Gabon Explorer

STYLE Small Group
DURATION 10 Days
BETWEEN Libreville and Libreville
COUNTRIES VISITED – 1 Gabon
MAXIMUM GROUP SIZE 12
TRAVEL DATES
Contact Diesel for all departure dates and latest pricing
WHATS INCLUDED
Airport Transfers All Accommodation
All tour transportation All meals as listed in itinerary
Entrance fees as listed Professional Tour Guides
WHATS NOT INCLUDED
Visas Airport taxes
International Flights Travel Insurance

Trip Overview

Gabon is a paradise for wildlife enthusiasts, Africa’s last Eden, with a huge proportion of its land designated as national parks and home to some of the continent’s most impressive wildlife. This short tour of Gabon tour gives you the chance to see Africa at its wildest, taking you to the heart of its rainforests and the mighty Loango National Park, a land of primeval jungles, beautiful beaches, wetlands and savannah, made famous by the explorer Mike Fay in his epic trek through Central Africa.


Gabon Explorer

Starting in Libreville we delve into the secrets of Bwiti, a bizarre and fascinating belief system found nowhere else, and are privileged to witness a unique local ceremony and gain insights into this almost mystical religion. We travel to the old colonial town of Lambarene and take a thrilling boat journey on the Ogooué River, penetrating further into the rainforest, to reach the gorilla sanctuary at Evengue, meeting these awe inspiring animals up close. But the best is saved until the end – three full days in Loango itself, where we explore in the company of expert guides and look for gorillas, forest buffalo, elephants and with a bit of luck, hippos surfing in the sea.


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Day 1: Libreville

Arrive in Libreville and transfer to your hotel. Overnight Sunset Beach Hotel or similar.

Libreville

Like most African cities, Libreville is a fairly modern creation, having been established as a settlement for freed slaves in the mid 19th century – hence the name. Initially consisting of little more than a trading post, it grew enormously after independence and today is home to around 40% of Gabon’s population. One of Africa’s more expensive cities, Libreville has a rather odd feel to it – oil money means that it has more than its fair share of glitzy modern buildings, although hidden away are of course the inevitable shanty towns. With few sights to speak of, the city is interesting for presenting a very different side to Africa than you may have seen before.

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Day 2: Libreville

Today is spent exploring the city, visiting its markets and seeing some of the remaining examples of early colonial architecture. This evening we witness a very special – and unique to Gabon – ceremony, that of the Bwiti belief system. This is a ‘secret’ society which takes elements of indigenous beliefs and Christianity, where initiates seek to communicate with spirit world, and a highlight of the trip. Overnight Sunset Beach Hotel or similar. (B)
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Day 3: Lambarene

Head to Lambarene, on an island in the Ogooué River. Lambarene is known for its lakes, with several endemic bird and fish species, as well as the Schweitzer Hospital, established in the early 20thcentury and a centre for research into malaria. We spend the night in the hospital guest rooms for a sense of the history of this town. (B)
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Day 4: Omboué

This morning we explore the surrounding lakes by boat, looking out for the impressive birdlife to be found here. Afterwards we continue by boat to the town of Omboué, along the Ogooué River, a stunning journey which gives a sense of how the first European explorers of this region must have felt. Overnight Hotel Olako or similar. (B)
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Day 5: Evengué Island – Loango National Park

Visit Evengué Island, home to the Fernan-Vaz Gorilla Project, where we have the opportunity to get close to western lowland gorillas. We also visit the 19th century Mission of St Anne, built by Gustav Eiffel, then continue to Loango and our tented camp. (BLD)

Western lowland gorillas

Western lowland gorillas are endangered, but they remain far more common than their relatives, the mountain gorilla. They live in dense rain forests, and it is difficult for scientists to accurately estimate how many survive in Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Angola, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Western lowland gorillas can be distinguished from other gorilla subspecies by their slightly smaller size, their brown-grey coats and auburn chests. They also have wider skulls with more pronounced brow ridges and smaller ears. Large numbers have not protected the western lowland gorilla from decline. Because of poaching and disease, the gorilla’s numbers have declined by more than 60% over the last 20 to 25 years. Even if all of the threats to western lowland gorillas were removed, scientists calculate that the population would require some 75 years to recover.

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Day 6-8: Loango National Park

Three full days to explore Loango. This is one of the richest ecosystems in Central Africa and harbours a huge diversity of species, including forest elephant, hippo, gorillas and chimpanzees. Accompanied by local guides we venture into the forests and along the beach each day in search of the iconic wildlife that lives here. Overnight tented camp. (BLD)

Loango National Park

Situated in the east of the country, Loango was created in 2002 when President Omar Bongo set aside 11% of the country for national parks. The park covers an incredible rangey of eco-systems, including savannah, beach, forest and mangroves and offers opportunities to witness hippos surfing the waves off the beach, and gorillas and elephants walking on the sand – a truly unique and amazing sight. The Ndogo lagoon, located between the Loango National Park and the Moukalaba-Doudou National Park, is a huge mass of fresh water with hundreds of islands a few of which are inhabited.In the rainy season from November to April, you can find large mammals roaming freely on the beach nearby. Loango also offers a real treat for birdwatchers –its diversity of habitats ensures that it is one of the best places in Gabon for birds, including several rare species found in few other locations. (B)

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Day 9: Port Gentil – Libreville

Drive to Port Gentil, Gabon’s economic capital, and from here fly back to Libreville. Overnight Sunset Beach Hotel or similar. (B)
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Day 10: Libreville

Spend today relaxing or exploring the city before transferring to the airport for your flight home. (B)

Please note that we sell this trip in conjunction with our local partner, so there may be other nationalities in this group


Tour Dossier Notes

Airport transfers – Includes arrival and departure transfers regardless of whether you book flights yourself, or we book them for you. If you’re booking them yourself, then please let us know the details so that we can arrange the transfers.

Accommodation – Accommodation as listed in the dossier. The nature of the destinations that we operate may sometimes mean that we need to change hotels, but we’ll always endeavour to keep the same standards. Please be aware that as we operate in many countries where tourism is in its infancy, hotel standards may not be the same as you’re used to elsewhere.

Guides – In most cases you will be accompanied by one guide from start to finish. However there may be occasions when this is not practical, for example if your trip covers a number of different countries. In these cases it often makes more sense to include different guides for each place, to take advantage of their specific knowledge of the destination.

Meals – As listed within the itinerary / dossier (B-Breakfast, L-Lunch, D-Dinner). These will vary from trip to trip– in some areas it makes sense to include all meals while in others there is a good choice of restaurants and we feel people might like to ‘do their own thing’ now and again.

Entrance fees – Entrance fees are listed for those sites that we mention within the itinerary. If there are any other sites that you’d like to see, these would be at your own expense.

Visas – We don’t arrange visas for our travellers, but if an invitation letter is necessary then can request for this to be arranged for you. If you need any advice with visas just give us a call, or alternatively a visa agency such as CIBT can assist.

Airport taxes – If there are any departure taxes to pay that are not included within the cost of your ticket, you’ll need to pay these yourself.