This port on the Komo River is the capital of Gabon and is a trading and shipping centre for timber, rubber and cocoa. The city was founded as a holding station for slaves waiting to be transported away from Africa in the 1840s.
Freed slaves from the ship L’Elizia were sent here in 1848 and it was named Libreville (Freetown).
The city is very interesting culturally with a thriving market and St Maries Cathedral, the carved wood church of St Michael, the Arboretum de Sibang, Nkembo and the enormous palace housing the president. Gabon’s carved facial masks are internationally celebrated, such as the n’goltang (Fang) and the relicary figures of the Kota. Each group has its own set of masks used for various reasons. They are mostly used in traditional ceremonies such as marriage, birth and funerals. Traditionalists mainly work with rare local woods and other precious materials.
The international airport is located 11kms from the city and it is also the embarking station for the Trans-Gabon railway line to Franceville.
Alongside the Komo Estuary is the Pongara National Park and behind Cap Esterias is Akanda National Park with its famous migrating waterbirds.
Libreville provides air (private charter) and train links to Ivindo National Park and Lope National Park – fascinating and remote African safari destinations.
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