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Beach from drone, Loango National Park, Gabon

Wildlife and Culture of Africa's Eden

Start dateEnd dateDays
Prices from
Single SupplementTour ExpertMax Group SizeStatus
09/01/21 21/01/2113days £7,495 ex. flights £675Guillermo Casasnovas6 AVAILABLE Reserve place

Key Highlights of this Itinerary

Langoue Bai from drone, Ivindo National Park, Gabon 1


Explore a country that remains 80% covered by pristine rainforest.

Sitatunga in Langoue Bai, Ivindo National Park, Gabon 2

Jungle Wildife

Spot forest elephants, gorillas, forest buffalos and sitatunga from the platform at Langoue Bai.

Forest buffalo on the beach, Loango National Park, Gabon 3

Beach Wildlife

Spot forest elephants and buffalos roaming beside Loango’s white-sand beaches.

Flaming torch at Bwiti ceremony, Lambarene, Gabon 4

Bwiti Rituals

Experience an iboga-fuelled Bwiti ceremony, deep within Gabon’s inaccessible interior.

Explore the itinerary

  • Day 1
  • Day 2
    Libreville - Booue
  • Day 3
    Booue - Ivindo National Park
  • Days 4-5
    Ivindo National Park
  • Day 6
    Ivindo National Park - Booue
  • Day 7
    Booue - Ndjole - Lambarene
  • Day 8
  • Day 9
    Lambarene - Omboue - Loango National Park
  • Day 10-11
    Loango National Park
  • Day 12
    Loango National Park - Port Gentil - Libreville
  • Day 13

Includes / Excludes

Important Information

Activity Level
Very Active
Single Supplement

Travelling on your own? Our group tours are perfect for solo travellers, as travelling as part of an organised group in faraway places provides security and peace of mind. We handle all of the arrangements for you and there will be a local tour guide on hand throughout to provide advice and help if needed, as well as the expertise of a Tour expert.


To allow flexibility, our group tours do not include international flights as standard. We can arrange international flights on your behalf, please get in touch with our travel experts for a quote. All international flights from the UK are ATOL protected.

What is included

  • Accommodation throughout
  • Guiding by Guillermo Casasnovas throughout
  • Internal flights
  • Only meals as specified
  • Transfers by road, rail, boat and motorised canoe
  • Gratuities to be distributed by Guillermo

What is excluded

  • Gorilla permit in Loango
  • International flights
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Meals not specified in the itinerary
  • Visa
Dawn over Langoue Bai, Ivindo National Park, Gabon
Ivindo National Park, Gabon

Ivindo National Park

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, head deep into the jungle, eventually arriving on foot at the beautiful Langoue Bai – discovered by ecologist Mike Fay on his famous MegaTransect expedition.

Langoue Bai from drone, Ivindo National Park, Gabon
Ivindo National Park, Gabon

Langoue Bai

This bai – or forest clearing – attracts a range of animals due to its lush grasses and salt-rich soil. Spend three days on the viewing platform here, which looks out over this opening in the dense forest.

Time on the platform is all about patience. However, time waiting is spent immersed in this spectacular jungle environment, with butterflies fluttering around, palm nut vultures circling and sitatungas occasionally appearing from the long grass.

Nothing is guaranteed at Langoue Bai, but forest elephants tend to visit daily. Red river hogs, forest buffalos and lone sitatungas are also regularly spotted.

Less regularly spotted, but still frequent visitors are families of western lowland gorillas. These elusive primates can easily spend an hour playing in the open

Albert Schweitzer Hospital, Lambarene, Gabon
Lambarene, Gabon


Afterwards, follow the Ogooue River downstream to the town of Lambarene and have a chance to visit the famous hospital, founded by Nobel Peace Prize winner Albert Schweitzer.

The Schweitzer Hospital is almost a century old and still treats around 30,000 people a year. Supported by volunteers from around the world, this remarkable institution is run by a non-profit foundation. The small museum preserves its founder’s lodgings, as well as some of his simple possessions.

