- Join Steppes' pioneering trip to Gabon, accompanied by a local expert and one of our team
- Discover the vast Ivindo National Park, home to Langoue Bai
- Explore 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 is now full. However, we are likely to arrange a second departure or alternative trips to Gabon in 2020. Please register your interest if you would like to be informed when these are finalised.
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.
Accompanied by one of our team
As with our other Pioneering Group Tours, this trip will be accompanied by one of the Steppes’ team. This not only means that a friendly face will be there at all times – willing to help out and deal with any issues that might arise – but it also gives us the chance to explore a destination that is just as new for us as it is for you.
This trip will be joined by Rob Gardiner, Steppes’ Africa Product and Commercial Manager. Although he has visited Gabon before – on his bicycle, bizarrely – he has never explored any of the areas visited on this trip.
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.
Why aren’t all meals included?
This is unusual, but the nature of the trip means that a lot of the meals will be eaten at local restaurants, rather than at hotels. Aside from Loango Lodge, full board accommodation simply doesn’t exist.
How fit do I need to be?
Although this trip will be tiring because of the amount of travelling, the walking involved is relatively unchallenging, both in Ivindo and Loango. The pace will be slow and the terrain fairly gentle. However, the equatorial climate is a challenge in itself, so being reasonably fit is recommended.
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.
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.