The Parc National de la Lopé – a patchwork of forest and savannah  – was Gabon’s first protected area and is well set up for excursions. As well as being home to large troops of mandrills, mangabeys and baboons, it’s notable for its many ancient, geometric petroglyphs, thought to have been engraved with iron tools around two thousand years ago. At the Mikongo Conservation Centre, run by the Zoological Society of London, you can join forest treks and find out about gorilla habituation. . .

For visitors to Gabon who aren’t on business and escorted by their hosts, the main downsides are that tourism is still so new. The options, particularly for independent travel, are limited – it’s tricky to get around under your own steam and the safari infrastructure is minimal. . .

(continued on p. 281)

There were limited protests in early 2011 against the authoritarian rule of the Bongo family (Omar Bongo’s 42-year rule ended on his death in 2009 when his son Ali took the presidency) but there’s not much sign yet of any mass movement to overthrow the government.

Links we like

Embassy of Gabon in South Africa Embassy site with clear pages of general country info.

GabonArt No-expense-spared showcase for Gabonese culture and traditions, including a superb “virtual museum” – a multimedia gallery of everyday and ritual objects, ornaments, music, dance and art.

Le Gabon Official national website with a beautiful multimedia “travel diary” section introducing cultural attractions and national parks.

This page last edited 9 June 2011 © Richard Trillo and Emma Gregg


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