is modica sauce made?

The modica sauce is made from palm oil, various meats/ fish and traditional spices. In addition, of course the main ingredient, the modica.

The Modica is the seed of wild mango (Irvingia gabonensis), also known as African mango, shrubby mango, or dika. Please do not confuse with the common mango (Mangifera indica) since they are two different species.

It is originally from parts of Central and West Africa, as well as Southeast Asia. Its evergreen tree can reach 25-40 m in height. The trunk is straight up to more than 2 m in circumference. The lateral branches are ascending make the crown dense and spherical. While whole fruit is edible, only seeds are used to prepare this recipe.

These seeds are collected, roasted, crushed, and compacted to form a hard stone, similar in appearance to chocolate. Thanks to this practice, the preservation can last several months.

The Modica stone or chocolate (also called locally) must be grated and added to the stew. Sometimes it is fried before to make it less dense. Because its mucilaginous texture can remind the Okro and jute leaves (Ewedu).

It is usually accompanied by fufu, crushed yam green banana (not banana), eba, or rice.

It is a food full of properties. It contains 18 essential amino acids and micronutrients such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, sodium, and phosphorus.

Suitable for diabetics and all those taking care of their figure because it is satiating and helps us burn and lose weight.

modica

Jilin medical university researchers (among others) have shown that supplements can help you lose weight, lower blood cholesterol levels, and improve diabetes control.

Researchers suggest that the Modica’s high fiber content competes with cholesterol and helps eliminate it. And its content is leptin, a hormone that tells the brain to stop eating, which is satiated. All these benefits make it a great ally in our kitchen.

Recipe with modica sauce

There are many recipes that we can elaborate with this seed. If you would like to try this delicious dish, here is how to prepare this delicious recipe:

 

  • 750gr meat/fish/ heura.
  • 1 beautiful tomato.
  • 1 Onion.
  • 2 cloves of garlic.
  • 25 grams of water
  • 3 tablespoons of palm oil
  • 1 tablespoon of black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of Crayfhis
  • 2 broth tablets (homemade)
  • 1 tablespoon of salt.

If you would like to try this delicious dish, here is how to prepare this recipe.

 

You can give me your opinion in the comments, on my Instagram page (mi_cocina_africana)  or on the YouTube channel itself.

Until the next recipe!

Enjoy your meal!

Alberto Esparza

Alberto Esparza

Hispanic philologist and journalist. Lover of Equatorial Guinea.

Do not hesitate to follow us on social media to keep up with all our news and articles

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10 best things to do in Malabo

10-things-to-do-Malabo

10 TOP best things to do in Malabo

Esta entrada también está disponible en: English Español (Spanish)

Top 10 best things to do in Malabo. If you live in Malabo or plan to visit the city, we have done the work for you.

Here you will find a list of 10 activities: they are not in order of preference or from best to worst, you just should do them during your stay. In addition, we have placed a very special one in the last place for you.

Do not miss it and write us in the end if you agree.

Malabo Promenade

It is the ideal place for a walk in the capital and has more than 3 km by the sea, perfect for strolling with the sea breeze. It also offers many possibilities:

  • You can exercise in many areas designated for sports. With fitness bars for all ages, it is a good meeting place to get to know people with the same passion for fitness..
  • It is a place for children’s entertainment. There are swings and playgrounds every 500 m with rubber floors that are a hit with kids. Perfect for a Sunday of fun.
  • It is a meeting place with friends. With more than 25 food stalls, the promenade has a variety of gastronomic options, from the classic ribs or chicken wings to traditional Guinean “picapica”, and even Lebanese food. Of course, ice cream too..
  • It is a long avenue perfect for cycling, rollerblading or even running. A paradise for those runners among us.
Malabo Promenade

St. Elizabeth’s Cathedral

The cathedral of Malabo is a neo-Gothic Catholic building inaugurated in 1916 and currently under restoration. In January 2020 a fire due to an electrical failure caused the calcination of part of its structure.

 

This cathedral facing the Plaza de la Independencia is located in the heart of the city. It is impossible not to admire its beauty and look forward to its early restoration in November 2021.

.

Malabo Cathedral is the only example of Neo-Gothic heritage in Africa. And for all Equatoguineans it is part of their memory

Cacao tasting in Sampaka Farm

The Finca Sampaka (Sampaka’s farm) is a historic cocoa farm on the island of Bioko. Founded around 1906, its central colonial structure of green-toned wood and Nordic pine is still in perfect condition. Its name, Sampaka, comes from the name of a Liberian named Samuel Parker, who settled in the area, and over the years the name evolved into the current Sampaka.

This farm has always stood out for producing one of the best cocoa of the island and the world. In fact, its variant has been exported to countries such as Ghana and Ivory Coast, which are currently the most important countries in the exploitation of cocoa. 

From this wonderful farm, you have the chance to enjoy all the vegetation and listen to the noises of nature. And as a final surprise, you can always sign up for one of the 100% local chocolate tastings and buy some of them.

Are you going to miss it?

Sampaka Road

Somagec Ranch

It is one of the lesser known sites on this list. Somagec Ranch is the closest to an animal sanctuary in Malabo. 

Located on the outskirts of the city (about 15 minutes away from it), you can find different species of animals such as parrots, chimpanzees, crocodiles and amazing Arabian horses.

In addition, there is a riding club where you can learn how to ride a horse, no matter if you are a child or an adult. But that is not all, there is also a Moroccan food restaurant that will delight couscous lovers. We are in love with them.

Evening view of the Malabo National Park

This is the perfect plan for another traditional Malabeño weekend. It is a park of 870,000 m2 ideal for families, with plenty of places to let the kids run free and to take pictures with the wonderful vegetation in the background. All of this in a very controlled environment with no road traffic.

