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Introducing Equatorial Guinea

With the difficulties of getting a visa and the shakedown you receive as you walk in the door of this tiny tropical former Spanish colony, you might think that Equatorial Guinea would rather just not have you. The government collects plenty of American oil money, and the leaders fear foreign mercenaries plotting coups, so what, really, do they need with travellers?

But for those who live on the edge, Equatorial Guinea offers true adventure. On Bioko Island, beyond the startling build up of the oil-soaked capital, Malabo, are volcanic views, rainforests full of endangered primates and shores of nesting sea turtles. On the mainland, Bata is a pleasant colonial town undergoing an oil-fuelled face-lift, the wildlife-filled rainforest of Monte Alen National Park is a hidden treasure, and the remote island of Corisco offers truly deserted white-sand beaches and small communities of traditional cultures. But be prepared to hack and bribe and hold tight to bush taxis – and don’t forget to pack all the patience you can fit in your bag – you’ll be stopped often by the military and government officials wanting something.

Note that all travellers need both a travel and photography permit, available in Malabo and Bata. Your papers will be scrutinised often, so make sure you have them in order.