Country guides Africa
Electrical outlets in Equatorial Guinea usually supply electricity at between 220 and 240 volts, 50Hz. European two-pin plugs with round or flat pins are standard.
Spanish and French are the official languages of Equatorial Guinea, although the majority of the population speak African languages.
The Central African CFA Franc (XAF) is the official currency of Equatorial Guinea (along with five other central African countries). It is divided into 100 smaller units called centime. Equatorial Guinea is largely a cash economy and credit cards are seldom accepted. Foreign currency can be exchanged at hotels and banks in major cities but the process is expensive and time consuming and travellers are advised to bring funds in the local currency.
Small tips for good service are appreciated and often expected in Equatorial Guinea. Service charges are not usually included in restaurants and tips of about 10 percent for waitrons are customary. Taxi fares should be rounded up if the service is good.
Equatorial Guinea is a malaria area and malaria medication is essential. Visitors should consult their doctors to decide which prophylaxis will suit them best. Vaccinations are recommended for hepatitis A, hepatitis B and typhoid. Those who will be spending a lot of time outdoors and may be at risk of animal bites should also consider a rabies vaccination. Yellow fever certificates are required for any travellers arriving from infected areas in Africa or the Americas, and a yellow fever vaccination is recommended for all visitors to Equatorial Guinea. Travellers should not drink tap water in Equatorial Guinea unless it has been boiled, filtered or chemically disinfected. Visitors should also avoid anything with ice in it, as well as fruit and vegetables unless they have been peeled or cooked. It's best to ensure that meals are eaten while hot and not left to cool. Travellers should note that food bought from street vendors can be hazardous.
Medical facilities are extremely limited in Equatorial Guinea and the country suffers frequent shortages of essential medications and supplies. Comprehensive travel insurance is recommended but most doctors will expect payment in cash. Visitors should bring along any medicine they require, in the original packaging and with a signed and dated letter from their doctor detailing what the medication is and why it is necessary.
There is little threat of terrorism in Equatorial Guinea and violent crime is rare. The overall level of criminal activity is low compared to other countries in the region, but petty crime and theft is on the rise and has become common. As tourism is rare there is little evidence of tourist scams. Official corruption, however, is very common and it is not unusual for foreigners to be stopped by uniformed officers and confronted with various 'violations' that will go away with a bribe. Visitors are not advised to encourage this corruption and it is best to request an official citation of the violation to be paid at the local court, or to demand a receipt stating the violation, the amount paid and the officer's name.
There is a risk of piracy off the coast of Equatorial Guinea.
Both the people and the customs of Equatorial Guinea are friendly and welcoming. Greetings are important, and may last longer than foreign visitors are accustomed to. People tend to stand close together when conversing. It's best to ask permission before photographing someone; photographing military personnel or buildings is prohibited. Various things may make officials suspicious in Equatorial Guinea, including camouflage gear, weapons, binoculars and radios, and these things may be confiscated or lead to questioning.
Lightweight suits are acceptable attire for meetings and shaking hands is an appropriate greeting. Greetings tend to be formal. Business cards should be in Spanish or French and a translator may be necessary for foreigners who only speak English.
Visitors to Equatorial Guinea may import the following goods into the country: 200 cigarettes; 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco, one litre of wine and one litre of spirits, and an amount of perfume reasonable for personal use.
Internet is available in the major cities and some internet cafés do operate, though internet usage is not yet widespread among the local population. The international access code for Equatorial Guinea is +240.
Passport & Visa
All foreign visitors to Equatorial Guinea must provide evidence of their ability to financially support themselves during their stay. It is highly recommended that travellers' passports have at least six months' validity remaining after the intended date of departure from their travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.
US citizens must have a valid passport to enter Equatorial Guinea. No visa is required.
British citizens require a valid passport and a visa to enter Equatorial Guinea.
Canadian citizens require a valid passport and a visa to enter Equatorial Guinea.
Australian citizens require a valid passport and a visa to enter Equatorial Guinea.
South African citizens require a valid passport and a visa to enter Equatorial Guinea.
Irish citizens require a valid passport and a visa to enter Equatorial Guinea.
New Zealand citizens require a valid passport and a visa to enter Equatorial Guinea.
Useful contactsRather than rely on national helplines, it is best for visitors to familiarise themselves with the contact details of the local authorities in each city.
Embassies / consulates in other countries
Equatorial Guinea Embassy, Washington DC. United States (also responsible for Canada): (202) 518 5700.
Equatorial Guinea Embassy, London. Tel: (020) 3752 6626.
Equatorial Guinea Embassy, Pretoria. Tel: (012) 342 9945.
Embassies / consulates in Equatorial Guinea
US Embassy, Malabo. Tel: (+240) 333 09 57 41.
British Honorary Consul, Malabo. Tel: (240) 222 277 502.
South African Embassy, Malabo. Tel: (240) 333 099 522.