Africa is the world's second largest and second most-populous continent (behind Asia in both categories). At about 30.3 million km2 (11.7 million square miles) including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of Earth's total surface area and 20% of its land area. With 1.2 billion people as of 2016, it accounts for about 16% of the world's human population. The continent is surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, the Isthmus of Suez and the Red Sea to the northeast, the Indian Ocean to the southeast and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. The continent includes Madagascar and various archipelagos. It contains 54 fully recognised sovereign states (countries), nine territories and two de facto independent states with limited or no recognition. The majority of the continent and its countries are in the Northern Hemisphere, with a substantial portion and number of countries in the Southern Hemisphere.
I visited Gabon for the first time in 2008. By then it was an unknown country despite several National Geographic magazines dedicated to Michael Fay’s mythical mega-transect. I explored with my partner in Cameroon Ivindo National Park and Libreville… In just 8 days I knew that Gabon would be part of my life. A year later in 2009 we opened a DMC office with a local partner and since then we have been offering nature and culture trips all throughout Gabon.
Gabon ranks amongst the highest wildlife density holding countries in the World. Planning your trip to Gabon means discovering some of the best jungle protected areas in Africa. In total, there are 13 national parks in Gabon, but not all the parks are easy to access. In Last Places we can organize travel expeditions to all of Gabon’s parks, but we propose Loango National Park, Lopé National Park, Ivindo National Park, and Pongara National Park as the best ones to observe fauna and enjoy. The National Geographic naturalist Mike Fay has referred to Loango National Park, as ‘Africa’s Last Eden’. This is also where the photographer and conservationist Nick Nichols from National Geographic took his famous pictures of surfing hippos and elephants on the beach. The park’s 1.550 km of savannah, pristine beach, forest and mangroves are a must-see in Gabon. Loango National Park offers breathtaking panoramas and the unique opportunity to observe forest elephants, buffalos, hippos, gorillas and leopards venturing onto the white sand beaches. During your safaris in Loango National Park you have a chance to see the little-known African jungle fauna. From mid-July to mid-September, humpback whales visit the waters in front of Loango National Park as they migrate from their low-latitude summer feeding grounds to more tropical mating and calving areas. Pongara National Park is situated in 2 hours south of Libreville, and it is the easiest park to visit. The observation of big mammals cannot be assured but most of our clients have observed forest elephants and chimpanzees. We organize boat trips to Nyonie base camp on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean. From Nyonie jungle and savannah safaris can be organized. Lopé National Park is Gabon’s most visited and famous park. The international reputation of the Lopé stems from the scientific research done on gorillas and chimpanzees. In October 2001, the Mikongo camp opened to develop international tourism aimed at the observation of gorillas in the forest. A remote nature travel destination in Gabon is Ivindo National Park. The main attraction of Ivindo is Langoué Bai, a natural clearing in the middle of the jungle where gorillas, bongo antelopes, and forest elephants can be observed. Arrangements to get to Langoué Bai must be made well in advance since there is limited access to that part of Ivindo National Park.
Together with the natural areas, travelling to Gabon offer you the possibility of discovering interesting colonial towns such as Lambarene where you can visit the Albert Schweitzer Hospital, situated on the bank of the Ogooue River and founded by Dr. Schweitzer in 1913. Lambarene is surrounded by magnificent natural lakes that can be explored by boat. In cultural terms Gabon is rich in rituals such as the Bwiti practiced by Bantu and Babongo Pygmy peoples. Bwiti use the hallucinogenic rootbark of the Iboga plant, to induce a spiritual enlightenment, stabilize community and family structure, and meet religious requirements and to solve problems of a spiritual and/or medical nature.
Situated in Central Africa, west of Zambia and north of Namibia, Angola is slowly realizing its potential as a tourist hotspot, after decades of civil war following independence from Portugal in 1975.