Dancer at Bwiti ceremony, Lambarene, Gabon
Bwiti dancer, Lambarene, Gabon

Bwiti Rituals

In spite of Gabon’s colonisation by France and its indoctrination into Catholicism, traditional spiritual practices survive in the form of Bwiti rituals. Amongst many Gabonese, Bwiti continues to instil fear, whilst others revere it.

Visit a local temple and experience a mesmerising ceremony first-hand. Although Bwiti is still very much alive in Gabon, few outsiders ever witness it. Sit with the believers as they summon the spirits – chanting, dancing and drumming.

This is all fuelled by the consumption of iboga – an endemic plant with potent psychedelic properties. This combination of religious fervour and iboga can see the faithful stay up all night chanting and singing.

Forest elephant, Loango National Park, Gabon
Forest elephant, Loango National Park, Gabon

Loango National Park

Arrive at Loango National Park after a journey in an open-topped speedboat, passing through unspoilt jungle. The jewel in Gabon’s crown, Loango is the country’s most famous park. It offers a remarkable mix of ecosystems, with forest, savannah, mangroves and beaches all within close proximity.

The forest elephant encounters here are some of the best in Africa. Get close by 4×4 and on foot, with both elephants and forest buffalos spotted beside the white-sand beaches – an unusual sight.

Also have the option to trek for western lowland gorillas, with a habituated family found in the park. Travel by boat up the Iguela Lagoon and join one of the resident researchers for the chance to encounter this rarely habituated subspecies.

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 the 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.

Haven’t found what you’re looking for?



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

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.

View Property

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.

View Property

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.

View Property

Why a Steppes expert-led group tour

1.Experience Matters

We have been running insightful and groundbreaking group tours since our inception in 1989. We have worked with institutions such as the British Museum and Victoria & Albert Museum and run wildlife tours in conjunction with conservation agencies such as Fauna & Flora International, Wildlife Conservation Society, the Orangutan Foundation, Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund and the Jane Goodall Institute.

2.Size Matters

Our average group size is typically eight to ten people, smaller than other group tours typically offered – a factor which many of our clients appreciate. Travelling as part of a smaller group provides a more intimate, personalised and relaxed atmosphere.

4.It’s about who you know

We have developed an enviable pool of expertise from which to choose our tour experts, who we carefully select based on their knowledge, companionship and personality. Often, these experts can use their influence to facilitate private access to sites not typically open to the public.

3.Like-Minded People

Steppes Travellers are like-minded people – interesting, interested and curious. Our group tours aim to create an easy and informal atmosphere – we have a lot of fun on our tours and many friendships have been formed.

5.Value for money

Our tours are well-priced to ensure you get real value for money. We include gratuities on the majority of our tours and do not pass on currency surcharges. We strive to look after single travellers as well as we can, keeping single supplements to a minimum.

6.Peace of Mind

When you travel on one of our group tours, you will be looked after by our local agents and your tour expert with the back-up of our 24-hour emergency number and duty manager. All our holidays are fully bonded and protected – our ATOL number is ATOL 6495.

Our future tour dates

For further information about any of these tours please call 01285 601 784

Start dateEnd dateDays
Prices from
Single SupplementTour ExpertMax Group SizeStatus
09/01/21 21/01/2113days £7,495 ex. flights £675Guillermo Casasnovas6 AVAILABLE Reserve place

Reserve your place on this group tour

Our travel experts have a wealth of first-hand knowledge, so if you have any questions about this expert-led group tour, please get in touch. They would love to help. We hope you can join us on this tour.

01285 601 784

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Explore similar expert-led group tours

With an average group size of just eight to ten people our group tour itineraries enable you to travel to some of the most intriguing regions of the world in the company of experts guides in the field and, of course, with likeminded people.

Why Choose Steppes?

Our knowledge and expertise sets us apart. So too our curiosity. A curiosity of the world and of you, and your passions. It is this that drives us to create a journey that is really bespoke to you, all the while ensuring we travel and operate sustainably.

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