Nature lovers consider Gabon an exotic and rare tropical treasure. Yet tourism here still remains almost totally undeveloped. Dense forests rich in wildlife cover 70% of Gabon’s landmass, its vast picturesque coastline is predominantly wild and unspoiled, and its inland and coastal waters teem with myriad species of fish, reptiles and marine mammals.
Loango National Park is a coastline park that encompasses some 1,550 km2 of land and is famous for its variety of unspoiled landscapes. Africa’s Last Eden – that is how the ecologist and conservationist Mike Fay referred to Loango National Park in 1997, when he walked 3000 km along the forest corridor between Congo and Gabon, to shine a global spotlight on Africa’s most pristine rainforests and the need to protect them.
Gabon is home to western lowland gorillas, nearly 200 other mammal species and 600 species of birds. In Loango National Park, you have a chance to see amongst others: the smaller forest elephant, red forest buffalo, red river hogs with furry ears, the slender snouted crocodiles, sitatunga, duikers, a variety of monkeys, a huge array of birds, whales (in season), hippos, and of course, western lowland gorillas and chimpanzees.
Can’t miss: the forest elephants and buffalos on the beach – the gorilla sanctuary – the church built by Gustav Eiffel – pristine nature – jungle, savanna, wild beaches, lagoons, mangroves.
But there’s plenty more to discover in the rainforests and waters besides hippos, for Gabon is home to thriving african traditions and more than 8,000 plant species.
After South Africa, the world’s largest concentration and variety of whales and dolphins can be found right off the Loango coast. The area has over 100 kilometres of uninhabited coastline, and humpback and killer whales are easy to observe here (from mid-July to mid-September).
Loango is renowned worldwide as a site for tarpon of record size, as well as many other large saltwater fish.
Gabon’s small population (less than 1.5 million), abundant natural resources, and foreign private investment have helped make Gabon one of the more prosperous African countries, with a longstanding stable political climate.
- Safaris in Loango National Park
- Cultural excursions
- Walking safaris
- Expeditions to: Akaka Bush Camp, Evengué Lodge & Fernan-Vaz Gorilla Project, Tassi Savannah Camp, Pte. Ste. Cathérine Beach Camp
- Jungle hikes
- Motor boat trips
- Kayaking excursions
- Hikes of several days’ duration to Petit Loango (for the physically fit!)
- Overnight fly camp on Petit Loango beach
- Beach cycle tour to Tassi Savannah Camp
- Sea turtle night patrol
- Deep-sea fishing
- Beach walks
- Beach cycling (depending on tides)
- Viewing animals on the beach
- Mangrove hikes
- The Fernan-Vaz Gorilla Project
- St. Anne’s Catholic Mission, designed by Gustav Eiffel
- Boat trip on the Mpivié River
- Eco-walks around the island
Mid-July to mid-September: whale-watching
October to April: elephants and buffalos on the beach
October to February: turtle season
September to March: fishing season
Location (1° 54′ 50.44″ S 9° 19′ 27.18″ E )
Gabon is bordered to the west by the Atlantic Ocean, to the north by Equatorial Guinea and Cameroon, and to the east and south by the Congo.
View Loango National Park in a larger map
Lodges and camps vary greatly in terms of what they offer and where they are situated. But wherever you are in Loango National Park, forest, savannah, lagoon, and beach are never very far away.
Loango Lodge features 7 upscale, traditionally decorated bungalows, each with a private terrace and superb views of the tranquil river and the park.
Evengué Lodge is located on an island that also is a gorilla sanctuary and reintroduction center run by the Fernan-Vaz Gorilla Project . The lodge has five comfortable bungalows (one of which floats on the lagoon), each with a private terrace, either facing the lagoon or set in the forest. Nearby is Mission St. Anne, which was designed by Gustav Eiffel.
Pte. Ste. Catherine Beach Camp is so remote that the only footprints in the sand besides your own are those left by scurrying crabs (or, between October and February, nesting turtles). It is comprised of five cozy Meru tents, each with two single beds, an en-suite bathroom and shower, mounted on a platform with a private terrace under a palm-thatch roof facing the ocean.
The five-tented Akaka Bush Camp, meanwhile, faces the forest in the remotest part of Loango. The only way to reach the camp is by boat (2-4 hours from Loango Lodge). It was on these wild unspoiled beaches of Petit Loango that Nick Nichols shot the famous pictures of surfing hippos for National Geographic.
Located on the savannah, the Tassi Savannah Camp will give you a much more classical ‘Africa feel’, not easily found elsewhere in densely forested west central Africa. Arrangements are simple with five two-bedded tents, surrounded by primary and secondary forest with wide-open vistas not often found in densely forested Central Africa.