Getting there: regular flights on Air Maroc, Lufthansa (from Frankfurt), Air France (from Paris), or SAA (from Johannesburg) to the capital city Libreville. What to see & do: whale watching, surfing, boat excursions, safari tours and ecotours in more than a dozen of Gabon's national parks Currency: Central African franc
Official language(s): French
With big reserves of oil and a relatively tiny population, Gabon enjoys one of the strongest economies in all of Africa.
Its natural beauty - and warm and inviting native population - also make it one of the continent's most popular tourist destinations.
Even for those unfamiliar with this relatively tiny African nation, the hit US TV series Survivor: Gabon, which aired in 2008, afterward put the country squarely on the map for American audiences.
the Atlantic ocean, Gabon is often called "Earth's Last Eden" for its unspoiled natural beauty. It was in Gabon's Congo basin where author Joseph Conrad's set his novel
Heart Of Darkness in which its hero, Marlow, describes his experience as "like traveling back to the earliest beginnings of the world".
Today along the country's pristine coast, adventure travelers can surf, whale watch, or take scenic boat excursions.
Gabon is considered one of
the last major strongholds for
the African forest elephant.
Inner Gabon is where more African wonders await. These include a dozen Gabon
national parks and awe-inspiring safari adventures -- watching watch silverback gorillas, African forest elephants, and other wildlife in their natural habitats.
From the U.S.
and Europe, regular flights to Gabon are provided by Air France
(flying directly into Libreville, the capital city) or on Royal
Air Maroc which flies from Casablanca to Gabon. Within Africa,
there are also direct flights from Johannesburg,
South Africa aboard Interair or SAA airlines.
After landing in Libreville, you can arrange for transportation or ecotours to see the country in all its natural beauty, but don't plan on spending too much time in this expensive seaside capital.
When traveling anywhere in Gabon, have your French
phrase book ready. The country only gained independence from France
in 1960, and French remains the official language with very little
English spoken here.
DID YOU KNOW? Gabon Travel Fun Facts
view of Ivindo National Park.
• The modern capital city of Libreville (Free Town) was founded in 1849 by freed slaves in Gabon which, at the time, was the center of the European slave trade.
• Today, Gabon is home to 80% of Africa's western lowland gorilla population which is currently high on the list of endangered species.
• Ivindo National Park is considered a prime center for ecotourism and safari adventures in Eastern Gabon and contains the Kongou, Djidji, and Mingouli waterfalls, the most spectacular in West Africa.
• A collection of 1,800 petroglyphs (ancient rock carvings) can be seen at Gabon's World Heritage site at Lope-Okanda.
• Traveling by herself up the Ogooue River in 1897, British explorer Mary Kingsley later wrote of her adventures in "Travels in West Africa" which became an overnight bestseller.
Gabon travel & tourism around the Web:
travel guide - Wikitravel entry with pictures & maps,
information on major and lesser-known attractions, getting around
by train, bus or car, practical travel & safety tips.
Africa's Eden - Gabon - Here's a great guide to all the natural beauty of
Gabon offering map, photos, videos, national park guides, and practical travel information, how to get in and what to see and do.
Travel Guide- Check out the National Geographic
guide with feature stories on the country's natural wonders including
maps, fast facts, and photos.