In addition, Malabo National Park has sports areas and a very interesting art gallery. In different seasons of the year, various festivals or big events are held, such as the EGBodypainting festival and the parade of the famous annual gala Ideal Woman

Climb to Basile Peak

The impressive Basile Peak is the highest mountain in Equatorial Guinea with an altitude of 3011 m (9878 ft). Of the three volcanoes, it is the largest and highest peak generated by the overlapping basaltic shields that form the island.

If you decide to hike the trail to its summit, you will love the wonderful view of Mount Cameroon to the northeast on clearer days. You will also want to take a stop at the Bisila Church at an altitude of 2800 m; both the building and the walk around it are well worth the effort.

If you are lucky enough to have a local to tell you the story of this Mother, Virgin and Lady of Bioko Island, you will be fascinated by the spirituality.

Note: this excursion requires a permit from the Ministry of Tourism, which costs 15,000 XAF per person.

Visit to Ilachi Waterfalls

Ilachi waterfalls (also spelled Iladyi) are one of the most breathtaking attractions of Bioko Island, and definitely the largest waterfalls in the country with 250 m of impressive fall. This beautiful setting is located in the city of Moka, about 90 minutes drive from Malabo, which despite sounding like a long journey is enjoyable from start to finish.

Once there you have to walk through forest trails for about 45 minutes or 1 hour depending on the pace you want to take. We assure you that it is an incredible experience that will culminate in watching how the waterfalls flow down the mountain slopes, providing the landscape with an unusual beauty.

Of course, not everything is as simple as it seems. This excursion is not for everyone, as it includes crossing a river and descents of medium difficulty through the mountain, of those that make your muscles ache the next day.

In another post of our blog we tell you how is a day doing this excursion of the Ilachi waterfalls.

Climbing to Biao Lake

We believe that this ancient volcanic crater is one of the works of nature that you have to visit once in your life.

It is located south of Bioko Island, about 90 minutes from Malabo by car. Biao Lake is located in a unique place, and is one of the few lakes on a volcano crater. 

The route from Moka to the lake is wonderful, more than 2 hours of ascent among ferns and local flora. If you are looking for adventure and you are in good shape, you should not miss it.

Lago Biao

Visit to Ureka

Ureka is, with no doubt, one of the most magical and wonderful places in the country so it definitely has to be on your to-do list.

It’s not just about seeing and bathing in the three most outstanding waterfalls in the area, or the possibility of seeing the majestic leatherback turtles… It’s the whole adventure.

It is about walking for hours along the beach, with no cover, no noise, no lights, just you and nature. That is why it is also important to take precautions and always be accompanied by a local guide, as the tides change drastically and there is a danger of being trapped by them if you are not familiar with the times or with this abrupt mouth, which is also what makes it so beautiful.

Note: in order to go to this site you will need several permits from the Ministry of Tourism that any travel agency or you can get yourself.

Paddle Surf in Sipopo

This is a new activity, and the best thing is that we organize it ourselves. So this is our bonus.

And why paddle surfing in Equatorial Guinea? Because it’s fun, it’s refreshing, it helps you shape up, and it lets you see the coast from the sea, a different and uncommon perspective.

So if you come to Malabo or you are already here, we will be waiting for you.

Summary of the 10 top things to do in Malabo

Traveling to Equatorial Guinea is an adventure itself, and no matter if you are spending a few days or living temporarily or permanently here, we are sure you have wondered what to do or visit. That is why we have put together this list with all our recommendations of the places you should not miss.

We know that, fortunately, there are more, many more, but we cannot fit them all in the same post. So if you think we have forgotten any of them, do not hesitate to tell us in the comments and, if you convince us, we will add them to our list.

Enjoy Malabo!

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Benjamin Zarandona Interview

Benjamín Zarandona: Equatorial Guinea is a paradise. The former Betis player lives between Spain and Equatorial Guinea, a land he is in love with and where he works for the new generations of football.

Read More
10-things-to-do-Malabo

10 best things to do in Malabo

Top 10 best things to do in Malabo. If you live in Malabo or plan to visit the city, we have done the work for you. Here you will find a list of 10 activities: they are not in order of preference or from best to worst, you just should do them during your stay. In addition, we have placed a very special one in the last place for you.

Read More
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The art in Equatorial Guinea

In this post, we wanted to talk about art in Equatorial Guinea. From our point of view it is wonderful and worth admiring it, but unfortunately it is not our specialty. For this reason, we have asked for help to a great initiative that is being formed called Ceiba Project, and its museum of culture CEIBA.

Read More

Equatorial Guinea: The Ultimate Travel Guide

Wildlife Equatorial Guinea

Equatorial Guinea’s most complete guide Updated 2021

Esta entrada también está disponible en: English Español (Spanish)

We have been working on the most comprehensive guide to Equatorial Guinea for a long time and it is finally a reality. In this guide, we have tried to add all the information that anyone requires to discover this wonderful country.

If there’s anything else you want to know about Equatorial Guinea, leave us a comment and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible. In case you think we’ve forgotten something, let us know and we’ll add it. Remember than nobody more than us would like this guide to be as precise as possible.

Where is Equatorial Guinea?

mapa guinea

Equatorial Guinea is the only  spanish speaking country in Africa due to the colonial era that lasted more than 400 years. This small country is located in Central Africa between Cameroon and Gabon. Its territory is divided into an island and continental region. Firstly, the capital, Malabo, is located on the island of Bioko; and secondly Bata and Mongomo stand out as the main cities in the continental region.

