Malabo Travel Guide

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Leaving Santa Isabel

Leaving Santa Isabel

Heinz Becker

Malabo, the capital of Equatorial Guinea, is set beautifully between the cloud-capped Pico Malabo on one side and high ocean waves on the other. Unfortunately there are no good beaches nearby, and there are no agencies to arrange a hiking trip in the inland, but the city has quite some tourist potential nevertheless.

For the moment it's just potential. The city is pretty rundown and with just a handful of restaurants and hotels worthy of the name, Malabo lacks a lot of infrastructure. It does have numerous bars, however, where you can get a quick shot of booze.

A trip to Luba or even Riaba are absolutely worthwhile. It gives you an impression of the scenery of the island and both have good beaches. On the way to Riba you can see the Moka Valley with its crater lake.

Malabo is improving slowly with the influx of oil money, there is a good Pizza restaurant and a couple of Chinese now (2004/5).  Remember always that this place is ruled by a vicious military dictatorship rivalling that in Zimbabwe.  Travel anywhere is difficult especially to Riaba which is the home town of the Bubi tribe, downtrodden enemies of the Fang Tribe Government.

Forget Hiking, it doesn't happen.  Plenty of nasty snakes, mosquitoes the size of sparrows (these cause Cerebral Malaria - Lariam tablets are essential).

The sea can be nice, there are even whales to be seen at certain times, however at other times watch out for the sharks, jelly fish and other assorted nasties! The best view to be seen from Malabo is across the water 30 miles to the active Volcano Mount Cameroon.


This Malabo travel guide will help you in planning a safe and wonderful journey to the city of Malabo, situated on Bioko Island in Central Africa.

Getting In and Around

If you are planning to visit Malabo, be sure you have your visa and passport with you because the only way to get here is by air. Malabo is served by the Malabo International Airport. A few international air carriers operate regular flights to and from key cities around the world to Malabo. Some even offer discounts.

You can get around the city by taking a taxi. During the day the taxi fares are cheaper; however, at night it is more expensive. You can also choose to walk around and explore the city.


Since Malabo is the capital city of Equatorial Guinea, most businesses and hotels are concentrated within the city. That means you don’t have to worry about finding decent and comfortable hotels. If you are on a tight budget, you can find several affordable hotels that offer comfortable rooms with basic necessities. If you would like to stay at some luxury hotels, you might want to try Sofitel Malabo, Hotel Bahia or Hotel Impala.


While in the city, you might consider visiting the city’s main attractions such as the Bioko Biodiversity Protection Program and Universidad Nacional de Guinea Ecuatorial. The Bioko Biodiversity Protection Program offer educational tours and programs about West Africa’s wild life as well as it flora and fauna. The Universidad Nacional de Guinea Ecuatorial showcases great Spanish architecture. Other places you might want to visit are the Palacio de la Presidencia, the Malabo Cathedral and the gardens of Malabo City Hall.

Eating Out

There are several good restaurants around Malabo that serve local and international cuisine. Restaurante Mesa Verde is one of the most popular restaurants in Malabo. The restaurant serves African and Spanish cuisine and offers a great view of the harbor. Other must-try restaurants are Pizza Place, Club Nautico, Cuatro Ases and Gue-Gue.

Important Information

Laws in Malabo are quite “different” so it is better to be careful. It is illegal to bring maps of the place to help you get around the city. When taking pictures you need to ask for permission, especially if there’s a policeperson nearby or else your camera will be confiscated and you will spend few hours at the precinct.

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