Much of Gabon looks like the old Hollywood image of African jungle, with mysterious rivers wending their way through dense forest filled with chattering monkeys and exotic birds. But when it comes to jungle, Gabon is the real thing: More than three-quarters of the country is covered in tropical forests, and even Libreville, the modern capital, looks as though it were recently carved out of the surrounding tangle of trees and vines.

Gabon's prices, however, aren't old-fashioned at all. The country's rich natural resources, especially oil, have made it prosperous and secure. And they've also made it expensive for travelers. Libreville is one of Africa's—and the world's—priciest cities. Travelers think nothing of paying several dollars for a can of Coca-Cola or a bowl of vegetable soup in a small restaurant.

For those who can afford it, Gabon delivers great beauty and plenty of exotic atmosphere. In the forests and along the rivers, you can look for lowland gorillas, chimps, hippos and crocs. And in the smaller villages and popular beach spots around Libreville, you'll find the country's tropical feel blended with a laid-back French ambience.

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