The country is very unknown for tourism, but it offers landscapes and a nature worth highlighting. We are sorry that Equatorial Guinea is not where it deserves. So, consequently, we are going to explain you everything about this amazing country.

How to get a VISA for Equatorial Guinea?

The visa for Equatorial Guinea has always been a problem, but the latest government regulations have made it easier for tourist agencies. As a result, if you contact any tourist agency in Equatorial Guinea (including ours), you should have no problem.

Below we offer the necessary documentation according to your country:

If you are american citizen:

  • You do not need a visa to enter Equatorial Guinea. However, you must fill out two visa application forms and send two passport photos.
  • For business related trips, you must present a letter from the company indicating the reason and duration of your trip
  • If you intend to stay longer than 90 days, you have to ask for a permit from the National Police Office in Malabo or Bata and justify that you have enough money to cover your expenses in Equatorial Guinea. For instance, you can submit an employment contract.
VISADO para Guinea Ecuatorial

If you belong to everywhere else:

  • An original and valid passport. And in case you were wondering, unfortunately photocopies are not accepted even if they are certified.
  • Two aplications and signed forms and a passport photo with each form. Don’t worry, they can be downloaded online on the corresponding embassy page, or at the same embassy they will provide you with a copy
  • Payment of 100 € non-refundable, as application fee. This price can be increased or decreased depending on the country in which you apply for the visa and the exchange rates.
  • Certificate of criminal record. Very important, make it more or less recent. They do not specify a date, but we recommend that it is not older than 6 months.
  • The yellow fever vaccine is mandatory and recommended for malaria, cholera, typhoid fever, hepatitis and tetanus diphtheria. They don’t usually ask you, but we totally recommend it, not just us, but foreign ministries around the world.
  • For business trip, talk to your guest company or your contact in the country to provide a letter indicating the reason and duration of your visit.
  • If the trip is for tourism, as we have told you before, contact any tourism agency in the country and they should be able to facilitate it (including ours).

Information obtained from the official website of the Government of Equatorial Guinea

What vaccines are needed to go to Equatorial Guinea?

 

Fiebre amarilla

It is mandatory to carry the international vaccination card when landing in Equatorial Guinea.

  • Mandatory: Yellow fever. It must appear in the international vaccination card.
  • Recommended: Tetanus-Diphtheria, Hepatitis A-B, Typhoid Fever and Cholera.

It’s possible and likely that nobody asks you for the card, but this does not mean it is not mandatory. Firstly, it’s for your health. Secondly, it’s not worth risking your holidays or your business in Equatorial Guinea just for not having the yellow fever vaccine.

How to travel to Equatorial Guinea?

There are currently five airports in Equatorial Guinea, but all international flights are presently landing in the city of Malabo (SSG Code). Please find below the list of countries with direct connections to Equatorial Guinea.

Unfortunately, and with the current pandemic, this entire list has been suspended or obsolete. It is totally advisable to review the frequency of flights with each airline. That’s why we have provided you with the links below the image. Contact them if you have any questions.

Conexiones aéreas a Guinea Ecuatorial

Is Equatorial Guinea safe to travel?

The situation in Equatorial Guinea is generally acceptable and safe. However, as in any country in Africa, it is always advisable to take extreme precautions, particularly at night, with special attention to leisure places. In other words, it is always recommended to go with a reliable driver or taxi and above all it is advisable to avoid taking unofficial taxis especially at night.

Regarding the safety for tourists and the necessary documentation, on Bioko Island it is necessary to obtain official permission to visit some areas of tourist interest, such as the Moka Valley, Ureka and Basilé Peak. Generally, the tourist agency or tour operator of your choice will be responsible for this management.

With regard to the Continental Region, authorization to travel through tourist areas  issued by the Regional Tourist Office or, where appropriate, by the Bata regional police, is usually required.

Suele ser también necesario para viajar a las islas de Corisco y Annobón. Si se viaja a Corisco en algún tipo de embarcación desde Kogo, debe presentarse la autorización ante las autoridades policiales de esta localidad antes de embarcar.

Guinea Ecuatorial turistic permit

Transportation is safe

Taxi Equatorial Guinea

Public transportation in Equatorial Guinea is limited to taxi services. If you want to avoid them, most likely your only way to move around Equatorial Guinea is to drive, rent a driver or hire an agency that includes transportation.

Below you will find our opinion on this subject. However, registered and official taxi drivers should not be a big concern.

Low Risk of natural disasters

The risk of natural disasters can be considered low, as none have been recorded in a long time that have caused any casualties. Even if rains and storms occur during the rainy season, the floods and wind have only caused minor material damage.

Bioko vulcano

Zero Terrorism Risk

Terrorism in Equatorial Guinea

There have been no recent terrorist attacks in the history of Equatorial Guinea. So, no active threat are active at this time.

Friendly for woman travellers

 

Equatorial Guinea does not pose any additional risk for women. If you are planning to travel to Equatorial Guinea, make sure you avoid the distant and lonely streets, both day and night, and don’t expose your things or show money in public. In top of that,  try to be accompanied on your nightly leisure outings.

Woman travel Equatorial Guinea

What currency is used and how to exchange money in Equatorial Guinea?

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The actual currency in Equatorial Guinea is the CFA franc. The Banknotes are divided into 10,000, 5,000, 1,000 and 500 FCFA. Currently, all of them are in circulation and are widely used.

Coins are divided into 500, 100, 50, 25, 10 and 5. In Equatorial Guinea, the coins of 500, 10 and 5 are practically non-existent and coins of 25 are less and less used.

Cambio franco CFA

How is the conversion rate to CFA?

