The city is dotted with elaborate and impressive Spanish buildings. The architectural splendors of these Spanish buildings are note worthy. We would move on to visit the rest of Bioko Island. The island of Bioko is one of the most beautiful and biologically-significant places in all of Africa. It is home to Africa's greatest concentration of endangered primates and to more than fifty unique species of plants. Nearly 200 species of birds fly amongst the island's three volcanic peaks, the highest more than 3000 meters.
We would cross over to the port town of Luba (population: about 15,000) is the second-largest city on the island and a two-hour drive from Malabo. The local specialty is fish served with plantains, a delicious dish well worth the drive down. Before then, we shall have a brief stop at the Arena Blanca the only white-sand beach on the island and only an hour away from Malabo. Swimming is encouraged. A bit farther along the west coast from Luba is the Bubi village of Batete, a very old settlement distinguished by its wooden church, which still stands despite the onslaught of storms that buffet this area in the rainy season.
- Pico Basile
- Moka, Lago Biao and the Cascades
- Arena Blanca, Luba, Batete and Moeri
- The Gran Caldera, Ureka and the Southern Beaches.
From "El Pico," as it is known, you can often see its mainland sister Mt. Cameroon (4100 m), an active volcano. These two mountains are part of volcanic chain that extends diagonally across the Atlantic from the British island of St. Helena (Napoleon's final exile) to Lake Chad in Cameroon. Pico Basile and Mt. Cameroon form the only habitat for many threatened species. Another attraction easily accessible from Moka is the breathtaking cascades, where three separate branches of the Ilachi River plunge over the edge of a 250 m (800 ft) canyon.
As you stand in moss-draped montane forest at the top of the largest waterfall, you look out across undisturbed forest to the other cascades. The Bioko Biodiversity Protection Program maintains a wildlife research center at Moka which provides accommodations for visiting scientists, ecotourists and others. The Rio Tudela drains the Caldera to the southern beaches where marine turtles nest at night. There is a guest house not far away at Moraka Beach. To the east of the Tudela, crossing several other rivers and scaling a steep cliff is Ureka, a village of only 100 people and the only settlement on Bioko's southern coast.
There are no roads to Ureka, but it can be accessed by an 8 to 10 hour downhill hike from Moka, a 10-hour downhill hike from Belebu-Balacha or by an open boat ride from Luba and then a 1 to 2 hour walk along the beach. An hour's hike from Ureka brings you to the spectacular Rio Eola waterfalls where you may swim in the clear cool pool beneath the falls. The beaches all along the southern coast are black sand. The ocean water is warm and the waves may reach as high as 10 ft.
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