Ecotourism and Urban Ventures in Libreville (Gabon) and Douala (Cameroon)

Special Tour 14 days and 13 nights
Tour Guide: Jude Mainimo Mohmekwe

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Itinerary

Abroad – Douala – Libreville – Lope National Park –  Makokou – Ivindo National Park – Ndoumabango –  Libreville – Abroad

Duration: 14 days and 13 nights

Price: 4,000.000FCFA (6,154Euros)/pax for a group of 4pax

 

Tour description

This tour starts in Douala, Cameroon and ends in Libreville, Gabon. At Douala, we shall carry out a city tour to uncover some of the hidden and built-up heritages of the Cameroon’s economic capital before taking off to Gabon to savour its ecotourism potentials.

Two national parks are of interest to us in Gabon, namely the Lope and Ivindo national parks.

The Lope National Park is found in central Gabon. It has two types of vegetation namely a larger rain forest vegetation found in the northern part of the park and a smaller portion of the last remnants of grass savannahs (created in Central Africa during the last Ice Age, 15,000 years ago) found in the southern part to the park. It is the very first protected area in Gabon. It was created in 1946 as the Lopé-Okanda Wildlife Reserve. When the country’s President declared the creation of 13 national parks in 2002, Lope National Park was included. It became a UNESCO World Heritage in 2007. Some of the mammal species include the forest elephant, western lowland gorilla, chimpanzee, mandrill, forest buffalo, sun-tailed guenon, leopard, black colobus, sitantunga and yellow-backed duiker.  Bird species include rosy bee-eater, crowned hawk eagle, Dja river warbler, great blue turaco, grey-necked rock fowl (picathartes), the chocolate-backed kingfisher, emerald cuckoo and black guinea fowl.  Excursions to observe the mandrills with radio tracking devices have proved to be worthwhile around the Lope Hotel, and some good photographs may be obtained. While visiting the Lope National Park, wear long pants with gaiters, long socks and long sleeved shirts as mosquitoes are abundant around the nesting spots.

The park has a small research station, known as Mikongo, found in the Mikongo Village and managed by the London Zoological Society.  There are also infrastructure to cater for tourists at this base. There include several lodges and a large, open and airing dining room, which is very close to the rainforest (merely five meters away). Accommodation is very basic, as is the food, and the days are spent in the forest with snacks, French speaking guides and trackers who quietly slice a way through the jungle. The park also hosts the CEDAMM Training Centre; an International Conservation and Education Centre managed by the Wildlife Conservation Society.

The next park, the Ivindo National Park is found in east-central Gabon in Central Africa, overlapping the border of the Ogooué-Ivindo and Ogooué-Lolo provinces. Its creation was announced in August 2002 by President Omar Bongo at the Earth Summit in Johannesburg, along with Gabon’s 12 other terrestrial national parks. It is mostly famous for the presence of its spectacular Kongou and Mingouli waterfalls found on the Ivindo River. These waterfalls are known as the “wonders of Ivindo”. The park also includes the Ipassa Makokou Biosphere Reserve and Langoué Baï, one of the 5 most important forest clearings in Central Africa. The Institut de Recherche en Écologie Tropicale (IRET), a tropical research institute under the authority of the Centre national de la recherche scientifique et technologique (CENAREST), is found in the north of the park, 12 km from the closest city, Makokou. The Langoué Research Station, run by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) is found in the south a few kilometers from the Langoué Baï. The park covers 300,000 ha, almost all of which is forested with a mixture of Atlantic coastal forest of Lower Guinea, and semi-deciduous forest typical of central Congo Basin. Wildlife includes western lowland gorilla, common chimpanzee, African forest buffalo, red river hog, sitatunga, as well as one of the last relativity intact populations of forest elephants. Notable bird species include grey-necked rockfowl, while more than 430 bird species have been recorded within the park.

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Daily program

Day 1: Abroad – Douala International Airport – Douala

Arrival of guests at the Douala International Airport and reception by our agent. Transfer to the hotel, dinner and overnight.

Day 2: Douala – Libreville

Breakfast, City tour of Douala. Lunch and transfer to the airport for flight to Libreville. Arrival in Libreville and transfer to hotel, dinner and overnight.

Day 3: Libreville – Lope National Park

Breakfast and departure for City tour of Libreville, the political capital of Gabon with visits to the Saint Michael’s Church, the N’Kembo market and the Craft market. Return to hotel and lunch. In the afternoon, stroll and seaside relaxation at the beach. Transfer to the Owendo bus station for the Lope National Park. Arrival at the Lope National Park, installation at the hotel, dinner and overnight.

Day 4: Lope National Park

This day is consecrated for wildlife safari in the Lope National Park, the first protected area in the heart of Gabon. Observation of animal species such as hippopotamuses, elephants, buffaloes, crocodiles, monkeys and gorillas. Return to the hotel in the evening for dinner and overnight.

Day 5: Lope National Park – Libreville

Breakfast and observation of animal species in the Lope National Park. Transfer to the bus station for Libreville. Arrival at Libreville, installation at the hotel, dinner and overnight.

Day 6: Libreville – Makokou – Ivindo National Park

Breakfast, transfer to the airport for flight to Makokou. Reception at the Makokou Airport by our agent. Drive to a local restaurant then have lunch in Makokou. Departure for the Ivindo National Park via a speedboat. Ride for 3 hours on the river, arrived at the Ivindo National Park, registration formalities, and installation at the park camping ground. Dinner and overnight.

Day 7: Excursion to the twin falls of Kongou

After breakfast, visit the canyon and then the twin falls. Lunch and stroll around the camping ground. Savour the endowments of nature during this day. Return to the camping site, dinner and overnight.

Day 8: Excursion to the Mingouli Falls

Breakfast and excursion to the Mingouli Falls. This day is dedicated to exploring the jungle. Return to the camping ground, dinner and overnight.

Days 9 and 10: Excursions to Mohaba Bays, Melondo and Momba

These days are dedicated to excursions to the Mohaba, Melondo and Momba bays. After breakfast, take a pirogue to the jungle and stroll around to observe animals in the clearings commonly referred to as bais. We will cross several streams and rivers to reach the clearings for better observation. Contemplate the constant presence Elephants in these clearings as well as the continuous arrivals of other wildlife such as buffaloes, Sitatungas and gorillas. After the exciting observations, return to the camp in the evening for dinner and overnight.

Day 11: Ivindo National Park – Momba – Makokou

Breakfast and departure for Makokou via Momba by pirogue. Arrival at Makokou and installation in a hotel, dinner and overnight.

Day 12: Makokou – Ndoumabango – Makokou

Breakfast and canoe navigation for 1 hour 30 minutes for excursion to the pygmy village in Ndoumabango. Arrival at Ndoumabango and start of activities with the pygmies. Return to Makokou in the evening, dinner and overnight in a hotel.

Day 13: Makokou – Libreville

Breakfast, transfer to the Airport for return flight to Libreville. Arrival in Libreville, transfer to the hotel, dinner, free evening and overnight.

Day 14: Libreville – Libreville International Airport – Abroad

Breakfast and city tour of Libreville. Transfer to the Airport for flight to hexagon and End of tour.

NB: Quotes provided upon request.

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