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Honeymoon in Gabon

Gabon is a country in Western Central Africa. It lies on the Equator, on the Atlantic Ocean coast, between the Republic of the Congo to the south and east, Equatorial Guinea to the northwest and Cameroon to the north.

A small population, as well as oil and mineral reserves have helped Gabon become one of Africa's wealthier countries. The country has generally been able to maintain and conserve its pristine rain forest and rich biodiversity.

Cities

  • Libreville - Capital
  • Cap Lopez
  • Franceville
  • Gamba
  • Kango
  • Lambarene
  • Mayumba
  • Owendo
  • Port-Gentil

Other destinations

  • Akanda National Park — mangroves & tidal flats are home to migratory birds and turtles.
  • Banteke Plateau National Park — savanna crossed by rivers with rope bridges for the locals; home to forest elephants, buffalo, & antelope.
  • Crystal Mountains National Park — misty forests rich in orchids, begonias, & other flora.
  • Ivindo National Park — two of Central Africa's most magnificent waterfalls; gorillas, chimpanzees, & forest elephants gather around its rivers and waterholes.
  • Loango National Park — a 100-km stretch of virgin beaches and adjacent rainforest, both scenic and a place to view leopards, elephants, gorillas, & monkeys on the beach.
  • Lope National Park — mix of savanna & dense forest along the Ogooue River; float along the river in pirogue, view ancient rock engravings, or track gorillas or mandrill monkeys with a pygmy guide.
  • Mayumba National Park — sandy peninsula home to the world's largest population of nesting leatherback turtles.
  • Minkebe National Park — highland forest with large sandstone domes, home to elephants and forest-dwelling antelope and giant hogs.

What to do

Chez Beti - a small seaside safari camp near the village of Nyonie owned and operated by a French ex-pat. Clean, air-conditioned cottages and all-inclusive family style meals accompany the evening Landcruiser and sunrise walking safaris. Wildlife sightings can include elephants, buffalo, monkeys, parrots, hornbills and other local fauna. The camp is located just a few km south of the equator, along a pristine stretch of beach. Prices are very reasonable and include roundtrip transportation from the marina in Libreville; consisting of an hour long boat transit to a small landing in the mangroves, followed by a 45 minute 4x4 trip along jungle roads to the camp. Contact information: tel. 07 57 14 23 or 06 03 36 36, e-mail: castorene7@live.fr

photo by Minnecologies

Eating

The Balbool restaurant serves delicious western food with very cheap prices. Ask for the big Balbool soup.

Drinking

The cheapest local beer is Regab, it costs from 350-1000 CFA and comes in a 650ml bottle. There are fantastic fruit juices available: "D'jino" Pampelmousse (grapefruit), Ananas (pineapple), Citron (Lemon) in 300ml bottles at CFA 400 and in a 1,5l bottle at CFA 900 if bought in a shop.

Sleeping

There are three international name hotels - Le Meridien, Intercontinental and the Novotel. Apart from these, there are several other budget and economy hotels.

Long term lease on apartments is also an option.

Climate

Tropical; always hot, humid. During the months of June to September, the climate is a little cooler (20-25°C).

Terrain

Narrow coastal plain; hilly interior; savanna in east and south. Highest point is Mont Iboundji at 1,575 metres.

History

The earliest inhabitants of the area were Pygmy peoples. They were largely replaced and absorbed by Bantu tribes as they migrated.

In the 15th century, the first Europeans arrived. The nation's present name originates from "Gabão", Portuguese for "cloak", which is roughly the shape of the estuary of the Komo River close to the capital of Libreville. French explorer Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza led his first mission to the Gabon-Congo area in 1875. He founded the town of Franceville, and was later colonial governor. Several Bantu groups lived in the area that is now Gabon when France officially occupied it in 1885.

In 1910, Gabon became one of the four territories of French Equatorial Africa, a federation that survived until 1959. These territories became independent on August 17, 1960.

Since independence, Gabon has been one of the more stable African. Autocratic President Omar Bongo was in power from 1967 until his death in 2009. Gabon introduced a multiparty system and a new constitution in the early 1990s that allowed for a more transparent electoral process and for reforms of governmental institutions. A small population, abundant natural resources, and considerable foreign support have helped make Gabon one of the more prosperous sub-Saharan African countries. Despite being made up of more than 40 ethnic groups, Gabon has escaped the strife afflicting other West African states.

Source: Wikitravel

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