Gabon Journey to Moukalaba-Doudou


Gabon Journey to Moukalaba-Doudou

Style: PioneerGroundbreaking tours to unique destinations
Duration: 15 days
Type: GroupSmall group tours with a maximum of 12 travellers

Dossier

This tour focuses on the country’s wildlife. Although you should not expect the same abundance of animals to be found elsewhere on the continent, you will be amongst a small number of intrepid travellers to explore a country deservedly described as Africa’s Eden. Whilst most places on Earth have long since been explored, the forests of Gabon have remained wild and out of reach. This tour is an opportunity to discover a fabulous wealth of flora and fauna including forest elephants, lowland gorillas, chimpanzees, and mandrills, as well as wonderful birdlife.

Tour Duration - 15 Days

Tour Rating 

Fitness ●●●●○ | Off the Beaten Track ●●●●● | Culture ●●●○○ | History ●●○○○ | Wildlife ●●●●●

Tour Pace

Busy

Tour Highlights                                                                                              

  • Visit Lambarene and the famous Albert Schweitzer hospital
  • Visit a community based project and explore Lake Oguemoué by dug-out canoe
  • Search for elephants and mandrills from a remote camp in Lope National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Track gorillas and chimpanzees in Moukalaba-Doudou National Park; little visited but with some of the best wildlife viewing opportunities in the country

Tour Essentials

Accommodation: Mix of hotels and camps, some of which are basic
Included Meals: Daily breakfast (B), plus lunches (L) and dinners (D) as shown in the itinerary
Group Size: Maximum of 5
Start Point: Libreville – you can arrive any time on Day 1
End Point: Libreville - you can depart any time from 21:00 on Day 15
Transport: Minibus, 4x4 vehicles, boat and train
Countries: Gabon

Tour Itinerary Notes

While our intention is to adhere to the day-by-day itinerary as printed below, a degree of flexibility is built in. Overnight stops may vary from those suggested and on occasions alternative accommodation, of a similar standard to that named below, will be used.

Tour Guide

Our guides are a key strength, chosen for their knowledge of and passion for the areas in which they work. All of our guides are carefully hand-picked, and are not just passing through these countries, but are usually locally born. Unlike some companies it should be noted we do not send a guide or tour leader from Undiscovered Destinations in the UK as we have every confidence in our locally appointed representative who is responsible for operating the tour on our behalf. Where possible you will have the same guide throughout your trip but on occasions it may be necessary to change the guide at one or more points during the tour.

Itinerary

Day 1 – Join the tour in Libreville

Arrive in Libreville. Transfer from the airport to the lodge. Your guide will meet everyone at the hotel for introductions, and a tour briefing. Overnight Tropicana Hotel, Libreville.

Day 2 – Drive to Lambaréné

After breakfast we leave for Lambaréné famous for its hospital founded by Albert Schweitzer in 1924 (www.schweitzerlambarene.org/). Parts of this river-island city are divided by water and united by bridges and pirogues. Travelling from Libreville the approach to Lambaréné is a lovely one, with forests on either side of the road and small roadside villages selling chillies, meat and pineapples. After lunch we visit the hospital and museum. We stay overnight at the hospital in its hotel. Overnight Schweitzer Hospital Hotel. (BLD)

Day 3 - Lake Oguemoué and Community Project

Today we travel to Tsam Tsam and meet with staff from a local community project, OELO (Organisation Ecotouristique du Lac Oguemoué). Activities for visitors to the project are led by the community and include guided forest hikes, night safaris by boat, canoe trips by dug-out pirogue, village visits, and evenings of traditional music. Our accommodation for the night will be on secluded platforms with tents and mattresses in idyllic locations overlooking Lake Oguemoué and the forest. Overnight tented camp, Lake Oguemoué. (BLD)

Day 4 - Lake Oguemoué and Community Project

A full day at Tsam Tsam to enjoy the various activities by this excellent community project. Overnight tented camp, Lake Oguemoué. (BLD)

Day 5 – Lope National Park

Today we return to Lambaréné from where we continue to one of Gabon’s best known national parks, Lope. Gabon gained massive exposure in the press about 10 years ago as an exceptional wilderness destination. Intrepid travellers hoped to easily see elephants and lowland gorillas and Lope featured in many itineraries for this reason. In truth, the reality on the ground did not live up to the hype, but if you are patient and lucky the rewards can be great. Although visitor numbers to Lope over the last few years have dropped we believe it is worth a visit. Our chances of seeing wildlife will increase as we travel further into the forest to the remote Mikongo Camp (see below). Overnight Lope Hotel. (BLD)

