Eating and sleeping – Equatorial Guinea

Eating and drinking

The food of Equatorial Guinea has much in common with the dishes found in West and Central Africa. Similarities include: widespread (and liberal) use of pimento, the mixing of meat and fish in the same dish, the use of groundnuts or ground pumpkin seeds, and the prevalence of shrimps, prawns and river crayfish (whether dried, smoked or ground). These culinary similarities are not surprising when considering the climate in the areas these dishes are found, and the availability of local ingredients.

The Portuguese introduced food and plants in many of the areas that they colonised. Malanga cubana (cocoyam) from the Americas and malanga bubi (taro) from India have since established themselves as staples of local cuisine in very geographically dispersed areas of Africa. In terms of drinks, both palm wine (tope) and malamba (an alcoholic drink made from sugarcane) are very popular, although imported European alcohols tend to dominate the market today.


Unless you are staying with a contact in-country, or have made arrangements for a place through CouchSurfi ng or Airbnb, hotels will be your main accommodation option. The government has invested a great deal of money in high-end accommodation over the past few years, meaning that business travellers and those tourists with a larger budget will find themselves well catered for in Malabo, Bata and Mongomo.

Decent mid-range accommodation is much harder to find, and even more overpriced relative to the quality of services on offer. Unless you speak Spanish, it will be difficult to book these hotels in advance, and they do not always respond to email requests. In this situation, social media is often a more fruitful means of communication than official email addresses or website enquiry forms.

There is a dearth of budget or backpacker accommodation in Equatorial Guinea. At the lowest end of the price range you will find some truly awful places, with no air conditioning, running water or even proper toilet facilities. Some of these places are frequented by prostitutes and have a lot of people coming and going all night. It is inadvisable for lone female travellers to stay at these locations.

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