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Gabon and São Tomé & Principe 10th Feb to the 2nd March 2008


inyathi

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inyathi

@jeremie 

Thanks for posting that itinerary, it's interesting to see that they are building a road from Port Gentil to Ombooue, getting to Loango NP by road has always been extremely difficult and not really a practical option, Gabon isn't exactly overburdened with roads. I’m guessing that flying into the park is still no longer an option, but driving would in any case be much cheaper and a better option than going by sea where I could imagine that if the weather is bad and the sea is rough you might not be able to go or could end up having an unpleasant journey. It says that it will take 4-5 hours but presumably it will be a good bit shorter once the highway has been completed. It would certainly in my view be a good idea to have more time on the river as this gives you more chance of seeing the red-capped mangabeys and other monkeys which you would be very unlikely see when driving and you might also get lucky and catch a glimpse of a manatee. You’d probably see a good few more birds as well at least the waterbirds though you should see some of these around the Lagoon.

 

I think once the road is finished and it’s very easy to get to and from Libreville that will make a huge difference and actual just doing a trip like this, seeing the gorillas and the elephants 'on the beach' near La louri Lagoon and the buffaloes, sitatungas and red river hogs on the savannah around Tassi and then heading to STP to explore the islands and their colonial history or find their endemic birds if you're a birder and a perhaps a spot of beach time, would make for a great trip.

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@jeremie  Thanks for posting that itinerary, it's interesting to see that they are building a road from Port Gentil to Ombooue, getting to Loango NP by road has always been extremely difficult an

Thanks for all the comments,   Day 2 12th February Evengué Island – Mission St Anne – Mpivié River – Loango Lodge   Fortunately it was not raining when we left by boat along the sh

Day 3 13th February Loango Lodge – Tassi Savannah Camp   In the morning we boated across to the car park and then drove with a trailer full of supplies the 25kms down through the open grassl

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The trip mentioned earlier organized by Steppes is cancelled due to lack of interest... which really sucks since I've been on the shortlist for since earlier this year :-(

 

Anyone has any tip on someone else doing a small group trip? @jeremie? I have been waiting for many years now...

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SafariChick

@Jakob that is kind of strange to me that they canceled the trip - it said it would depart January 2019 - I would think they have more time to get people on board with it?

Edited by SafariChick
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It was originally planned for Jan 2018, which will not happen. But they will make a new try for Jan 2019 as you say.

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Thanks for making you post such an interesting read. Your images really bring the text to life.
Gabon with São Tomé & Principie was on my bucket list - but I now see to make this work for me I must really improve my school girl French and maybe get a bit fitter so I can tackle those forest treks

  

Edited by TansySue
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inyathi

@TansySueSorry, I really should have posted a reply when I first saw your post, some other members have been more recently, you may have read their reports, they would certainly be able to comment on whether the amount of English spoken has improved or not, I shouldn't think it has too much, I assumed that the guides would have to learn to speak better English as tourism increased, but the increase in tourism I anticipated didn't happen, or was only just starting to happen now. Since Langoue Bai reopened, I don't believe you need to hike in to camp the way that we did, the gorilla tracking which wasn't an option during my trip, but is now available in Loango NP, should I would think be considerably easier than tracking mountain gorillas in Rwanda or Uganda, because you're largely on flat ground, although perhaps the vegetation could make it difficult. Interestingly I just happened to catch a wildlife documentary on the Smithsonian Channel about the gorilla tracking in nearby Moukalaba-doudou NP, suggesting how the future of Gabon's forests and wildlife will depend on the success of such gorilla tourism, since the country's oil is running out, and without tourism revenue, this could lead to much more logging. It looked from the film (which I think was from 2018) as if the gorillas in the park are not too far off being habituated enough, for gorilla tracking to start, however, I'd not heard that gorilla tracking had started in Moukalaba, but of course as with everything else, Covid has thrown a spanner in the works. From recollection, I think gorilla tracking only started in Loango NP in 2016, so had really been going for about 3 years, when they had to shut it down, to protect the gorillas from Covid, I would hope that the trackers are still able to follow the gorillas despite Covid, otherwise all of the hard work habituating the gorillas could be undone. We can only hope that maybe a successful vaccine, will make it possible to resume tourism. 

 

Thanks to your comment, I noticed that a significant number of my photos had gone AWOL from this report, when I wrote this report 10 years ago, I put in very small photos that I hadn't processed at all well, this has always annoyed me, so when it became possible to edit this report, I replaced all of my Gabon photos on Flickr with bigger better processed versions and then edited this report to put them in here, some of the photos were linked from a gallery here and I think something went wrong with those, whatever the case, I've reinstated al of the missing photos and added a few extra ones, that weren't originally in this report. :) 

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