Gabon is a country that has well exploited it’s oil reserves and is now about to run out of what has been it’s main export since the sixties. The father of the Ali Bongo, Omar, was Africa’s longest serving president for a whopping 47 years during which loads of over priced railways, and fancy buildings in Libreville was built. In the eighties the country was, per capita the World’s biggest consumer of Champagne, even though people on the country side had not even smelled either the loads of money or champagne people had poured in the capital.
The effect that oil had on the country could be easily seen, driving through the country’s four lane highways until arriving on the dirt roads leading to small villages and it’s neighbor country Congo.
The police along the way were the rudest so far on our trip, calling us white “cunts” for not bringing our yellow fever certificates when stepping out of the truck for passport control. When we camped in a border village the last night in Gabon we were also called over to an upset chief who said we should have greeted him with gifts before setting up camp, but other than that people were friendly enough to show us around the village for the well and river that we needed for a long sought after bush shower.
Gabon has about a fourth of the World’s population of Gorillas, but a stay in the national park, which also could only be reached by boat, cost several hundred dollars a night, so we decided to skip that. In fact we pretty much drove straight through, only seeing roads, some villages and a worn out equator sign along the way. Considering it is now rich in oil, but about to run out I think it will be better to come back one day when I am richer and Gabon is poorer.