{{ message }}

Admin Page Edit

Gabon

{{ message }}

Le Meridien Re-Ndama
Le Meridien Re-Ndama - dream vacation

PO Box 4064 Libreville, GabonLibreville

Hotel Onomo Libreville
Hotel Onomo Libreville - dream vacation

La Sabliere Route AngondjeLibreville

Radisson Blu Okoume Palace Hotel
Radisson Blu Okoume Palace Hotel - dream vacation

5, Boulevard de Nice, B.P 2254Libreville

Le Patio
Le Patio - dream vacation

Quartier Louis Descente J.LaboriLibreville

Hotel Mots De Crystal
Hotel Mots De Crystal - dream vacation

Pl. de L'Independance PO Box 544Libreville

Gabon is a country in Western Central Africa. It lies on the Equator, on the Atlantic Ocean coast, between the Republic of the Congo to the south and east, Equatorial Guinea to the northwest and Cameroon to the north.

A small population, and 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.

Regions

Cities

  • Cap Lopez
  • Franceville
  • Gamba
  • Kango
  • Lambarene
  • Mayumba
  • Owendo
  • Port-Gentil bordered to the coast of the South Atlantic Ocean

Other destinations

  • Akanda National Park — mangroves & tidal flats are home to migratory birds and turtles.
  • Banteke Plateau National Park — savanna crossed by rivers with rope bridges for the locals; home to forest elephants, buffalo, & antelope.
  • Crystal Mountains National Park — misty forests rich in orchids, begonias, & other flora.
  • Ivindo National Park — two of Central Africa's most magnificent waterfalls; gorillas, chimpanzees, & forest elephants gather around its rivers and waterholes.
  • Loango National Park — a 100-km stretch of virgin beaches and adjacent rainforest, both scenic and a place to view leopards, elephants, gorillas, & monkeys on the beach.
  • Lopé National Park — mix of savanna & dense forest along the Ogooue River; float along the river in pirogue, view ancient rock engravings, or track gorillas or mandrill monkeys with a pygmy guide.
  • Mayumba National Park — sandy peninsula home to the world's largest population of nesting leatherback turtles.
  • Minkebe National Park — highland forest with large sandstone domes, home to elephants and forest-dwelling antelope and giant hogs.

Understand

History

What is now Gabon has been inhabited for thousands of years, first by Pygmy hunter-gatherers and then starting perhaps as early as 1500 BC, various different Bantu tribes arrived in several waves. Portuguese explorers and traders were the first Europeans to arrive, in 1472. The nation's present name originates from "Gabão", Portuguese for "cloak", which is roughly the shape of the estuary of the Komo River close to the capital of Libreville. Soon, Europeans were trading for natural resources and slaves. In the 19th century, the French became ascendant in the area. The coast was colonized by the French in 1839, and the remainder of Gabon in 1885. Gabon gained independence on 17 August 1960.

Since independence, Gabon has been one of the more stable African countries. Autocratic President Omar Bongo was in power from 1967 until his death in 2009. Gabon introduced a multi-party system and a new constitution in the early 1990s that allowed for a more transparent electoral process and for reforms of governmental institutions. A small population, abundant natural resources, and considerable foreign support have helped make Gabon one of the more prosperous sub-Saharan African countries. Despite being made up of more than 40 ethnic groups, Gabon has escaped the strife afflicting other West African states.

Climate

Tropical; always hot, humid. During the months of June to September, the climate is a little cooler (20-25°C).

Terrain

Narrow coastal plain; hilly interior; savanna in east and south. Highest point is Mont Iboundji at 1,575 metres. Gabon is crossed by the Ogooué, the country's longest river which is 1,200 kilometres long.

Important holidays

Independence Day: 17 August 1960 (from France)

National holiday: Founding of the Gabonese Democratic Party (PDG), 12 March (1968)

Get in

The fee for a visa to enter the country is typically €70. The visa can be purchased on arrival in either euros or in the local francs in the right hand line upon exiting the plane. Reportedly, as of August 2010 this is no longer possible and personnel arriving to Gabon must have a valid visa upon arrival or they will be sent back. Recently, most international arrivals in Gabon claim that the visa fee has increased and they paid almost €122 for 3 month single entrance visa and more for multiple entrance.

