Gabon Wildlife Adventure Tour
July 17, 2024 - July 26, 2024£1560 – £8315
Gabon Wildlife Adventure Tour
The ‘jewel in the crown’ of Gabon’s natural park’s is Loango National Park, where there’s almost no humans living around the park and where wild animals live protected by the rivers surrounding this natural part of Central Africa. Travelling to the little known country of Gabon in Central Africa to track down some of the world’s most enigmatic primates including the colourful Mandrill and the huge and endearing Lowland Gorilla (among other awesome species) is what this tour is all about. Gabon is also the home of one of the world’s most iconic and famous species of primate; the Mandrill. Immortalized by Rafiki in The Lion King, the world’s largest species of monkey is found here and can be seen easier than anywhere else in the world. But it is not just mandrills that are the attraction for this tour. As mentioned above we will spend time with lowland gorillas and also have a fantastic chance to see forest elephants, red river hogs and other species known from the Central African tropical rainforest.
Top Animals on Tour
Red River Hog
Arrival in Libreville where the guide will be meet you at the airport and transfer you to the hotel. There is nothing planned today, most flights arrive in the evening and so we will bring you to the hotel where you can have dinner, meet the group and our logistics manager and be briefed on the plan for tomorrow.
If you book our Ivindo National Park pre-trip extension you will miss today completely. You will join the main group on this itinerary on day 2 on the train to Lope National Park
Libreville – Lope National Park
Free morning in the hotel or to walk and bath in the beach, we can also arrange a small city tour if you wish. We will depart for the train station in the mid afternoon and then catch the evening train (departure is at 18:50) to Lope. We will arrive into Lope around 00:00 – 01:00, on arrival we will have a short (15 min) transfer to the hotel and then straight to the rooms. The wildlife watching will start at around 7-8am tomorrow.
If you are booked on the Ivindo National Park pre-trip extension you will meet the rest of the group and join this itinerary on the train to Lope.
Lope National Park
Over the next two days the group will be most split into two, this is because the maximum group size that can track the mandrills is 4 people per day. So we will split the group into two and then after breakfast on day 3 half of the group will head out on a jeep safari into Lope National Park, the park is great for African forest elephants, bushbuck, forest buffalo and primate species (with 5 species commonly seen here) as well as many birds and other wildlife. They will come back for lunch as the temperatures rise and the wildlife starts to disappear into the forest.
The other group will be collected by the mandrill researcher (David Lehmann) and driven into the park, he will then use the radio telemetry to find the troop. You will then drive and walk as direct as possible to the mandrills and once you have found them, you will have around 1 hour with them. You will then come back to the lodge for lunch.
In the afternoon the whole group will meet up and have a jeep safari into the park once again and then after dinner we can go back for some spotlighting (if the park allows) and if not we can walk a little around the lodge grounds, which can be good for galagos, fruit bats and genets.
The morning of day 4 will see the groups revered with the same pattern of yesterday.
Lope National Park
The train we have to catch from Lope to take us to Ndjole is not until around midnight, so we will have the room available in Lope Hotel until then and spend the day (morning and afternoon) exploring the park once again by jeep. There is also a possibility of a second mandrill tracking for 4 people (at extra expense) if there is availability today, this can be discussed and arranged with David whilst in Lope. When we leave Lope Hotel to catch the train we will then be on the train from around midnight to 3am. Once we arrive in Ndjole we will drive to the town of Lamberene (2 hours) and when we get there, breakfast will be ready for us and we can spend the morning resting.
Ndjole – Lamberene
After the night drive you will arrive in Ndjole before dawn and then we have to wait here until sunrise (tourist vehicles are not allowed to drive the road in the dark) and then when it is light we continue our journey to the colonial town of Lambarené, a river island town famous for its many natural lakes with several endemic bird and fish species and the Albert Schweitzer Hospital and Museum. This unique hospital was established in 1913 by German Doctor Albert Schweitzer. Its Medical Research Unit is one of the leading scientific institutions in Africa working to end the scourge of malaria, and also serves as a highly-regarded training site for African physicians and scientists. We will visit the hospital, the house (now museum) of Albert Schweitzer and its beautiful natural surroundings. This afternoon we will leave the hospital to travel to a nearby mangrove forest along the banks of the rivers / lagoons which dot this part of Gabon. Our goal is to see the amazing and range restricted northern talapoin monkey and other species can be seen as well, including red-capped mangabey and possibly brief views of the endangered West African manatee. We will return to the hospital for dinner.
Ogooue River / Loango National Park
Today is a long day of travelling, we will leave after breakfast and then take a speed boat trip with a motor boat along the Omboué town along the Ogooué River. The trip lasts around 5h and it is just amazing, we travel fast but it is still possible to see crocodiles, birds and primates along the way. You can get a real feeling of how the first explorers felt navigating along the Africa tropical rivers. We will reach to Omboue and have lunch there, before being driven (2h) to the Iguela Lagoon, in the Loango National Park and your lodge. After dark we can have a nocturnal walk through the savanna / forest mosaic which can produce galagos, anomalures, civets and genets.
