As a surf destination, Gabon remains a mystery to most waveriders. Nestled below the 'Armpit of Africa', few foreigners make the journey, while the sparse local surfing population rarely travel beyond France. Most of the known spots are located close to Port-Gentil and the capital, Libreville, where expatriates provide the greatest number of potential surfers among the city's 300,000 population. West Africans have long harboured a distinct fear and mistrust of the ocean, leaving the bulk of the population firmly on dry land with limited swimming skills.
To escape the virtually waveless estuary of Libreville, drive north on one of the few paved roads to Cape Esterias, or get a boat to Ekwata. Ferme aux Crocos (Crocodile Farm) is a private beach resort reached by 4x4 with a wide beach and sloppy shorebreak waves. There is a rideable wave in Libreville at Gueque but it is very poor quality. On the west side of the Gabon Estuary are the ten neat beach bungalows, which make up Ekwata village. From here, it is a 15 minute walk up to Ngombè lighthouse where an occasional long wrapping left breaks over the shiny black stones that line the coast. When it is on, it's a very long wave, so head for the beach and walk back to the peak under the shade of the trees. The main problem with this estuarine area is that even at a full 20km (12mi) out to sea, the water depth remains a mere 40m (130ft) deep, draining the power from the swell. The beach skirts a swampy savannah full of birds, monkeys and elephants, while to the south surfing opportunities diminish in the shadow of Port Gentil and heavy silting in the Baie de Nazare.