One of Africa’s wealthier countries, Gabon attracts both conservationists and capitalists from Western countries who come to experience and benefit from its pristine rainforests, rich biodiversity and considerable oil and mineral reserves. While a large percentage of visitors are businesspeople who work in the oil industry, ordinary tourists are growing in numbers, drawn by its gorillas, elephants, fishing and natural attractions such as the Mont Iboundji and La Lopez Natural Park. Looking for a real African adventure?

When it comes to giving visitors a real African adventure, Gabon does not disappoint. It has luxurious hotels for the meticulous business traveler as well as cheap lodgings for those on a budget. Its friendly people will help you to find accommodation when asked, pending you speak French of course. Main roads are paved and the infrastructure is fairly well-developed.

When to Go

Climate is a bit cool from June to September.

The rest of the year is tropical - hot and humid.

Getting There & Away

Gabon can be reached by Air Service and Air France flights from Paris to Libreville. Once you arrive, transport is very cheap and the country’s paved roads make it easy to go exploring by car, but off the beaten track you will find a four-wheel drive necessary. A railroad going from Owendo to Franceville is available. The larger interior cities are served by buses, which may be tricky for non-locals to navigate, especially those who don’t speak French. Boat travel is widely available along the coast.

Health & Safety

Malaria is common in Gabon and preventative measures are strongly advised. If you don’t want to be plagued with red bites up and down your legs, sleeping under a mosquito net is recommended. If you do hit the nightclubs and bars and want to take home someone after, bear in mind AIDS is prevalent and use protection.

Itineraries

Two days in La Lopez National Park

Two days in Mont Iboundji

Three days in Makokou

Additional time

Two days in Nyonie Reserve

Highlights

Mont Iboundji: is the highest summit in Gabon, overlooking a forest landscape from a height of 400 meters. The waterfall on the steep slope is a special attraction, as are the nature walks.

La Lopez National Park: is one of the main tourist attractions of the country where gorillas, elephants and monkeys abound.

Monts de Cristal: is an ideal place for hiking with its lush forests and picturesque hills.

Nyonié Reserve: is the nearest place to Libreville for a safari, providing elephant sightseeing, jungle, savannah and hiking tours. It has an all-you-can-drink bar that is a bigger highlight for some than the animals themselves.

Makokou: is a beautiful place east of Libreville with a small hotel that overlooks a river where you can fish and drink beer while watching the sunset.

Activities

Drinking: try the local beers of Gabon, particularly the cheap and popular Regab. If the mixture of heat and alcohol goes straight to your head, try one of the tasty fruit juices such as ananas (pineapple), pampelmousse (grapefruit) or citron (lemon).

Fishing: bring your own fishing cane and a good rappala before heading off to the Noya or Mitemboni rivers. Big fish are not that hard to catch here, so you can look like a pro even if you aren’t.

Gold pinning: is a popular activity in the forests of Gabon. It is done by panning river sand to look for gold, but you may have to wash through about 10 liters of sand before you get lucky.

Nightlife: Gabon has a number of bars including dancing clubs that plays Latin-African music, karaoke clubs and a variety of bars with music shows.

Nature photography: Gabon is the place to go to capture gorillas, elephants and buffaloes in the wild, with a camera, that is.