Driving to Bata from Kogo proved easier than I had expected. The car was, of course, full, I was sharing the front seat with a not-too-fat passenger, so it was relatively easy going. Moreover, it takes some two hours on the new asphalted road, where previously you had to cross by boat to Acalayong and then proceed from there. Surprisingly, the police posts turned out to be OK with my presence: they checked my passport, and waved me through. Only once did I have to get out of the car. There were big signs on all these posts, claiming that not only the person asking for money was punishable, but also the one paying. In any case, the taxi dropped me off in Bata, and after a ten minute walk, I reached the waterfront, and found myself a reasonably priced hotel (there are not many of those, since this country is hardly visited by tourists, making (oil) businessmen the only ones needing hotels). I dropped my bag, and directly set out exploring the city.
Walking north on the waterfront, I soon reached the Spanish cultural centre and the Spanish consulate. They were closed, but seeing the European flag at the consulate somehow made me feel a little safer than I had felt until then in the country that tries to hard to be hostile to foreign visitors. I continued north, until I reached a modern monumental building: the Torre de Libertad, or the Tower of Freedom, a triangular building with a circular glass hall high up there. Even though you see the image of president Obiang everywhere here, for some reason he did not erect monumental statues of himself, not even in Bata. It surprised me a little bit, because he is the totalitarian leader of Equatorial Guinea since 1979, with, apparently, less appetite for total self-worshipping some other notorious leaders have.
The atmosphere was laid back, and I was gradually feeling a little better here. Kids were playing on a boat on the beach, men were trying their luck at fishing, while others were walking down the waterfront area. The views of the city are good from here. I walked back, walked up a street to visit the oldest building of the city of Bata, a cathedral erected by the Portuguese in the 17th century. Back at the waterfront, I was happy with the breeze that made the heat tolerable, and walked south, past the last buildings. The waterfront has been developed well, with lots of benches, small ponds, trees, and space. It is the waterfront that I missed so much in many African cities on the sea. I walked it several times; during the day, I was the only one around at times, while near the end of the day, more people show up: families, guys going for a run or skate, people just sitting down and waiting for sunset. The waterfront almost precisely faces west, with unobstructed views, making sunsets spectacular.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Bata waterfront (Equatorial Guinea). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Bata waterfront. Read more about this site.