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Forest elephants approaching the beach, Loango, Gabon

Gabon Holidays

Discover unexplored wilderness in the country known as ‘Africa’s Last Eden’. Where forest elephants, lowland gorillas, chimpanzees and mandrills roam and hippos surf in the seas.

Gabon is home to vast expanses of unexplored wilderness in the heart of Africa. Yet, whilst most places on Earth have long since been explored, the forests of this area have remained wild and out of reach. These forests contain a fabulous wealth and variety of flora and wildlife including forest elephants, lowland gorillas, chimpanzees and mandrills, as well as wonderful birdlife.

Western lowland gorilla in water, Gabon
Western lowland gorilla, Gabon
Butterfly, Langoue Bai, Ivindo National Park, Gabon
Ivindo National Park, Gabon

How to discover Gabon

After a successful group tour to Ivindo and Loango national parks in January 2019, we have another trip organised for January 2020.

We can also arrange tailor-made trips to Gabon. However, the lack of tourist infrastructure means that these are a complicated and expensive endeavour if venturing further than Loango National Park.

For those who are keen to experience the West African jungle on a tailor-made trip, a visit to the neighbouring Republic of Congo, particularly Odzala National Park, is a better option.

Forest elephant, Loango National Park, Gabon
Forest elephant, Loango National Park, Gabon
Dancer at Bwiti ceremony, Lambarene, Gabon
Bwiti dancer, Lambarene, Gabon

A little more about Gabon

Gabon gained massive exposure in the press about ten years ago as an exceptional wilderness destination. Intrepid travellers hoped to see elephants roaming along remote beaches and hippos surfing in the sea. In truth, the reality on the ground did not live up to the hype, but if you are patient and lucky the rewards can be great.

View from above, Loango Lodge, Loango National Park
Loango Lodge, Port-Gentil, Gabon, Gabon
Langoue Bai from drone, Ivindo National Park, Gabon
Ivindo National Park, Gabon
Forest elephant, Gabon
Gabon

Ideas for a Gabon holiday

  • Visit Gabon’s coastal park, South Loango and spot forest elephants where the trees meet the Atlantic. As wildlife roams the beaches, discover why this country is known as ‘Africa’s Last Eden’.
  • Explore Ivindo National Park, home to Langoue Bai – a wide forest clearing that attracts all kinds of jungle wildlife

Explore Gabon

  • Ivindo National Park
  • Lambarene
  • Loango National Park

Experiences

Visit Langoue Bai

Trek deep into Ivindo National Park, to Langoue Bai – a wide forest clearing that attracts all kinds of jungle wildlife. Here, wait on the viewing platform for gorillas, elephants and sitatungas to reveal themselves.

Bwiti Ceremony

Sit with the believers as they summon the spirits. Chanting, dancing and drumming are all integral parts of these ceremonies, which are fuelled by the consumption of psychotropic iboga.

Trek for Lowland Gorillas

Join researchers and trek into Loango’s forest, in search of a family of habituated western lowland gorillas.

Track Forest Elephants in Loango

Head to the beaches as dusk approaches, in search of families of forest elephants. They typically leave the forest as the sun begins to set and can be spotted strolling beside the surf.

Accommodation

Below you can see some of the wonderful places we recommend you stay on your journey.

Albert Schweitzer Hospital Guestrooms £££££

  • Gabon
  • Unusual

These renovated guestrooms are on the old hospital premises and one of the few places to stay in Gabon that has real character. They are maintained and run by the hospital’s foundation and are very comfortable. They are surrounded by old hospital buildings and the Ogooue River flows past, adding to the relaxed ambience of the place. The rooms closest to the river all have air conditioning, whilst the rooms further back do not. However, their ingenious design makes the most of natural airflow, meaning even these stay cool. All rooms have en-suite bathrooms that have been added retrospectively. This means the rooms are a little small, but the lovely location and historical connection more than make up for this.

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Langoue Bai Platform £££££

  • Gabon
  • Unusual

This three-level platform is situated on the edge of the bai, beside the treeline. After dark, simple dome tents are erected on the top two levels of the platform. Mattresses and bedding are provided, but the confined nature of the platform means space is relatively limited. Despite this, a night here is a great experience – the sounds of elephants can usually be heard throughout the night. And at dawn, the rising sun burns mist off the bai.

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Loango Lodge £££££

  • Gabon
  • Safari and Wildlife Lodge

Gabon’s only true safari lodge, Loango Lodge is the ideal base from which to explore the national park. It has endured its ups and downs over the years, but it is still superbly located, offering comfortable and modern facilities. The 11 bungalows all have air conditioning and hot water, whilst the beautifully positioned restaurant looks out over the river. The food at the lodge is superb by Gabonese standards, thanks largely to French manager Mathieu, who is a restauranteur by trade.

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Dawn over Langoue Bai, Ivindo National Park, Gabon
Ivindo National Park, Gabon

Gabon – Wildlife and Culture of Africa’s Eden

Explore a country that is a relative stranger to tourism, yet lays claim to some of the most remarkable biodiversity in West Africa.

  • Explore a country that remains 80% covered by pristine rainforest
  • Discover the vast Ivindo National Park, home to Langoue Bai
  • Visit Loango National Park – encounter forest elephants and trek for lowland gorillas
  • Experience an iboga-fuelled Bwiti ceremony, deep within Gabon’s inaccessible interior

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Meet our experts

A passion for travel runs right through every one of our experts - meaning they're always ready with first-hand insight about their specialist countries.

Bridget Cohen

Aged five and with my Curious George toy safely tucked under my arm, I set off with my family to travel around Europe in an orange VW minibus. Looking back on the adventures we had along the way, I now know that this was where my love for travel and exploring began.
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  • 01285 601 784

Chris Johnston

25 years ago, my first trip to Africa took on a life of its own. I planned for three months, I stayed for two years. Whilst there, I was mistaken for a priest, attacked by sharks and arrested. Yet the countless, clattering journeys opened my eyes to the beauty of the landscapes and the grace of the people. My recent trips are undoubtedly more comfortable, but the welcome is as warm as ever and the best experiences are still those I never see coming.
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Frequently asked questions about Gabon

What is the weather like in Gabon?

Gabon’s dry season tends to be from May to September followed by its rainy season. Another short dry season spans the Christmas period, before the rains return. Although average temperatures only reach 25°C, the humidity, which can be as high as 80%, makes it feel much hotter.

What kind of wildlife will see?

Home to the western lowland gorillas and nearly 200 other mammal species, you can, if lucky, expect to see great wildlife sightings in Gabon. Whale season spans July to September, and between November and January, you can expect to see turtles coming ashore to lay their eggs. In Loango National Park, you can expect to see the smaller forest elephants, red forest buffalo, red river hogs, crocodiles and a huge variety of monkeys.

What local food can I try?

Gabonese cuisine certainly has a strong French influence, evident in the popularity of baguettes and quiches. Staple foods in the more rural areas can range from cassava, rice and yams to smoked fish and stuffed crab. For those with a sweet tooth, the Gabonese customary dessert of baked bananas will not disappoint.

Is Gabon safe to travel around?

Swathes of forest, vast lagoons and a limited road network make Gabon a challenging country to travel in. However, safety is rarely a concern, thanks to the country’s stable reputation and fast-developing infrastructure. In recent years, a huge amount of road building has taken place. This means that main roads are usually of a good standard, but smaller roads are still poor and can quickly become impassable during the rainy season.

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Very satisfied with all aspects of our trip. Steppes kept us fully informed of the progress of the arrangements and gave us various choices of hotels.

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