Life over here is great. We have 2 beautiful beaches we can choose from to visit, plenty of fun activities and opportunities to volunteer, and we’ve formed some amazing friendships. All this being said, life here can also get a little complicated and frustrating. Just recently we have had a lot of issues with the water supply to our compound…. The issues being that there isn’t any. It is not the end of the world as we’ve learned to keep a stock pile of 2 liter bottles filled with tap water, but after your 3rd “bottle bath”, not being able to flush toilets (TMI?), and trying to wash dishes, you start to get a little irritated. My husband (being the fantastic guy he is!) picked up on my frustrations, and planned a surprise get away weekend for our 3rd anniversary! So where do you go for a weekend get-away in Gabon? A little place called Omboue!
Right now, the only way to get to Omboue is by boat. So Friday morning we headed down to the port- which is also the fish market- to wait for our ride. By the time we got there, most of the action was over, but we still had lots of sites to see!
Finally it was time for us to board, taking the same path as our luggage, and we set sail. The ride was very nice and we were very fortunate to not have too much rain. The ride was about 2.5 hours and we got to take in some pretty scenery on the way.
We were greeted by Loic, who took care of us for the whole weekend. He was so attentive and made us feel right at home. After settling in and a nice lunch, we decided to take some bikes offered by the lodge around the village. This turned out to be one of our favorite parts of the trip (unfortunately I did not bring my camera!). School was getting out while we were touring, so we quickly had a group of adorable little guys waving and chasing after us. We made our way back to the hotel in time for dinner and then an early lights out, as the proprietor, Ghislaine, had planned an early morning safari for us the next day.
Saturday morning we were taken to another lodge, Luango, which is situated right on the edge of the safari park. Unfortunately, we did not reach the park until about 10 AM and animals typically come out at 6-7AM or 4-6PM. We spent the next 2.5 hours driving around the park viewing gorgeous scenery (I’m all for pretty landscape… but I wanted some animals man!). We were all getting pretty bummed, including the guide, and at one point he jumped out of the truck and started walking towards the forest in hopes that something would appear. THEN we saw one lonely buffalo. We all “ooed and ahhhed”, he gave us enough time to snap a couple of pictures and then he vanished in to the forest. We continued on with our drive.
After lunch we hopped back in the truck and headed back to Luango. By now, we had given up any hopes of seeing animals and had accepted the fact that we payed a lot of money to see pretty African land. All of the sudden the guide pointed out of the truck and told the driver to slow down. We looked towards the woods and saw what he was so excited about… 2 elephants!! The guide led us out of the truck and we walked towards the elephants. These guys were amazing. We got back in the truck and headed off. Eventually we came across another elephant duo (momma and baby this time!).
One last time, we all climbed back in to the truck and took off for the lodge. On our way back we were surprised by this guy running through the field. Its very hard to see, but hes some kind of monkey… a really fast one!We made our way back to Luango lodge and several hours later, finally made it back to Hotel Olako. We had another great dinner on the doc and the staff even surprised us with an anniversary cake for the group to share for dessert. We were so taken back by how well the staff at Olako took care of us, they made this anniversary trip a very memorable one for us.
The next morning, we were scheduled for a crocodile tour and visit to St. Anne’s Mission. Living in Louisiana previously and taking a lot of alligator tours, we were not too excited about the crocodiles… but we got on the boat and headed out. Our first stop was the Mission; a Catholic church constructed in the late 1800’s with the same materials and by the same company that constructed the Eiffel Tower. It was absolutely beautiful!! Masses are still held every Sunday, however this week the priest was at the Vatican. After walking through St. Anne, our guide took us on a short hike behind the church to the bamboo forest. THIS was unreal.
We finished exploring the mission and got back in the boat. After an hour boat ride and some beautiful scenery (reminded me of ferngully!) the driver slowed down and we started to see the crocs. They were so little!
The only downside to this tour was getting bitten by a couple of Tsetse flies. We spent the entire morning out on the water surrounded by gorgeous scenery, and slowly made our way back to the hotel. By the time we arrived, we had enough time for a quick lunch, pack up, and grab a picture with Loic before we had to head back to Port-Gentil. Our trip to Omboue was an amazing experience and the perfect way to celebrate our anniversary and recharge our batteries.