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Gabon: Fernan Vaz

On Friday evening I’ll take a short flight south from Libreville to Port Gentil, a large town on the coast of Gabon. Saturday morning I’ll take a 4 hour boat ride south from Port Gentil and it will snake along inland river channels to Ombooue, a town in the center of Fernan Vaz Lagoon. (photo courtesy of Google Earth)

Fernan Vaz is Gabon’s biggest lagoon at approximately 65km long. It also has the largest human population of any of Gabon’s lagoons, it’s the only lagoon in the country that has no protected area adjacent to it and many people tell me not to expect to find many manatees there. But I’ve also had other reports that lots of manatees are regularly seen in the rivers that connect to it, and a paper by Nishiwaki et al written in 1982 reports that in their interviews in Port Gentil they were told manatees were quite common in Fernan Vaz. I think reality will be somewhere in between…

I am staying at Olako Lodge for 2 weeks and will try to get on the water most days. This is the only lagoon in Gabon that I haven’t been to yet, so I’m looking forward to seeing and learning about a new place. I’m not likely to have any internet while I’m there, but as always there will be stories and reports when I get back to Libreville at the end of the month.

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