Exchange rate at July 2020:

  • 1 euro = 655,957 F CFA
  • 1  dolar USD = 574,067 F CFA
  • 1 pound GBP = 721,240F CFA
  • 1 yuan CNY = 82,1077 F CFA
  • 1 yen JPY = 5.36384 F CFA
Above you can find the official change. Unfortunately, in reality the change is much worse. Currently, the Euro / FCFA exchange rate is at about 700 FCFA and USD/FCFA at about 600 FCFA. The positive side is that it is relatively easy to change any type of currency in central points of the city or in the corresponding banks.

Only in some banks cheques or credit cards are accepted. Therefore, it is advisable to consult with our entity or the corresponding embassy which is the possibility of transferring money if necessary.

How to move around Equatorial Guinea?

The roads in Malabo are mostly paved. In general, the country has enviable infrastructure compared to closest countries. But there are many roads in rural areas that are not paved, and rain can cause you some trouble. In spit of that, under no circumstances, can rain make any main road impracticable.

Transporte en Guinea Ecuatorial

Taxis are available at a price of 500 FCFA for the urban territory in Malabo and from 300 FCFA in the city of Bata. But be careful, as some illegal taxis drivers can increase prices for tourists. Trully, this is nothing new, and unfortunately it happens in all countries, including the developed ones. Firstly, our advice is to ask or negotiate the price before you go up. Secondly, we also need to let you know that taxis are shared. Therefore, don’t be afraid if someone else get in the taxi with you, that’s normal.

Also, minivans are available throughout the city, but we strongly advise against it.  Despite, vans are the cheapest transportation, can be crowded, unsafe and its route is not very clear. In other words, you’ll have to ask for directions to save less than 300 FCFA.

Our recommendation, if you are a backpacker, you better arm yourself with patience to negotiate and talk to each taxi driver. It has its charm, and you will get used to it if you move around the city and surroundings frequently.

If on the other hand, you are a tourist who wants to enjoy nature and not suffer so much, we recommend that you contact a travel agency or transport agency. In that case, they may assign you a driver for your entire stay.

And if you are an exclusive tourist, you may be interested in renting a car and a driver to have at your disposal 24 hours a day.

Driving in EQuatorial Guinea

Under no circumstances do we recommend renting a car and driving it yourself. The way you drive is not like any other occidental country. To put it simply, driving can be a bit chaotic or wild.

Besides, GPS and maps are not very useful, as most sites will not appear. So, we are forced to repeat it again. Do not try to drive your own car.

How is the healthcare system in Equatorial Guinea?

Equatorial Guinea is a country with endemic tropical diseases, such as malaria and typhoid fever. It is highly recommended to follow the prophylaxis prescribed by a doctor and use mosquito repellent if you plan to leave the city to more wild areas.

If you feel ill and have a fever, diarrhea, or vomiting, it is best to go to a medical center for testing. Identiying and treating them on time, these diseases do not pose any serious health problems. But if left untreated, they can become fatal.

Paludismo en Guinea Ecuatorial
infografía https://www.sahum.gob.ve/

The hospital facilities, both on the island of Bioko and in the Continental region are perfectly prepared for this type of disease. Although it may seem the opposite, they are quite effective in treating local diseases.

In MALABO, in case of accident or illness, you can go to La Paz Hospital (+240 555 666 160) or Guadalupe Clinic (+240 222 573 173), with the necessary reservations. In addition, the “Castro Verde” Laboratory (+240 222 237 864) carries out reliable analyses on most tropical diseases.

Hospital Equatorial Guinea
Ambulance in Equatorial Guinea

In BATA, capital of the Continental Region, it is advisable to go to the La Paz Clinic, with the necessary reservations.

Where to buy in Equatorial Guinea?

The possibilities of purchasing commodities in Equatorial Guinea are unlimited. First, we can find public markets in almost every major city. This is the main point of trade for fresh food for the locals. You will find from vegetables to bush meat. Everything can be found in a good market.

Because of the elevated popularity of the public markets,  different stalls  have been established around this area. This small shops sell the rest of things needed for the home. So if you want to know how the locals buy, this is your chance.

As for big supermarket, the followings stand out:

Martinez hermanos supermercado Malabo

Clearly the most prominent distributor and the preferred by a large majority. It has been in the country for many years and offers mainly Spanish products. It has several centres in all major cities and small warehouses in secondary cities. Prices are slightly higher in comparison with Spain, but still reasonable.

EGTC

Another big distribution company across the country, but cannot be compared with Martinez Hermanos. This distributor focuses on products intended for Muslim citizens because of the large amount of spices and varieties offered very typical of that culture.

EGTC Supermarkt in Malabo

Online shopping

Moreover, as prevention measures against COVID19, several online platforms have been developed recently to purchase your products online.  This services definetely facilitate your existence if you are in a remote area or difficult to access or simply you do not want to surround yourself with a crowd.

Among the others, currently stands out a plantform called Situcka, which has the main supermarkets in the city of Malabo. This idea has not yet been implemented in other cities, but little by little we are sure it will take shape.

compra online Malabo

Favourite restaurants in Equatorial Guinea

The gastronomy in Equatorial Guinea is very abundant and quite varied. Regardless your location, there are many high quality restaurants with all prices. Sadly, we can not make a detailed description of all of them. Nevertheless, we invite you to look at tripadvisor to get more information. Not only of those that we recommend, but of all the others, because unfortunately we left unmention many of them.

In the capital Malabo, we would highlight these:

L’atellier

It stands out for its great customer service and for a quite varied mix of Guinean and Western food. Located in the city centre, it is probably one of the most exclusive in Malabo. Surprisingly, on Friday nights different artists play live music which makes it very attractive if after dinner you feel like moving your body a bit. A meal or dinner for two people would be around 30,000 FCA.

