Equatorial Guinea - Encompassed


Equatorial Guinea - Encompassed

Style: PioneerGroundbreaking tours to unique destinations
Duration: 10 days
Type: GroupSmall group tours with a maximum of 12 travellers

Dossier

Spread across a number of Atlantic islands and a coastal strip of mainland territory, when setting out on this journey you will be following in the footsteps of intrepid Victorian explorers such as Sir Richard Burton and Mary Kingsley. This tiny nation, with less than a million inhabitants, features a stunning variety of landscapes, sights and peoples. Here you will find the crystal clear waters of the Atlantic fused with the biodiverse jungles of Central Africa and the cultures and flavours of Europe and the Americas. Africa's only Spanish-speaking country is a unique surprise in this part of the world, and the best thing is as a pioneering early tourist, you should have it all to yourself! From the nesting sea turtles of Rio Muni to the cosmopolitan waterfront restaurants of Malabo, Equatorial Guinea is now waiting to be explored.


Tour Rating

Fitness ●●○○○ | Off the Beaten Track ●●●●● | Culture ●●●●○ | History ●●●○○ | Wildlife ●●○○○

Tour Pace

Busy

Tour Highlights

  • Discover one of the least visited countries in the world
  • Explore a nation which features a stunning variety of landscapes, sights and peoples
  • Visit the Bioko Biodiversity Protection Program and meet the resident researchers who protect the local nesting sites of Ureka
  • Watch the turtles come ashore to lay their eggs

Tour Essentials

Accommodation: Comfortable hotels
Included Meals: Daily breakfast (B), plus lunches (L) and dinners (D) as shown in the itinerary
Group Size: Maximum of 12
Start Point: Malabo – you can arrive any time on the first day
End Point: Malabo – departure on the last day can be any time from 19:00
Transport: 4WD or Minibus
Countries: Equatorial Guinea

Tour Itinerary Notes

While our intention is to adhere to the day-by-day itinerary as printed below, a degree of flexibility is built in. Overnight stops may vary from those suggested and on occasions alternative accommodation, of a similar standard to that named below, will be used.

Tour Guide

Our guides are a key strength, chosen for their knowledge of and passion for the areas in which they work. All of our guides are carefully hand-picked, and are not just passing through these countries, but are usually locally born. Unlike some companies it should be noted we do not send a guide or tour leader from Undiscovered Destinations in the UK as we have every confidence in our locally appointed representative who is responsible for operating the tour on our behalf. Where possible you will have the same guide throughout your trip but on occasions it may be necessary to change the guide at one or more points during the tour.

Day 1 – Malabo

Arrive in Malabo where you will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel. Overnight Hotel Yoli. 

Day 2 – Malabo - Luba

After breakfast your guide will provide a tour briefing at 9am.

Following the briefing we travel to Bioko Sur, the protected jungle area which covers the southern portion of the island. First we head for Moka via the town of Riaba crossing the impressive Puente Cope bridge along the way. In Moka we will visit a nature research centre and learn about the work of the Bioko Biodiversity Protection Program (BBPP) (http://bioko.org/). After lunch we will continue to Batété, home to a wooden church dating back to 1887. Our last stop of the day will be we in Luba on the west coast, a picturesque port town that played an important role in the colonial history of this nation. It was here in 1778 that the Spanish first landed and laid claim to the island (a monument commemorates this date at the northern end of town). Overnight Hotel Nautico. (BLD)

Day 3 – Ureka

Today we head south to the southern coastal village of Ureka. With a record-breaking 10,450mm of rainfall per year, it is known as the wettest place in Africa and one of the wettest in the word. In Ureka we will visit the local base camp of the Bioko Biodiversity Protection Program (BBPP). From November to March BBPP researchers and staff are present to protect the turtle nesting sites of Ureka. During our visit we hope to see turtles come ashore to lay their eggs; a wonderful experience. Please note that it may be very late into the evening before the turtles come ashore and as with any wildlife viewing experience, guarantees cannot be given that the turtles will be seen. Also depending on the tides you should be prepared to wade through water up to waist height as the tide comes in. It is important that appropriate footwear and shorts or swimwear is worn. You must also bring your own torch, and bring some snacks to have later in the evening before returning to the hotel. Depending on the location of the nesting sites it can be up to a 2 hour walk along the beach in each direction. Later we return from the beaches of Ureka to our hotel in Luba. Arrival may be in the early hours of the morning. Overnight Hotel Nautico. (BL)

Further Information

A good deal of flexibility is required on this day, as changes to the advertised programme may be required at short notice. Depending on the tides we may have some spare time. Other activities may be arranged should this be the case, including a visit to Arena Blanca Beach, and/or a local cacao (chocolate) factory.

