13 Fun Facts About Gabon For Real Adventure Seekers

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Gabon, officially known as the Gabonese Republic, is mostly famous for its lush green rainforests and deep-rooted history that dates back to the iron age.

Apart from being home to multiple national parks and reserve forests, this west African country has so much more on offer. I am sure these fun facts about Gabon will make you book that thrill-seeking trip that you’ve been anticipating!

1. Gabon Is One Of Humans Oldest Habitats: More than 400,000 Years!

According to archeologists and researchers, humans have inhabited Gabon since the Palaeolithic, Neolithic, and Iron Age. This dates back to almost 2276 BC.

The group of people that migrated here in prehistoric times are the Bantu and Pygmy people.

Pygmies settled here during the stone age, whereas the Bantu-speaking people came in the Iron Age.

2. Gabon is One Of 13 Countries That The Equator Passes Through

As the Equator passes through this country, the length of day and night remains mostly constant throughout the year. So, it has no such thing as long summer nights or short winter nights, with sunsets being rather quick.

Also, equatorial regions are great places for space launches as the Earth’s gravitational pull is lower there! The yellow stripe in Gabon’s flag stands for the Equator.

3. Gabon is Known as The ‘Land of Surfing Hippos’

The country received this unique title from the famous Nat Geo explorer Mike Fay and photographer Mike Nicholas in 2004.

surfing hippos in Gabon

This name was specially given to the Loango National Park area as Gabon’s hippos are often spotted here traversing the rivers and heading out to the sea.

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This unique sight of Hippos transiting using the currents of the sea and birds scoring a free ride can only be seen here!

4. It’s Home To 1 UNESCO World Heritage Site

The Ecosystem and Relict Cultural Landscape of Lope-Okanda is a UNESCO heritage site in Gabon.

It is an unparalleled combination of tropical rainforest and a relic savannah. Apart from the scenic beauty, it is also home to a wide variety of endangered mammals.

So while Gabon has only one world heritage site, it is indeed worth the visit!

5. The Lope National Park in Gabon Shelters The Highest Concentration Of Elephants In The World

Lope National Park has around three elephants per square kilometer, the highest concentration not only in Africa but in the world!

This means that there is a high chance you will spot a tusker!

6. In Gabon, You Can Find The Biggest Troupe of Mandrills In The World

The largest and most colorful of the monkey family, this threatened primate is native to Africa.

A Mandrill monkey

However, its most giant troupe nests in the rainforests of Gabon.

Their bright red and blue faces make them unique, yet their shy nature makes it even hard to spot them!

7. The Lope National Park Is Also Home To 1800 Well-Preserved Rock Carvings (Petroglyphs)

1800 well-preserved rock carvings from ancient civilizations are something rare.

These are great remains of the habitation that occurred around the hilltops, caves, and shelters of the Stone Age and Iron age.

These petroglyphs were the main evidence behind the 400,000-year-long history of this country.

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8. The Country Was Settled Prehistorically By Pygmies In The Late Stone Age!

Researchers confirm that Gabon was prehistorically settled by Pygims during the Stone Age and then by the Bantu-speaking migrants in the Iron Age.

Yet, these two groups of people never developed a common language or political system and preferred living separately.

9. Almost 81% Of The Country Is Covered With Rainforest

Due to the positioning of the country, Gabon is blessed with dense and lush rainforests and vast petroleum reserves.

The country believes in honoring what nature has gifted them with and actively preserves 81% of the rainforest.

10. Gabon Treasures It’s Leatherback turtles

The biggest species of sea turtles, the Leatherback sea turtles, are native to Gabon.

These turtles can grow up to 7ft (2.1m) in length and weigh around 2000lbs (900 kg) on average!

a Leatherback turtle with Gabon rainforest in background

These vulnerable turtle species are amongst the only ones that can trace their evolutionary roots back more than 100 million years! Yet unfortunately, their population is steeply declining.

Gabon’s Mayumba National Park sees 550 leatherback turtles, which are around 30% of the world’s total population.

11. 11.25% Of The Country is Declared As a Protected Parkland!

With the aim to create the best balance with nature, almost twenty years back, Gabon declared to preserve 11.25% of its landmass for national parks.

Currently, there are 13 national parks with plans for a total of 19 marine parks and 11 new reserves in the future.

12. Many African Gorillas Nest in Gabon

80% of the total population of African Gorillas nests in the rainforests of Gabon.

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An african gorilla with Gabon forest in ackground

These super-intelligent apes are native to Gabon, and the government of Gabon is actively trying to save them after they were badly hit by the Ebola Virus in the 1990s.

13. Gabon is Home To “Africa’s last Eden”

Gabon received the title of ‘Africa’s Last Eden’ because of its popular Loango National Park.

This park is the ideal place to watch wildlife roaming in their natural habitat. This massive reserve accommodates a striking diversity from pristine beaches to savannas and rainforests. Naturally, this makes it a perfect habitat for a variety of wildlife that includes gorillas, elephants, antelopes, crocodiles, and the famous surfing hippos!

Joshua Smith

Joshua has visited 10 countries and has another 110 to go! He plans to sail around the world over 5 years, and then spend the next 5 years driving around the world in a 4×4. He prefers to explore the more remote places without the tourists, and yet, doesn’t mind the ritzy feel of business class at 10,000 feet either.

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