Port Gentil © AchilleT
The second largest city in Gabon and a leading seaport, Port Gentil has two sides. On the one hand it is a ramshackle place with only a few tarred roads, surrounded by tropical rainforest. On the other hand, it is a booming petroleum centre with a population of wealthy expats and the attendant glitzy clubs, casinos, restaurants and even a golf course. Port Gentil is situated on a peninsula and is isolated from the mainland by the ocean and a dense jungle, accessible only by boat or plane. The most notable historic landmark in the city is St Louis Church, built in 1927, but visitors travel here to enjoy the unexpectedly vibrant nightlife, the beautiful white sandy beaches, and treks into the jungle, either on foot or by 4x4.
Bizarrely, Port Gentil is one of the most expensive cities in the world, despite there being plentiful evidence of poverty among the local population. While very expensive, it is an interesting and unusual destination offering unexpected luxuries and exciting natural attractions.