The 8 best places to visit in Gabon

 

Located on the countries northwestern coast, south of the capital, Libreville, is the 929 square kilometre (359 square mile) Pongara National Park, a landscape composed of mangrove forest along the Komo Estuary that connects to the Atlantic Ocean. Wildlife in and around the park includes buffalo, monkey, chimpanzee and elephant, though is most famous for the endangered leatherback turtles that come ashore to lay their eggs.

8. Pongara National Park

 

In the centre of the country,​ encompassing an area of some 1,060 square kilometres (409 square miles) is Waka National Park, protecting a landscape of vast untamed rainforest. Highlights of the park include the mountains of the Chailli Massif, a rugged terrain of steep valley filled with dense jungle and an abundance of wildlife that includes chimpanzee and gorilla.

7. Waka National Park

 

In the extreme south east of the country,​ straddling the border with the neighbouring Republic Of The Congo is the 2,034 square kilometre (785 square mile) Bateke Plateau National Park, encompassing the ancient volcanic landscape of the Bateke Plateau. The terrain of forest savannah, dense jungle and river valleys is home to elephant, buffalo, bushpig, duiker, chimpanzee and several monkey species among many others.

6. Bateke Plateau National Park

 

In the south west of the country, covering an areas of some 4,500 square kilometres (1,737 square miles) is Moukalaba-Doudou National Park, protecting grassy savannahs, papyrus swamps and a large humid rainforest. With an estimated population of around 5,000 chimpanzees and gorillas in the forest, safari's within the park provide one of the most authentic primate viewing locations in Africa.

5. Moukalaba-Doudou National Park

 

In the northeastern centre of the country, covering an area of some 3,000 square kilometres (1,158 square miles) is Ivindo National Park, an almost entirely forested landscape. Among the mountains and dense forests are two of the countries most impressive natural landmarks, the Kongou and Mingouli Waterfalls, known as the Wonders Of Ivindo. With a peak drop of 56 metres (184 ft) the massive Kongou Falls is known to be one of the most powerful waterfalls in the world, as well as being one of the most beautiful in Central Africa. The park is also home to forest elephants, African forest buffalo, common chimpanzee and western lowland gorilla.

Pictured are the Kongou Falls.

4. Ivindo National Park

 

In the north east of the country, straddling the borders where Gabon, Cameroon and the Republic Of The Congo meet is the 7,570 square kilometre (2,923 square mile) Minkebe National Park, protecting one of the most biologically rich forests in Africa. Among the landscape of forests and swampland, the park is home to one of the largest populations of forest elephant in Africa, as well as a myriad of other species that include chimpanzee and the endangered western lowland gorilla.

3. Minkebe National Park

 

In the centre of the country,​ covering an area of some 4,910 square kilometres (1,896 square miles) is Lope National Park, the first protected area to be designated in Gabon. Made up mainly of dense tropical rainforest, this easy to safari national park is home to animals such as buffalo, elephant, leopard, chimpanzee and gorilla. Protecting such a large number of endangered species, the beautiful natural terrain of Lope National Park has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

2. Lope National Park

 

On Gabon's south western coast, covering an area of some 1,550 square kilometres (598 square miles) is Loango National Park, protecting a diverse coastal habitat considered a jewel of Africa's western coast. The landscape of savannah, pristine beaches, forest and mangroves offer visitors the opportunity to see elephants, buffalo, hippopotamus, leopard and gorilla venturing onto the white sands. From here its also possible to view one of the worlds largest concentrations and varieties of whales and dolphins, with humpback whale and killer whale easily observed from the coast.

1. Loango National Park

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