Gabon Birding Tours
The Gabonese Republic, although more commonly referred to as just Gabon, is one of the most prosperous African countries, both in terms of its high GDP, for which the country largely has to thank its vast oil reserves, and its high levels of biodiversity, for which its ideal location on the equator in west-central Africa is largely to thank. Much of Gabon is forested; due to its small population and stern government policies banning logging and deforestation, which is sadly so rife in many other African countries, almost all of the country’s seemingly endless sections of pristine forests still remain intact, a trait which makes this country rather unique in Africa.
This French-speaking central African country is bordered by the Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, and Cameroon, while the Atlantic Ocean with the Gulf of Guinea forms its western border. Gabon is a small country, relatively speaking, with its capital city, Libreville, located on the coast. Moving away from the capital development is stunted, and much of the country is rural. Gabon is primarily a low-lying country with a warm, humid climate, and in addition to the vast forested areas that cover the bulk of the country other habitat types are present and include grasslands, savannas, large rivers, and verdant coastal lagoons.
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While Gabon has no endemic bird species, this easily accessible central African country gives one access and a good chance at finding a number of highly localized and incredibly sought-after species, which include the data-deficient and largely unknown African River Martin, the rare White-crested Tiger Heron, and the mythical Vermiculated Fishing Owl. A fine supporting cast of scarce birds that are only easily sought in Gabon include Congo Serpent Eagle, the bizarre Grey-necked Rockfowl, Gabon Batis, Congo Moor Chat, Dja River Scrub Warbler, and both Black-chinned and Loango Weavers, among others. The list of potential mammal species in Gabon is also tantalizing, and species that may be seen include such sought primates as Mandrill, Western (Lowland) Gorilla, and Chimpanzee, while other scarce and localized mammals include African Forest Elephant and the attractive Red River Hog.
Our premier bird-watching tour to Gabon is comprehensive and well designed, covering almost the entirety of the country and all of the country’s important birding sites. Beginning in the capital, Libreville, we start by journeying south to the impressive Loango National Park with its coastal wetlands and forests. A great many sought species occur in this region, and this will serve as the perfect introduction to the excellent birdwatching that awaits. We then begin an exciting boat journey inland, eventually reaching Lambaréné, from where there is an option to head back to the city (and onward back home), or to continue deeper into the country for more exciting birding. Continuing we endeavor to explore the vibrant Lopé National Park, arguably the country’s premier wildlife area and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with the high altitudinal grasslands of the unique Batéké Plateau and the seldom-visited Ipassa-Makokou Strict Nature Reserve (Ivindo National Park) with its nearly endless list of potential species including many that are poorly known and have only been seen by a handful of birdwatchers.
Birdwatching in Gabon also allows one easy access to the endemic rich islands of São Tomé and Príncipe, located a short distance off the Gabonese coast, which are serviced regularly from Gabon’s capital, Libreville. Although Gabon is an expensive destination to tour, bird-watching in this vibrant African country is excellent and not to be underestimated, with the vast number of localized species most easily sought here making it extremely worthwhile.