Lekedi Park, a closer encounter with Gabon’s wildlife
Lekedi Park is a wildlife reserve created by Comilog, a Gabonese mining company, which offers the opportunity to get close to Gabon’s wildlife in an easy and virtually guaranteed way. While mandrills spotting in Lope is difficult, at Lekedi Park you will have direct contact with a large troop of mandrills. The Lekedi reserve can be visited all year round and the rates are very acceptable, but don’t forget that Lekedi is located in a very remote part of Gabon, so it is not easy to get there.
See mandrills in Gabon
Mandrills are very difficult to observe in the wild. Even in Lope National Park, where there is a large troop of mandrills and some wear collars to locate them, encounters are often fleeting and without many opportunities to photograph them. In the Parc de la Lékédi there are two regular groups of mandrills, accustomed to human presence. Some of them have been reintroduced into the reserve and others, belonging to the two large troops, are wild, born in the forests of the Lekedi Park. The Lekedi rangers, when they spot one of the troops, offer tasty fruit to keep them close for 20 minutes to observe them in peace.
Visit Lekedi Park in Gabon
To reach Lekedi requires 2 or 3 full days’ travel time from Libreville. The train from Libreville to Franceville is sometimes delayed or cancelled. Internal flights are possible. Once in Bakoumba, the gateway to Lekedi, it is easy to organise visits. A full day is enough to explore part of the park and spot mandrills.
Lekedi has safari-style vehicles to take you along the well-maintained tracks through the different landscapes and sites of the reserve. During the visit we will be able to observe a good number of antelopes and buffaloes.
Comilog, the Bakoumba mining company. Creation of Lekedi
Bakoumba was a very prosperous town created in 1962 by the Ogooué Mining Company, Comilog. At that time, Gabon, which had no railway and evacuated its manganese through the port of Pointe-Noire in Congo. Bakoumba, a town next to Lekedi, was one of Gabon’s main mining centres for its transport, “It was a little paradise. There was nothing or almost nothing missing. People came from all over to work in Bakoumba,” said its inhabitants.
Bakoumbe’s economic prosperity came to an end in 1991. Gabon, with its new railway, stopped exporting its manganese through the port of Pointe-Noire in Congo and therefore through Bakoumbe. Everything collapsed in this small town. Unemployment and mass exodus.
Comilog in those years decided to revitalise Bakoumbe and create a wildlife reserve, to be called Lekedi, in order to preserve Gabon’s wildlife and nature and to attract tourists in the future. Source: Humanrights
Bakoumba is well worth a visit. The small town has an air of decadence and charm about it. Old workers’ housing estates and the old hangars are places where you can lose yourself on foot. Even the stay in Bakoumba becomes interesting and not only for its sights. We will have the opportunity to have lunch in the old big discotheque of the village that reminds us that this village lived very good times.
Trips to Gabon with Kumakonda
We can organise tailor-made trips to Gabon all year round. You can even travel with our local team at reasonable prices all over Gabon. To do this you will have to contact us, leave us a phone number and we will offer you orientative information about routes and prices. For the design of the tailor-made trip to Gabon we will ask you for an advance payment of 150€.