Gabon is a Central African country that lies along the Atlantic coast bordering Congo-Brazzaville, Cameroon, and Equatorial Guinea. The country boasts of a hilly terrain and is full of lush green rainforests. Surrounded by dense forests, a great diversity of wildlife, pristine impressive landscapes, white beautiful beaches, raging rivers, and many more natural attractions, it is the best place to visit if you are interested in eco-tourism. Here are some interesting facts about Gabon!
1. Most 80-85% of Gabon is covered by rainforests, 11% of which has been dedicated for national parks making these parks some of the largest nature parks in the world. Of Gabon’s 14 national parks, 13 were all declared on the same day, on August 30, 2002, by the late President El Hadj Omar Bongo.
2. There is an amazing 550 miles (885 kilometres) of coastline to explore here, with incredible sandy beaches and beautiful blue seas. We want to go!
3. Gabon is home to hundreds of dolomite and limestone caves many of which are yet to be explored. There are so many such caves in Gabon that people continue to stumble upon them. With a big part of the landmass remaining under natural forest cover, many of these caves remain unknown.
4. Gabon was the centre of slave trading activity. Libreville (“free town”), the capital of Gabon, was founded by freed slaves.
5. Mask making and ritual face paint are important parts of Gabonese culture, and styles vary dramatically between groups. By making masks, the Gabonese people show their respect for their ancestors.
6. Gabon is the country where those who are reluctant to vote may be punished. Since voting is compulsory, those who dare to refrain from it may have to pay a huge fine later.
7. Gabon is home to around 80% of Africa’s Gorilla population. The country grabs a giant share of baboons with 8 out of 10 baboons in Africa found in Gabon.
8. Gabon comprises a largely young population with 40% of the total population being below 15 years of age. About 56% of the total population is within the 15-64 age bracket. Less than 4% of the population is above 65 years.
9. Loango National Park in Gabon has more than 175 kilometres of uninhabited shoreline. It’s regarded as one of Africa’s last great coastal wildernesses.
How to reach?
Gabon’s international airport at Libreville (LBV) is well connected by air to most of the European capitals with direct flights from London and Paris by major European and African airlines.
Brazzaville (Congo) is connected to Mbinda on the Gabon border by rail. From there, you can take a taxi to Franceville before boarding the Trans-Gabonais train to Libreville.
Captain Nero’s recommendations in Gabon:
Loango National Park: Loango National Park is an extraordinary combination of beaches, lagoons, mangroves, salt marshes, swamps, savannahs and forests. You’ll have one of Africa’s best safari experiences here with breath-taking lush green landscapes and eye-catching wildlife. In addition to the famous surfing hippos, you’ll see gorillas, elephants walking along the beach, whales, dolphins, buffalo, and more.
Akanda National Park: It is because of its immense marine mangroves that Akanda park is particularly rich. The red mangrove roots houses have an extraordinary wildlife composed with manatees, monkeys and crabs. This is also a fabulous spot for water sports, fishing, and locating dolphins and whales. Mondah forest, which is located within this park, is regarded as a sacred area by the Bantu tribe.
Pongara: Spreading over900 square kilometres, this area is well known for its diverse landscape including forest, mangrove flats, beach, and savannah. The beaches at Pongara, too, are very popular with coastal wildlife and sometimes you can see the traces of hippos and crocodiles between the lagoons and the sea. Hundreds of sea turtles nest on these beaches while humpback whales and dolphins stay in the waters of Pongara.
Ivindo National Park: One of the most beautiful, the most remote, and noteworthy national parks in entire Central Africa is Ivindo National Park. The river is the key feature of this region, going through the rainforest and forming an incredible series of slopes and waterfalls. Bird enthusiasts will enjoy the 430+ bird species including African grey parrots. Gorillas, chimps, colobus, mandrill, mangabeys, sitatunga, duikers, giant pangolin, bush pig, and more can be located across this 3000 square kilometre park area.
Fernan Vaz Lagoon: A hotspot in the spectacular Ogooué maritime area in Gabon, you can explore the sanctuary and gorilla rehabilitation on the Gorilla Island here. Enjoy the outstanding views of forests and beaches here as you explore the area!