Tripadvisor Review

Italian restaurant Bidji Binia

This restaurant has become a classic of the city of Malabo. It stands out mainly for its oversized pizza and to be honest, of a very high quality. The service is good and the food excellent. Possibly the most outstanding restaurant in terms of quality/price. A lunch or dinner for two people can be around 15,000 FCA.

Black spoon

To highlight a more humble restaurant, this is among our favorites. Blackspoon is located between Ela-Nguema and the Sipopo roundabout. They serve both African food and wonderful chicken skewers that have us in love. It is clearly the cheapest of all and a good place to have a traditional lunch or dinner for less than 10,000 FCA per couple

In Bata city, we would highlight the following:

 Manila Restaurant – Terrace San Miguel

An oasis of calm in the middle of the beautiful promenade. In this place you can enjoy exclusive food on the top floor as well as a wonderful place to relax on the lower floor. They have from menus of the day at an affordable price to the most exclusive food in the city. It is a place worth visiting if you are in Bata City. As a souvenir, you can photograph yourself with a real-size representation of the famous albino gorilla Snowflake from Equatorial Guinea.

As if that were not enough, they also have live music, the best views of the sea, food at home and celebration of events. Manila Restaurant, A luxury within everyone’s reach.

Manila Restaurant Interior
San Miguel Terrace Interior
San Miguel Terrace Exterior
Facade San Miguel Terrace
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La Ferme restaurant

La Ferme Restaurant is located in one of the most touristic areas of the city of Bata, the beach of Bome. The food and service is excellent.

This restaurant has spectacular sea views, and also has a large terrace with tables arranged around its pool. If while you wait for your food you want to walk a bit on the beach. Here you can do it.

TripAdvisor review

There are many more restaurants in the country, and many of them wonderful. The selection above is totally subjective and we understand that they may not be your favorites, the best or the most representative. But if you have a restaurant and you think you should be included, contact us and we’ll see what can be done.

Things to do in Equatorial Guinea

There are many things to do and visit in Equatorial Guinea, first and foremost all its islands. The island of Bioko , cradle of the Bubi culture; The island of Anobon, magical and totally unexplored place; Corisco and its paradisiacal beaches and we cannot forget the mainland with Rio Muni and Monte Alen.

In short, there are many things to see and perhaps not enough time to see everything on a trip. That’s why below we detail some sites in each region you should try to visit, from there and always according to your interests, you can plan your trip knowing the top places.

What should I visit in the insular region?

The insular region is subdivided into the following areas:

Bioko Island

It is the largest island in the country and where the capital, Malabo, is located. Therefore, as we mentioned earlier, it is your starting point on your trip to Equatorial Guinea, and fortunately for you, it contains a wealth of places and activities.

On the other hand, it is the area most prepared to receive tourism, so if you do not consider yourself a good adventurer, visiting only this island is not a bad option. In other post you can find the 10 best thing to do in Malabo.

However, below is a list of possible destinations:

  • Moka City and surroundings:

    The truth, this city is capable of stealing your heart. First, you can meet and pay your respects to the descendants of the kings of the island. And then, it has a spectacular landscape and animal variety. Next we’ll put you some pictures because it deserves to be discovered by oneself.

Moka Church
Moka Overview
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  • Ureka Waterfalls:

    It is probably the most impressive place on the island. A steep descent in a curve where you will discover the impressive beach of Sobe. Then, you will admire the spectacular waterfalls and a walk on the most amazing beach. Be careful with bathing, because the currents are very treacherous.

  • Malabo City:

    Malabo is the capital, and fortunately still retains some of its magic. In open spaces, the promenade, the national park and the Sampaka farm stand out. If you are looking for architecture and art, certainly the Malabo Cathedral (still under reconstruction), San Fernando Church and the French, Spanish and Equatorial Guinean cultural centers should be a mandatory stop in your journey.

Malabo City
Promenade
Malabo 2
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  • City of Luba and nearby towns:

    Luba is one of the most important fishing towns. The city converses a special aura very typical of fishing villages. In its surroundings we can find villages of a beauty and a marble history, such as Batete,…

Luba road
Argelejos Count
Arena Blanca Beach
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Annobon Island

The island of Annobón is located in the Atlantic Ocean, in the Gulf of Guinea and south of Sao Tome and Principe. It is an island of volcanic origin surrounded by several islets visible from its wonderful beach. It also has a lagoon (Lake Mazafin) in the center of the island. Undoubtedly, it is a destination little known but it is advisable to visit. A place of fishing and absolute peace.

Best places in the continental region

The continental region is possibly where we can find the greatest variety of unexplored places and beaches. So let’s proceed with a summary of those that seem most important to us:

  • Corisco Island:

    This island is one of the best kept secrets of all Central Africa. Its vast and white beaches delight the few adventurers who dare to ride the cayuco to get there.If you are an adventurous expert looking for unique and exclusive sites, this destination has to be within your plans. We assure you that very few people have managed to get here.

Corisco Island
  • Punta Mbonda:

    It is one of the most beautiful villages in Equatorial Guinea. Its attractive beaches and nature make this town a place to breathe fresh air.

    In addition, we can visit the lighthouse, from which you can observe the city of Bata. This lighthouse built and used during the colonial period to monitor the coast, is one of the cultural heritage of Equatorial Guinea. As if that were not enough, Punta Mbonda is the city of one of the best-known Youtuber in Equatorial Guinea, the great Monanga Bueneke.

