Renowned for its thick and luscious rain forests and rich biodiversity, Gabon is a sovereign state on the west coast of Central Africa. Perched on the equator, this nation is fringed by Equatorial Guinea to the north-west, Cameroon to the north, the Republic of the Congo on the east and south, and the Gulf of Guinea to the west. Owing to its oil and mineral reserves, Gabon has become one of Africa's wealthier countries.
Kick-start the trip by heading over to the largest city and the capital of Gabon - Libreville. One of its main attractions is the seafront where people converge to relax and lounge around by the Atlantic Ocean. There are numerous Gabonese sculptures spruced around. Be sure to also visit the Nzeng-ayong to view the Arboretum de Sybang which is a massive tree sanctuary which features thousands of local species. Don't forget to catch a glimpse of the stunning Presidential Palace, from the outside, as it is a beautiful landmark. Visit the incredible Cathedral of St. Michael as well as other notable highlights such as the National Museum and the lively Mount Bouet Market, known to be a bargaining hotspot.
Franceville is renowned for its many waterfalls. One of the known ones is the Poubara Falls, which is housed with a hydroelectric plant and delivers consistent electricity to the area. Drop by at Lambarene and be sure to tour the stunning Evara Lake. Visit Mayumba for it a fantastic place for turtles to lay eggs and to hatch, including the leather-back turtle. Apart from its stunning beaches, Port Gentil is also popular for its buzzing night-life and casino. Don't forget to visit one of the oldest churches in Gabon, the St. Louis Church, which was erected in 1927.
Famed for being one of the best national parks in Africa, Lope-Okanda is Gabon's biggest nature reserve, housed right in the hub of the country near La Lope. It offers a scintillating mix of savannahs and jungles, and is brimming with stunning species of wild-life. Huge mammals and other species of bird-life overall add to Lope-Okanda' charm. Gabon is renowned for its geological landmark Cirque de Leconi - a deep red rock canyon housed in the south-eastern corner, adjacent to the Congolese border. This incredible canyon is packed with loose sand and other fantastic geological formations that cater to those with an adventurous heart.
There are several national parks in Gabon. Some of them are: Akanda National Park (mangroves & tidal flats; home to migratory birds and turles); Banteke Plateau National Park (houses forest elephants, buffaloes and antelopes), Crystal Mountains National Park (rich in orchids, begonias and other flora), Ivindo National Park (home to incredible waterfalls as well as gorillas, chimpanzees & forest elephants); Loango National Park (leopards, elephants, gorillas, monkeys on the beach); Lope National Park (ancient rock engravings, track gorillas or mandrill monkeys with a pygmy guide), Mayumba National Park (globe's biggest population of nesting leatherback turtles) and Minkebe National Park (jungles with huge sandstone domes and houses elephants, antelopes and giant hogs).
When it comes to shopping, there are several souvenirs that can be purchased such as African (Fang) mask carvings, figurines, clay pots and traditional musical instruments. The night-life in Liberville is incredible for there are numerous nightclubs as well as bars. As for cuisine, there are various specialities such as Brochette (Meat skewered and slow-roasted over an open fire) or Nyembwe (Chicken in a sauce made from the pulp of palm nuts).
Stay options in Gabon are plenty with those who are heavy on the pocket preferring the best luxury hotels. Budget travellers and backpackers can go for modest accommodations and cheap apartments.
Gabon experiences a typical equatorial climate. The best time to visit the country would be during the dry season between May and September or during mid-December/January.