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Equatorial Guinea Travel Information

The Basics

Time

Local time is GMT +1.

Electricity

Electrical outlets in Equatorial Guinea usually supply electricity at between 220 and 240 volts. European two-pin plugs with round or flat pins are standard.

Language

Spanish and French are the official languages of Equatorial Guinea, although the majority of the population speak African languages.

Travel Health

Equatorial Guinea is a malaria area and malaria medication is essential - consult your doctor to decide which prophylaxis will suit you 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. Don't drink anything with ice in it, don't eat fruit and vegetables unless they have been peeled or cooked, and 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.

Tipping

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 waiters are customary. Taxi fares should be rounded up if the service is good.

Safety Information

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.

Local Customs

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. Always 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.

Business

Businesses in Equatorial Guinea tend to shut down daily between 1pm and 4pm for a long lunch break and siesta; working hours are generally 8am to 1pm and 4pm to 7pm Monday to Saturday. 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 if you only speak English.

Communications

Landline telephone penetration is low in Equatorial Guinea and there is only one GSM mobile telephone operator - Orange - which has coverage of Malabo, Bata, and several other mainland cities. Internet is available in the major cities and some internet cafes do operate but internet usage is not yet widespread among the local population. The international access code for Equatorial Guinea is 240.

Duty Free

Visitors to Equatorial Guinea may import the following goods: 200 cigarettes/50 cigars/250g of tobacco, one litre of wine and one litre of spirits, an amount of perfume reasonable for personal use. Currency in excess of XAF50,000 must be declared on arrival.

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