On our very first night in Malabo, we inquired about the mysterious parcel of land next to the Hilton, planted with neat rows of trees, a decorative wall, and scatterings of rooftops. Was it a zoo, a park, a nursery? All signs pointed to a zoo. This was both an exciting and saddening idea, heavier on the sad since the area didn’t seem large enough for any large animal exhibits. We’ve watched as the land developed, and became more zoo like. Walking paths were cemented, a ticket/toll booth erected at the entrance, and a crazy neon lit bridge appeared. The local staff at the Embassy had heard it was not a zoo, our expat friends remained convinced that must be a zoo.
A coworker found the sketch below online, which only presented more questions. There’s water in there? Are those little islands animal habitats? Where are the neon lights? Can you raft down those rapids? Whose statue is that?
So on Labor Day, when it was “too cold” to go to the beach (our skin has gotten so thin…), we decide to peek inside and see for ourselves what was behind the still unopened walls that have taunted us for so long. We now know, for certain, that it is definitely. not. a. zoo. It is a fantastic park with many other exciting features! None of which will result in sad lions, tigers, or bears.
Whoever designed this park did a really great job! Cormac and I were amazed at how large it is. You can’t see very of it much from the road. A huge pond/lake is in the middle, with little islands and inlets carved out. I would guess that at a leisurely strolling pace, it will take an hour to walk all the paths.
It looked like there are a lot of picnic areas, places to sit and read, and maybe a cafe or two in the park. From the road outside the park you can spy basketball and tennis courts, too.
I’m really excited for the park to officially open. I don’t think it will be too far off from the “despues” sketch my coworker found. Perhaps the ribbon cutting will be an Independence Day event? If so, only a month to go!