Day 6 – Mikongo Camp

After breakfast we travel by 4x4, about two hours to reach the Mikongo Camp. The camp is so deep in the forest that there is a good chance of seeing wildlife. During our two night stay we will track wildlife including elephants and mandrills. If we are lucky we may see primates, but the chances of seeing gorillas are said to be greater at Moukalaba-Doudou National Park which we will visit later in the tour. Overnight in basic bungalows at Mikongo Camp. (BLD)

Day 7 – Mikongo Camp

A full day for tracking wildlife and excursions led by resident guides. Overnight in basic bungalows at Mikongo Camp. (BLD)

Day 8 – Train to Libreville

After breakfast we return to the Lope Hotel, where we will have the afternoon to rest. After dinner we will take the overnight Transgabonais train to Libreville arriving early the next morning. As sleeping compartments are not provided on the train we will travel in comfortable seats which recline. (BLD)

Day 9 – Libreville

After arrival at the station we will be transferred to our hotel, arriving in time for breakfast. This morning there will be time to relax after the overnight journey, followed by lunch. In the afternoon we will enjoy a city tour, visiting some of Libreville’s markets and seeing some of the remaining examples of early colonial architecture. Overnight Tropicana Hotel, Libreville. (BLD)

Day 10 – Tchibanga

Today we travel south to Nyanga Province and to its capital, Tchibanga. We will be on the road for most of the day to cover the 700km from Libreville, but stops will be made along the way, including a break for lunch in Ndjolé. Given the unreliability of air services to this part of Gabon, road travel is the only practical option, and travellers should be prepared for what will be a long and tiring day. The reward for our day on the road will be the opportunity to visit Moukalaba-Doudou National Park, located just a couple of hours from Tchibanga. Overnight Modoboti Hotel, Tchibanga. (BL)

Day 11 - Moukalaba-Doudou National Park

After breakfast we travel about 2 hours to reach Gabon’s third-largest national park, Moukalaba-Doudou, a rugged area with a diverse range of habitats, from tropical rainforest and grassy savannahs to papyrus swamps. West of the Moukalaba River and east of the Ndogo Lagoon are the Doudou Mountains. This is the largest mountain range in southwestern Gabon, reaching an altitude of approximately 700m. While the Doudou Mountains were logged from the 1960s until the 1980s, the area is now completely uninhabited. With an estimated population of almost 5,000 chimpanzees and gorillas, Moukalaba-Doudou has some of the highest densities of primates in Gabon, making it one of the country’s most promising gorilla tourism sites. Former logging sites are now abundant with succulent Marantaceae plants, a major food source for gorillas as well as forest elephants and other species. Furthermore, the savannah near Doussala is the only place in Gabon where herds of common waterbuck (‘cobe’) are found. The park is also a remarkable area for birders. More than 380 species of birds (many of them unique) have been spotted here, including the vermiculated fishing owl, black-backed barbet, black-headed batis, fiery-breasted bush shrike, brown twinspot and some rare swallows. We spend the afternoon on our first excursion tracking wildlife. Overnight in basic bungalows at Mbani Camp, Moukalaba-Doudou National Park. (BLD)

Days 12 and 13 - Moukalaba-Doudou National Park

We have two full days to enjoy Moukalaba-Doudou, with probably the best opportunity of any park in Gabon of seeing wildlife including gorillas, elephants, chimpanzees and buffaloes. The park is renowned for its population of lowland gorillas and WWF are very active here along with a Japanese NGO and a French NGO that is planning a habituation program. We will attempt to make contact with the researchers to find out more about their work. Even though there is much to be positive about, travellers to Gabon must be prepared for challenging conditions and understand that no guarantees can be given that the wildlife mentioned in this itinerary will be seen. Overnight in basic bungalows at Mbani Camp. Moukalaba-Doudou National Park. (BLD)

Day 14 - Moukalaba-Doudou National Park to Libreville

After breakfast we return to Tchibanga and head back to Libreville. As with the journey down to Moukalaba-Doudou this is a long and tiring day, with many miles to cover. Arrival in Libreville will be in the evening in time for dinner. Overnight Tropicana Hotel, Libreville. (BLD)

Day 15 – Tour ends in Libreville

A free day in Libreville to relax or to explore the city on your own. In the evening you will be transferred to the airport for your international departure. (BLD)

Inclusions:
Arrival and departure transfers
All accommodation
Private road transport
Train from Lope to Libreville
Services of an English speaking guide / tour leader
Meals as listed (B – Breakfast, L – Lunch, D – Dinner)
Entrance and park fees for excursions listed as part of the itinerary

Excluded:
International flights
Items of a personal nature
Any airport taxes
Travel Insurance
Visas
Drinks
Tips (discretionary)