Equatorial Guinea



Few countries have had as quick a reversal of fortunes as Equatorial Guinea, where things are suddenly looking up. This tiny country, which consists of a few islands and a patch of mainland squeezed between Cameroon and Gabon, suffered for more than a decade under one of the cruelest despots on the continent. It then endured the legacy of policies that had destroyed the country's schools as well as its rich cocoa plantations and fishing industries. But since the beginning of a petroleum boom in 1996, change has come to this former Spanish colony where not that long ago things such as automobiles and airplanes were rare sights.

That doesn't mean, however, that Equatorial Guinea has become a more convenient place for travelers. To see its tropical rain forests, cloud-covered volcanoes and crumbling colonial cities, visitors will still have to put up with delays, low levels of sanitation and poorly maintained roads.

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