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Equatorial Guinea travel guide

About Equatorial Guinea

Perhaps best known as the inspiration for Frederick Forsyth’s coup-laden thriller The Dogs of War, the political situation of hot and humid Equatorial Guinea leaves a lot to be desired. Corruption, human rights abuses and political violence are frequently recorded, and despite huge oil wealth little has trickled down to the people, where real poverty still exists.

This means the country, which occupies a slice of mainland Africa and five offshore islands, is not set up with tourism in mind. Travel can be hard and hotel rooms both limited in number and expensive compared to neighbouring states. However, Equatorial Guinea offers a rare opportunity to experience central Africa’s colonial history and unspoiled natural beauty.

Large areas of Rio Muni, mainland Equatorial Guinea, have been set aside as protected zones. Noted internationally for their biodiversity and hiking opportunities, the country’s rainforests are the habitat of various endangered primates including mandrills, chimpanzees and gorillas, as well as forest elephants.

The capital, Malabo, lacks the frenetic energy of some cities on the continent, with nothing happening very fast. Its tranquillity and the laidback air of its people perhaps results from lying on the steamy island of Bioko. It’s atmospheric sides streets are the best place in the country to encounter the architectural splendours left by Spain’s colonial regime.

Outside the capital, Bioko Island is also the location of the crater lakes of Lago Lorento and Lago Biao. Idyllic spots for relaxation, even the least interested birdwatcher will suddenly become the most ardent ornithologist: the sheer diversity of avian wildlife is staggering.

Its natural wonders and hospitable inhabitants should have put Equatorial Guinea on the map years ago, but a reputation for political instability means this remains an untapped mine for now.

Key facts

Area:

28,051 sq km (10,831 sq miles).

Population:

869,587 (UN estimate 2016).

Population density:

26.4 per sq km.

Capital:

Malabo.

Government:

Republic.

Head of state:

President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo since 1979.

Head of government:

Prime Minister Vicente Ehate Tomi since 2012.

Travel Advice

Coronavirus travel health

Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for Equatorial Guinea on the TravelHealthPro website

See the TravelHealthPro website for further advice on travel abroad and reducing spread of respiratory viruses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

International travel

Some airlines have resumed limited commercial flights to and from Malabo. Ethiopian Airlines is operating limited flights from Addis Ababa.

Restrictions on the number of flights are in place. National carriers are allowed two weekly flights and international carriers are permitted one weekly flight.

Entry and borders

All travellers from the UK remain prohibited from entering the country until further notice.

Sea and land borders are open and but subject to the entry ban for travelers from the UK.

See Entry requirements to find out what you will need to do when you arrive in Equatorial Guinea.

Travel in Equatorial Guinea

You must wear a mask in public places.

Domestic flights have resumed, however, under new guidelines, domestic flights will be limited to one per day for domestic services providers. Passengers will need to fulfil additional testing requirements to use these services. Negative PCR test certificates are required to conduct domestic travel.

Accommodation

The hotel sector is now open. The use of masks within hotels and other accommodation is compulsory.

Public places and services

  • There is a daily curfew from 7pm to 6am
  • Masks are compulsory in all open spaces, public buildings, on public transport and in private vehicles if accompanied by other people. Authorities conduct regular patrols and you may be fined if you are caught not wearing a mask
  • Markets, banks, restaurants, places of worship and cultural events have resumed normal operations nationwide
  • Bars, discotheques, casinos and other entertainment venues have been closed
  • Weddings baptisms and other celebratory events have been suspended
  • Places of worship must adhere to strict preventative guidelines
  • Schools have reopened but at maximum 50% capacity
  • Other mass gatherings are not permitted
  • Some venues take temperatures and supply hand sanitizer

Healthcare in Equatorial Guinea

If you think you have COVID-19 symptoms you should call the toll-free numbers provided by the Government (1112 for Bata and 1111 for Malabo) and you will be advised on next steps. Health clinics and pharmacies are required to inform the Rapid Response Service and the closest hospital facility of any individuals with symptoms of Covid-19.

