Territory

Wonders of Gabon

Rainforest in Gabon
Rainforest in Gabon / Axel Rouvin, / CC BY 2.0

WorldBlue  Highlights

Gabon is a sparsely populated country that per 85% is covered with equatorial rainforest.

The most amazing wonders of Gabon are:

  • Species rich ecosystems, including unusual relict rainforest that persisted during the ice age thanks to the fog from cold ocean streams nearby. Species diversity here is not too much investigated – most likely hundreds or thousands of species are still waiting for their discoverers.
  • Waterfalls and rapids. Thanks to the countless waterfalls and thick forest Gabon was not penetrated by European intruders in the previous centuries. Now these landmarks represent a magnificent sight – sometimes falls are even 1 km wide. The most beautiful is the cascade of four great falls on Ivindo River. Many waterfalls are endangered by the development of hydropower plants and some have been lost already.

Map with the described wonders

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WorldViolet Top 20 wonders of Gabon

Geological wonders

Mingouli Falls

Ogooué-Ivindo

Enormous, beautiful waterfall on Ivindo River.

Kongou Falls

Ogooué-Ivindo

Some of the most impressive falls in Central Africa have formed on the Ivindo River and are surrounded by beautiful rainforests. Waterfalls have many cascades and are up to 56 m tall and 3.2 km wide.

Kongou Falls, Gabon
Kuete-Mango Falls

Ogooué-Ivindo

Waterfall on Ivindo River.

Poubara Falls

Haut-Ogooué

Group of consecutive waterfalls and rapids on Ogooué River (Boume River?), total height of falls is some 30 m.

Tchimbélé and Kinguélé

Woleu-Ntem

Two waterfalls on Komo River, total height – 110 m. Adversely affected by hydropower station.

Tchimbélé and Kinguélé

Woleu-Ntem

Two waterfalls on Komo River, total height – 110 m. Adversely affected by hydropower station.

Léconi Canyons (Cirque de Lekoni)

Haut-Ogooué

Deep, circular rock amphitheaters with numerous hoodoos – rock stacks. There are several such amphitheaters – Canyon Blanc, Canyon Rose and Canyon Vert.

Tsengue Leledi Falls

Ogooué-Ivindo

The final great waterfall on Ivindo River.

Ivela Falls

Nyanga

Spectacular falls with several cascades on Moukalaba River.

Bam Bam Amphitheatres

Estuaire

Several large rock amphitheatres with hoodoos.

Bongolo Caves (Malibé Caves)

Ngounié

Cave with an extensive network of passages.

Oklo Mines

Haut-Ogooué

The only known site on Earth, where natural nuclear fission has taken place approximately 1.7 billion years ago in some 16 closely located sites. The evidence of this has been testified through an unusual composition of uranium, neodymium, ruthenium, and other materials.

Flooded mine in Mounana, Oklo in Gabon

Biological wonders

Mount Seni and Mbe (Crystal Mountains)

Woleu-Ntem

Two mountain massives with exceptionally high biological diversity, refugium of Pleistocene rain forest. This ancient rainforest survived the ice age thanks to the fog from Benguela Current.

Doudou Mountains

Nyanga

Up to 700 m high mountains – refugium of Pleistocene rainforest with large number of species found only here. Complete biological inventory has not been made but preliminary research has resulted in finds of many species new to the science.

Abanda Caves

Ogooué-Maritime

Group of caves in lush rainforest. In these caves lives unique subspecies or, rather, newly developing species of dwarf crocodiles (Osteolamus tetraspis) that feed on bats.

Crocodile in Abanda Caves

Archaeological wonders

Lastourville Caves

Ngounié, Nyanga, Ogooué-Ivindo

Four limestone karst areas in a dense tropical forest. Caves in this region have been used by humans since ancient times for settlement, ceremonies, burial. Each cave served a certain purpose, e.g. Paoun Caves served for medical-magical ceremonies, here were found traces of ancient weapon-making rituals. Lastourville cave is a large cave with an impressive, 45 m deep sinkhole and waterfalls inside it. Kessipougou Cave is 1.5 km long, Grotte de Mbenalatembe is 2,380 m long, the longest known cave in Gabon. Grotte de Lebamba is 740 m long. The entrance in Ngoiringomo Cave leads through a waterfall.

Ayem rock art

Ogooué-Ivindo

Group of prehistoric rock carvings in both sides of Ogooué River. Larger concentration of carvings is in four sites: Epona (410 petroglyphs, most are circles), Elarmekora (240 petroglyphs, mostly diamond-shaped symbols), Kongo Boumba (5 sites with 280 petroglyphs, mostly spirals) and Lindili (more than 20 carvings, mostly concentric circles).

Kaya-Kaya rock art

Haut-Ogooué

Group of some 30 prehistoric rock carvings – diamond (vulva) shaped, circular, elliptical rings, diverse figures.

Architecture wonders

Sindara Mission

Ngounié

Beautiful mission houses, built in the early 20th century. Gorgeous causeway of mango trees leads to the mission.

Schweitzer Hospital

Moyen-Ogooué

Historical hospital, founded by Albert Schweitzer in 1913. This institution serves whole region of Gabon and has retained a tradition of voluntary work up to this day. Important institution of health research for tropical Africa.

WorldYellow Recommended books

Gabon (Bradt Travel Guides)


Gabon, the land of the surfing hippo, is a West African country home to truly exceptional biodiversity. 30,000 gorillas stalk the jungle, manatees and humpbacks are present around the country’s 800 km of coastline and Gabon’s 13 national parks offer wildlife-watching experiences unlike any other. Bradt’s Gabon is the only English-language guidebook available and includes a comprehensive section on the country’s birds and bird-watching alongside chapters on history and culture.

Between Man and Beast


In 1856, Paul Du Chaillu ventured into the African jungle in search of a mythic beast, the gorilla. After wild encounters with vicious cannibals, deadly snakes, and tribal kings, Du Chaillu emerged with 20 preserved gorilla skins—two of which were stuffed and brought on tour—and walked smack dab into the biggest scientific debate of the time: Darwin’s theory of evolution. Quickly, Du Chaillu’s trophies went from objects of wonder to key pieces in an all-out intellectual war.


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