Mbolo Samba, Gabon
It’s been dubbed the ‘seafront boulevard’ for its vibrant nightlife, but without looking too hard you’ll discover cultural and culinary riches aplenty in Libreville the capital city of Gabon, situated on the coast of Central Africa. Visitors to Gabon are spoilt for choice of fun destinations, and what to do whenever they visit. Soon, all it will take is an Ibom Air Flight ticket and your vacation a-game, and you could spend the entire holiday hopping from one destination to another. The country has about 13 national parks, including La Lopé, a World Heritage Site. For a cosmopolitan experience of Africa, add another commercial city of Gabon such as Port-Gentil, and Franceville to your short-break bucket list. The choices available in Libreville are truly breathtaking.
Population: 1.8 million (UNDP 2018)
Discover traditions of Gabon
Gabon has nearly fifty ethnic groups, the pygmies is the oldest one. Several ethnic groups are spread over the territory. The biggest ones in terms of numbers are the Fang (32%), followed by the Mpongwe (15%), the Mbédé (14%), the Punu (12%)…
Masks have an important place in the ethnic group’s life. Each group has its own masks, dedicated to different ceremonies.
Gabon’s traditional dances reflect the diversity of the ethnic groups and are closely linked to the rites, like the initiatory rite of Bwiti. Both ritual and recreational, they remind the close link between real world and sacred.
Gabonese music is characterized by pop and folk styles carried by artists such as Pierre-Claver Akendengue, Patience Dabany, Annie-Flore Batchiellilys, Vickos Ekondo or Oliver N’Goma.
Taste some traditional food with a local beer!
Dishes common to the whole country:
- Crabe Farci is a delight for Gabonese people. The crab meat is removed and mixed with chopped shrimps, tomatoes, onions, garlic and chilli pepper.
- Odika, also known as “indigenous chocolate”, is a brown sauce made from the fruit of the acacia tree that oddly looks like a wild mango and tastes like cocoa. This sauce goes well with all kinds of fish, shellfish and meat.
- Smoked chicken Nyembwe, whose sauce is made with the pulp of palm kernels, is served with ripe bananas and grated manioc or rice.
- Cassava leaves are a key food in Gabon’s diet. The leaves, finely crushed and boiled, are usually served with smoked fish.
- Nkumu: The leaves of this small liana are very rich in protein. They are cooked with fish and vegetables in a salted broth.
- The Coupé Coupé of beef is a famous street food made of small pieces of braised meat served in bread. Another speciality to take away is the Nikes, braised chicken skewers.
Popular drinks are the national beer called Régab, palm wine.
On the other side of the Gabon estuary, in front of Libreville, Pointe Denis is a true Eden, with its superb stretch of sand bordered by forests and crystal clear waters. It is the favourite seaside resort of the locals, who like to spend the weekend enjoying sunbathing, walking along the lagoon or having fun with water scooting and quad biking. On site, a few hotels and restaurants will allow you to extend the pleasure for a day or two, and live in harmony with nature. The place is known to be the breeding place for leatherback turtles. Come to see this incredible natural show on the preserved beach! After the bustle of the city, it is nice to take a break and enjoy the tranquillity of a perfect vacation spot.