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Biodiversity Conservation through Community-based Ecotourism

OELO's first project established an ecotourism site at Tsam Tsam on Lake Oguemoué.  In addition to creating jobs and income for local residents through protecting biodiversity, the site generates funding for OELO's other conservation programs. 

Learn more about Tsam Tsam or to make a reservation.

OELO's Origins

Lake Oguemoué lies in the southern chain of lakes along the Ogooué River south of Lambaréné, Gabon. The lakes and river form part of the Bas-Ogooué Ramsar Site, a wetland of international importance and the largest Ramsar Site in Gabon. Oguemoué’s surrounding forests are home to forest elephants, lowland gorillas, chimpanzees, African forest buffalo and other Congo Basin forest wildlife. Sandbars in the lakes host nesting colonies of rare birds and hippopotamuses and African manatees can be found in river and lake waters, though their populations are thought to be rapidly declining due to over-hunting. Local residents rely on fishing as a livelihood. As fish become scarcer though, alternative income sources are increasingly pursued, including selling bushmeat to local markets and participating in illegal logging.

Organisation Ecotouristique du Lac Oguemoué (OELO) was formed in November 2010, when a small group of Gabonese residents from the Lake Oguemoué community gathered to brainstorm ways to protect their lake and environment for future generations. OELO’s first project became an ecotourism site, Tsam Tsam, to create a source of revenue for local residents through protecting biodiversity. Over the course of four years OELO’s mission has expanded. Our mission is to:

1) Protect biodiversity and ecosystem services for future generations

2) Foster environmental awareness in local communities

3) Inspire the next generation to become environmental stewards

4) Help lake region residents to generate income through the sustainable use of resources

We now lead programs in ecotourism, environmental education, sustainable fishing, community outreach and biodiversity research in the lake region of Gabon.