One of the best-kept secrets of Africa is the little country of Gabon. An equatorial country, it sits upon the western coast of Africa just southeast of Equatorial Guinea and northwest of the Republic of Congo. It is considered one of the wealthier countries in Africa due to the oil and mineral reserves and the government's emphasis on eco-tourism in regards to its pristine rain forests and beaches. In stark contrast to the blazing heat of central Africa which has most people automatically assuming that the rest of the country is nothing but desert, Gabon is a developing country that is best suited to the adventuring traveler.
Initially a French province, it has been independent since 1960 but retains the French language. All travelers need to purchase a visa upon arrival. Due to an oil-rich economy that also relies on tourism, the prices aren't exactly cheap, but if you've got cash to burn and a yearning sense of adventure that just won’t let you stand still for more than a few moments, then Gabon is absolutely a must-see destination on your itinerary.
Over 10% of the country has been designated as National Forest by the government, which means it's the perfect destination for outdoor enthusiasts. The biodiversity within this tropical paradise is without par. And while the capital city of Libreville has a distinctly Western feel to it, once you step outside the city limits into the countryside, you'll find yourself in an undeveloped country with bumpy roads, tropical jungles, massive savannas, and plenty of rivers and beaches. From the Loango National Park to the Invindo National Park, there are a wide variety of parks to choose from. Be sure to take malaria pills and a mosquito net along, and as with most developing countries be wary of what you eat if you happen to be a lover of street vendors. Travel in the countryside is best done in a four-wheel drive vehicle with a tour guide.