Facts About Malabo
|State||Bioko (Fernando Po) Island|
|Population||297000 as per the 2022 estimate|
|Lat Long Coordinates||3°45′7.43″N 8°46′25.32″E|
|Area Code||+240 – 9|
|Point of interest||Monte Alen National Park, Pico Malabo volcano , bata beach, Moca Valley|
Malabo is the capital city of Equatorial Guinea and has a population of about 297,000.
It is a part of the Bioko Island and is inhabited by ethnic groups of Bubi, Fang, Igno and Fernandino. Spanish, French and Creole English are the prevalent languages here.
The first Europeans to discover the island of Bioko were the Portuguese who named it Fernao. Later, in 1778, Spain occupied the area until in 1827; the British took over and officially founded the city and renamed it, Port Clarence. The Spanish regained control in 1844 and renamed it, Santa Isabel. In 1969, it replaced Bata as the capital and in the year 1973, after the independence of Guinea, the city was named Malabo. Today, the city is an oil town and also serves as the political and economic center of the country.
Malabo is situated on the coast of Bioko Island towards the north at the edge of a sunken volcano. It is covered with tropical rainforest and to its west is the Malabo Bay. It lies on the Gulf of Guinea, about 32 km from the coast of the mainland. The city is further expanding on the slopes of Cameroon Mountain, named Malabo II.
How to Reach (Transport)
Malabo is served by the Saint Isabel International Airport, located at a distance of 9 km from the city and connects it to various cities in Africa and Europe via Kenya Airways, Air France, Lufthansa, Ethiopian Airlines, and Royal Air Maroc.
The city is also accessible by ferries which dock at a harbor situated about 4 km to its east. Inside the city, one can easily avail of taxis, both shared and otherwise. Buses are also available although the availability might vary.
When to Visit
Malabo has a tropical climate with distinct wet and dry seasons. The city experiences heavy rainfall from the month of March to the month of November, the heaviest being in September and October. The weather is generally foggy without much sunshine. The best time to visit is from December to February when the city has its short but pronounced dry season. During these months, Malabo is dry, has sunny days, and features clear skies.
Fairs and Festivals
A hub of culture and traditions, Malabo celebrates its diverse heritage in full glory. Following are some of the important festivals celebrated in Malabo:
- Malabo Hip Hop Festival, an annual festival held in December, is a ten day long even hosted at the Institute of Cultural Expression. With a lot of workshops as well as live performances, it is widely attended by hip-hop artists from the whole of Africa and Europe.
- Yam Festival, a principal event in West Africa, was originally a traditional pagan festival. Now, it is a major farming festival where a number of tribal women walk the roads of the city while balancing yams on their heads. These yams are sacrificed at an altar dedicated to their ancestors. Celebrations also include colorful costumes and traditional dancing.
- Music Day, held in July, is an annual musical event adorned by flocks of dancers, artists, and musicians for a day of dancing and singing.
Other festivals include Independence Day, Armed Force Day, Guinea Festival, and Christmas.
Points of Interest (Places to Visit)
Malabo is a city of new architecture mixed with old colonial buildings with Spanish and Latin American influence galore. It is naturally attractive and steeped in cultural richness. The following are some of the main spots one shouldn’t miss in this town:
- The Santa Isabel Cathedral, one of the most famous buildings in the country, is a stunning piece of Spanish Gothic architecture. It is located in the Plaza de España, built and named by the Spanish. Skeleton Stone structures and beautiful tall arches make this cathedral a must see for everyone.
- Riaba, a township situated right outside the city, is one of most popular places for sightseeing. Lush greenery, several wildlife species and an amazing volcanic lake, it is a nature lover’s paradise. Trekking is also very popular here.
- Luba Beach, the beach capital of the country, is about half an hour from the city. Sunsets are worth watching at one of the beautiful beaches here.
Other noteworthy places to see are the Pico Basile National Park, the Presidential Palace as well as Horatio’s Island.
Malabo has moderately priced as well as luxury boutique hotels. Apartments are also available on rent for those who wish to stay for a longer period of time. Apart Hotel Preguis, only a few minutes away from the city center, offers completely furnished apartments as well as luxury hotel suites as per requirement. Ibis Malabo and Mango Suites is another moderately priced hotel. Services include free wireless internet, a swimming pool as well as a restaurant.
For a luxury stay, Malabo has international hotels like Hilton and Sofitel as well as Hotel 3 de Agosto which are equipped with high-speed internet, pools, bars, restaurants and even gyms. Hotel Stella and Hotel Yoly Y Henos are the cheapest accommodation options available.