In Gabon adventures are a plenty. It is impossible to visit without seeing elephants: close-up viewings from a boat, or beach sightings are wonderful treats from each season.
The highlight for many though is lowland gorilla trekking, in Loango.
Trekking in Loango for the African primate that many people adore...the gorilla! Often people pay high prices to enter into their world. In Loango we are able to offer gorillas trekking permits at much lower prices than anywhere else because Gabon is a very stable country with more protected areas than its neighbours. Despite this, western lowland gorillas are critically endangered and do still need our help and protection.
Western lowland gorillas live in social groups consisting of one silverback, several adult females, and their offspring. Silverbacks protect their females and offspring from other gorilla groups, predators, and other threats. Gorillas are vegetarian, with their diet consisting of fruit, leaves, and herbaceous vegetation. Their daily routine consists of feeding for a few hours, resting, feeding, resting, during which they will move several kilometers distance through their 20 km2 home range. Gorillas do not have set territories, but groups have overlapping home ranges. Western gorillas spend as much as 30% of their time in the trees, making them much more arboreal than mountain gorillas. Social interactions among gorillas include resting together, grooming, and play by the infants and juveniles.
Despite gorillas being the largest primate species, it is difficult to see unhabituated gorillas in forest because they are naturally afraid of humans and typically will flee or aggressively charge if people get too close to them. Gorillas that are visited by people have undergone ‘habituation’. This refers to the process, where through daily peaceful contact with humans, gorillas have slowly lost their strong fear of humans and have learned to view them as neutral beings in their environment.
The best time to visit the gorillas in Loango is late January – May, when they do not travel very much per day. During the dry season (June – October), the gorillas travel a lot, moving between fruiting trees and the swamps, making it the most difficult time to visit them. The gorillas move through the forest in an unpredictable way so we cannot know in advance exactly where we will find them. Therefore, it may take several hours of hiking before you see the gorillas. Hiking in the forest is likely to include walking through mud, small streams, and swamps so expect to get wet and muddy. It is necessary to be physically fit to visit the gorillas.
Check out our Gorilla Trekking Blog!
Game Drives in a 4x4 pickup are an easy and comfortable way to view the wildlife in the more open areas of Gabon’s National Parks. In Loango & Pongara you can and see wildlife such as buffalo, elephant, red river hogs and sitatunga as they venture out of their forest homes and into the myriad of savannas. You may even spot a Leopard or Chimpanzee. In Loango in the rainy season, from November to April, you can find large mammals roaming freely on the beach. Enjoy sun downers on the beach at the end of your safari drive.
Hikes & Guided Trails in the forests are unbeatable for a real submersion into the parks. You never know what you will find. Huge trees, the width of a football team is not impossible to encounter. There are multiple forest types with varying degrees of difficulty to navigate. From the easy and more open forest pockets dotted among the savannas, to the dense jungles toward the interior. In the forest everything is alive. Beware of biting ants underfoot, while keeping your eyes and ears tuned to your surroundings, on the lookout for elephants that do an astounding job of hiding! Walk quietly while listening to the many birdsongs, cicada bugs, and take in all of the forests' scents for an overwhelming sensory overload radiating from the huge diversities of animal & plant life. Feel Gabon!
Sportfishing in Gabon is a favourite for avid fans & brings in hundreds of tourists each year. 100kgs+ is not an unusual catch, and each park manages this sport through it's park protection and fisheries to ensure fishing pressure is limited to local subsistence fishing and only verified tourist operations who adhere to practices of safe practice and sustainability.
In Loango, the lagoon, adjacent beaches, and isolated coastal lagoons are prime sport fishing territory. At times the numbers and quality of fish is incredulous and is partly explained by the fact that the 220km² Iguéla lagoon is a rich nursery for juvenile fish that as adults are concentrated within a relatively small area.
Other popular sportfishing destinations are Sette Cama and Mayumba.
Turtle Patrols in search of nesting Leatherback & Olive Ridley turtles are a big highlight every November to February. Witness the mothers as they haul themselves out of the water and onto the shores, making awkward looking ascents to dig their nest and lay their eggs before covering them up and returning to the ocean for another year.
Pongara is the best place to get you fill of turtle time, here they visit in higher densities than in Loango, therefore increasing your chances of seeing them. In Pongara in December to April you can also take a guided tour in search of the little hatchling as they first come into the world and start their huge adventure by dashing into the Ocean.