Punta Mbonda
Foto: http://luisnegromarco.blogspot.com/2015/02/punta-mbonda-el-faro-de-guinea.html
  • Monte Alen:

    This national reserve has always stood out for its attractive nature and for the possibility of sighting gorillas. Sadly, the passage of time has made a dent in this virgin territory. After the withdrawal of ECOFAC, the site has slowly faded away. Although it is not possible to spend the night there, it is always advisable to walk through its imposing mountains.

Monte Alen
Foto: https://www.seo.org/2012/05/07/parque-nacional-de-monte-alen-guinea-ecuatorial/

How long should I need to spend in Equatorial Guinea?

This is the million-dollar question, and to be honest,  you should spend all the time you have. In general if you like to have contact with nature, maybe 7 days on Bioko Island are enough if you like a quiet tourism.

If you want to know the continental region, we recommend at least 10 days to make the trip worthwhile, the same if you want to visit the wonderful island of Anobon.

In general we cannot tell you an exact number of days as it depends on your interests.

Tiempo en Guinea Ecuatorial
  • If you are looking to visit all the countries of the world. Maybe 2 days on Bioko Island and 2 days on the mainland will be enough to give you an idea of what the country looks like. But forget about knowing their secrets.
  • If this is your first experience in Guinea, and you want a bit of adventure and nature, with 7 days on Bioko Island you should have time to know the most important sites and observe a lot of nature.
  • If you want to know the whole country and its secrets, it will be necessary at least 2 weeks. This would include 7 days on Bioko Island, 3 days on Annobón and 4 days on the mainland.

Is it required to purchase a tourist package to visit Equatorial Guinea?

No, you don’t need a tourist package to visit Equatorial Guinea. But we strongly recommend you to have someone you trust in the country because it will save you quite a lot of headaches and lost time getting permits. 

After all, you’re on vacation, you don’t want to spend a day or two waiting for permission to go on an excursion. But anyway, it’s a totally personal decision.

Esperas en Guinea Ecuatorial
Photo: La vanguardia

We have already received requests of all kinds, from crossing to Cameroon in cayuco, trying to cross from Cameroon to Gabon through Guinea by truck, private visits to Annobón and Corisco etc…

We try to help everyone, either with us or on your own. We think the more people who knows about Equatorial Guinea, the better off we’ll all be. So we will just tell you our opinion without any commitment.  If you still need our help, contact us or leave a comment below and we will advise you on everything you need.

Phones of interest

Country code: +240

numbers of interest:

  • National Police: 113 and 114
  • Fire and Civil Protection: 112 and 115
  • National Committee to Combat Covid19: 1111 and 111
  • Police station: 333 09 3469 / 333 08 2393

 

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Benjamin Zarandona Interview

Benjamín Zarandona: Equatorial Guinea is a paradise. The former Betis player lives between Spain and Equatorial Guinea, a land he is in love with and where he works for the new generations of football.

Read More >>
10-things-to-do-Malabo
10 best things to do in Malabo

Top 10 best things to do in Malabo. If you live in Malabo or plan to visit the city, we have done the work for you. Here you will find a list of 10 activities: they are not in order of preference or from best to worst, you just should do them during your stay. In addition, we have placed a very special one in the last place for you.

Read More >>
arte Guinea Ecuatorial
The art in Equatorial Guinea

In this post, we wanted to talk about art in Equatorial Guinea. From our point of view it is wonderful and worth admiring it, but unfortunately it is not our specialty. For this reason, we have asked for help to a great initiative that is being formed called Ceiba Project, and its museum of culture CEIBA.

Read More >>

The art in Equatorial Guinea

arte Guinea Ecuatorial

What do you know about the art in Equatorial Guinea?

Esta entrada también está disponible en: English Español (Spanish)

In this post, we wanted to talk about art in Equatorial Guinea. From our point of view it is wonderful and worth admiring it, but unfortunately it is not our specialty. For this reason, we have asked for help to a great initiative that is being formed called Ceiba Project, and its museum of culture CEIBA. They have been kind enough to share their wisdom with all of us. So thank you very much.

The value of african art

 

One of the most suitable spaces to study the art trade is at art auction houses. It catalogues trends dominate the art market, where expensive masterpieces are sold to interested buyers.

At present, it is still surprising how African art continues to quote high amounts in auctions, in some cases millionaires. African art continues to prompt interest and passion among European, Asian and North American collectors.

Arte en Guinea Ecuatorial

But beyond simple economic appreciation, we have to understand that financial results do not measure art. Art is a fundamental part of our sophisticated culture; we cannot reduce it to a mere question of price and sale figures. For instance, we cannot understand the meaning of a 17th-century European painting, the author and commissioner for the art painting without considering the peculiarity of the religious period the continent was experiencing.

The same is true of African art pieces, highly prized yet the meaning still unknown to Europeans, North Americans, Asians even some Africans.

New african art museums

The current African creative landscape is beyond its borders. Today’s African artists have finally gained recognition and begun to take their deserved place in contemporary art museums. Little by little, anthropologic museums dedicate spaces to foreign cultures and in some cases without understanding the meaning and value of the art paintings. We find African art in colonial mansions, anthropology museums, ethnography.

At this point, it is necessary to claim the role that many museums in our continent are performing like the national museum of  Kenia or the national art galery in Zimbawe. Not only claiming the good aesthetic and symbolic appreciation of African art but recovering and putting value to our artist’s creators who full of ingenuity and modernity. They are capable artists, creators, innovators without forgetting the importance ​​of representing tradition being the reason that has helped create African art today.

