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Akanda National Park

Akanda, Gabon

Akanda National Park is one of 13 National Parks in Gabon set up in 2002 by President Omar Bongo after a two-year study by the DFC, WCS, and WWF. The 13 national parks are designed to represent the biodiversity of the country and encourage tourism. Akanda National Park is located in the northeast of the country, near Libreville, with a coastline along the Mondah and Corisco bays.

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 comprises 25% of the total protected mangrove in the continent. They play an important role in the ecosystem and help stabilize 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.

Of vital importance to migrating birds, juvenile fish and nesting green turtles, Akanda National Park lies along the bays of Mondah and Corisco, an easy day trip from Libreville. It encompasses 540 sq km of mangroves and glorious beaches backed by forest. See orchids and other epiphytes, along with enormous trees and ancient plants. Permits are available from ANPN (National Parks Board) office in Libreville.

Witness rare migratory and local species in the wild The mudflats of the park are one of the most important winter sites in Africa for thousands of migratory shore birds coming from as far away as Europe, and distant regions of the African continent. Many of these species are extremely difficult to see in city areas including the Loango Carmelite, the Mouse-Brown Sun Bird, the Blue-Spotted Wood-Dove, the Gabon Boubou, and the Cuckoo Shrike. Whether you are a naturalist or not, you'll no doubt fall in love with this nature and animal preserve, as it was designed primarily to protect and showcase the biodiversity of Libreville's natural resources, whilst serving as a home to several species from around the world.

The wet coastal forest bordering the North of the peninsula, stretching from the forest of La Mondah through Akanda, hosts many plants that grow only in Gabon - primarily due to the extra moisture brought on by the sea. Among them are, rare orchids, palm trees, a wide variety of plants and foliage, and several species of butterflies.

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