Located in Pongara National Park less than an hour from Libreville by boat transfer, Pongara Lodge is a collection of cabins looking out on one of Gabon’s loveliest beaches from the edge of the forest. The lodge has an intimate, relaxed feel and is frequently used by travellers on their way home after visiting further-flung parts of Gabon.
Pongara Lodge comprises a series of rustic, attractive wood structures strung out a good distance from one another along the forest line, centring on a larger main lodge featuring a bar and restaurant with ocean views. The décor is warm, welcoming and traditional, with local arts and crafts and trees protruding through hardwood floors, with touches of luxury provided by linen tablecloths and colourful place settings. WiFi is available in the main lodge.
Food & service
The cuisine and service are both to a high – if not top-end – standard. Staff are friendly and attentive. Dishes range from local styles to more international fare, but always with a touch of the Gabonese, and menus can be adapted to fit guests’ requirements with reasonable notice.
There are 11 beach bungalows at Pongara Lodge, six of which are ‘eco’ constructions from natural beach-tone materials. All feature queen-size beds and charming ensuite bathrooms showcasing reclaimed wood from the forest outside, but the real draw is the private patio looking directly out onto the Atlantic.
The perfect place to visit either at the start or finish of a trip to Gabon – because of the park’s proximity to Libreville – Pongara offers a range of activities from 4×4 safaris to jungle treks to beach biking. A particular highlight of the year here is the turtle-nesting season between November and February, and the forest fauna – elephants, apes, rare birds and much else besides – is plentiful.
A low-key, comfortable but back-to-basics destination, even aside from the six eco-cabins Pongara Lodge keeps its ecological footprint to a bare minimum.