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Why isn't it a popular travel destination? Have you been there? If so, tell us what it has to offer and why we should go there?
14 years ago, April 10th 2009 No: 1 Msg: #68951  
This morning while flicking through my African lonely planet guide I stumbled across a picture of the surfing hippos in Loango National Park in Gabon. As you can imagine - I'm quite intrigued.

I've searched the forums and I can't really find much on this little country; even a quick google search for 'Gabon tours' doesn't bring up a whole lot of results. My first overseas trip is to Africa in July and while I'm doing guided tours and having already asked for the time I need off from work and with flights booked etc I probably couldn't go this time but since I'm thinking about more trips to Africa this is something I definitely wanna see for myself.

So, has anyone actually been? If so, have you been to Loango National Park? Due to the lack of tours it's probably somewhere I'd have to travel independently (when my confidence in travelling is up a little bit). How easy is it to do independently? Is it cheap or does the Loango charge a fortune?

To all the bloggers on here; why is there so little information on Gabon? Is there a big red cross next to its name that I'm missing? I visited the Australian Government's smart traveller site and it's travel warnings for the country are on par with most of Africa ---> "exercise a high degree of caution; theft, and HIV high". I guess after seeing the beautiful photos of those "surfing hippos" I just don't understand why everyone isn't going there. Reply to this

14 years ago, April 10th 2009 No: 2 Msg: #68997  
Hello Krystie 😊

To all the bloggers on here; why is there so little information on Gabon?

Maybe you will be the one to provide us with some cool blogs on the Gabon. 😊

Mel Reply to this

14 years ago, April 10th 2009 No: 3 Msg: #68999  
Here is a link to the couple of Gabon blogs on TravelBlog already. Only two unfortunately.

Gabon blogs Reply to this

14 years ago, April 10th 2009 No: 4 Msg: #69055  
Thanks Mell, I read those earlier this morning and no offence to the writers but the picture they painted of the country (which may be a feasible enough picture) that it was just the place between A and B and a place to pick up visas and head off, which unfortunately didn't help with any planning or any overall observations of the country itself. And no mention of those hippos which have captured my attention :P Reply to this

14 years ago, April 16th 2009 No: 5 Msg: #69871  
Dear Krystie,

I saw your message on Travelblog, and although I am not a blogger myself, I would like to give you some more information that might help you plan your trip to Gabon. I hope you visit, it’s a wonderful country, but it relatively new to tourism and the information available on the web is still limited.

I work for a company called Africa’s and we organise tours to Loango National Park, Gabon. This is where Mike Fay of National Geographic saw the “surfing hippos”. It is definitely intriguing, unfortunately I have never been so lucky myself to spot them, but our lodge managers see hippo tracks on the beach out at Petit Loango quite regularly, and last year one tourist reported seeing surfing hippos. It is mostly a matter of time and patience. Lee White of the Wildlife Conservation Society one said to me that every filmcrew who went out to Petit Loango saw surfing hippos, if they had enough time and patience.

You are right as well that visiting Loango is not a destination you can visit easily independently, nor is it a budget destination. This is partly due to the fact that there are not a lot of tourist facilities, and because the country is covered 80%!b(MISSING)y rainforest.

There is a possibility though to travel through the country on your own. The country is politically stable, and the country is relatively safe to travel through. What you can do is visit Lopé National Park by train, which leaves from Libreville. The train is comfortable (and cold due to the aircon so wear a sweater, and there are often delays). Hotel is close to the train station, and from there you can visit Mikongo which is run by the Zoological Society of London. They organise wonderful forest walks, and although the lodge facilities are very basic, the setting is beautiful. There a day and night trains to Lopé, try to take the day train at least one of the ways, as the views are very nice!

It is also possible to go to Lambaréné, where the Albert Schweitzer Hospital is located. I am not sure how this can be organised, I think you need to hire a car.

And if you are already in Gabon, and your budget allows for it, you could visit Loango for a few days, on the 3-day weekend trips that we organise every week. An alternative is to travel by boat to Omboué, ako organises this. The hotel organises visits to the Fernan-Vaz Gorilla Project on Evengué Island. A fee is charged for the visit, which goes to the orphaned lowland gorillas that reside on the island.

One last note: it would be nice to combine Gabon with the islands São Tomé & Príncipe, at 1 hour from Gabon by plane. Virtually undiscovered islands, and São Tomé’s infrastructure makes it relatively easy to travel around on your own. Príncipe is a bit of a different story as there is only one resort there but if you can make it there, you will feel like Robinsoe Crusoe in paradise!

Again, I hope you travel to Gabon and enjoy it there. And I hope this bit of information helps you along. If you have any other questions, let me know.
Reply to this

14 years ago, April 17th 2009 No: 6 Msg: #70009  
I was in Gabon in 1995, travelling around as a backpacker with my brother... Anybody who says it is just a transit country hasn't really looked around a lot I would say. Gabon has loads to offer, pristine jungle, beautiful beaches and interesting people. There is Lamberene, where Dr. Albert Schweizer lived and worked, there are pygmy tribes in the jungles. Close to Libreville, which is an interesting town in its own right, there are some beautiful beaches. I went to Cap D'Agde (or something like that, can't remember the exact name) with some nice beaches and even corals. From Lamberene you can take a pirogue into the jungle to some nice lakes, and camp there. It used to be possible to travel on a budget, you can stay in missions and there are a few cheap hotels, or at least there used to be when I was there... Reply to this

14 years ago, April 18th 2009 No: 7 Msg: #70045  
thanks for both of your replies. I have decided that Gabon is going to be my "dream" trip as I've heard a few people on here refer to their ultimate trip as. I think it's something I'll definitely do in the future but for now I certainly can't afford it.

