"Gabon/Ivindo National park/Loango National Park" Gabon by missy10
Gabon Travel Guide: 68 reviews and 258 photos
I spent three weeks in Gabon in Aug of 2006. We arranged out trip through operation-loango. They were great and were able to make special arrangements for us.
We first went to Ivindo (see review under Ivindo) and then made our way down to Lope National Park staying at the Lope Lodge for one night and then moving on to The Mikongo Camp. If I were doing this trip again I would cut this part out completely...just wasn't that great. The Lope hotel was not great and over priced and getting out to Mikongo takes about 2 hours driving on the WORLDS DUSTIEST roads....and when I mean dusty...I mean dusty. We were in a Toyota truck with a covered back, but the dust still came in from underneath the trucks bed....the dust got on everything and in everything!! On top of that the road of course is pretty bumpy...you have to hang on for dear life for most of the ride. The camp at Mikongo is just huts with cots and has a in room toilet(which for Gabon is pretty good)but there just wasn't anything to see. We spent 8 hours hiking in the jungle and saw one animal…a dwarf croc.
After Lope we then flew to Loango. Just a suggestion on traveling in between locations...fly when possible as the train is unreliable, and is frequently taken over by the Government for other things...meaning you might have to stay an extra day or two before moving on to the next place…. not to mention it takes much longer to get from one place to the other.
We stayed at Loango Lodge and it is by far the nicest place to stay in Gabon. We had a great time and the food is wonderfully. My husband went whale watching….you get very close to the whales.
Each day we could decide what we wanted to do with our guides. We had already arranged to go to a couple of there satellite camps while we were staying there. The first was the Akaka camp up river. It was the dry season so it was the only camp available. Great bird watching and lots and lots of elephants. We had elephants come to the front of our tents both nights we stayed there. Just one warning....the tsetse flies are BAD!!! Don't wear any dark colors as they are attracted to dark clothing and will be on you in a sec. If you’re lucky you will be on there twin engine boat and should move pretty quickly through the water, but if not...and you get put on a single engine boat like we were....good luck with the flies. It took us 5 hours to get up stream and we had to fight the flies the whole way...I had nightmares about the flies for a few days afterwards.
After Akaka we stayed a night at ST. CATHERINE BEACH CAMP. It was wonderful and very relaxing....so glad we stayed there for a night. After Catherine we moved back to the main lodge and departed the next day for EVENGUE ISLAND...the highlight of our trip. Evengue is a gorilla sanctuary run by operation loango and it is the only place where you are guaranteed to see Gorilla's. We were there with only one other guest and were able to take two orphaned baby gorillas on a forest walk. It was absolutely worth every penny we spent on this trip to be able to do this!!
So in summery....I have to admit we didn't get to see very much wild life while we were there. It isn't like east Africa. They still hunt in the areas and the animals are very skittish....our guides were ex-poachers and were very good at getting us REALLY REALLY close to what animals we did see...ie...elephants, dwarf crocs, buffalo and some monkeys(just three hippos on the first day we were there) but it was the dry season and the animals move further into the jungle that time of yr. Might be better to go right at the end of the wet season when the Jungle is still a little flooded and the animals are out on the beaches. All and all…I would recommend this trip. You really have to hunt for the animals, but that’s what kind of makes the place special. There are very few tourists and you could go all day with your guide and never run into anyone else. Helpful if you speak French as well.
Wish I could go back.....
My husband and I went to Gabon in Aug of 2006. We started our trip off by going to Ivindo national park in hopes of seeing the Gorilla’s at Langoué Bai. We tried to plan our trip so that we would have the best chances of seeing them....but unfortunately we spent 4 days there at the bai and didn't see any. We did see many elephants and antelope, but no gorillas.
In spite of not see the gorilla's we still had a great time. We were lucky enough to be there with three other couples and really enjoyed there company. The camp is very clean and the tents were really nice. The camp is run by research people and local people. The food was just okay, but it is in the middle of the jungle, so you take what you can get.
I think if your going there to try and see the gorilla's you are better off going in July. We spoke to some other travelers who had seen Gorilla's in the bai a couple of weeks before we got there. They actually saw around 22 different gorillas. It just luck of the draw.
The drive into the camp is pretty easy and the short hike to camp is a little steep a first, but not that bad. One piece of advise...fly to Ivindo if you can...avoid the train as it is unreliable and takes a really long time
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