African art, like all other arts without regard to a geographical classification (European, Asian, Oceanic and American art), is symbolic, functional, aesthetic and practical technique. But above all, it is full of diversity and vibration. To be known and appreciated. We make a point of calling it Classical African art to avoid derogatory terms as “primitive art”, “tribal art”, “aboriginal art” etcetera.

Escultura Guinea Ecuatorial

Define the classic art of Equatorial Guinea

The “classic art” of Equatorial Guinea is varied and vast, yet not appreciated. The current artistic situation is full of young artists looking for space to showcase their creative capacity.

Art in Equatorial Guinea

Art has such power that it involuntarily revolutionised the very foundations of Western art, subsequently creating new aesthetics. We can and should reclaim ownership of the artistic technique developed in Equatorial Guinea long ago and use it to create contemporary art pieces.

We cannot forget the 20th-century art revolution, with a genius like Picasso at the forefront, he was inspired by African art to create a whole new aesthetic, called cubism. Located chronologically at the beginning of the 20th century, it marked a before and an after for western art. Africa was the protagonist of this change, for its individually, technique which developed in Equatorial Guinea even if not recognise.

It is necessary to recognise the value of African art and its ability to revive western aesthetics. African art has unique benefits ​​in itself that make it deserving of the highest recognition. Some examples that help understand the complexity and richness of the technique developed in Equatorial Guinea are from the Bubi and fang people;

Some examples of the art in Equatorial Guinea

The current Republic of Equatorial Guinea is a small country in an area of strategic importance on the African continent, the Gulf of Guinea (information on Equatorial Guinea). This situation aroused the interest of the European powers from the beginning. But before its arrival, the territory currently occupied by Equatorial Guinea had a long history.

Archaeological research has shown the antiquity in the occupation of these territories. In a complex game of migratory movements, the current cultural composition of the country is drawn, with up to five cultural groups: the Fang, traditionally associated with the interior of the continental region; the Bubi, on the island of Bioko; the Ndowés, Bissios in the areas of the continental coast; and the Annoboneses in the island of Annobón.

arte en Guinea Ecuatorial
Colección etnográfica de José de Guimarães. Fotografía de Ji – Elle

It is necessary to recognise the value of African art and its ability to revive western aesthetics. African art has unique benefits ​​in itself that make it deserving of the highest recognition. Some examples that help understand the complexity and richness of the technique developed in Equatorial Guinea are from the Bubi and fang people;

El arte Bubi

One example is the Bubi bells built out of a block of wood, trapezoidal with an oval section. They had different handles; some were quadrangular some circular with incisions decorating the surface, the bells are related to astral themes, such as the sun or the moon. Inside it, they used fibre forming a rope, hanging the cylindrical wooden clappers that generated the noise when hitting the walls of the bell.

Arte Bubi Guinea Ecuatorial
Figura de relicario eyima byeri. Musée Rietberg, Zurich; Fondation Camille-et-Emmy-Graeser. Fotografía de Andreas Praefcke

For a long time, Europeans saw in these bells a simple musical instrument. Colonists failed to realise the wealth contained within these objects. It was not only about the world view of the bubis and their belief system but also about the way they understood society or aspects as important as illness and health.

Bubi bells were waved over their bodies with other rituals to heal people in the community. Today, the bell is a symbol that identifies this group. And some initiatives are trying to recover their artisan techniques to manufacture the bells again on the island as a way to generate alternative economic resources to hunting or fishing.

Fang art

Fang people were skilled sculptors; they achieved worldly fame. In particular, the guardians of the reliquaries. The biery (fang reliquaries) defined a whole new way of understanding African aesthetics. The biery were carvings related to ancestors cults; they had a fundamental role in understanding the organisation of the Fang society.

The biery are anthropomorphic figures male or female, with their legs folded in a sitting position and their arms flexed, crossed across their chest, at times with an offering.

Other notable features are the presence of a prominent navel (symbol of the union with life) with a rear stem inserted into the locket. One of the most remarkable aspects of these figures is their faces, hairstyles, pronounced mouths, large eyes characterising fang people. They are figures with such defined shapes that they are easily recognisable

Arte Fang Guinea Ecuatorial
Fuelle de herrero. Fotografía de Ann Porteus

These authentic masterpieces impressed European artists during the early 20th century. It is another way of seeing and understanding the world, far from the ideals and values ​​of the European society of the moment such as bourgeois, industrial, urban and capitalist.

For Africans artist, these figures represented: a union with their traditions through the ancestors and fundamental aspects of their society based on the fang cosmos.

Art Equatorial Guinea
Guardián de relicario conservado en el Museu Nacional/UFRJ - Rio de Janeiro, Brasil. Fotografía de Dornicke

Conclusion

Equatorial Guinean art, in its many cultural manifestations, is and has been one of the wealthiest art forms in the world. Its importance has been able to cross all its borders. However, now we have a complex mission ahead: to recover our art masterpieces for our people.

It is for us to become your interpreters. It is for us to give it the value it deserves. Values ​​are universal and should always exhort respect: respect for each other, regardless of the distance between us, and respect for the environment it was created.

Equatorial Guinea can offer these values ​​to the rest of the world because they created the context in which they exist.

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All about our visit to Ilachi Waterfalls

Cascadas Ilachi

Trip to Ilachi waterfalls - Our first experience

Esta entrada también está disponible en: English Español (Spanish)

The Ilachi waterfalls are, possibly, one of the most unknown spots on Bioko Island. A trip through the forest will be the begining of your adventure to observe these natural waterfalls of more than 200 meters.  In other words, if you visit Equatorial Guinea, don’t miss them.

