Having lived for three years in Gabon I made my 12 reasons why everyone should visit Gabon. Clearly I am in love with this country, so should be you! So here it is.
1. Gabon is the last Eden on Earth, so they call it, and I couldn’t agree more! Anyone considering a trip to Gabon should see it as an adventurous nature retreat in the most DIY touristic environment.
2. Nature Photography Paradise. Gabon has amazing and unspoilt nature with rich wildlife. Watching and photographing its animals in their natural habitat is one of the primary reasons to visit Gabon. It is a place to be for bird watchers and all nature admirers. The best thing here is that you won’t have to stand in line to get the entrance tickets or to push your way through a crowd of tourists take a picture at the best spot. Those prestige white sand beaches, national parks and jungle road are just for you.
3. Elephant-Rich Gabon. 90% of Gabon’s landmass is equatorial rainforest, 10% of that has national park status and it’s home to 50% of Africa’s forest elephants. It is absolutely incredible to watch elephants in their natural environment! It is a must see for any visitor here. The pictures say much more than words.
4. Turtle watching. Gabon hosts the world’s largest population of nesting leatherback turtles as well as the most significant nesting site for Olive Ridley turtles in the entire Atlantic Ocean basin. The season of turtles nesting and hatching is between October and March each year. This is the time when I am ready to receive a 6.oo am or a midnight phone call from one of the local turtle watchers letting me know that the hatching or laying the eggs has began. That means I need to jump in the car as quickly as possible and drive to the beach (15-20 min away) to be on time to see such a miracle. You just cannot miss this opportunity to see this process with your own eyes! Real life experience of being born and released into the ocean, struggling to crawl, but overcoming all the obstacles. It is very special and memorable. I highly recommend doing that.
5. Game fishing. For those who love fishing Gabon is the place to be. It is notoriously famous destination, especially the Loango National Park, for catching big carnage, carp rouge, barracudas, bars and giant African threadfins. Enjoy a full day fishing in the beautiful waters of Ndogo and Iguela lagoons and treat yourself with a freshly caught fish for dinner. It will never taste better!
6. Jeep or boat safari. The best ways to explore Gabon at a slow and enjoyable pace are by car and by boat. Cruising through savanas or rivers you can see exceptional abundance of wildlife such as elephants, hippos, buffalos, antelopes, monkeys and a number of birds like the hornbill and turaco. Listen to the sounds of the forest and be impressed by the forest giants.
7. Night time crocodile tracking. This one is still on my list to do. It is an exciting, but safe activity suitable even for children. The boat with an experienced guide will cruise close to the edge of the mangroves and the lagoon. He will shine powerful lights onto the riverbanks, so watch out for the red eyes reflection. This is the crocodile!
8. Visit a Bwiti village and witness some of their rituals. Consider yourself very lucky if you have ever had a chance to see in real life one of rituals in Gabon. Some places are still very traditional and due to their remoteness impossible to visit. But if you have a chance and a good guide with you, don’t miss a unique opportunity.
9. Rafting. Full on action activity for true pioneers who want to trek and packraft across the Ivindo National Park and the Equator itself. You can explore two separate Gabonese river systems, the Djidji and the Kongou and packraft to Central Africa’s highest Djidji falls. On this journey be sure to see untouched paradise of thick jungle, white sand beaches and other-worldly landscapes.
10. Camping on the beach. Finding a good camping spot in Gabon is quite easy. You can set up your tent right on a beach or in the forest. Enjoying the sunset and the ocean view with a glass of wine or just water is one of the easiest, but yet the most amazing things in life.
11. Bike rides. This is one of my personally favourite. I enjoy greatly my regular escapes on the quad along the beach or to the hills of beautiful Vera Plaines near Gamba village. This is always a breath of fresh air for me and sensation of great freedom.
12. Last, but not least on my list is Whale watching. This is another very good reason to come to Gabon. From late June to mid-September the waters of Gabon are visited by migrating humpback whales, breeding off the coast of Gabon and then travelling back south to the cold waters of the Antartic where they feed. Going out on a boat with a skipper is a very special experience on its own. On top of that you will see these impressive, powerfull mammals passing right by your boat. You might be lucky to see them waving their tails at you!