By plane

Air France and Gabon Airlines fly from Paris to Libreville, and Royal Air Maroc flies from Casablanca to Gabon. Air Service also flies to Douala (Cameroon), and Ethiopian Airlines flies from Addis Ababa. There are also on occasion flights to Brazzaville, Congo.

Interair flies from Johannesburg (South Africa) to Libreville on Monday with a stopover in Brazzaville/Congo - returning via the same route every Wednesday. "SAA" flies direct from Johannesburg (South Africa) to Libreville on Wednesdays and Fridays.

Lufthansa flies five times weekly from Frankfurt.

By car

There are several border crossings, though the roads are not good and a 4x4 is recommended.

Get around

The easiest way to get around outside of cities is by bus (typically 6- or 9-seater cars, but sometimes minibuses). There are many and they are very cheap (e.g., FCFA 7000 to go from Libreville to Lamberene). Within cities, taxis are plentiful and are very cheap. No fare should be more than FCFA 5000 for one person. Fares depend on distance (and whether the driver will be able to find more fares at your destination). A 2- or 3-minute drive will cost FCFA 100, and FCFA 2000 is plenty to go from Owendo train station to the centre of Libreville. Taxi prices typically double after 21hr.

By plane

Air Service has scheduled flights to Oyem, Makouko and Franceville/Mvengue. Air Nationale flies to Franceville/Mvengue. There are flights to Franceville/Mvengue every day of the week except Tuesdays and Thursdays. Africa's Connection has daily scheduled flights between Libreville and Port Gentil, weekly flights from Port-Gentil/Libreville to São Tomé & Príncipe and to Loango National Park.

By car

There are some paved roads in Gabon, if you are staying in one of the major cities a car should suffice. If you plan on venturing onto some of the unpaved roads outside the major cities a 4x4 is required. There are less than 800km of tarred roads in Gabon - some of them in a bad condition. During the rainy season it is difficult to travel outside the major city areas even in a 4x4 vehicle.

By train

The Trans-Gabon railroad goes from Owendo to Franceville. The trip takes 12-18 hours, and is often delayed. Train times change according to the season. The current timetable (Basse 2014 as of March 2015) has trains both ways on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Sunday. Two different trains are in use - the Omnibus and the Express. Both take a similar time, but the Express stops at less small stations. Air-conditioning is present in VIP, 1st and 2nd on the Express, and only VIP and 1st on the omnibus.

By bus

A few wealthy Gabonese entrepreneurs have invested in new buses for bus lines to service the larger interior cities. Mostly these buses serve the cities with paved roads leading to and from them. Since Air Gabon closed down, these bus lines have greatly increased their routes.

By boat

Boat travel is available all along the coast of Gabon and dozens of miles up the Ogooue river to Lambarene. Boats leave daily to/from Libreville and Port Gentil. River trips from the mouth of the big river at Port Gentil to Lambarene (Albert Schweitzer Hospital) are available every few days. Hotel Olako arranges weekly boat transfers between Port Gentil and Omboué (close to Loango National Park), transfers take between 3 and 4,5 hours (depending on the type of boat and engine).

Talk

Languages  French (official), Fang, Myene, Nzebi, Bapounou/Eschira, Bandjabi

Very few people speak English in Gabon, so some knowledge of French is an asset.

See

Do

Chez Beti - a small seaside safari camp near the village of Nyonie owned and operated by a French ex-pat. Clean, air-conditioned cottages and all-inclusive family style meals accompany the evening Landcruiser and sunrise walking safaris. Wildlife sightings can include elephants, buffalo, monkeys, parrots, hornbills and other local fauna. The camp is located just a few km south of the equator, along a pristine stretch of beach. Prices are very reasonable and include roundtrip transportation from the marina in Libreville; consisting of an hour long boat transit to a small landing in the mangroves, followed by a 45 minute 4x4 trip along jungle roads to the camp. Contact information: tel. 07 57 14 23 or 06 03 36 36, e-mail: castorene7@live.fr

Buy

Money

The currency of the country is the Central African CFA franc, denoted FCFA (ISO currency code: XAF). It's also used by five other Central African countries. It is interchangeable at par with the West African CFA franc (XOF), which is used by six countries. Both currencies are fixed at a rate of 1 euro = 655.957 CFA francs.

