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Travel & Holiday Tips in Gabon


Libreville still has a colonial feel even though it is quite modern, where skyscrapers rise above wide, tree-lined boulevards downtown. Located beside the ocean, Gabon’s capital is lively and charming. Its white buildings contrast with the green of the nearby equatorial forest. Sights include the art-craft village (Village des Artisans) and the National Museum, which contains some of the most beautiful woodcarvings in Africa, especially the indigenous Fang style of carving which influenced Picasso’s figures and busts. Visitors can also enjoy the delightful Peyrie Gardens, in the heart of the city; the popular quarters of Akebe and Nombakele, the harbour, the Cathedral of St Michael and the Mount Bouet Market.

There are several nice beaches nearby Libreville; the closest is Pointe Denis, which is about 13 km southwest of Libreville. Set on a peninsula across the estuary from Libreville, Pointe Denis can be reached only by boat. The ride from Libreville's Port Mole takes only 30 minutes, but boats leave infrequently. Most visitors stay for three nights to snorkel, swim and lay under the palms.

Ocean fishing for swordfish, tarpon, barracuda and shark is done off the reefs near Libreville. The best time for salt water fishing is October-May; for river fishing, try June-November.

Other Places

The other main towns in Gabon are Port Gentil, Lambaréné, Moanda, Oyem, Mouila and Franceville. A route winds through a forest of giant trees from Libreville to the beach of Cap Estérias, where the rocks abound with sea urchins, oysters and lobsters. This is a good place to swim. It is possible to go to the Kinguele Falls on M’Bei River or to Lambaréné, the town made famous by Doctor Albert Schweitzer, the tropical disease specialist and musician. Now in its 70th year, Schweitzer’s hospital is open to visitors and a tour on Evaro Lake can be organised. Trips are available down the rapids of the Okanda region.

Further south, the villages of M’Bigou and Eteke are famous for their local crafts and gold mines and, to the west, the enchanting Mayumba set between sea and lake.

Eastwards, the region of Bateke Plateau comprises savannah and forest galleries, and tumultuous rivers spanned by liana bridges, such as the one at Poubara. Game and wildlife include forest elephants, buffaloes, sitatunga, river hogs, gorillas, panthers, crocodiles, monkeys and parrots. In the Sette-Cama, Iguela and N’Dende zones, hunters going on safari can hire guides experienced in tracking and approaching the game. For those armed only with camera and video-camera, there is the Lope reserve and two national parks, Wonga-Wongue and Moukalaba.





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