MTT has provided Gabon travel arrangements to fully independent travelers for years and continues to do so. Gabon’s international reputation belies the reality that it remains one of the most tourist-challenged countries in Central/West Africa.
There have been recent changes for Loango National Park, all of them positive. There is a new tented camp, Louri Lagoon, which along with Tassia and Akaka, Loango Lodge’s original satellite camps, provides stress free accommodation when compared to ownership issues which has kept the mother lodge in limbo since 2010. A family of habituated western lowland gorillas are ready for observation. There is a chimp research project to visit.
Loango National Park protects diverse coastal habitat, including the Iguela Lagoon, the only lagoon ecosystem in West Africa which has protected status. Loango consists of 15,550 sq. kms of grasslands, beaches, forests, mangroves, swamps and salt marshes. There are over 600 documented bird species. Its home to Forest elephant, Forest buffalo, Red River hog, Sitatunga antelope, chimpanzees and Western lowland gorilla, all living against the spectacular backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean.
There are positive changes in Lope National Park as well. Currently, a suggested Gabon itinerary combines Loango North with Lope National Park where a research team has re-collared mandrills. This allows visitors, if they purchase permits, to track these animals with the scientists. The male mandrill is at his most colourful during mating season which stretches from May to late August/early September.
There are two seasons to keep in mind while planning a Gabon visit, especially to Loango North. December through March is a short, dry period when wildlife such as elephant and buffalo are drawn to the coastal areas for the salt in the ocean. June through September is the long, dry period when wildlife moves inland to the Akaka area for water.