National parks of Gabon

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The national park is composed chiefly of mangrove and tidal beach habitats. Gabon has only 2.5% of the total mangrove swamp in Africa, but Akanda together with the nearby Pongara National Park comprise 25% of the total protected mangrove in the continent. They play an important role in the ecosystem and help stabilise the coastline around Libreville. Human encroachment from both building and crop planting are a threat to both parks.

Both of the bays are rich in marine life, and Corisco bay provides an important feeding area for turtles. Akanda is internationally important as a site for migratory birds and is home to the largest populations of such birds in Gabon. It is an IUCN Critical Site.

See also Bateke Plateau

Birougou National Park, also known as the Monts Birougou Wetlands, is a national park in central Gabon. It protects rain forest in the Chaillu Massif and is one of the two parks where the endemic sun-tailed guenon, first described in 1988, can be found. It is named after Mount Birougou, 975 metres in altitude.

See also Wildlife Conservation Society

Loango National Park is a national park in western Gabon. It protects diverse coastal habitat, including part of the 220 km² Iguéla Lagoon, the only significant example of a typical western African lagoon system that is protected within a national park.

Situated between the Nkomi and Ndogo Lagoons, Loango National Park is the true jewel of Africa’s western coast. The naturalist Mike Fay called Loango ‘Africa’s Last Eden’ and this is where Michael “Nick” Nichols from National Geographic took his well-known pictures of surfing hippos. Both men call Loango the ‘Land of surfing hippos’. The park’s 1,550 km of savanna, pristine beach, forest and mangroves are a must-see in Gabon. Loango National Park offers breathtaking panoramas and the unique opportunity to observe elephants, buffalos, hippos, gorillas and leopards venturing onto the white sand beaches.

After South Africa, the world’s largest concentration and variety of whales and dolphins can be found right off the Loango coast. The area has over 100 kilometres of uninhabited coastline and humpback and killer whales are easy to observe here. This is arguably the most beautiful spot on Africa’s western coast – the place where forests, savannas, wetlands, lagoons and ocean all come together. Loango is renowned worldwide as a site for tarpon of record size, as well as many other large saltwater fish.

See also Wildlife Conservation Society + Loango National Park travel guide + Operation Loango

Mayumba National Park is a national park in southwestern Gabon. It is a thin tongue of beach, dunes, savanna, and rainforest in the extreme south of the country, between Mayumba and the Congo border. Mayumba National Park shelters 60 km of the most important leatherback turtle nesting beach on Earth, and is home to unique coastal vegetation and a variety of terrestrial animals, including forest elephants, buffalo, leopards, gorillas, chimpanzees, antelopes, crocodiles, hippos, and several species of monkeys. It also stretches for 15 km out to sea, protecting important marine habitats for dolphins, sharks, and migrating humpback whales. It is Gabon’s only primarily marine park

See also Wildlife Conservation Society + Official Mayumba National Park Website- English

The forest elephant is particularly important to the park and is believed by the WWF to contain one of the largest populations in Africa.[4] The lesser forest in the park is inhabited by elephants, gorillas, and various small carnivores, porcupines, squirrels, Golden cats, leopards, giant pangolins and duikers and bushpig. The primary forest is inhabited by creatures such as mandrill, black colobus and chimpanzee.

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