Expedition to Gabon: August 13 – 26, 2019
Some mammal-watching friends of ours suggested that we post details of our upcoming Gabon 2019 expedition here. We are running two back-to-back trips in August 2019 with a maximum of six participants per group. Group 1 is full and Group 2 currently has 3 available seats.
About the Trip
Gabon is still an enigma. A wild place of pristine old-growth rainforests where there are almost no human settlements and where wild animals live protected within the thick foliage nestled between the many rivers that traverse this west African country. This is a trip for adventurers, who don’t expect smooth sailing every day. It is a country for explorers who want to see something new, something different. It is a place for the intrepid Africa enthusiast who will be thrilled by the sight of a red river hog in a wallow, or a glimpse of a wary lowland gorilla in a forest clearing.
For all of you who have read Jon‘s trip report, our trip also covers Lopé and Loango plus the legendary Langoué Baï in Ivindo NP, rediscovered by Mike Fay during his 2000 Mega Transect. The trip is timed to coincide with the gathering of humpback whales off the shores of Loango, as well as encounter the large troops of the fabulously colorful Gabon mandrill in Lopé NP. In addition, we will also be tracking a group of habituated lowland gorillas.
We will enjoy a truly epic African adventure, moving by train, pirogue, and plane through the heart of Africa. The trip is being organised on the ground by Guillermo Casanovas of Middle Africa and we will be guided by Vianet Mihindou, so you know you will be in good hands throughout.
Travel Dates: August 13 – 26, 2019
We are traveling in the dry season, one of the best times to visit Gabon for whales, mandrill and gorilla tracking.
Day 1 – Arrive in Libreville
Day 2 – Libreville city tour. Night train to Lope NP.
Day 3 – Lope NP in search of mandrills, forest elephants, buffaloes, and more.
Day 4 – Another full day in Lope NP. Then night train to Booue.
Day 5 – Car ride followed by canoe ride on Ivindo river. Trek into Ivindo NP.
Day 6 & 7 – Discover the primary rainforests of Ivindo NP and Langoué Baï, observing forest elephants, buffaloes, gorillas, red river hogs, sitatungas and a host of other secretive wildlife.
Day 8 – Ivindo NP to Booue Town and from there to Ndjole
Day 9 – Travel down the Ogooue River like early explorers to Loango NP.
Day 10 – Exploring Loango NP, and spot big mammals such as forest elephant, forest buffalo, red river hogs with furry ears, hippos, etc. Plus slender-snouted crocodiles, sitatunga, duikers, monkeys, birds, western lowland gorillas, and chimpanzees.
Day 11 & 12 – Optional gorilla habituation experience at Loango NP.
Day 13 – Whale watching. July to September are the best months to view whales at Loango.
Day 14 – Depart for Libreville via Port Gentil.
Mammals & Primates To Look Out For
While this is not an exhaustive list, it gives you an idea of what all is possible:
- African bush-tailed porcupine
- Honey badger
- Marsh mongoose
- African civet
- Servaline genet
- African palm civet
- Western tree hyrax
- Giant pangolin (No guarantees, but a good possibility. We’ll know more by June-July.)
- African forest elephant
- African forest buffalo
- Common hippopotamus
- Red river hog
- Water chevrotain
- Yellow-backed duiker
- Ogilby’s duiker
- Blue duiker
- Bay duiker
- Western lowland gorilla
- Common chimpanzee
- Red-capped mangabey
- Grey-cheeked mangabey
- Putty-nosed monkey
- Crowned monkey
- Moustached guenon
- Demidoff’s galago
- Allen’s squirrel galago
Optional Cultural Component: Bwiti Ceremony – August 11 – 13
The trip is timed to give you a window into the fascinating world of Bwiti. Bwiti is a spiritual discipline of the forest-dwelling Babongo and Mitsogo peoples of Gabon (where it is recognized as one of three official religions) and by the Fang people of Gabon and Cameroon. Modern Bwiti incorporates animism, ancestor worship, and Christianity into a syncretistic belief system. Bwiti practitioners use the psychedelic, dissociative root bark of the Tabernanthe iboga plant, specially cultivated for the religion, to promote radical spiritual growth, to stabilize community and family structure, to meet religious requirements, and to resolve pathological problems. On this trip with Chalo Africa, you will be accompanied by an expert who will explain the significance of the ceremony to you. This is one of the many fascinating faces of Africa that few people ever see…
If you’re interested in viewing the full itinerary or have any further questions, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sangeeta for Team Chalo Africa