(République de Guinee equatoriale, República de Guinea
- Location: Western Coast of Africa
- Capital: Malabo
- Language: French, Spanish, Fang and Bube
- Population: 683,463
- Total Area: 28,050 sq km
- Currency: Central African CFA
- Curious Alcohol Fact: Locally-brewed drinks are far more popular than branded
- Annual Average Liquor Consumption Per Capita: 6.06 liters
- Most Popular Drink: Malamba and palm wine
The Republic of Equatorial Guinea is one of the smallest nations in Africa in terms of area and population. It has two parts; one part can be described as being onshore (on the continent itself) while the other part is in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. The continental part is called Rio Muni while the part is actually a group of islands, and the capital city of Malabo is located on one of these islands. Once ruled by Spain, the name is a reflection of its geographical location –the Gulf of Guinea and the Line of Equator, although it does not lie directly on the Equator. By virtue of its location, the nation has a typical climate of the Tropics and rainfall is almost on a daily basis in some places.
A vast majority of the Equatoguineans (that is what a citizen is called) I came across are from the Fang ethnic group and this is actually the true demographic scenario as more than 80% of the citizens on the mainland are of the Fang affiliation. Other tribes are the Bubi, Mabia, Kumbe, Lengi and many more. There is also a significant migrant community from the neighboring nations of Nigeria, Gabon and Cameroon. A staggering proportion of the country are Christians while others are either Muslims or followers of the traditional African religions/ancestor worship. Equatoguineans are very hospitable and this is a trait I have observed among other Africans as well. They will always make you feel at home.
Considering the fact that many of the citizens are farmers (although I later learnt Equatorial Guinea has huge oil deposits), I was not too surprised that food crops such as rice, yams, cassava and bananas were in plentiful supply. Thus, many of the local dishes were made from these staple crops. In Malabo, I finished a whole plate of boiled plantain and chicken complete with pepper soup and even ordered for a second plate! Eating is always a fantastic experience in this tiny African nation.
Drinks? You Choose!
When it comes to the variety of drinks, the nation dazzles you with its array of beverages and liquors. In the capital, there are various shops selling assorted and exotic Spanish wines. However, the real deal is in the village where you can take fresh palm wine in calabash very early in the morning (it is a ritual in many villages). There is also the malamba, a brew that is locally-made from sugar cane and usang, a kind of tea that reinvigorates the body and soul.
Sights That Must Be Seen
Equatorial Guinea is home to some of the most exotic and lush equatorial rainforests in the world, rivaling those of the Amazon Basin in terms of sheer grandeur and vitality. Visit vast swathes of untouched forests and see some amazing creatures and plants. The island of Fernando Po (or Bioko) is a place of raw beauty and a cruise round it will not be a bad idea.
Story By World By Shotglass
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Special thanks to our contributors:
Daniel Krasnopolsky (Woodmere, NY, USA)
Adebayo Ahmed Adebola (Ilorin, Nigeria)
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