Gabon is half the size of France and a former French colony .Rainforest covers three quarters of of Gabon .The so called Gabonese Jungle Belt is biggest intact forest area in Africa & one of the largest in the world . And the Ogooué Delta is the second largest freshwater delta on the African continent
Thirteen national parks were created by Gabon in 2002, covering 10% of the country’s land mass protecting around 10,000sq miles of vital wildlife habitats.
Four hundred out of the 680 species of bird recorded have been sited in Gabon.It is home to 3-5,000 western lowland gorillas and
1,350 mandrills who are at home in its dramatic patchwork landscape of open savannah and dense rainforest
The future of the Central African rainforest depends on the healthy interdependency of plants & animals as one cannot survive without the other; many forest trees rely on big mammals to disperse their seeds while the loss of trees to logging is a blow to the botanical composition of the forest on which the animals rely for food. Thus, conservation in Gabon is a two pronged battle – against poaching & against logging.
There are several national parks where you can view exceptional wildlife but some locations are difficult to access and a guide is required .
Lopé National Park:
According to the Wildlife Conservation Society it has the highest density of large mammals ever recorded in a tropical forest.
The Djidi Falls are among the biggest in forested Africa and the Mikongo Lodge has some of the world’s best primate viewing. Mikongo has a research station for gorillas. From here you can take an 8-hour forest walk to see primates, forest elephants, and birds.
Gabon is home to Mandrills which are the world’s most improbable primates. The males have red, white and blue faces, yellow beards and very indiscreet behinds! They hang out alone except when in need of female companionship; females on the other hand travel with as many as 1,000 of their friends and family. These are the largest primate gatherings in the world.
African rainforest monkeys (like the Tamarinds of South America’s rainforests) will regularly travel through the forest together in multi species groups. The advantage of this is that there are more pairs of eyes to watch for predators. It’s been discovered that these monkeys have predator specific alarm vocalizations.
Ivindo National Park :
This park contains two magnificent waterfalls and the Ipassa Reserve which is one of the most rewarding bird-spotting regions in Africa with over 430 species.
Langoué Bai (bai is a pygmy word for forest clearing) is about 1km by 300m wide; its mineral waters lure animals, especially elephants to feed. The bai visits fulfill a social function as well as nutritional as a place for forest elephants to regroup.
The Loango National Park :
This is regarded as a jewel of West Africa’s coast.
Elephant, Buffalo, Hippo, Western lowland gorilla and leopard often venture out of the forests onto its white sandy beaches.
Mayumba Beach :
This isolated long strip of sand is situated in the south west of the country is virtually deserted & goes on for miles. It’s difficult to access but has the largest concentration of nesting leatherback turtles in the world, according to NGO ‘Adventures san Frontieres’ which has been conducting turtle surveys on Mayumba for several years
Destination – Gabon