This paper is centered around landmark detection, tracking, and matching for visual simultaneous localization and mapping using a monocular vision system with active gaze control. We present a system that specializes in creating and maintaining a sparse set of landmarks based on a biologically motivated feature-selection strategy. A visual attention system detects salient features that are highly discriminative and ideal candidates for visual landmarks that are easy to redetect. Features are tracked over several frames to determine stable landmarks and to estimate their 3-D position in the environment. Matching of current landmarks to database entries enables loop closing. Active gaze control allows us to overcome some of the limitations of using a monocular vision system with a relatively small field of view. It supports 1) the tracking of landmarks that enable a better pose estimation, 2) the exploration of regions without landmarks to obtain a better distribution of landmarks in the environment, and 3) the active redetection of landmarks to enable loop closing in situations in which a fixed camera fails to close the loop. Several real-world experiments show that accurate pose estimation is obtained with the presented system and that active camera control outperforms the passive approach.