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Gabon Travel Guide

Gabon — Attractions

Gabon’s tourism industry is far from mature, but there are plenty of well-developed attractions around the country. Safaris are the main lure of this little West African nation, along with the historic treasures found in the cities and interesting landmarks in the capital town of Libreville. Deep in the forested areas sit ancient settlements, where inhabitants still follow various old traditions. Rent a four-wheel drive vehicle to slice through the thick jungles, or simply pack a good camping bag and head out with other trekkers to experience the nature first-hand.

Libreville

Libreville is the largest and most important city in Gabon. This capital faces the Atlantic Ocean and is the country’s liveliest cosmopolitan center. It is home to many interesting sites, ranging from historic monuments to beautiful old buildings, and nature trails that lead to splendid beach areas. The Presidential Palace is closed to the public, but is still a remarkable landmark, even just from the outside. It is located just outside Libreville, and was built by former president Omar Bongo in the 1970's. Within the city, you’ll find the stunning Cathedral of St Michael and other destinations like the National Museum and the bustling Mount Bouet Market, the latter of which is the best place for bargain shopping in town.
Address: Libreville, Gabon
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St. Michael Cathedral

L’Eglise St Michael, or the Cathedral of Saint Michael, is one of the most prominent landmarks and tourist attractions in Libreville. It was built by the French Spiritan missionary Gerard Morel and Gabonese sculptor Zephyrin Lendongo. The best features of this stunning building are its ornately carved columns, which were remarkably carved by a blind local craftsman. Each of the 31 wooden columns depicts a different Biblical scene designed by Ledongo and Morel.
Address: Libreville, Gabon
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Lambaréné

This historic town is best known for its affiliation with the famed musician and tropical disease specialist Doctor Albert Schweitzer. Part of the Schweitzer Hospital has been turned into a museum, with many interesting exhibits to discover. From Lambaréné, it is also possible to organize a tour of the beautiful Evara Lake.
Address: Lambaréné, Gabon
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Franceville

One of the four largest towns in the country, Franceville is also home to the Primate Medical Research Institute and the burial site of the late president Omar Bongo. It is one of the more developed cities in terms of infrastructure, featuring good hotels and a hydroelectric plant that gives the area constant electricity. Among its major highlights include Saint Hilaire’s Church, President Omar Bongo’s Statue, the market, and numerous waterfalls, the best being Poubara Falls, which is also where the city’s energy comes from.
Address: Franceville, Gabon
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Port Gentil

In addition to its beautiful beaches, this island town at the mouth of Ogooué River is known for its thriving nightlife and casino. Local swamps also have their share of wildlife, but if the wild animals are too elusive, you can always head to the local zoo to catch a glimpse of interesting species. The town is home to one of the oldest churches in Gabon, the St Louis Church, which was built in 1927. The beaches of Port Gentil feature water sports centers for windsurfing and other off-shore activities. Fishing is a popular activity at Port Gentil, especially in the expansive lagoons of the River Ogooué.
Address: Port Gentil, Gabon
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Beaches of Gabon

Gabon’s Atlantic Coast offers some beautiful deserted beach areas, suitable for different kinds of water-based fun. Pointe Denis and Ekwata to the north and Mayumba and Sette Cama in the south are great places to enjoy the sun and gentle waves. Other noteworthy places to visit include Port Gentil and Cap Estérias, as well as Perroquet, which is great for skin diving.
Address: Gabon
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Lopé-Okanda Reserve

One of the best national parks in Africa, Lopé-Okanda is also Gabon’s largest nature reserve, located right in the heart of the country near La Lopé. It boasts an impressive mix of savannahs and forests, and is inhabited by beautiful species of wildlife. Large mammals and stunning birdlife add to Lopé-Okanda’s appeal.
Address: Gabon
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Cirque de Léconi

Gabon’s famed geological landmark Cirque de Léconi is a deep red rock canyon situated in the southeastern corner, close to the Congolese border. This fascinating canyon is filled with loose sand and surrounded by other great geological formations that attract the most adventurous travelers. Don’t forget to take a guide with you when venturing out into this highly-undeveloped and trail-less nature area.
Address: Gabon
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Gabon National Parks

Gabon has a total of 13 national parks, although some are inaccessible. The sprawling Akanda National Park is best known for its lush mangroves and expansive tidal flats, which host different species of turtles and migratory birds. The Banteke Plateau is a river-crossed savannah, populated by large mammals like buffalos, elephants and antelopes. Cross the river using rope bridges and admire the breathtaking landscapes. The Cristal Mountains National Park is home to orchid and begonia-rich forests, while the famous Ivindo National Park is known to have the region’s best waterfalls. The Loango National Park boasts great stretches of virgin beaches, each flanked by expansive rainforest. If you want to mix nature and culture excursions, head to Lope National Park, which not only features great wildlife and verdant landscapes, but ancient rock engravings. Mayumba National Park is set on a sandy peninsula, a perfect nesting ground for the leatherback turtles, while Minkebe National Park is known for its sandstone domes, giant hogs and forest elephants.
Address: Gabon
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