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gatoratlarge

Gabon Trip Report 2006

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gatoratlarge

I followed Lynn over here from Fodors and have enjoyed reading trip reports, looking at safari photos, etc..thought I'd add some of mine although they may be dated in some cases...perhaps the info can be useful to someone and at least give the atmosphere of certain places and locations...this first one is from a 2006 trip to Gabon which I wanted to visit ever since reading about Michael Faye's megatransect...logistics at the time were a bit difficult to say the least and I don't know if they've improved much....I never got to visit Loango which seems the most organized for tourists...but the area is an Eden in many respects...I enjoyed the heck out of it...here was my itinerary:

 

29 July: Arrive Libreville at 5:05AM

30 July: Overnight train to Langoué

31 July - 3rd Aug : At Langoué bai

3 Aug: Evening train to Libreville

4 Aug: Arrive Libreville for overnight

5 Aug : Flight to Makokou for overnight

6 - 7 Aug : Kongou Falls

8 Aug: Return to Makokou for overnight

9 Aug: Return flight to Libreville

10 Aug: Excursion to Domain of La Nyonie

11 Aug: Excursion to Mondah Forest

12 Aug: Departure

 

My report: I went to Gabon last summer. I loved it but it certainly had its challenges. I used IExplore but ultimately Mistral Voyages was the Gabonese agency. They did what they said and were efficient, however, tourism is undeveloped and if you want to stray from the itinerary, it is "Can't Do." In my case I wanted to extend my trip a few days and it was just one "not possible" after another. I would try Operation Loango. The folks I met that used them were pleased and felt they were very much trying to please their clients and if it were at all possible, they would give it a go. They have their own transport (light aircraft,etc)...so they can arrange outside of Loango to Ivindo and Lope as well.

 

I was "unlucky" at Langouie Bai because I saw no gorillas in a three night stay, even once spending the night in the hide, however, "unlucky" is a relative term. The Forest is an Eden. Very remote. Quite magical. We saw many long tusked forest elephants, monkeys, etc...It is an incredible place. I had to be content that it was truly nature at its best...a fruiting tree may have diverted a gorilla group for a day or two. Much to my chagrin, a spanish couple I met saw 35 gorillas in their stay, the week prior including a family group that crossed the road on the trip back to Ivindo Station. Must be in good enough shape to hike a few hours as to get to the bai, there is quite a walk. Porters can be hired for your luggage though. Accomodations are celan and neat. Nothing special---very much more a research camp than a luxury safari camp. I highly recommend it, gorillas or not. Another interesting point is that many of the gorillas have some sort of skin desease that can disfigure their face. They are very susceptible to these kind of deseases.

 

 

 

I was able to visit Kongo Falls as well. That was a great adventure but required quite an unusual travel schedule. It is in the same park (Ivindo) bu it is not connected with Langouie Bai. I had to travel by train back to Libreville and fly out to Makoukou. A three hour pirougue trip through the rapids was incredible. The extensive complex of falls was mine alone for three nights! There were three guides along as well. We explored the falls and took hikes in the forest. Although I could not find much info about them (initially I was told the camp was not complete...in fact, an italian now working in Lope had finished the camp for several years---so communication is definitely not consistent or complete)Kongou Falls is another spot where you may find troops of Mandrills...we just missed them but could hear their calls and movements in the forest. My thought is that "maybe" you can see them in Lope better but even there, your chances are not real high...this setting is absolutely incredible and I would highly recommend Kongou...a GREAT experience and certainly a highlight....Langouei Bai though is also great. Accomodations here are more basic than Langouie but they are chalet-like---just a bit damp, like the forest. One night I was able to sleep on the crude platform right next to the roaring falls...moonlit, the stars and then sunrise...is unforgettable. Also stalked forest elephants near the falls on foot...the guides were VERY skittish of these animals but it was thrilling to see them through the jungle growth.

 

 

 

Stayed a few nights at a beach camp near Libreville which was pleasant and relaxing...but I missed out on Loango. I would like to go back to catch that park. Do not expect to see hippos cavorting in the ocean as I think that is common a certain time of year and even then rare. Same with elephants on the beach...possible but not real likely. What I heard from the spanish couple that had been in Loango was INCREDIBLE whale watching opportunities. They wre treated toi hours of males leaping about, breaching to impress the females...very close and the pics were spectacular...involves many attempts to leave the lagoon on the zodiak as there is a difficult area to get through with the waves coming in...sometimes the weather prevents the crew from being able to go out to sea for the whale viewing. Also, good photo opportunities at the gorilla rehab on some island in Loango. They enjoyed that very much. Great fishing too with enormous Tarpon in the south of the park...I would certainly go back and I hope to go back and visit Loango since I missed it the first time. hope this helps someone.

 

Link to my pics from Langouie Bai; Kongou Falls and in and around Libreville...looks like Kodak has reduced them in size a little but...

 

http://www.kodakgallery.com/gallery/creati...deShow/Main.jsp

 

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gatoratlarge

I have a few links to photo galleries but I'm not sure they are working---a quick suggestion or two would help---thks : )

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inyathi

Thanks gatoratlarge,

Fantastic to see another report on Gabon. You may have already seen my report which I've nearly completed, after my next post I will add some extra info on visiting Loango and other places. I would love to see your photos of Kongou Falls as I didn't go there.

 

Posting photos.

 

I assume your photos are on another site, I have some on here and some on Flickr, this is what I do.

 

If your using Internet Explorer click New Tab and then go to your photo site, with Flickr you click the photo you want and then click All Sizes and then select and copy the URL, then switch back to your post and click Insert Image. When you do this the first time you may then have to click 'temporarily allow scripted windows' and then Insert Image again, you then simply paste the URL in to the box and click OK. Simply repeat this for each photo you want and then if you click Preview Post your photos should appear. If need be you can move each link to get the layout exactly how you want it before finally posting. I hope this makes sense

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gatoratlarge

I sure did! it's great! You covered a lot more ground, and it's sad to hear that Langouie Bai is no longer open for tourists...thought I'd add Kongou Falls etc...love to go back and see Loango as well as Ndoki(?) in CAR

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twaffle

Welcome Gatoratlarge, another adventure for us to share which is very generous. I have only read the first part and not tried to link on the photos so hope you have it sorted. There is a thread on posting photos if you need more help.

 

It certainly does sound like an Eden and for someone to see gorillas just crossing a road seems almost surreal.

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gatoratlarge

The old link expired (Kodak gallery is a thing of the past) so here's an updated picture gallery in case anyone wants to check it out my pics from Gabon:

 

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.13464203487.35104.610038487&type=1&l=251e34bad2

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michael-ibk

Just discovered this, awesome stuff. Love the pics in your FB gallery. Must have been quite an adventure. Let's hope the Gorillas will be more cooperative.:)

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