Lying on the equator in Central Africa, and hugging the Atlantic coastline, is the unexplored eden of Gabon. A country that receives well under 100,000 visitors a year is now well and truly on the wildlife enthusiasts list as it boasts wonderful botanical, avian and mammal diversity in exquisite rainforest and coastal settings.
Located on the equator and framed by the beautiful Ogooué River, Lopé National Park is, was the first protected area in Gabon and was enlisted as a Unesco World Heritage Site in 2007. The park is an important refuge to over 1400 endangered mandrills and 420 bird species as well as western gorillas, sun-tailed guenon, black colobus, chimpanzee and forest elephants. Diverse habitats and landscapes include forests, riverine areas, savannah and rolling hills.
In the south of the country and on the western coastal plain is the iconic Loango National Park – a scenic 1550km² mosaic of forests, wetlands, grassy plains, mangroves, lagoons and sandy beaches.
This biodiverse hotspot is inhabited by forest elephant, forest buffalo, numerous monkey species, chimpanzees, lowland gorillas, red river hogs, hippo, sitatunga and incredible birdlife – many of these famously viewable on the idyllical beaches.
The marine environment is similarly rich with migrating dolphins and whales and both leatherback and Olive ridley turtles nesting on Loango’s shores. Closer exploration of the forests and lagoons reveal a multitude of reptiles, frogs, freshwater fishes, insects and spiders. Loango NP is without doubt a must-see destination for everyone with a spirited interest in the natural world.