Mayumba National Park

Mayumba National Park is found in southwestern Gabon on the coast near the border of Congo and the town of Mayumba. Mayumba National Park protects an area of coastal sea of approximately 900 square kilometers, and a narrow 1km x 60km strip of beach and coastal vegetation. The Mayumba coastline is characterized by long exposed sandy beaches and extensive freshwater, tidal or brackish lagoons.

The lagoons, some of which are extensive and extend for many miles inland, laced with islands, channels and rivers, are immensely productive systems supporting a wealth of fauna and flora, much of which takes advantage of major mangroves, flooded forests and swamplands. Mangroves are critical developmental habitat for a wide range of coastal fish species and are important for many bird species

Wildlife

The beaches support a rich shoreline fauna including monitor lizards, genet, mongoose, ghost crabs and shore birds. Buffalo, elephant and other forest animals are frequently found on the beaches and amid the dense dune vegetation that fringes the coast. Mandrill, gorilla, chimpanzee, and other primates inhabit the forest-savannah mosaic behind the dunes. Other animals in the park include hippos and crocodiles

Gabon hosts the single largest population of nesting leatherback turtles in the world each year between November and April. If Gabon is the world capital for nesting leatherback turtles, then the turtle capital of Gabon is Mayumba. Upwards of 550 females may come ashore in a single night in the 80 km from Mayumba town to the border with Congo; in places a density of over 20 females per kilometer. The protection of critically endangered leatherback turtles is one of the main reasons the Park was created.

Travel

There are flights nearly every day from Libreville to Gamba. A bush taxi goes directly from Gamba to Mayumba (15,000 CFA) on Saturdays, otherwise there are daily bush taxis from Gamba to Tchibanga (15,000 CFA), where, after a hand-cable ferry crossing at Bomé-Bomé, and a 10 minute trip down the Nyanga River on a second ferry, you can alight at the village of Loubomo and catch another truck going south to Mayumba for the last hour of the drive (5 hours total). Alternatively, continue on to Tchibanga and come down the following day.

There are also twice-weekly flights with La Nationale from Libreville to Tchibanga, Mayumba’s closest neighbor town. The road from Tchibanga to Mayumba is a bumpy but beautiful 108 kilometers, taking you through savannah to hilly forest, then to bamboo groves.D uring the dry season, the road is easier to travel than during the rainy season. As the Mayumba ferry only operates between 7:30am and 6pm.

Weather

During June, July and August, any rain at all is extremely rare while from October to February, occasional downpours can be pretty much guaranteed. The weather changes during the annual dry season, which stretches from mid-May to mid September. During this time, temperatures can drop to around 19 degrees at night and 26 degrees during the day.

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