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Loango National Park

Loango National Park is in western Gabon occupying more than 1550 sq kilometers. This diverse coastal habitat includes Iguéla Lagoon which covers 216sq km and lies between Nkomi and Ndogo Lagoon.  The park is one of the famed protected areas where Mike Fay and Nick Nicols from the National Geographic who named the park-the land of surfing hippos.

The vegetation is mainly savannah, pristine beach, forest and mangroves, with a high percentage of water across the whole area. The park was formerly a faunal reserve in 1956 and later in 2002, it was named a national park by President Omar Bongo Ondimba.

Wildlife Tours in Loango

Some of the animals in Loango National park include forest buffalo, elephants, hippo, gorillas and leopards. The coastline is a habitat for killer humpback whales. After South Africa, the world’s largest concentration and variety of whales and dolphins can be found right off the Loango coast.

Founded in an area of 1,550 sq km, Loango National Park is found between Nkomi Lagoon and Ndogo Lagoon. This area became renowned because of Nick Nicols together with Mike Fay from National Geographic, who referred to Loango as the “land of searching for hippos”.

Generally, the vegetation is savannah, beautiful beach, mangroves as well as forest with a great water percentage across the entire region. A distinctive feature in the area is the chance to see elephants, buffaloes, hippos, gorillas as well as leopards not just inside the forests but also when exploring the 60 miles of not inhabited white beaches.

The research center set up at Loango consists of whales plus dolphin observations just offshore, supposedly the 2nd largest concentration of mammals coming after South Africa (with more than 14 species as per the previous census). Among the Whales are the humpback plus the killer whales. The region is as well renowned for its record size tarpon, plus several additional large salt-water fish. Formerly categorized as a faunal reserve, this zone is recognized by IUZCN as a Crucial Conservation Site. In addition it has recently been suggested as one of the World Heritage Site.

The park was initially declared a local faunal reserve back in 1956. However In November 2002, His Excellence President Omar Bongo was eventually compelled into announcing thirteen national parks inside Gabon among which was Loango National Park. Currently the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) together with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), and others, conduct management projects, research as well as education in this area – similar to Lope as well as Ivindo National Parks. A small number of villages are found inside the park even though the area is undergoing development threat especially from mining companies from China. Unfortunately the major tourist lodge called Loango Lodge was closed in August 2010 and this additionally puts these research centers in danger of being closed down.

The forests host a great diversity of wildlife. Some of the remnants of the western explorers are visible in a couple of piles of unfilled oyster shells and some graves close to the only lodge inside the park. The majority of the exploring inside the park is conducted by boat, in a vehicle or even on foot. A 4 days adventurous trek can be carried out in the forest and down the beach up to the gorilla research camp. Here, the equipment as well as the meals are basic, however it is among the last places where you can experience what it should have felt like to be among the first explorers.

The native people are up to now entirely depending on the local resources and use the slash – burn method to clear the area so as to plant crops like mustard greens, peanuts as well as manioc. They obtain proteins from their catch through Fishing as well as hunting, complemented by collecting of produce inside the forest and from the beaches, such as turtle eggs.

the Best time to visit is in December or January since there is less rain and the skies are clear.  Starting February up to April is a long rainy season which is followed by a long, dry season starting in May up to September with cloudy skies. The short rains start in October up to November characterized with heavy downpours interspersed by some sunshine. From October up to April, there are several mosquitoes as well as tsetse flies so this is the worst time to visit though it’s a great time to see wild animals! Below are the Best times to see the different species

Turtles: from November up to March
Whales: from July up to September
Fishing: from November up to April
Mammals on the beach: from November up to April

The climate is fairly humid so laundry takes a more time to dry. Similar to other parts of Gabon, this region is only for the smart explorer and can’t be regarded as a honeymoon beach-resort or a typical eastern or southern African safari camp. It is obvious that visiting this region is a fascinating as well as adventurous experience that will certainly be memorable.