Beachside stroll with elephantsLoango National Park, Gabon

In 2002, Gabon’s superbly monikered president Omar Bongo Ondimba set aside 10 per cent of the country as natural reserves. One of them was Loango National Park – 1550 square kilometres of savanna, forest, lagoon, mangroves and pristine beach, and one of the true gems of Africa’s west coast. But what really makes this beach one of the most distinctive on earth is its four-legged residents.

Elephants and buffaloes stroll along the shoreline and hippos take to the surf like grommits on thrusters. It’s not the easiest place in the world to get to – most people organise accommodation and transfers through a specialty operator – but it’s certainly one for the bucket list.

get there

South African Airlines flies from Johannesburg in South Africa to Libreville International Airport in Gabon. From there it’s another flight to Port Gentil and a boat ride to Omboué. The park is open all year, but the best time to see the elephants on the beach is October to April.

Loango Safari

Image: Raymond Rutting

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Tags: africa, animal encounter, gabon, national park

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