Loango National Park is a coastline park in western Gabon that encompasses some 1,550 square kilometers of land and is famous for its variety of unspoiled landscapes. 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.
After South Africa, the world’s largest concentration and a variety of whales and dolphins can be found right off the Loango coast. The area has over 100 kilometers 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.
International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), classed Loango National Park as a faunal reserve and protected area for conservation.
History of Loango National Park
In 1956 the first regional faunal reserves were created in and around this National Park to promote sustainable use of the area’s wildlife and wild lands. In November 2001, President Omar Bongo Ondimba put Gabon firmly on the map by creating 13 new national parks in Gabon.
Altogether, the thirteen parks created represent 10% of the landmass of Gabon. One of the more spectacular parks in this system is Loango National Park. Very few villages currently exist within the park, as most are located on the opposite bank of the Ngove Lagoon.
As such, the park is nearly devoid of people and home only to a vast and spectacular array of terrestrial, avian and marine wildlife. While some of these animals inhabit specific ecological niches to which they have been adapting over time immemorial, others such as elephants and buffalos range across a number of landscapes. Many of the animals can be encountered by visitors on foot, in a vehicle, or seen from a blind.