ATMs

All Ecobank ATMs in Gabon take Mastercard and Visa card for cash withdrawal.

Eat

The Balbool restaurant serves delicious western food with very cheap prices. Ask for the big Balbool soup.

Drink

The cheapest local beer is Regab, it costs XAF500-2000 and comes in a 650 mL bottle. There are fantastic fruit juices available: "D'jino" Pampelmousse (grapefruit), Ananas (pineapple), Citron (Lemon) in 300 mL bottles at FCFA 400 and in a 1.5 L bottle at FCFA 900 if bought in a shop.

Sleep

There are three international name hotels - Le Meridien, Intercontinental and the Novotel. Apart from these, there are several other budget and economy hotels.

Long term lease on apartments is also an option.

Work

A visa and letter of invitation are required for foreigners working in Gabon.

Stay safe

Malaria is common, so visitors should take malaria pills and a mosquito net when travelling in Gabon.

HIV/AIDS is, unfortunately, a common disease in Gabon with 8% (1 in 12) of adults infected.

Respect

The people are generally very friendly, respectful and helpful to visitors.

Connect

Go next


Exercise a high degree of caution

The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The purpose of this Travel Advice is to provide up-to-date information to enable you to make well-informed decisions.

Exercise a high degree of caution and register with the Consulate of Canada in Libreville.

Maintain a high level of security awareness at all times and avoid public gatherings and street demonstrations.

Crime

Petty crime, such as pickpocketing, purse snatching and vehicle break-ins, has increased, particularly in markets, transportation hubs and areas frequented by tourists. Do not show signs of affluence. Resisting a robbery can lead to further violence.

Violent crime occurs, including business and residential robberies and armed attacks, particularly in Libreville and Port-Gentil. Remain alert to your surroundings and avoid walking alone after dark, even in places visited by tourists. You should also avoid walking alone on beaches.

Fraud

Cases of attempted fraud are frequently reported in this country. See our Overseas Fraud page for more information on scams abroad.

Road travel

Road conditions are poor and road signs are often insufficient. The use of a four-wheel-drive vehicle is recommended. Keep vehicle doors locked and windows closed. In the event of a traffic accident, proceed to the nearest police station. Towing and repair services are not widely available outside Libreville. There are frequent police roadblocks. Cooperate with local authorities and avoid travelling after dark.

Public transportation

You can use public transportation such as the train or the bus. The Transgabonese railroad offers a passenger train service that runs from Libreville to Franceville and makes stops in Ndjole, Booué and Lastoursville. When taking taxis in the cities, negotiate the price before getting in the cab. Most taxi drivers automatically double their fares after 9 pm.

No reliable information about Gabon Airlines' safety standards is available. Consult our Transportation FAQ in order to verify if national airlines meet safety standards.

General safety information

Ensure that personal belongings, passport, and other travel documents are secure at all times.

Tourist facilities are limited outside the capital. Ecotourism is generally safe; however, you should make arrangements only with reputable companies and not venture from your organized tour group.

In case of an emergency, dial 177 for the police.

Piracy

Pirate attacks occur in coastal waters and, in some cases, farther out at sea. Mariners should take appropriate precautions. For additional information, consult the Live Piracy Report published by the International Maritime Bureau.

Health

Related Travel Health Notices
Consult a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic preferably six weeks before you travel.
Vaccines

Routine Vaccines

Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.

Vaccines to Consider

You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread by contaminated food or water. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.

Influenza

Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or through personal contact with unwashed hands. Get the flu shot.

Measles

Measles occurs worldwide but is a common disease in developing countries, particularly in parts of Africa and Asia. Measles is a highly contagious disease. Be sure your vaccination against measles is up-to-date regardless of the travel destination.
 

Polio

There is a risk of polio in this country. Be sure that your vaccination against polio is up-to-date.

Rabies

Rabies is a disease that attacks the central nervous system spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from a rabid animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (i.e., close contact with animals, occupational risk, and children).

Typhoid

Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among travellers going to rural areas, visiting friends and relatives, or with weakened immune systems. Travellers visiting regions with typhoid risk, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should consider getting vaccinated.

Yellow Fever Vaccination

Yellow fever is a disease caused by the bite of an infected mosquito.

Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.

* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
Risk
  • There is a risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
  • Proof of yellow fever vaccination is required for travellers from all countries.
Recommendation
  • Vaccination is recommended.
  • Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care provider.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites.
Food/Water

Food and Water-borne Diseases

Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.

In some areas in Central Africa, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in Central Africa. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!

Schistosomiasis

Schistosomiasis is caused by blood flukes (tiny worms) spread to humans through contaminated water. The eggs of the worms can cause stomach illnesses like diarrhea and cramps or urinary problems. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Avoid swimming in contaminated water. There is no vaccine available for schistosomiasis.

Travellers' diarrhea
  • Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
  • Risk of developing travellers’ diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
  • The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.

Insects

Insects and Illness

In some areas in Central Africa, certain insects carry and spread diseases like African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), chikungunya, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, dengue fever, leishmaniasis, lymphatic filariasis, malaria, onchocerciasis, Rift Valley feverWest Nile virus and yellow fever.

Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.

Dengue fever
  • Dengue fever occurs in this country. Dengue fever is a viral disease that can cause severe flu-like symptoms. In some cases it leads to dengue haemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal.  
  • Mosquitoes carrying dengue bite during the daytime. They breed in standing water and are often found in urban areas.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine available for dengue fever.

Malaria

Malaria

  • There is a risk of malaria throughout the year in the whole country.
  • Malaria is a serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by mosquitoes. There is no vaccine against malaria.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites. This includes covering up, using insect repellent and staying in well-screened air-conditioned accommodations. You may also consider sleeping under an insecticide-treated bednet or pre-treating travel gear with insecticides.
  • See a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before you travel to discuss the benefits of taking antimalarial medication and to determine which one to take.

Animals

Animals and Illness

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Certain infections found in Central Africa, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.


Person-to-Person

Person-to-Person Infections

Crowded conditions can increase your risk of certain illnesses. Remember to wash your hands often and practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette to avoid colds, the flu and other illnesses.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are spread through blood and bodily fluids; practise safer sex.

HIV

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that attacks and impairs the immune system, resulting in a chronic, progressive illness known as AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). 

Practise safe sex while travelling, and don’t share needles, razors, or other objects which could transmit infection.

Remember that HIV can also be spread through the use of unsterile medical equipment during medical and dental procedures, tattooing, body piercing or acupuncture. Diseases can also be spread though blood transfusions and organ transplantation if the blood or organs are not screened for HIV or other blood-borne pathogens.

Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis is an infection caused by bacteria and usually affects the lungs.

For most travellers the risk of tuberculosis is low.

Travellers who may be at high risk while travelling in regions with risk of tuberculosis should discuss pre- and post-travel options with a health care provider.

High-risk travellers include those visiting or working in prisons, refugee camps, homeless shelters, or hospitals, or travellers visiting friends and relatives.


Medical services and facilities

Medical services and facilities

Medical facilities are adequate in major cities but are very rudimentary elsewhere in the country. Upfront payment is generally required. Medical evacuation may be necessary in the event of an accident or serious illness.

Keep in Mind...

The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.

Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.

You are subject to local laws. Consult our Arrest and Detention page for more information.

Penalties for possession and use of illegal drugs are strict and usually include jail sentences.

Homosexuality is not widely accepted and some homosexual acts are illegal.

Photography of military installations and presidential palaces is strictly prohibited.

An International Driving Permit is recommended.

Money

The currency is the African Financial Community CFA franc (or XAF bank code). Exchange rates are those quoted by the BEAC (Banques des États d’Afrique Centrale). Euros and American dollars are largely accepted, but high exchange charges may apply. Credit cards are accepted only in large hotels and restaurants, but traveller’s cheques in Euros and U.S. dollars may be cashed at local banks. If possible, use cash for all transactions. Local banks often ask for the original purchase receipt for traveller’s cheques.

Several fraud cases involving the use of a credit card have been reported in Gabon. Credit card holders should be cautious when making a payment with their credit card and monitor their transaction statements regularly. Banking frauds have also been reported. Ensure that you protect your personal identification and banking information at all times, and get informed on the security measures taken by your financial institution.

Climate

The rainy seasons extend from October to mid-December and mid-February to May. Some roads may be impassable during these periods. Monitor local weather reports and plan accordingly.

Site issues? Contact Us