- 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
This trip successfully departed in January 2019. We are currently in the process of confirming costs and dates for a January 2020 departure. Enquire to register your interest.
This unique trip showcases all that Gabon has to offer, from its crashing waterfalls and captivating spiritual rituals to its beach-roaming wildlife and impenetrable rainforests. Explore a country that is a relative stranger to tourism, yet lays claim to some of the most remarkable biodiversity in West Africa.
Begin in the oil-rich capital of Libreville, a surprising contrast to the rest of this jungle-strewn country. Set out on the Trans-Gabonais railway, heading deep into Gabon’s interior. Then, by car and boat, journey towards inaccessible Ivindo National Park.
Carpeted with ancient forest, this vast park remains largely unexplored. Here, search for West African wildlife within its forest clearings, culminating with the beautiful Langoue Bai – discovered by ecologist Mike Fay on his famous MegaTransect expedition.
Afterwards, follow the Ogooue River downstream, stopping at tiny Ndjole to experience Bwiti spiritualism first hand. Witness the intense iboga-fuelled rituals that are still an integral part of the lives of the local Fang people.
Follow the river a little further to the town of Lambarene and have a chance to visit the famous hospital, before taking to the river by boat and journeying to Loango National Park, Gabon’s most spectacular protected area.
Discover this incredible coastal rainforest, home to forest elephants, lowland gorillas and endemic birdlife. Stay at the country’s only true safari lodge, Loango Lodge, exploring on foot, by 4x4 and by boat.
The trip will be led by Guillermo Casasnovas, an expert in the region who has guided extensively throughout West and Central Africa. Guillermo is based in neighbouring Cameroon and has been to Gabon many times over the past 15 years.
How much travelling is there?
Gabon is a country where even the smallest infrastructure project is a battle between man and nature. The road network is limited; journeys are long and slow. Therefore, patience is required to reach anywhere in the interior. On this trip, the most convenient option is always chosen – whether that be a car, train, plane or boat. However, often there is only one way of getting somewhere in Gabon.
Be aware that - although often the fastest and most scenic way to travel - boat journeys in Gabon usually use open speedboats that offer no protection from the sun. Therefore, make sure to pack a set of long-sleeved clothing, a hat that does not blow off and plenty of sun cream.
How fit do I need to be?
Although this trip will be tiring because of the amount of travelling, the walking involved is relatively limited. The pace will be slow; however, the terrain in Ivindo can be quiet steep. You need to be reasonably fit and should comfortable walking at least 30 minutes uphill. The equatorial climate is a challenge in itself, but the shade that the rainforest provides means that you are rarely walking under the sun.
What is accommodation like?
The emphasis is on cleanliness and comfort, rather than style, choosing the best available option in each location. The only exception to this is in Libreville, where there are much more luxurious options available. However, these tend to be a little soulless and are quite overpriced.
The only time when the accommodation is very basic is in Ivindo National Park, when you will be camping. This is a reflection of how off-the-beaten-track the park is, and is unavoidable.
What wildlife can I expect to see?
Seeing forest elephants, hippos and forest buffalos is pretty much guaranteed. And expect numerous glimpses of small monkeys in the canopy of Gabon’s forests throughout the trip. If you chose to go gorilla trekking in Loango, then you will also get to see western lowland gorillas. In Ivindo, you are likely to see sitatungas and red river hogs, and there is a chance of seeing unhabituated gorilla families in the bai. In Loango, there is not a huge diversity of species, but you will be able to get very close to forest elephants, both beside the beach and on the savannah.
Other than these species, it is hard to make predictions – wildlife in Gabon is far from predictable. However, there is a wealth of animal and bird life hidden in its forests; it’s simply a case of whether luck is on your side.
What will the weather be like?
December and January are Gabon’s short dry season, when humidity is slightly lower and rain much less regular. However, still expect the weather to be warm and humid, given Gabon’s equatorial location. Skies tend to be clearer at this time of year, but this does mean the sun can be very strong during the middle of the day.
For a detailed itinerary or to book your place on this tour, please contact us.