Your emotional and mental wellbeing is important. Read guidance on how to look after your mental wellbeing and mental health

View Health for further details on healthcare in Equatorial Guinea

See also the guidance on healthcare if you’re waiting to return to the UK.

COVID-19 vaccines if you live in Equatorial Guinea

As information is available about the national vaccination programme, this page will be updated.

The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is the UK authority responsible for assessing the safety, quality and efficacy of vaccines. It has authorised the Pfizer/BioNTech, Oxford/AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines for temporary supply and use in the UK. Find out more about MHRA approval for these vaccines.

British nationals living overseas should seek medical advice from their local healthcare provider in the country where they reside. Information about vaccines used in other national programmes, including regulatory status, should be available from the local authorities. This list of Stringent Regulatory Authorities recognised by the World Health Organisation may also be a useful source of additional information. Find out more information about the COVID-19 vaccines on the World Health Organization COVID-19 vaccines page.

Finance

For information on financial support you can access whilst abroad, visit our financial assistance guidance.

Returning to the UK

When you return, you must follow the rules for entering the UK.

You are responsible for organising your own COVID-19 test, in line with UK government testing requirements. You should contact local authorities for information on testing facilities.

Help and support

The British High Commission in Yaoundé, Cameroon, will only be able to provide limited consular support.

If you need urgent consular assistance, you can contact the British High Commission Yaoundé on +442070081500 / +237 222220545.

To get the latest information, sign up for travel advice email alerts.

Further information

For further information and to keep up to date, you should also check the Government of Equatorial Guinea website.

On 7 March 2021, there was a large explosion at a military camp in Bata which resulted in many deaths and injuries. British Nationals should avoid the area and follow instructions from the local police.

Crime

Compared with other countries in the region, the level of violent crime in Equatorial Guinea is low and there have been very few cases of British nationals needing consular assistance. However, there are an increasing number of robberies against people travelling by taxi in both Malabo and Bata including a serious incident of robbery and assault in a shared taxi in Bata. Avoid taking taxis with groups of strangers, particularly at night.

There are regular reports of petty theft affecting both visitors and expatriates. Take sensible personal security precautions. Don’t carry valuables or wear jewellery in public and avoid isolated or poorer areas of town. Don’t walk around Malabo and Bata at night and avoid travelling by road after dark.

Local travel

If you do not have an Equatorial Guinean resident permit, please carry a copy of the photo page and visa page of your passport with you if you wish to travel outside Malabo on the island of Bioko, and outside Bata on the mainland.

Land borders can close with little or no notice. Check the situation with the local authorities before travelling to border areas.

Road travel

Most major roads on Bioko Island and the Rio Muni mainland are now paved. In some isolated rural areas the condition of the roads is likely to be poor. Police and military roadblocks are common.

You may be asked to show your passport, or vehicle registration documents and explain your reason for being in the area. Failure to comply can lead to detention.

There are regular reports of extortion by police and uniformed security forces at roadblocks. You are advised not to pay bribes but to ask for a ticket, detailing alleged offences or violations, which can be paid at a local court.

Public transport facilities, particularly on the mainland, are extremely limited.

Air travel

Equatorial Guinean-registered aircraft are banned from EU airspace on safety grounds. British government employees do not use these aircraft unless this is unavoidable.

Sea travel

There have been armed attacks on commercial shipping vessels in the Gulf of Guinea. Take extreme care when travelling in coastal waters.

Political situation

The political situation has been calm in recent years but you should be aware that political events can lead to an increased presence of police, military or security forces on the streets. Avoid any political rallies, demonstrations or large public gatherings.

Commercial disputes

There have been occasions when expatriate staff of foreign companies have been confined to the country for prolonged periods when commercial disputes have arisen.

Although there’s no recent history of terrorism in Equatorial Guinea, attacks can’t be ruled out.

UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. Find out more about the global threat from terrorism.

There’s a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.

