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Gabon

 

Explore the Republic of Gabon situated in Central Africa right on the Equator. With only 1,300,000 inhabitants (two-thirds of whom live in Libreville, the capital), Gabon is one of the least densely populated countries in Africa. To the North, it is bordered by Equatorial Guinea and Cameroon, to the South and East by the Congo and to the West by the Atlantic Ocean.

Gabon is a tranquil world of lush virgin tropical rainforest, dissected by a network of broad rivers. Savannah is found in some parts, and mangrove forests occur at estuaries on the Atlantic seaboard. Gabon has the highest GDP per capita in Africa, and an economy based on oil and minerals. It has a free-market economy and maintains favourable laws towards foreign investment.

Various Bantu people immigrated to the area in the 14th century and Portuguese traders arrived in the 15th century, naming the country after the Portuguese word gabão, a coat with sleeve and hood, resembling the shape of the Komo River estuary. The coast became a centre of the slave trade. France assumed the status of protector by signing treaties with Gabonese coastal chiefs, and capturing a slave ship to release its passengers at the mouth of the Komo. The slaves named their settlement Libreville (French for “Free Town”). In 1910 Gabon became one of the four territories of French Equatorial Africa, a federation which survived until 1959. Gabon gained independence in 1960.

Tourism is still in its infancy and the restrictions caused by the lack of infrastructure are the very reason for the lack of environmental damage. Visitors should not expect the same level of service as in countries where tourism is well-developed. Modern facilities are often not available, so having an adventurous spirit, keeping an open mind, and being willing to exercise understanding and patience will assure you of a wonderful experience during your visit. Most hotels and lodges provide comfortable accommodation and good food.

 

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