Post-a-thon: Pointe Denis
Last weekend we visited Pointe Denis for the first time… a gorgeous beach located across the estuary from the city of Libreville. This spot is known for it’s squeaky white sand and calm clean waters. Although the peninsula itself is technically part of Pongara National Park, Pt. Denis is a residential area where Gabon’s rich & famous- including the President, have seconds homes. Ooh la la!
To get to the Assala Lodge, we departed from Port Mole, a marina just a few minutes from our place downtown. Despite the drizzly weather that morning, the place was bustling! A steady stream of taxis and people on foot headed for the docks – I definitely under estimated the number of people that travel by boat I guess! On the way, we passed a bunch of market stands -mostly selling fish, but I did spy a little orange tabby kitten in a basket of onions at one place. Wonder how much she was?
Anywho, we met up with our group and boarded what I prayed would be a seaworthy vessel! I’m not exactly the biggest fan of boats you see, but I was assured the ride would be short, and that pristine beaches awaited me! With a pit in my stomach, I stepped aboard and threw on the provided life jacket. Naturally, mine had been labelled ‘KNKY’.
Surely sensing my nerves, a girl in our group assured me there was nothing to worry about. “The boat has multiple motors, so even when one cuts out, we’ll get there just fine,” she said, as she cracked open a beer. Through gritting teeth, I smiled and prayed the seabands my neighbor lent me would do the trick – you know those pressure point ones that are supposed to help with seasickness? Before long we were off and thankfully, the ride over was easy peasy! The motors did cut out as promised, but we got there in one piece, and I didn’t hurl! Hazaah!
The sandy shores of Pt. Denis were a welcome sight, bright white and totally desolate. But how do we get there I thought to myself? I didn’t see a dock… Turns out, there aren’t any! Our boat got as close to shore as it could, dropped anchor and flung a wooden plank off the back of the boat. One by one, our group toddled down the rickety piece of wood straight into the water. Keepin’ it real!
We arrived shortly before 11Am and got down to business! Lounge chair, check! Cold beer, check! Amazing. The beach was quiet, the water was warm… in the distance you could see the skyline of Libreville, and behind the beach was dense green forest. I felt million miles away! All that luxuriating though, you really work up an appetite. Who’s hungry for lunch?
The restaurant at Assala was awesome. Imagine a big hut type thing, no walls… a thatched roof, planked wood floors and lazy rotating fans. The woodwork inside was beautiful. Gabon has a big timber industry, so there is no shortage of exotic woods here. Even “remote” establishments like this one had awesome slab tables, hand carved chairs and beams, pretty impressive. We dined on locally caught capitan and fried plantains with the wind in our hair. Pretty, pretty nice. To top off a nice meal, for dessert – I played with a bunch of PUPPIES! Yes! There was a box of puppies in the back of the restaurant… Five little guys, eyes not even open yet… adorable. Although the owner graciously offered them to us, we declined. Tempting though!!!
Without a doubt, this was one of my favorite weekends to date. I learned how to play Pétanque, a French game similar to Bocce, drank champagne in the ocean, played with puppies, faced my boat fears and came back with a bronzey tan. Not too shabby.