Exploring Tourism in Gabon
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Fernan Vaz Lagoon

Ogooué Lolo, Gabon

The highlight of the Ogooué maritime region is the Fernan Vaz Lagoon.Named for the Portuguese explorer who found it in the 15th century, the area is engaged in a number of conservation efforts. Today, the lagoon is also home to the commendable Fernan-Vaz Gorilla Project, which has been caring for orphaned gorillas since 2001. Situated on Île Evengué-Ezango (popularly known as Île aux Gorilles), the project runs a sanctuary and reintroduction centre. The four gorillas in the sanctuary, a forested enclosure on the island, act as conservation ambassadors to help educate national and international visitors on the plight of great apes.

On Gorilla Island, the Fernan-Vaz Gorilla Project (PGFA) runs a sanctuary and reintroduction centre. There are two gorillas living there now who help to educate visitors on the plight of these magnificent animals. Another eight orphaned gorillas also live there, away from human contact, with the aim of reintroducing them into the wild. Fernan Vaz also has a bit of history to share. In the late 19th century the Mission Saint Anne was built. Walk the grounds during the day or night for incredible views of the beach and forest.

In addition to touring the mission and gorilla sanctuary, you can take guided walks in the surrounding forest or along the beach (where you can also go for a dip) and visit some of the surrounding villages. Most visitors arrive by boat on a day tour with one of the hotels in Omboué, but it’s also theoretically accessible on some 50km of unsurfaced roads and sandy tracks (4×4 only) connecting the mission to Omboué. Ask locally for advice on the route if you’re planning on going this way. If you’d like to spend the night, the mission offers basic accommodation in rather austere first-floor rooms built of wood.

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