Africa’s most untouched tribes, virgin ecosystems, unique cultural heritage, a stunning coastline strung with beautiful sandy beaches, and a mountainous interior that gives way to deep gorges and tumbling waterfalls, Angola offers a wide array of opportunities for tourism to its visitors. Cultural diversity and natural beauty aside, the country also boasts a rich gastronomy (fusion between African, Portuguese and Brazilian cuisines) with delicious culinary specialties and a people that are known for their hospitality and friendliness.
As Angola is opening up to the rest of the world, more and more people are taking advantage of the wonderful landscapes and unique tribal groups. To get the most out of your trip, book with Last Places Angola. We have been operating since 2014 and have pioneered the spots along the whole of Angola. We are constantly adapting our styles to assist our guests in having the best possible travel experience in Angola.
Tribes of Angola
Tribes in Angola are mainly concentrated in 3 provinces of Southwest Angola: Huila, Namibe and Cunene. The main reason why they have been able to preserve most of their traditional lifestyle and aesthetic looks it is because of their nomadic or semi-nomadic type of life. Another factor would be that they live in a dry ecosystem where European colonization did not develop extensively as in other parts of Angola. Nganguela and Kwanyama are located in Southeast region and are more westernized than other tribes but still keep tribal social structure and dances. It is the same case in Chokwe tribe, despite modernity masquerades are still alive.
Sudan is a giant, but not as giant as it used to be. South Sudan became a separate country in 2011 and Sudan is half its size nowadays. Still, Sudan is one Africa’s biggest countries and an interesting and highly recommendable destination to visit. Few foreigners have heard of the ancient Kingdom of Kush, walked among the isolated pyramids of Meroe (far more numerous and yet less crowded than those in neighbouring Egypt) or witnessed entranced the whirling Sufi dervishes of Omdurman. Yet those who do make it here are invariably enchanted by Sudan's easy-going nature, its varied, fascinating history and the warm welcome they receive unexpectedly from the Sudanese people. Besides the evident attractive of Meroe and the Desert, Sudan offers many more attractions of the beaten track and where few tourists venture. Here is where Last Places can offer you its ‘savoir faire’.
We have been operating in Sudan since 2012 and we have seen the evolution of different internal social and political troubles in the peripheral provinces of the Islamic Republic of Sudan. It is here where the most interesting tribal societies in Sudan live and can be visited. In Blue Nile Province we meet the nomadic Felata heavily tattooed and with unique hairdos. Deep in the bush we find one of Africa’s most isolated tribe, the Komo Ganza who still roam naked between the Sudan, South Sudan and Ethiopian borders and that still scarify their faces and bodies. A bit northwards we reach another hidden secret of Sudan, Dinder National Park with one of the last healthy lion populations in the Horn of Africa. The safari will lead us to Kasala, Islamic traditional town where we will meet several ethnic groups; Beja warriors, Kunama matriarchies, and in the remote mountains Gumuz Animists who outstand for their music and dances. For real adventurers we can offer a trekking experience in isolated Jebel Marrah Mountains in the centre of Darfur or discover what is left of the mythical Nuba tribes of Kordofan. Last but not least we can end the journey in the coral-bedecked wrecks off the Red Sea coast and visit the Otoman phantom island-city of Suakin.
Sudan is an unpolished tourist offering that will certainly not disappoint.