Loango National Park / Akaka River
Today after breakfast the group will be split again, as the gorillas can only be tracked with a group of 4 people maximum. We will take the boat across the lagoon and towards the gorilla conservation headquarters, along the way it is possible to see common hippos and red-capped mangabeys. So 4 people will do the gorilla tracking today, this will consist of a briefing and then a hike to the gorillas (usually this is 1-2 hours long) and then you will spend one hour with the gorillas before heading back and being taken to the Akaka camp in your own boat to meet up with rest of the group. The other half of the group will have a river safari down the wonderful Akaka river after leaving the gorilla headquarters. You have a great chance of seeing slender-nosed crocodiles, African forest elephants, primates, sitatungas, many birds and possibly manatees along the river. When everyone is together in the late afternoon we will have dinner and then an spotlighting cruise along the river.
Akaka River / Loango National Park
This morning after breakfast the group who did the gorillas yesterday will have a morning boat safari around the Akaka river and the other group will go to the gorillas. After both of these activities everyone will meet up again and head back to the lodge. After dinner is can be possible to arrange a night walk again.
Port Gentil – Libreville – Home
This morning we will have one more excursion into the park, and this time we will have a jeep safari into the savanna region of Loango and focus on the red river hogs around here. We will return for breakfast and then leave the lodge and drive to Port Gentil (~4-5 hours), we will have lunch in Port Gentil and then catch our flight to Libreville in the evening. It can be possible to make connections to international departures today, however in case of any delays with the internal flight we recommend spending the night in Libreville and arranging your departure flight for the next day. So on your arrival back to Libreville from Port Gentil you can either be escorted to the international airport to check into your flight home or be dropped at the hotel in Libreville.
Please note that the itinerary stated above is correct as our planned intentions for the tour. However adverse weather conditions and other local considerations can necessitate some modifications of the itinerary during the course of the tour; any changes will be made to make the best of the time and weather conditions available to us.
This tour is available on different date (subject to availability) please contact us for more details about running this tour on a date which suits you more.
This tour is focused around the Mandrills and this species aggregates in the June, July or August each year to bred. During this period various troops of mandrills come together and form huge groups (sometimes 600-700 strong). So we only really recommend this tour for June – August.
During this time of year the weather will be hot, humid and mostly dry. Rain can occur during this time of year, but it is rare.
Everything mentioned in the itinerary is included. Including three meals per day (breakfast, lunch and dinner). There will be an amount of bottled water (approx 1ltr) available for each guest each day. We have our own private vehicle to be driven by a local guide.
All our park entrance fees, excursions including treks and guided walks are included.
Also included are per person permits for mandrill and gorilla tracking.
We recommend you bring along your own binoculars or scope as well as appropriate clothing; which should be hard wearing clothing which you do not mind getting muddy. Long trousers and long sleeved shirts are a good idea as well as shorts and short sleeves. Water proofs are essential and ponchos not a bad idea either. Comfortable and broken in, water proof walking boots are a must. Insect repellent is needed. Any medication, books or other items of a personal nature is of course up to you to bring along. Oh and please bring plenty of memory cards or film for your camera. Also do not forget sun cream, sun hat and sun glasses as the sun can be very strong here during the day.
We provide a comprehensive species list of all the vertebrates present in the areas we are visiting as well as some of the best field guides and reference books for the areas we are visiting. There is usually a spare pair of binoculars but in a group of 4-6 people these do not stretch too far. A spotlight is usually provided for nocturnal wildlife watching (when local conditions allow) and Camera Traps will also be used to try and capture hard to see wildlife in the dead of night.
Nearly everything is included in this tour. The only things not included are international flights, travel insurance (contact us for more information one what is required from your insurance policy), any food bought outside of the three main meals, drinks outside of any offered with the meals and the bottled water provided each day and any items of a personal nature such as souvenirs and tips. Any departure taxes applicable when leaving are not included (but may be included in the cost of your flights), Please check this before hand.
As we are based in Manchester we recommend flights from Manchester International Airport
We recommend Air France as a good airline for flights to Libreville. One of the best websites to search for the best fares for these flights is www.skyscanner.net; who are IATA accredited this is a link direct to their site. Please check our terms and conditions regarding booking flights.
Please contact us for more information about flights and we can provide you with a link direct to the flights from another supplier; in which case you only have to enter the passenger information and payment details. By using the above link you will leave our site and we at Royle Safaris hold no responsibility for the content on the site.
Visas and Health Information
All UK passport holders and most other nationalities are required to have a visa for Gabon. These are only obtainable in advance by applying for an e-visa. We will provide the additional information on how to do this and also guide you through the process.
There are no mandatory vaccinations needed to visit Gabon, but it is recommended to be protected against MMR, polio, typhoid, tetanus, rabies, Yellow Fever and hepatitis A & B, as well as taking a form of malaria medication. Please consult your GP about your individual requirements for visiting Gabon as soon as you have decided on this trip.
Reviews of this Holiday
Christof Scharf - San Francisco
Monty Ross - Canada
Rosemarie Gerspacher - Canada
Ms. Brunelle - Ontario
James Shiffer - USA
Scott Parent - USA
John & Laura van Neil - USA
Mr. A. Kyles - New York, USA
Janet Rhoton, USA
One of my favourite non-wildlife moments (depending on how you define wildlife) was when some of us whiled away the train wait by dancing with the locals in the disco. The village pit stop also turned out to be marvelous.
Watching two hundred or so mandrills race in front of us and the mongoose that shot out of the log were two wildlife highlights. And we never tired of elephants, birds, hippos, etc. Watching the trackers work was a treat as well.
Paula & Charles Priest - Montana, USA
Bonnie Shirley - Michigan, USA
Wilfred Powell - UK
Mike Bird - UK
Rita Shiver - Florida, USA
Lesley McLennan - Queensland, Australia
Richard McManus - London, UK