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Gabon enjoys high prestige within the African community because of the country's oil wealth. It is also a growing attraction for travelers interested in eco-tourism. Forest covers about 80 percent of Gabon's territory and is home to an array of wildlife.

Gabon gained independence from France in 1960 and since then has only had two presidents, including current leader Omar Bongo. He has been in power for nearly 40 years and despite opening the way for multiparty politics in the 1990s elections have not been considered to meet international standards for fairness. There is a small population and abundant natural resources but many Gabonese remain poor.

The 1.4 million Gabonese are distributed among more than 40 ethnic groups, including the Fang, Eschira, Bapounou and Bateke. Most people practice Christianity. Although French is the official language, Bantu-group languages are also spoken throughout the country.

There are direct flights from Europe to Gabon's capital. Getting around within the country can be expensive. Mini-buses and taxis are available and trains run several times a week.

Among the country's resorts is the Intercontinental Libreville, which offers a golf course, beauty salon and swimming pool. Le Meridien Re-Ndama is located on the beach and also has a beauty salon, a restaurant and other amenities.