Interesting facts you should know about Gabon as it celebrates 62 years of independence

Deborah Dzifa Makafui August 17, 2022
Libreville. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Delrick Trevor

Found on the coast of the west of Africa, is the nation of Gabon. Gabon, a former colony of France, continues to have close relations with France and the French language and culture. Libreville is the nation’s capital. The Portuguese word “gabao,” which means “cloak,” is where the name Gabon originates. Early explorers mistook the Komo River estuary near the capital city of Libreville for a cloak because of its shape.

Liberated slaves first settled in Libreville, the nation’s capital, in 1849. The name Libreville, which is a spoof of Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, means “free town” in French.

Gabon is a nation in Central Africa that has a border with Congo-Brazzaville, Cameroon, and Equatorial Guinea. It is situated on the Atlantic coast. The nation boasts a steep topography and is covered in dense, emerald rainforests. It is the best spot to come if you are interested in ecotourism because it is surrounded by dense woods, a wide variety of wildlife, pristine spectacular landscapes, white lovely beaches, rushing rivers, and many more natural attractions.

Here are some fascinating Gabon-related facts!

All of Gabon’s 40 ethnic groups speak one of the ten Bantu language families, with the exception of a small number of Pygmies. Despite making up only a small portion of the current population, the Myene group (which includes the Mpongwe and Orungu) has had a significant impact on the history of the nation due to its location along the northern beaches.

Parts of southern Gabon were loosely connected to the polity of Loango, which in turn served as a province of the massive Kongo monarchy to the south when the first Portuguese explorers arrived in Gabon in 1472. The Portuguese developed trade with the mainland from the offshore islands of Sao Tome and Principe, where they planted sugar plantations. In the French Community since 1958, Gabon has been an autonomous republic, achieving full independence in 1960.

More than two-thirds of Gabon’s population is Christian, the majority of whom are Roman Catholics. Despite the fact that Gabonese are Catholic bishops, they mainly rely on foreign clergy, particularly the Holy Ghost Fathers from France.

Gabon is home to a stunning variety of animals in its deep rainforests and vast savannah, and an amazing 11.25% of the nation has been designated as national parkland. You can have an Eden-like travel experience in an underdeveloped region of Africa if you combine those elements with outstanding white-sand beaches, raging rivers, and mystical scenery.

One of the tourist attractions in Gabon is the Lopé features a rainforest and savannah filled with gorillas, elephants, and birds, making it one of Gabon’s national parks with the most accessibility. Its 4970 sq km is largely covered in rainforest, with some old savannah in the north. The best spot in Africa to watch mandrills is in Lopé, where up to 1350 can congregate at once. 

Elephants, gorillas, crocodiles, and sitatunga antelopes can all be found in Loango National Park in Gabon, which is also known as “Africa’s Last Eden” and one of the best places in the world to view wildlife. The park also has beaches, lagoons, and savannahs where these creatures can be found. Well, this is not uncommon to see this, as Gabon is 81% covered in forest which makes the location a habitat for wildlife. The leatherback sea turtle, the largest species in the world, is found in Gabon. A leatherback may reach a length of 7 feet (2.1 meters) and weigh up to 2,000 pounds (900kg). 

In the marine park of Mayumba National Park in Gabon, 550 leatherback turtles—or 30% of the species’ global population—lay their eggs from November to April. Large populations of dolphins, including the endangered humpback dolphin, and humpback whales also breed in the area. 

Omar Bongo, the second president of Gabon, has ruled the nation since 1967 and was, at the time of his demise in 2009, the longest-serving head of state in Africa. In addition, at the time of his passing, Bongo was the non-royal leader in the world with the second-longest tenure, trailing only Fidel Castro of Cuba. Ali Bongo Ondimba, also known as Ali Bongo, is Gabon’s current president and the third president of Gabon since October 2009. 

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: August 17, 2022

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