Those surfing hippos have certainly captured my heart though.

Thanks for everyones contributions and please keep them coming; Time will fly I'm sure and with all the publicity Gabon is getting from survivor I think Gabon is definitely gonna be more of a tourist destination. Does anyone know the best park to do a gorilla safari and how do they compare to gorilla safaris in Uganda or Rwanda? In price, success, time you get with the gorillas (I heard you only get 1hour with the gorillas in Rwanda?). I know you can do these loango but is there somewhere better?
Reply to this

14 years ago, April 20th 2009 No: 8 Msg: #70207  
Hi Krystie,
The best place to do gorilla safari in west / central Africa is in the Dzanga-Sangha Reserve, in the Central African Republic. Currently, they have 1 group of habituated western lowland gorillas that you can visit. WWF is in the process of habituating 2 other groups, and these groups will allow tourism in the near future.

Compared to Uganda and Rwanda, visitors say that it is a more dynamic experience in Dzanga-Sangha, in the sense that the gorillas tend to move around more. Visitors have also said that due to the fact that the gorilla move around more, it can be a bit harder to get a clear view. I was there myself in November 2008 and had a wonderful experience. The gorillas were climbing in the trees and playing around, and the impressive silverback sat at about 15 meters away from us, in a clearing it the forest therefore the view was great!

The hike to get to the gorillas is less strenguous in Dzanga-Sangha, it is uneven but flat terrain, while in Uganda and Rwanda you have to walk uphill to get to them. In Dzanga-Sangha it takes approximately 1.5 - 2 hours to get to the habituated group of gorillas. It is a beautiful hike through the jungle, passing by numerous bais (clearings in the forest) where elephants and other wildlife feed. The number of butterflies in the area is enormous.

The time you can spend with the gorillas is about the same everywhere, I believe, it is approximately 1 hour. Encountering the gorillas is not guaranteed, but in previous years nearly 90% of those taking part in this activity have seen gorillas in close proximity. Two groups of 3 tourists can partake in gorilla tracking per day. The current price is lower than in Uganda and Rwanda, but the cost for getting to Dzanga-Sangha is higher because you need to fly into the region. The company I work for has recently started organising package tours to Dzanga-Sangha, Loango and the island of Principe.

FYI - in Loango National Park, a gorilla and chimp habituation project is taking place by the Max Planck Institute, which started in 2005. They are making great progress and MPI hopes to welcome tourists in 2011. The other gorilla project on Evengué Island, close to Loango. The Fernan-Vaz Gorilla project is a gorilla sanctuary and rehabilitation/reintroduction project for orphaned western lowland gorillas by the bush meat trade.

All the best, and if you have any questions when you start planning your "dream" trip, let me know!
Tienke Reply to this

13 years ago, May 25th 2010 No: 9 Msg: #111752  
N Posts: 2
Hello krysti, africasesden, dutches, tienki, and all lovers of Animals and Africa.
This is my first blog.

I am also very interested in going to Gabon. My first visit to Botswana and Zambia ten years ago was out of this world and I am dying to return ASAP

I too am having trouble finding enough info on the current possibilities for Safari in Gabon. I would like to begin planning a 10 day to two week adventure.

I am not sure that going with the high priced tour companies is the best way to do this and I am hoping that you can give me a few other options. I did this the last time and although it was fantastic it cost me a fortune.

A little background. Married, age 55 seasoned traveler. High School teacher/geography/theater I Like to make my own way and plans whenever possible Love to do research almost as much as traveling.

Favorite places are always where there are animals and great nature including scuba diving. ( saw my first whale shark last summer in Australia)

Gorilla safari in west / central Africa is in the Dzanga-Sangha Reserve, in the Central African Republic.

How far is this from Libreville and what does it cost to fly there and return?

Do you have the name of the company who is organizing package tours to Dzanga-Sangha, Loango and the island of Principe.

Can you tell me anything more about the details of organizing safari opportuniuties in

Loango National Park

The Fernan-Vaz Gorilla project is a gorilla sanctuary and rehabilitation/reintroduction project for orphaned western lowland gorillas sounds fantastic !!!

The other gorilla project on Evengué Island ?? Where is that? How do you get there? Cost?

What do you do/see in Lope National park?

Omboue?? What's there?

As far as the islands are concerned São Tomé & Príncipe, we are not big on island hang out UNLESS they have mega animals or awesome Scuba diving

If I read the blogs correctly it seems to me that the major locations are

Evengue Island

In order of prioroty--
Must see, --
It would be awesome to also see /do if you had the extra time and money

What would you suggest for my dream literary for if I had ( not including travel time)

One Week

Ten days

Two weeks

What parts could I could plan myself by contacting individuals camps/ guides/ hotel or others and what must I book in advance or I can only do through a organized tour company?

If you can't list companies/people on the blog, please feel free to email me direct at ocopy@cox.net

One last question:

What is the best time of year to do this?
I hear that summer is best for traveling and animals but Dec might be even better for tracking?

Because I am a teacher I can only go in Summer or during Xmas.

Looking forward to hearing from you guys.

Maybe we can plan a trip together.



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