Trip to Gabon and Equatorial Guinea. Wild nature, ceremonies and cultural heritage
Trip to Gabon and Equatorial Guinea combining the wonderful nature and wildlife of the Loango National Park in Gabon and the Ureka Reserve on the island of Bioko, with the most attractive cultural aspects of the two countries.
Loango National Park
We start our trip taking the ferry from Libreville to Port Gentil and then continue on to Loango.
Loango's wildlife is concentrated in the hinterland of Loango National Park. A few hours' boat ride through lagoons and rivers, there is a very special place known as the Akaka Forest. In July and August, the height of the dry season, the waters recede considerably, revealing tasty grasses and numerous insects, which attract a good number of elephants, buffalo and many other herbivorous mammals. In the Akaka forest it is also possible to spot various primates such as chimpanzees, baboons and lowland gorillas, as well as crocodiles and even predators such as leopards.
After spending 2 days in the remote Akaka forest, where we will approach the abundant wildlife walking and by boat with an exceptional guide, we will head up the Ogooue River to the historic Lambarene.
Lambarene and Albert Schweitzer
Lambaréne is a pleasant and interesting town steeped in colonial heritage. It stretches along the Ogooue River, and part of the town occupies a large island in the middle of the river. It is famous for its hospital, which was founded exactly a century ago by Dr. Albert Schweitzer. We will visit the historic Albert Schweitzer Hospital, which is still in operation. This fascinating hospital complex dates back to the mid 1920s and the original buildings now house a museum. Albert Schweitzer, a Nobel Prize winner, was a German theologian, philosopher, musicologist and missionary doctor and above all provided a great medical service to the local population.
For two consecutive nights we will attend two completely different Bwiti ceremonies in the Muni river basin.
The Bwiti is an animist religion, officially recognised in Gabon and extending to parts of Equatorial Guinea and Cameroon. Their beliefs centre on ancestor worship and forest spirits. Bwiti followers cultivate a plant known as iboga, a psychoactive drug that causes hallucinations. Iboga is sacred and is used for initiation ceremonies, spiritual growth and initiation rites. The different Gabonese peoples use iboga in Bwiti to communicate with the spirits of the forest and ancestors, to heal the sick and to know the future of the user.
Border of Gabon and Equatorial Guinea
We are going to cross one of Africa's least travelled land borders. Virtually no travellers have passed this way in recent years, except for us in 2022. It's no easy matter, but we assume that once we get through, it will smooth out. In any case, be prepared for long waits. Crossing the waters of the Muni River is quite an experience. The border posts and checkpoints are located on the beach itself. Arriving in Kogo, now in Equatorial Guinea, the first thing you will see is the beautiful colonial-era church that presides over the city and the mouth of the river.
Bioko Island, Equatorial Guinea
We will continue our trip to Gabon and Equatorial Guinea heading towards the city of Bata, capital of the mainland and later we will take an internal flight to Malabo on the island of Bioko, formerly Fernando Poo. The island of Bioko is home to many of the country's most interesting places.
For 6 days we will explore the island of Bioko. We will visit the beautiful historic towns of Moca, Batete and Luba in search of old churches and colonial buildings. We will stop to see the Riaba Farm, another of the pharaonic works of tourism promotion being carried out by the government of Guinea.
We will walk along the beach of Ureka, a natural paradise, and if the weather is fine, we will take a dip in one of the waterfalls.
We will finish the trip in Malabo, visiting the fishing port, the interesting market, the colonial part and visiting the Sampaka farm, where we will have the opportunity to buy a delicious chocolate.
If you want to know the impressions of the trip to Equatorial Guinea by Austerio Alonso, who will be the guide of the trip, click on this link