These two amazing photos, showing an elephant walking on the beach and then forest elephants and lowland gorillas in the same photo frame, were taken by my friend Shivani Bhalla and are posted here with her permission. She took them on her trip to Gabon, a country in West Africa that I'm dying to go to one of these days. Unfortunately, it remains a little pricey, and tourism is still new, so there are some issues. I looked into going there for my next adventure very carefully, but in the end, for now I am going to have to settle for going to Botswana, Namibia and Zambia for the next Africa trip.
Gabon has ten percent of the country set aside for wildlife parks, and supposedly the wildlife is pristine. It can therefore be hard to see the animals as they are not habituated at all. It is, from all accounts, not a good first trip to Africa, but a great subsequent trip.
I read an amazing account of an english woman who, at 30, traveled to Gabon by herself and eventually became a trader there. The books, Travels in West Africa, by Mary Kingsley, is the amazing true story of how in 1890 this woman explored Gabon in full Victorian dress. Although the writing can be a little dated or thick in places, this is a very interesting story and a good read.