When we did our first prospective visit to Nigeria back in 2008 I must confess that all the Last Places team was a bit nervous. We knew well Nigeria’s neighboring countries; Cameroon, Benin, and Niger, but none of us had visited Nigeria before and all the stories we had heard where not pushing us to propose Nigeria as one of Middle-Africa’s travel destinations. But once again, our curiosity, faith in unexplored territories, and the belief that Nigeria was much more than what TV used to show about this African Nation, made us go for it, and here we are, presenting a web page, specialized in travel information about Nigeria and inviting you to discover this wonderful country with us. Nigeria is certainly a challenging destination for first-timers to Africa, but with a good guide and a good car you can have a great time and discover spectacular places that receive very few tourists along the year. Lagos is one of the most exuberant cities in Africa, while port city Calabar makes for an enjoyable stopover for travelers on their way to Cameroon. Across Southern Nigeria, old kingdoms carry on their customs, from creating elaborate brass sculptures to venerating the ancient gods. More modern traditions include one of the world’s pioneering primate conservation organizations. In the north, where the land dries out as it stretches towards the desert, Muslim Nigeria thrives in dusty trade cities where memories of the Saharan trade routes still linger. While a few parts of the country remain problematic (around the oil producing Niger delta), the vast majority is as warm and welcoming to visitors as anywhere in Africa. Challenging yet exuberant, this is Africa in the raw – there’s nowhere quite like it on the continent.
Chad is a safe country today after decades of political instability. In fact, Chad stands today as the safest place in Africa where to experience real Sahara. For many desert experts, Ennedi is the Sahara’s best preserved area and the richest in diversity of ecosystems and rock paintings.
Chad, a country twice the size of France, has in the Ennedi Desert its jewel in the crown, but not the only one… Other Chadian deserts such as Borkou and Tibesti will delight any desert lover or adventure seeker. More, towards central Chad we have another major attraction. The Woodabe or Fula tribe with its seasonal Gerewol gatherings are becoming worldly renowned. The Chadian Gerewol has indeed a doses of authenticity that the Niger Gerewol has lost already due to commodification and the excess of tourism.
Other top attractions in Chad would be Zakouma National Park, in the South of the country, haven of the last herds of Central African Giraffes, Lions and Elephants. Also in the slightly more fertile South we find several tribal groups clinging to their unique cultures. In Last Places we like to meet authentic tribal groups and get to know their ways. Sara and Mbum tribes preserve unique dances in remote areas of Southwest Chad. Last but not least, not far from bustling capital N’Djamena the traveller can explore Lake Chad, the last big lake bordering the Sahara. Despite it has been shrinking dramatically over the last 30 years, one can still navigate on its waters and feel like being in a small sea. In Lake Chad we experience a unique lacustrine culture, the Buduma tribe. Ruled by a Sultan, the Buduma live islands covered in papyrus, fishing and herding the rare Kuri cattle with spectacular turnip-shape horns.
Key to exploring Chad’s deserts of Ennedi, Borku or Tibesti and the southern National Parks and tribes is having a top driver and guide. This is where Last Places comes into place. We do not only have a 15 year old experience operating in Chad, knowing every corner of the country, but we have formed a team of Chadian drivers and guides that together with European personnel allows us to deliver the best possible services in Chad.
Eritrea is unique and must be visited before everything becomes normal or similar to other countries. Eritrea has been baptised as the African North Korea… In a certain way it is true. The country is closed, you need permits to get into and out of any town or village. All the youth are ‘mobilized’ in case Ethiopia invades again. Since 2018, after the Peace Agreement with Ethiopia things seem to be relaxing but Eritrea continues to be the private garden of the strong man in the country, President Isaias Afewerki. Asphyxiating for the Eritreans but a unique experience for those who we like experiencing new sensations… What has Eritrea to offer besides being stopped in time? Asmara, the capital is an architectonic treasure. Mussolini tried to convert it in the African Rome and invested money that today is reflected in wonderful Art Deco and Futuristic constructions all over the city. Out of Asmara we find a virgin coast where life depends in fishing and mining. Top snorkeling in one of the purest waters in the Red Sea. One can combine water fauna observation with walks around the Ottoman streets of historic Massawa, the local Zanzibar or Suakin without tourists. More inland, tribal lovers find several nomadic and mountains tribes with deep rooted traditions such as the Beja and Tigre camel herders and the Nilotic Kunama, a unique Matriarchal tribe hidden in the Barentu hills and swamps.
Eritrea is a fine, piece of sweet cake. A jewel in the Horn of Africa that must be tasted before its unique extemporal flavor disappears.