Lambarene was put on the world map by Albert Schweitzer, and his hospital is still the major attraction of the small riverside town. Located some 300 km upstream from Port-Gentil the town now has a population of 30,000 making it the third city of the country.
Schweitzer came here in 1913 and build his hospital on the river banks. He wanted to attract as many patients as possible from the surroundings and provided the people who came with food and shelter. His hospital was a big success, also because of good marketing and PR in Europe.
The original hospital stands alongside the new one – one of the best equiped hospitals in all of Africa. The old hospital is now a museum and it can be visited. You can buy postcards, t-shirts and there is a gifshop with handicrafts.
Once you’ve seen the hospital -which shouldn’t take more than a couple of hours – you should make a trip on the lakes with a dugout canoe or pirogue as they call them in French. A trip to the lake of Ezanga, Evaro and Onague takes up a whole day in a motorized pirogue and can be arranged through the Sofitel. A trip to one or more of the smaller lakes close by can be done in half a day.