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Introducing Gabon

Unlike many of its neighbours, this slab of equatorial Africa enjoys both peace and stability, while its superb wildlife makes it an increasingly popular place to safari away from the crowds of East Africa. With its seemingly endless rainforest now safeguarded by the 2003 decision to turn an incredible 10% of the country into protected national parkland, Gabon is Central Africa's most progressive and traveller-friendly destination, although the competition is admittedly not too fierce.

Despite being far ahead of many of its unstable, war-torn neighbours, tourism in Gabon remains extremely DIY – you'll either have to put yourself into the hands of a travel agency, or negotiate the poor roads, infrequent transport options and the almost total lack of reliable infrastructure yourself. Outside the cosmopolitan metropolis of Libreville, the country's only real city, Gabon is an undiscovered wonderland of thick jungle, white-sand beaches, rushing rivers and ethereal landscapes. Bring either plenty of money or plenty of patience, but definitely don't miss out on this Eden-like travel experience.