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GABON: WORLD-FIRST PACKRAFT ADVENTURE
Industry: Adventure       

In June 2016, a team of amphibious travellers will aim to become the first to packraft across the Equator in Gabon. Known as the Eden of Africa, Rough Guides calls Gabon a ‘top 20 place for wildlife encounters’, with Lonely Planet describing tourism in Gabon as extremely DIY with infrequent transport and little infrastructure. These ingredients make raw, remote and wild Gabon the perfect place to stage this June’s pioneering expedition to become the first to trek and packraft across the Equator. Read more or apply today.

(TRAVPR.COM) UK - March 2nd, 2016 - In June 2016, a team of amphibious travellers will aim to become the first to packraft across the Equator in Gabon, led by UK-based expedition company, Secret Compass.

“Gabon is a wildlife-rich country. 90% of its landmass is equatorial rainforest, 10% of that has national park status and it’s home to 50% of Africa’s forest elephants,” said Tom Bodkin of Secret Compass.

“Known as the Eden of Africa, Rough Guides calls Gabon a ‘top 20 place for wildlife encounters’, with Lonely Planet describing tourism in Gabon as extremely DIY with infrequent transport and little infrastructure,” said Kerry O’Neill, Secret Compass’s communications director.

“These ingredients make raw, remote and wild Gabon the perfect place to stage this June’s pioneering expedition to become the first to trek and packraft across the Equator,” added O’Neill. 

Gabon expedition highlights

·       Trek and packraft across the Ivindo National Park and the Equator itself

·       Explore two separate Gabonese river systems, the Djidji and the Kongou

·       Packraft to Central Africa’s highest Kongou falls – Africa’s answer to Niagara falls

·       National Geographic calls Gabon ‘the land of the surfing hippos’

·       An Eden-like travel experience (Lonelyplanet.com)

“Beyond bustling Libreville, Gabon is an untouched paradise of thick jungle, white sand beaches and other-worldly landscapes. Discovering this wild part of Africa in slow-time – on foot and innovative, adventure-proof packrafts – will give our team a taste of the real Gabon,” continued O’Neill.

Expedition fact box

Name: Gabon – A Tale of Two Rivers
What: Epic packraft and trek across national parks and the Equator
Dates: 4 – 20 Jun 2016 (16 nights)
Cost: £2,950pp all inc. except international flights (from £520 return with Ethiopian Airlines)

Eco-tourism in Gabon

Professor Lee White is working with tourism organisations based in Gabon. He said, ““Gabon is a Noah’s ark for biodiversity, with three-million year-old forests. We're trying to create a national park service in a country that hasn't had one and it is sometimes an uphill struggle.”

In May 2015, the Telegraph (citing World Travel and Tourism Council figures) identified Gabon as a country likely to witness large % growths in tourism. Gabon was also the first African state to submit pledges for the 

Speaking to the Telegraph, White continued, “We're trying to overcome other problems – the legal system, corruption. We can't do that overnight. It takes time to develop support and train people.”

“We hope our inaugural expedition to a country at the beginning of its fight to sustain its natural resources will help draw attention to Gabon, and that our teammates return with stories to help increase visitor numbers as the country’s eco-tourism strategy desires,” concluded O’Neill.

Expedition destinations for 2016 and 2017

With its military background, expedition company Secret Compass is renowned for offering expeditions and adventure travel to countries eschewed by most operators due to their remoteness, post-conflict reputations or inaccessibility.

Upcoming destinations include Afghanistan, Armenia, Burma, Ethiopia, Iran, Iraqi Kurdistan, Kyrgyzstan, Madagascar, Mongolia, North Korea, Panama, Siberia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Chad and southern Sinai.

Expedition styles range from mixed-terrain trekking and minimalist desert traverses to mountain-biking, rafting and horseback expeditions. Secret Compass welcomes applications from anyone with a good level of fitness who’s keen to achieve the extraordinary in the world’s wildest places. 

For further press information contact communications director Kerry O’Neill on 0207 096 8428 or via email on info@secretcompass.com.

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Notes for editors 

Secret Compass
Secret Compass redefines what is possible by creating pioneering projects in the world's wildest places. Secret Compass is built around a team of trusted experts who combine a passion for exploration with industry-leading professionalism. Secret Compass reignites your primal need for adventure, providing the catalyst for you to come alive and achieve the extraordinary.

Secret Compass for TV, film and brand projects
Secret Compass is trusted by production companies and brands to create and capture the extraordinary in remote and wild regions thanks to its unrivalled location and risk-management expertise. Credits include location-managing Channel 4’s Walking the Nile and Walking the Himalayas series, alongside projects for the BBC, National Geographic, Animal Planet and the Discovery Channel. Brand clients to date include Mitsubishi, Sony, Nespresso, Giro, Xbox and Jagermeister.

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CONTACT INFORMATION
Name: Kerry O'Neill
Company: Secret Compass
Phone: 02070968428
Email: info@secretcompass.com
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