Gabon, Central Africa

Gabon, Central Africa

Gabon is known as the “land of surfing hippos”. Intrigued? Visit this edenic Central African country where dense rainforests, white-sand beaches and vast national parks are ideal for spotting the big five and nesting sea turtles.


Gabon, Central Africa

Why now?

Any destination that’s nicknamed the “land of surfing hippos” is
worth a visit, is it not? On the west coast of Central Africa,
Gabon is a country of vast, wildlife-filled parkland framed by
sandy beaches on one side and thick rainforests on the other. Just
over 10 per cent of the country is dedicated to protected parkland,
meaning that a trip to Gabon will naturally involve lots of
walking, hiking and safaris. Loango National Park is the most
popular in Gabon, known as “Africa’s last Eden”, where you can
explore patches of dense forests interspersed with lagoons and
white-sand beaches.

While you’re unlikely to spot the rare sight of Gabon’s surfing
hippos (the giant mammal has been known to wade into the sea,
stretch out its legs and body surf its way back to the shore), keep
an eye out for any of the park’s famed wildlife, which includes
whales and dolphins in the seas, elephants frolicking on beaches,
stalking gorillas, slinking leopards and birds of paradise
streaking through the skies.

Don’t miss…

… a visit to one of Gabon’s colourful cities. With vibrant
street markets, modern restaurants and buzzy bars, Libreville is
one of western Central Africa’s best cities. Visit the Musée
Nationale des Arts et Traditions du Gabon to learn about tribal
crafts, culture and history, stop by the Eglise de St-Michel de
Nkembo to admire carved pillars, murals and statues, or take a boat
to spend the day on nearby Pointe Denis, a sandy peninsula perfect
for sunbathing and water sports.

Who to take with you

Someone searching for a destination that’s off the beaten

When to go

Go in January
for some winter sun and to catch a glimpse of sea turtles – they
nest between November and January.

Where to stay

Loango’s only safari resort, Loango Lodge, offers 11 comfortable bungalows perched
on the riverside. Rise with the sun to drift across the lagoon on a
pontoon and transfer into safari vehicles for days spotting the big

Most likely to bump into…

… wildlife fanatics. The
Unesco World Heritage Site
of Lopé National Park lies on the
equator and is characterised by rolling hills, stretches of
savannah and rainforests filled with elephants, buffaloes, gorillas
and chimpanzees framed by the Ogooué River. On the coast, the
Mayumba National Park is a marine park where you can spot barnacled
whales, sea turtles, dolphins and manta rays.

Essentials to bring with you

This Zimmermann leopard-print visor
will keep your eyes shaded so you can focus on spotting those

How to get there

You can fly into Libreville Airport, typically with one stop
off, in around 10 hours from London.

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