Trip to Ilachi preparation

Throughout the prior morning, the rain did not cease in the city of Malabo. Generally, when it rains a lot at night and in the morning, the sky usually clears in the afternoon. It is our general normal without scientific basis. The only question that arose was whether the sky would hold long enough to allow us a dry ride or, on the contrary, it was simply waiting for our arrival to receive us with a downpour and water down our first excursion with tourists to this wonder.

The previous time we inspected the path during the dry season took us an average of about 45 minutes. But assuming that our dear customers would want to portray this excursion, and the weather conditions, we estimated that we would do it in 1 hour round trip.

Departure to Moka

The exit of Malabo was very quiet, at 7:30 we were on the road towards Moka. We felt adventurous and decided to take the longest road to the destination, which included passing through illustrious cities like Rebola, Baney and Riaba. During the trip the road was relatively comfortable and in good condition despite some bumps and obstacles around Baney.

An importante key point is that the military controls characteristic of Equatorial Guinea went smoothly. In fact, the officers were quite attentive and pleasant. The trip started nicely, and our clients were having a good time, which was the most important thing after all.

The first doubt arose when we reached the crossing of Riaba and Moka. As we had already been the previous day on the excursion to see Balboa beach in Riaba, we were tempted to spend a few minutes there again and enjoy another wonderful walk on the beach. But after a glance to the sky, we decided not to deviate in case we receive the visit of our always feared rain this time of year.

The road between Riaba and Moka is spectacular, a walk through the mountains while the fog falls on the road. Even though we like photography, at times we want to become even more expert, to be able to portray what our eyes see. Really, it’s something spectacular. From the viewpoint of Moka you can see the whole valley in fullness. Unfortunately, the grass is very high and therefore cannot be easily accessed. But we are thinking of hiring some locals to cut the herbs of the place and return to the viewpoint to its splendor.

Getting to know Moka 

Once arrived in Moka, and despite the threat of rain, we decided to take a walk around the city before picking up our expert local guide. The city is divided into Moka Bioko and Moka Malabo. Most of the houses are concentrated in Moka Bioko. Some of them date back to colonial times and are very beautiful and different. Each resident has given it a special and colorful touch. Continuing along this road you will find the newest part of the city, with the supermarket and the great hotel of Moka, a luxury accommodation in the middle of this wonderful valley. In the second part of the city, a long road divides the houses on both sides. After going to the end of the village, in the middle of a square with a heliport, we parked our car and started what we hope will be the first of many visits with tourists eager to know this formidable site.

Treeking to Ilachi waterfalls

The road begins in a very pleasant way, reminds me of the meadows of northern Spain or even those of England. Large pastures where different species of cattle roam at will. The first unplanned obstacle is a small river that we crossed without major problems; luckily we made it clear to our customers to bring mountain boots.

After crossing the fence that separates these animals, we went into the forest we were waiting for. The first few minutes are pleasant and descend slightly making the road quite bearable. We establish a pleasant conversation with our clients about the future of the tourism of the country and the fresh air that is breathed so far from the city.

But soon, words and photos remained in the background. Due to the weather of the previous days, the surface is quite wet and slippery. This causes the descents to be done with the greatest possible care. Unfortunately we did not bring gloves and it is difficult to lean on the trees for greater support, but there is no other option to avoid a fall.

Leading the way, our incredible local guide at an enviable speed and with a facility that makes you feel out of shape. We place ourselves in second position leaving our customers at the end to observe the dangers and the points of support.

Ilachi pathway

The slope quickly begins to descend and become more complicated, rather than by the terrain itself, by weather conditions. It must be said that weather respects us and it does not rain on the way down, but the ground is slippery. After about 45 minutes of descents and false plains, we reach the final test: A river of greater size than the previous one with a depth of approximately 40cm. It may seem scarce, but the previous day’s rainfall has increased the flow rate and there is a risk of an unplanned bath.

Our guide passes with amazing ease jumping between the rocks. (The importance of good footwear). Our client is in better shape than we had expected and with two jumps he reaches the other shore. To us, well, you can say that it took us a little bit longer to decide how we were going to cross, and we ended up wet to the knees but with the camera and the rest of the material intact, which after all was the most important thing.

From this obstacle, a light climb and 5 minutes later we reach the long awaited Ilachi waterfalls. Our fear was that the fog would prevent us from seeing them in their entire splendor, but at this point, the fog moves with relative fast, and we were able to contemplate and take photographs of this wonderful landscape.

Cascadas Ilachi

After telling stories of these mountains sitting with these views, and having some fruits, we decided to come back before the rain gets us too wet. Our concern was the situation of the way back with great climbs after our passage and that of the rains.

Return to Malabo

Once the road and the dangers were known, the way through the forest back became more bearable, and instead of the estimated time, we covered it in 40 min. Clearly because of us, our guide was able to carry a devilish rhythm. What used to be dangerous downhills, now became hard uphills. The physical capacity of some of us was put to the test, and I have to admit that we had to stop a couple of times to breathe. The rain made an act of presence, the slopes were steep and the accumulated tiredness knocked at the door.

Once we arrived at the starting point of the excursion, we said goodbye until the following week to our wonderful guide, and after an obligatory change of clothes, we got into the car to return to Malabo. This time we decided to take the shortest road and we passed through Luba to reach our point of origin.

Luba road

Travel tips

  • The trip was full of adventures and we had a wonderful response from our customers, they loved the trip.
  • The rainy season should not be an impediment to enjoy the forest if you are well prepared.
  • Equatorial Guinea offers spectacular landscapes.
  • We have much to discover and we will not stop until we make it visible to everyone.

Excursion to Ilachi waterfalls

Find more about Ilachi waterfalls excursion

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