Gabon, officially the Gabonese Republic, is a sovereign state on the west coast of Central Africa. A small population, as well as oil and mineral reserves have helped Gabon become one of Africa's wealthier countries. The country has generally been able to maintain and conserve its pristine rain forest and rich biodiversity. It is famed with the diversity of wildlife from gorillas and hippos to whales.
The lush tropical vegetation (which covers much of the interior) gives way in parts to the savannah. There are many rivers along which settlements have grown. Many of the Bantu people are concentrated in coastal areas and villages along the banks of the many rivers. The main cities are Libreville, Port Gentil, Lambaréné, Moanda, Oyem, Mouila and Franceville.