Anyone been to or considering Gabon?

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Nov 1st, 2011, 08:59 AM
  #1
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Anyone been to or considering Gabon?

In the past, this forum has had discussions about Gabon but I haven't seen any posts recently. Am thinking that maybe Gabon just doesn't have the infrastructure necessary for a solo safari goer. Would be interested in others' opinions or experiences.
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Nov 1st, 2011, 11:16 AM
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I went by myself a few years back---the infrastructure is not very developed---I had a good trip...I'll attach my trip report. Do you mean using local transport and doing it yourself? Or do you just mean travelling solo and willing to use a local travel agent to make various arrangements?
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Nov 1st, 2011, 12:07 PM
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I was there in 2007 or 2008 (lose track of the years) it was after Michael Faye had put Gabon on the map with his Mega Transect---a lot changes in a short time so I don't know that my information will be very useful...for instance I read they were considering a hydro electric project which would effect Kongou Falls which was a real highlight for me...whether that has stopped or whether that went forward I don't know...I think you'll have to go through a local operator to see what the possibilities are...here is my observations from the trip five years ago or so:

I didn't use Operation Loango (I went throught I-Explore which uses Mistral Voyages) but at least two different groups/couples I met were very pleased with their trip organized through OL.

It looks like I-Explore doesn't offer Gabon anymore and although competent, MV was not easy to work with----it's frankly a difficult country where tourism is still a fledgling industry...many French with connections to the oil and mining industries, but not to the wildlife parks...

I enjoyed my trip...but your expectations need to be right...I saw no gorillas although I bet I'm the exception for those travelling to Ivindo and Langoue Bai. A couple that arrived a day early watched a family of Lowland gorillas for quite a while in the Bai...a spanish couple saw 35! a week prior...just bad luck on my part...

What I did see was an Eden...an area practically untouched...prehistoric looking long tusked forest elephants...monkies filled the trees...although, again, I saw a lot of sillouettes...

I added some adventure to my trip by going to Kongou Falls...logistically in the same park as Langouie Bai but I had to return to Libreville to get to Makoukou by plane and then to the falls...as far as an experience, I found it extraordinary. Imagine the most impressive falls in Central Africa all to yourselves...a motorized dug out pirogue down the rapids...swimming, fishing, forest walks to catch glimpses of forest elephants and mandrills...but glimpses is what you'll get...if you are lucky...

As far as prolific wildlife...it's no East or South Africa by a long stretch...but it is unique and offers some great forest experiences I've not had elsewhere in Africa.

If I had another week there I would have gone to Loango (and used Operation Loango) as I like the fish---tarpon in the south of the park...great whale watching in July, August and the jungle that meets the beach...the gorilla rehab was a high light as well for the spanish couple I met...they got to interact with a baby gorilla at Evengue? Island...Lope used to be the only game in town but I have heard plenty of complaints re: guiding and a lack of sightings there...

Pics from my trip:

http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?s...1&l=c6b353e3fa

Short vid of Kongou Falls:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=loYR-4-gNMY
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Nov 1st, 2011, 12:11 PM
  #4
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I mean travelling solo and willing to use a local travel agent. A U.S.-based outfit (Mountain Sobek) offered a group trip to Gabon a couple of years ago, but I noticed that it's no longer in their catalogue...This morning I was thumbing through the latest Travel Africa Magazine and saw an ad for Loango National Park and the re-opening of Loango Lodge. It piqued my interest.
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Nov 1st, 2011, 06:35 PM
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I saw the same advertisements in Travel Africa and immediately headed for the internet. I'm glad they're back on the radar.

http://www.africas-eden.com/
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Nov 1st, 2011, 11:55 PM
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Hi,

if you are considering Gabon, I can recommend a book called Wild spirit by Annette Henderson. Whilst staying at a construction camp she attempted to raise an orphaned gorilla. It is probably out of print, but second hand copies might be available over the Net.

The book gives some interesting background information on travelling independently in Gabon and also about the process of opening up the interior.

Regards,

Pol
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Nov 6th, 2011, 11:23 AM
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NatGeo Wild is rerunning a Gabon show on Wed at 9pm (on the east coast, US). Just FYI.
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Nov 6th, 2011, 11:44 AM
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gatoratlarge - wow, fabulous photos. Looks like an amazing trip. I like adventures, although that might be just a little much for me. Thanks so much for sharing.
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Nov 8th, 2011, 06:41 PM
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Thks althom. It was definitely one of the more adventurous trips I've taken...I enjoyed it a lot but someone would be wise to have realistic expectations before going...if you're used to east African or southern African safaris, it's quite different than that...if you're in it to see a very different part of Africa, with unique wildlife, with a splash of true adventure, then Gabon could be great.

I'm a visual person so I always like to look at folks' pics that have been where I want to go...so I'm happy to share with the forum if it helps people visualize what it may look like...
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Nov 9th, 2011, 05:07 AM
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Somehow I missed the link gator's pics earlier and just took a look now. Very different from the typical safari shots. Thanks for sharing.
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Nov 17th, 2011, 05:54 AM
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Will this be before or after Borneo, Phernska?
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Nov 8th, 2013, 11:29 AM
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Africa.com's travel portal for Gabon has a lot of information about where to go, what to do, and how to get around in the country. There is a lot of information on the beaches and national parks and how to take advantage of them as a tourist.

Here's the link to the travel page, if you're interested: http://www.africa.com/gabon/travel/

Also, the general page for Gabon goes further into detail about the history and many cultures that make up Gabon. Here's the link: http://www.africa.com/gabon/travel/
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