Capital | Malabo
Population | 633,441 (July 2009 est.)
Area | 28,051 sq km
Official language | Spanish, French
Holidays | Independence Day, 12 October (1968)
Currency | Cooperation Financiere en Afrique Centrale francs (XAF)
Time Zone | UTC+1
Best time to visit | December to February for slightly dryer weather.
Connecting with the Culture | Hiking in search of gorillas, elephants, chimpanzees, crocodiles and whatever else turns up in Monte Alen National Park. Beachcombing around Luba and other deserted beach towns on Bioki Osland. Hanging around Bata, the mainland’s biggest city, where the real action is. Taking a pirogue across the estuary between Gabon and Equitorial Guinea to the village of Cogo. Wandering around vibrant Malabo on the island of Bioko-in the heart of the african tropics-with its outdoor bars, thriving nightclubs and colourful markets.
Read | Mary Kingsley’s 1897 classic Travels in West Africa , which details her trip spent slogging through the rainforest to gather specimens for a natural history museum.
Listen | to a traditional orchestra of drums, wooden xylophones, sanzas (a small thumb piano made from bamboo), bow harps and even zithers.
Eat | wonderful seafood and fresh fruit
Drink | beer, locally brewed palm wine and malamba, made from sugarcane.
In a word | Mbolo (hello)
Characteristics | Oil; dense rainforest; hardcore travellers; small villages with mud wattle houses; gorillas. Sorcerers are still among the most important community members in Equatorial Guinea; among the country’s most fascinating celebrations is the abira, a ceremony that helps cleanse the community of evil.
Surprises | While most of Equatorial Guinea’s two regions remain densely covered with forest the recent discovery of underwater oil looks set to change the face of the country. The only way to get from A to B is to hack and hold on tight to bush taxis making their way through the jungle. This is real adventure travel with amazing rewards - rainforests, beaches, traditional African villages and hiking.