Gabon: Road to Lope National Park

Gabon is one of the richest countries in Africa – small population of under 2mm, and vast resources of oil, gold, diamonds, manganese, and other mineral riches. Yet somehow absolutely inexplicably, Gabon has some of the worst and most atrocious roads in Africa. A portion of RN3 (National Road 3) that leads to the Lope National Park is one of the worst. It’s actually the only route from Libreville (the country’s capital to Franceville (the country’s second largest city). It’s clay and mud, potholes, never graded, never asphalted insanity, that takes 5 hours to drive 100km. And this is in the dry season! Almost no vehicle makes it without a breakdown and we had the top of our Toyota truck come off its metal hinges and fall off. There is also a train line running here, but passenger trains haven’t been working for months. But the views are spectacular and scenery is lovely, as the road leads along the Ogooue River and crosses multiple one lane bridges