Establsihed in 2002, Loango National Park is one of the newer national parks in Africa. It is 1550 km² (600 mi²) in size and is located on the western shores of Gabon. Prior to its establishment in 2002, not much has been recorded on the dense forests and pristine beaches of western Gabon, and this park is still in its early days of tourism. While Loango does not offer a standard safari experience where one would ride in a Land Rover to view large game, it does offer a glimpse at what has been referred to as ‘Africa’s last Eden’. For those who are willing to trek hours in hot, humid conditions, often through dense foliage, they will be rewarded with stunning vistas of mangroves, dense forest and white, sandy beaches where one of the world’s largest population of humpback whales can be observed. The forests of Gabon are home to many species of primate and are an excellent location for those wishing to observe gorillas, monkeys and chimpanzees.
As with many other countries in Africa, Gabon has a wet and a dry season. The rainy season is from approximately September to May, with February through April being the long, wet season. October through March are the best times for turtle viewing and also for viewing any wildlife on the beaches. June through September marks the dry season, with July through November being the best months for whale watching.
Loango National Park is recommended for intrepid travelers. Most of the safaris are done on foot or by boat, and the conditions are hot, sticky and often through dense bush and foliage. Tourism is very much in its nascent stages and most lodging options are very basic in comparison to most western standards. The general infrastructure is not well-developed and travel can take much longer than anticipated. It is also advisable that people planning to visit Loango allocate a minimum of two weeks.