In Gabon, you might just find yourself landing on an airstrip full of goats, dodging forest elephants on the stroll home from the bar, or wandering into a celebration of starkly painted dancers that harkens back hundreds of years. Outside Westernised Libreville, just about everything in Gabon is so newly accessible that just by being there you’re already off the beaten path and in the middle of a whole new world. And if you happen to be travelling with a 4WD, mechanic, cash to burn and a French dictionary, you’re bound to have the adventure of a lifetime. Exploring this land ain’t no walk in a national park. Lack of infrastructure and transportation will lead you on long, bumpy journeys, and it practically costs 20 bucks just to breathe the air in the glitzy capital city, Libreville.
But you’ll be stunned by what is shaping up to be Africa’s next best ecotourism destination. Thanks to President El Hadj Omar Bongo’s designation of a whopping 10% of the country’s land as national parks – closing it down to loggers and miners and opening it up to travellers, conservationists and ecotourists – it’s now possible to explore endless white-sand beaches, primate-filled tropical rainforests, rolling savannahs and estuaries. Probably the most beautiful of the country's parks, Loango National Park is located on the Southern Gabon coast, and is renown for - wait for it - surfing hippos. The wilds of Eastern Gabon are where you'll find the Ivindo National Park, with its own eco-camp and resident elephants and gorillas.
Nature and wildlife fanatics will not be disappointed: long days of trekking will be rewarded with seeing wild creatures in their own pristine environment. The experience will transport you back to a time when Mother Earth – not humans – ruled the land.
Last updated: Mar 3, 2011
Tips & articles
Check out all our reviewed and recommended accommodation and book online.