Gabon is a country in Central Africa located on the equator. It is an overlooked African country that has much of its territory covered in tropical rainforest. Those thinking about visiting Central Africa should consider this country. Gabon is a more challenging country to visit than many of the more popular countries in Africa (like South Africa, Kenya, Rwanda, Botswana, and others). That being said, it is also more rewarding for those willing to take the effort to see it.
Gabon is a country where it is important to get reliable information before traveling to more unusual countries. It is a beautiful country with few tourists and plenty of untapped potentials. But one should also refer to current travel advice before traveling.
Gabon: The Stunning Central African Country
Gabon is one of Africa's smaller countries with an area of around 270,000 square kilometers (100,000 sq mi) or about the size of the state of Colorado. It has a population of around 2.1 million. The country has three distinct eco-regions. In the east the country is savanna, to the west, it has the coastal plains, and in the center are mountain ranges.
- Capital: Libreville
- Population: 2.1 Million
- Official Language: French
- Official Nation: The Gabonese Republic
As a former French colony, its official language is French.
The country was originally the home of pygmy peoples before they were mostly replaced and absorbed by the Bantu expansion. The country eventually became a French colony and finally became independent in 1960.
- Landscapes: Rainforests and Savanna
- National Parks: Cover 11% Of Gabon
Today over 11% of the country is protected in national parks and Gabon offers a stunning glimpse into a part of Africa few get to see. Most tourists go to Southern Africa (notably South Africa) or East Africa (like Kenya and Tanzania). But Africa is a massive continent with very different regions. Few ever step foot in Central Africa with its impressive rainforests.
Gabon is characterized by dense rainforests and open savannah while the coastlines boast superb tropical white-sand beaches.
Gabon: The Most Traveler-Friendly Destination In Central Africa
The Lonely Planet terms Gabon "region's most progressive and traveler-friendly destination." Unfortunately, many of Gabon's neighbors (like the Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, and others are dangerous or otherwise difficult to visit. While Gabon may be the best country to visit in the region, it is not necessarily straightforward.
There is little by way of tourist infrastructure and one is best advised to visit Gabon with a travel agency for an organized tour (unless one is experienced with traveling in the region). There is a dearth of reliable infrastructure and the roads are rough (to put it mildly).
- Roads: Generally Very Rough
- Tourist Infrastructure: Very Sparse
But still, outside the main cities of Libreville and Port-Gentil, Gabon really is a gem yet to be discovered.
As of the time of writing, the US Department of State lists Gabon as Level One "Exercise normal precautions in Gabon" although it notes higher leaves of crime (like theft and break-ins in some parts of the country).
Guided Tours To Gabon
There are a few specialized tour companies offering guided tours to Gabon. One of the main attractions in the country is the Loango National Park - known as Africa's Last Eden and most tours head there. 70% of this national park is covered by rainforest that's home to forest elephants, hippos, and western lowland gorillas.
- Loango: The Most Popular National Park In Gabon
Africa's Eden offers tours to Loango for three, four, or six nights in both the wet season and the dry season. The difference in the jungle between the wet and dry seasons can be stark.
Example 3 Night Tour Of Loango
Africa's Eden's example three-night tour to Loango takes place in the dry season (July to September). On the first day, arrive at Loango Lodge and enjoy a boat tour of the Estuary on the Iguela lagoon. Enjoy dinner at the lodge and overnight there in the jungle.
- Season: Dry Season
- Months: July to September
- Price: Inquire For Price
On the second day, go by boat to the Yatouga Gorilla research camp and see gorillas in their natural habitat. Afterward travel to Akaka Camp and stay the night there. Day three see more traveling by boat and make one's way through the rainforest to the Lourie Wilderness Camp.
Have a safari at Lourie and enjoy a BBQ at the camp. The next day head back to the main city of Libreville.