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Country Reports

Equatorial Guinea Country Report

Overview

INTRODUCTION

Located between Gabon and Cameroon on Africa's Atlantic coast, tiny Equatorial Guinea (population 740,000) does not present any major risks for travelers. However, certain potential concerns should be kept in mind.

POLITICS

President Teodoro Obiang Nguema has been in office since 1979 and was reelected for a seven-year mandate in April 2016. The next presidential elections are scheduled for 2023 in this politically stable country. Legislative and municipal elections were held on November 12, 2017, and were won by the ruling Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea. 

CRIME

The capital Malabo is considered one of the safest cities in Africa, however, security conditions have recently deteriorated in the city and crimes committed against Westerners have been reported, including in Bata, the country's second-largest city.

Generally speaking, it is advisable to keep valuable objects concealed while in public, avoid driving at night (due to official road blocks), and refrain from photographing public installations such as ports, airports, police stations, fire stations, and government buildings. Travelers should keep identification documents and a cell phone ‒ preprogrammed with useful numbers ‒ on hand at all times. House doors and windows should always be closed and locked.

The British authorities released an alert in mid-January 2015 concerning a number of incidents that have recently occurred in taxis in Malabo and Bata. An attack and a theft perpetrated by an organized gang were reported to have taken place in a shared taxi in Bata. The British authorities recommend that anyone present in the country should avoid taking shared taxis with strangers, especially at night and in major cities. It is also ill-advised to take a taxi alone and therefore it is recommended to hire a chauffeured car.

TRANSPORTATION and INFRASTRUCTURE

A number of local and regional airlines serving Equatorial Guinea are on the EU's blacklist, meaning they are not allowed to fly within European airspace due to substandard safety measures.

It should also be noted that outside of the country's main cities there are few, if any, hotels. Hotels in Malabo and Bata are satisfactory and rapidly being developed. Furthermore, sanitation standards at many restaurants in rural areas are inadequate.

HEALTH

Travelers should be aware that malaria is endemic in Equatorial Guinea and is present in the more serious form of cerebral malaria. Dengue fever and chikungunya are also present. To minimize the risk of contracting one of these mosquito-borne diseases, travelers should make use of a mosquito net, wear long-sleeved shirts and pants after nightfall, and use insect repellent. To avoid contracting traveler's diarrhea, wash your hands regularly and drink only bottled or purified water. Several cases of polio were reported in 2014 (in Centro Sur, Litoral, and Kié-Ntem provinces, as well as in the capital). This is especially worrying given the fact that Equatorial Guinea has one of the lowest polio vaccination rates in the world; only 39 percent of the population has been vaccinated against this disease, compared to 95 percent in most countries.

NATURAL RISKS

Foreign visitors should note that the long rainy season lasts from March until November and often leads to difficult road conditions. Poor driving habits, substandard road quality, poor vehicle maintenance, and the absence of efficient emergency services render travel by car relatively hazardous. It is therefore necessary to always wear a seat belt and to keep important insurance, medical, and identification documents on hand.

INFRASTRUCTURE

Finally, power outages are common, particularly during the dry season (April to October).

Climate

Equatorial Guinea's climate is, unsurprisingly, equatorial, i.e. hot and wet (1.7 - 4 meters of annual rainfall). It rains more often in coastal regions. The rainy season lasts from May until October on Bioko Island (Malabo). A hot and dry wind (the “Tornado”) blows across the country from November until March. The ocean is warm and pleasant throughout the year.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +240 Malabo Central Police Station: 0927 79

Due to a lack of staff and resources, police usually do not act outside their districts.

Electricity

Voltage: 220 V ~ 50 Hz

Outlets:

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