Day 4 – Malabo

After breakfast we head back to the capital where we will start our visit of the city with a walking tour. While exploring the markets and colonial architecture you will hear Spanish being spoken, or perhaps pigeon English, hinting at the rich and varied colonial past. The recent influx of oil wealth has led to widespread development in Malabo, and you will be surprised by the choice on offer when it comes to eating and drinking. Whether you want Spanish paella or local pepe soup, you will find it all here. Despite this diversity, this is not a large city and a tour of the neatly gridded avenues only takes a few hours. After lunch we will visit ‘New’ Malabo, with its 5 star hotel, and plush shopping centres, a contrast to the old centre. Overnight Hotel Yoli. (BD)

Day 5 – Malabo – Bata

A leisurely start to the day before we take a lunchtime flight over to Río Muni, the country’s mainland region, where we touch down in the coastal city of Bata. Far larger than Malabo, this is the throbbing heart of the nation and a gateway to the African interior. Here you can enjoy a relaxing walk along the breezy maritime pathway, which runs the length of this long, thin city, and take in the sea views from your hotel. If you thought Malabo was a cultural melting pot, then prepare to be amazed by Bata, as you rub shoulders with Spanish businessmen, Italian engineers, Chinese construction workers, Middle Eastern hoteliers and African traders from across the region. These groups have all brought their own food, so the choice of restaurants and bars spread throughout the city is fantastic. As you might expect, there is also a strong cultural scene, centred mainly around the Spanish, French and Equatoguinean Cultural Centres, which feature musical performances, art displays and other events throughout the year. After an afternoon city tour we will take dinner. Overnight Hotel Carmen. (BD)

Day 6 – Bata – Rio Campo - Bata

Leaving Bata behind, we head up the north coast towards the border with Cameroon. Along the way we will make stops at the old Punta Mbonda lighthouse and Tika Beach before reaching Rio Campo where we will lunch. The River Campo forms the border between Equatorial-Guinea and Cameroon, and we are likely to meet friendly locals who make the crossing between the two countries in simple canoes. From Rio Campo we will head back down the coast to our hotel in Bata. Overnight Hotel Carmen. (BL)

Day 7 – Mongomo – Djibloho (Oyala)

Today we journey through the forested inland plateau to the President's home town of Mongomo, on the Gabonese border. Home to a breathtaking series of architectural monuments, a particular highlight is the massive basilica styled after St Peter's in the Vatican City. From Mongomo we continue to the country’s proposed new capital city of Djibloho, also known as Oyala. Truly isolated in the heart of the jungle, you will have the surreal experience of driving along a deserted eight lane highway until Oyala's skyscrapers appear on the horizon, seemingly out of nowhere. Due for completion in 2020, the city already boasts a five star luxury hotel, our home for the night, and an 18 hole golf course. Overnight Hotel Djibloho (Oyala). (BD)

Day 8 – Monte Allen – Bata – Mbini - Cogo

Venturing back towards the coast, our next stop is Monte Allen National Park, a vast space which was previously home to an abundance of wildlife including forest elephants, Western Lowland Gorillas and chimpanzees. Sadly as the park has little infrastructure and has suffered from years of neglect and poaching, on a short visit we are unlikely to see any wildlife. Nonetheless, a visit is still recommended so we can enjoy the jungle experience, and discover one of Africa's least visited national parks. From Monte Allen we head back to Bata and onto Mbini, located at the mouth of Benito River. The river landscape here is dominated by the Chinese-built suspension bridge which stretches 800m over the river, linking the southern portion of the coastline to Bata. The bridge is a sight to behold, especially at night when it is often lit up, but be careful taking photographs as bridges are designated ‘strategic sites’. Overnight Complejo Turistico de Mbini. (BD)

Day 9 – Cogo – Bata - Malabo

After breakfast we drive to Cogo located at the mouth of the Muni River, surrounded by the Reserva Natural del Estuario del Rio Muni.  The government hopes to make Cogo a commercial and tourism hub in the area and it is expanding rapidly. The redevelopment of the waterfront is already underway and it is clear that the walkway by the town’s market is intended to a smaller version of the Paseo Maritimo in Bata. On a clear day you can see all the way across the river to Gabon. In the afternoon we return to Bata, where will have time for an early evening dinner, before taking the short flight back to Malabo. (BD)

Day 10 – Pico Basile

Drive up to the top of Pico Basile, the highest point on the island at 3018m and the highest in the country. The tour will also visit the Virgin of Bisila church. Later we return to Malabo in time for a check-in and departure of evening flights to Europe. (B) 

Inclusions:
Arrival and departure transfers
All accommodation
Transport
Domestic flights
Services of English speaking guide / tour leader
Meals as listed (B – Breakfast, L – Lunch, D – Dinner) –Entrance fees for sites listed as part of the itinerary
Tourist permits

Excluded:
International flights
Travel Insurance
Visas
Drinks