Penalties for the use and possession of drugs are severe and usually include a prison sentence that would be served in local prisons.

The police have introduced random breathalyser testing for drivers.

Photography of the presidential palace, ports, airports and military installations is strictly prohibited and can lead to imprisonment. Special permits from the Ministry of Information and Tourism are required for all other photography.

Same sex activity is legal in Equatorial Guinea but there’s no legal protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation. Discrimination in society remains a problem with no government efforts to combat it. Same sex marriages aren’t recognised. See our information and advice page for the LGBT community before you travel.

Caution should be exercised with public displays of affection, both same sex and opposite sex.

Security checks have increased across the country. Ensure you carry proper identification documents (passport or residence permit) at all times to present at security checks. You should follow all official advice and remain non-confrontational if stopped by authorities. Failure to produce identification documents on request can lead to detention.

The information on this page covers the most common types of travel and reflects the UK government’s understanding of the rules currently in place. Unless otherwise stated, this information is for travellers using a full ‘British Citizen’ passport.

The authorities in the country or territory you’re travelling to are responsible for setting and enforcing the rules for entry. If you’re unclear about any aspect of the entry requirements, or you need further reassurance, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.

You should also consider checking with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.

Entry rules in response to coronavirus (COVID-19)

Entry to Equatorial Guinea

Equatorial Guinea has reopened its borders to nationals, residents, diplomats and visa holders travelling for business reasons or with government approval.

Entry into Equatorial Guinea is prohibited for all passengers (including stopover flights) traveling from the UK.

Diplomatic missions and international organisations must submit a list of their personnel and/or family members travelling to Equatorial Guinea in advance of their arrival, to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation confirming the date of arrival, flight number and place of origin.

On arrival, you will be required to provide proof of a negative coronavirus (COVID-19) test, using a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, taken within the last 48 hours.

All arriving passengers are also required to undergo a rapid COVID-19 test upon arrival and to quarantine for 5 days, regardless of negative PCR or COVID-19 test results. Travelers will then be required to take a second test once the 5 days have passed. Those who test negative after the second test will be free to leave quarantine. However, those who test positive will be transferred to a health centre allocated by the government and will be required to quarantine for a further 14 days. Authorities may withdraw passports from passengers if an invalid PCR test is presented.

You should not use the NHS testing service to get a test in order to facilitate your travel to another country. You should arrange to take a private test.

Screening on arrival

Your temperature will be taken at arrival at airports and ports.

Visas

You will need a visa to visit Equatorial Guinea. Equatorial Guinea diplomatic missions abroad may issue diplomatic and business entry visas to Equatorial Guinea, however this is kept under review.

The Government of Equatorial Guinea has confirmed it will not penalise British nationals whose visas have expired while they are unable to leave the country due to coronavirus restrictions. If this is your situation, you should write a letter to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Visa Section) informing them, and keep a copy for future visa applications. You will be allowed to leave the country freely when able to, and this will not affect your chances of being granted a visa in the future.

Regular entry requirements

Passport validity

Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry.

Visas

British nationals need a visa to visit Equatorial Guinea. For further information on entry requirements, contact the Embassy of Equatorial Guinea in London: 13 Park Place, St James’, London SW1A 1LP; telephone: 020 7499 6867.

Check that your passport is properly stamped at the airport, on arrival and departure, before leaving the immigration desk. There have been reports of travellers being delayed or threatened with detention because their passports have not been properly stamped.

If you replace your passport the Equatorial Guinea authorities will require the old passport prior to issuing a replacement visa in your new passport. The authorities will not admit travellers on visas entered into old passports, even if the visa is still valid.

Long-term visitors are required to obtain a residence permit of 1 year validity from the Ministry of National Security. Holders of a residence permit no longer require a visa to exit or enter Equatorial Guinea during the validity of their residence permit.

If you’re arriving by air you may be required to fill in a health questionnaire related to recent travel to Ebola-affected countries (Liberia/Guinea/Sierra Leone).

