"Spanish speaking country" Equatorial Guinea by jorgejuansanchez
Equatorial Guinea Travel Guide: 14 reviews and 36 photos
It had not been easy to obtain my visa for Equatorial Guinea, because that country does not maintain a good relationship with Spain since the times when the dictator Obiang took power.
But in the Equatorial Guinea Consulate in Lagos, Nigeria, I found a very humanitarian consul, to whom I explained my purpose to cross Africa overland during one year, in vertical from Melilla to Cape Town, and then up again until Sudan, to cross afterwards Africa in horizontal, from Sudan to Mauritania, using only trucks, boats along the rivers, trains, camels, hitch hiking and walking. The consul listened to my travel plans smiling, and after a few days he issued me one week transit visa through Guinea Equatorial.
One week for me was enough.
Meanwhile I had been waiting in Lagos sleeping in the streets or on a cardboard inside the bus station premises, during three days and three nights, to get that visa.
I immediately crossed Niger by buses and hitch hiking in trucks (even motorcycles picked me up) through Port Harcourt in Biafra, then Cameroon, and some days later, on 2nd December 1991, after traversing the Cameroon border, I reached Ebebiyin, in Equatorial Guinea.
When I gave my passport to the officer, he returned it to me saying (in Spanish):
- I am sorry, but the border is closed from the first to the fifteen of December, because there is a meeting lasting two weeks in Malabo of our President Teodoro Obiang Nguema and the six Presidents of the Francophone countries of Central Africa. Come back the 16th of December.
- But I can’t -I replied- my visa then would have expired!
Then I asked for his family, if he had been to Spain, how much was his salary, and soon we became friends.
In the interim a Spanish doctor, a young lady married with a local Guinean, also crossed that border and the Custom agent allowed her to go in. He told me that she was a resident in Equatorial Guinea, so she had right, but not me, being a tourist.
I talked with the doctor. She was from Madrid, and recommended me the correct “African” procedure to pass that border, if I was generous giving “cadeaux”. First she asked me to go back to Cameroon to change the date on my exit from Cameroon; instead of 2nd December I should have a stamp of 30th November in my passport.
I followed her advice.
After giving baksheesh to the Cameroon Customs officer (1000 CFA Francs as a “cadeau”) he did that for me changing my previous exit date from my passport with the help of a Tipp-Ex. Then I went back to Equatorial Guinea border and showed my passport with the exit stamp dated 30 November, and the Equatorial Guinea officer put me an entry stamp in my passport dated also 30th November.
Among the pages of the passport I left a note of 1000 CFA Francs that the Equatorial Guinea officer took and, looking around so as to not been discovered by his subordinates, kept it in his pocket and whistled of happiness.
Finally I succeeded in penetrating Equatorial Guinea!
But I had to leave the country within 5 days instead of 7 days. I had “lost” 2 days because of that unorthodox entry.
The doctor invited me to live in her house. Anyway, there was no bus service in direction to Bata until the next day, so I accepted.
The next day I only could reach Niefang because of the many Moroccan mercenaries’ controls in the way.
Equatorial Guinea seemed to me (and it is really so) a police and military country; here are controls everywhere. Most of the soldiers were mercenaries from Morocco, contracted by the dictator Obiang because he does not trust his own men.
The second day I reached Bata, a city so disastrous that probably, since the Spaniards left the country, there had not been any works.
I slept in the Casa de la Palabra, a place for meetings, when I explained my financial situation to the people.
The situation of Bata, the beaches and the easy going atmosphere captivated me immediately.
You do not make many kilometres per day travelling in Equatorial Guinea. The rivers have no bridges and often we had to wait for a balsa (bac), apart from the many Moroccan mercenaries controls.
Finally the fifth day I reached Kogo and noticed a monument in the form of a obelisk, devoted to the XIX century Spanish explorer Manuel Iradier, a traveller who made many discoveries in countries near Equatorial Guinea. He was friend of the Welsh/American traveller Henry Morton Stanley.
Kogo was another gorgeous village in that tiny country. I loved the hospitality of the people very much. I again slept in the Casa de la Palabra. Furthermore, there were so many generous fruit trees, that I had no problems to feed myself for free, and even I kept in my small bag several mangoes and papayas fruits that I picked up climbing to the trees, for eating them in the coming days.
The sixth day I had to leave the country but… alas! The border was still closed because the meeting of the six Presidents of the Francophone Central African countries with the dictator Obiang!
I had to give more baksheesh (1000 CFA Francs) to leave the country, and thanks to a humble Spanish businessman who had modest shops in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea selling ironmongers and trashy items, I could accompany him in his canoe to Coco Beach, in Gabon.
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