Gabon is a rewarding travel destination, but exploring the country is not easy. Infrastructure is limited, the tourism industry is in its infancy, and travel in Gabon is surprisingly expensive despite being off-the-beaten-track.
Although the wildlife and landscapes are magnificent, foreigners shouldn't expect world-class museums and amenities just yet. The main tourist attractions in Gabon are wildlife safaris, nature treks and national parks and it is a gem of a destination for the adventurous traveller who doesn't mind roughing it.
Most tourists arrive in Libreville and although the capital has some treats for sightseers it can be thoroughly explored in a day or two. A trip to the colourful and busy markets, a promenade down the lovely coastal boulevard, and a sampling of the local cuisine in the city's restaurants are the highlights.
There are some wonderful excursions from Libreville though, with the beautiful beaches of Pointe Denis a short ferry ride away, and the Pongara National Park extending beyond it and offering a tantalising mix of rolling savannah, pristine coastline, and tropical forest.
One of Gabon's greatest draw cards for visitors are the leatherback turtles that nest on its beaches and Pointe Denis is the perfect place to seek them out. The baby turtles emerge in December and January, making this the best time to visit Gabon for many animal lovers.
There are 13 national parks in Gabon, covering a whopping 10 percent of the country, but not all of them are easily accessible. The most famous is Loango National Park, in western Gabon, which is widely considered one of the most beautiful swathes of Africa, and has become well-known for its surfing hippos, western gorillas and other wildlife that can be seen cavorting on its unspoiled white beaches.
Home to over half the population of Gabon, Libreville is the business and cultural hub of the country. It was named in honour of the freed slaves that built the port and has developed into one of the more glamorous African capitals. It... see full details
Pointe Denis Beach
Point Denis has Gabon's best known beach resorts and is a popular excursion from Libreville. It is a peninsula dividing the Atlantic Ocean and the Gabon Estuary, with some mansions, lodges and restaurants on the city-side and wilder, more pristine stretches of beach on... see full details
Pongara National Park
The stunning Pongara National Park includes the popular weekend getaway of Pointe Denis, but extends far beyond the beaches frequented by tourists to cover an area of more than 577 square miles (929 sq km) of savannah and forest. Although the pristine coastline is... see full details
The second largest city in Gabon and a leading seaport, Port Gentil has two sides. On the one hand it is a ramshackle place with only a few tarred roads, surrounded by tropical rainforest. On the other hand, it is a booming petroleum... see full details