Yellow fever certificate requirements

Check whether you need a yellow fever certificate by visiting the National Travel Health Network and Centre’s TravelHealthPro website.

UK Emergency Travel Documents

Emergency travel documents (ETDs) aren’t valid for entry into Equatorial Guinea but ETDs are accepted for exit from Equatorial Guinea.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for Equatorial Guinea on the TravelHealthPro website

See the healthcare information in the Coronavirus section for information on what to do if you think you have coronavirus while in Equatorial Guinea.

At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the latest country-specific health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website. Each country-specific page has information on vaccine recommendations, any current health risks or outbreaks, and factsheets with information on staying healthy abroad. Guidance is also available from NHS (Scotland) on the FitForTravel website.

General information on travel vaccinations and a travel health checklist is available on the NHS website. You may then wish to contact your health adviser or pharmacy for advice on other preventive measures and managing any pre-existing medical conditions while you’re abroad.

The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or purchased in the UK can be different in other countries. If you’re travelling with prescription or over-the-counter medicine, read this guidance from NaTHNaC on best practice when travelling with medicines. For further information on the legal status of a specific medicine, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.

While travel can be enjoyable, it can sometimes be challenging. There are clear links between mental and physical health, so looking after yourself during travel and when abroad is important. Information on travelling with mental health conditions is available in our guidance page. Further information is also available from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC).

Medical treatment

If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 3101 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.

Medical facilities are generally poor, apart from the La Paz hospital in Malabo. Pharmacies in Malabo and Bata stock basic medication. Emergency facilities are extremely limited. For serious medical treatment, evacuation to Europe would be necessary. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.

Food hygiene

Food purchased from local street vendors may not meet adequate hygiene standards. 

It is not possible to use credit cards except at the major airline offices (Air France, Iberia and Lufthansa) and some hotels (Hilton, Sofitel). The local currency is the Central African Franc (CFA), issued by the Banque des Etats de L’Afrique Centrale (BEAC). This is not the same Central African Franc as issued by the Banque des Etats de L’Afrique Ouest (BEAOC) which is not legal tender in Equatorial Guinea. There are only a limited number of ATMs available, located in Malabo and Bata. Not all of these accept international credit and debit cards. Euros, Pound Sterling and US Dollars are the preferred currencies for exchange at local banks.

If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) in London on 020 7008 5000 (24 hours).

Foreign travel checklist

Read our foreign travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe while you’re there.

Travel safety

The FCDO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we can’t provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should read the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified, before making your own decision on whether to travel. Only you can decide whether it’s safe for you to travel.

When we judge the level of risk to British nationals in a particular place has become unacceptably high, we’ll state on the travel advice page for that country or territory that we advise against all or all but essential travel. Read more about how the FCDO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice.

Our crisis overseas page suggests additional things you can do before and during foreign travel to help you stay safe.

Refunds and cancellations

If you wish to cancel or change a holiday that you’ve booked, you should contact your travel company. The question of refunds and cancellations is a matter for you and your travel company. Travel companies make their own decisions about whether or not to offer customers a refund. Many of them use our travel advice to help them reach these decisions, but we do not instruct travel companies on when they can or can’t offer a refund to their customers.

For more information about your rights if you wish to cancel a holiday, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website. For help resolving problems with a flight booking, visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority. For questions about travel insurance, contact your insurance provider and if you’re not happy with their response, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Registering your travel details with us

We’re no longer asking people to register with us before travel. Our foreign travel checklist and crisis overseas page suggest things you can do before and during foreign travel to plan your trip and stay safe.

Previous versions of FCDO travel advice

If you’re looking for a previous version of the FCDO travel advice, visit the National Archives website. Versions prior to 2 September 2020 will be archived as FCO travel advice. If you can’t find the page you’re looking for there, send the Travel Advice Team a request.

Further help

If you’re a British national and you have a question about travelling abroad that isn’t covered in our foreign travel advice or elsewhere on GOV.UK, you can submit an enquiry. We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.

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