Libreville, Gabon
Libreville, Gabon

Libreville

Libreville, the capital of Gabon, has a seafront boulevard with parks and sculptures.
Photo by Ralph Messi

GABON

Africa

Gabon Travel Information

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Key facts

Capital:

Libreville

Location:

Central Africa, bordering the Atlantic Ocean at the Equator, between Republic of the Congo and Equatorial Guinea

Currency:

Cooperation Financiere en Afrique Centrale francs (XAF)

Area:

267,667 sq km

Population:

2,284,912 (July 2021 est.)

Languages:

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

Religion:

Roman Catholic 42.3%, Protestant 12.3%, other Christian 27.4%, Muslim 9.8%, animist 0.6%, other 0.5%, none/no answer 7.1% (2012 est.)

TimeZone:

UTC+1

Tel Code:

+241

Weather

Climate in Gabon

Gabon has a tropical climate, with two main seasons: the dry season and the rainy season. The dry season, which runs from June to September, is the best time to visit Gabon as it is characterized by sunny weather and low humidity. The rainy season, which runs from October to May, is characterized by heavy rainfall and high humidity.

Temperature

Temperatures in Gabon are generally high throughout the year, with average temperatures ranging from around 25-30 degrees Celsius (77-86 degrees Fahrenheit) during the dry season and around 27-32 degrees Celsius (81-90 degrees Fahrenheit) during the rainy season.

Best time to visit Gabon

The best time to visit Gabon is during the dry season, which runs from June to September. The weather is sunny and dry, and it is the perfect time to enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, safari, and beach relaxation. However, you should keep in mind that it is also the peak tourist season, so you may find that prices are higher and some of the most popular sites can be quite crowded.

It's important to note that Gabon is located in the equatorial zone, which means that there is a high level of humidity throughout the year, and even during the dry season, visitors should expect some rain. Additionally, the rainy season is also a good time to visit Gabon if you want to experience the lush greenery of the rainforests, but keep in mind that it can be quite hot and humid during this time of the year.

Transportation

Public transportation

In Gabon, the most common form of public transportation is the shared taxi, also known as "navette", which is a minivan that runs on fixed routes and stops at designated locations. This can be a good option for getting around the cities, but keep in mind that it can be quite crowded and uncomfortable during peak hours. Additionally, local buses are available in major cities, but are not as frequent and reliable as the shared taxis.

Private transportation

Another option for transportation in Gabon is to hire a private taxi or car. This is a more comfortable and convenient option, but it is also more expensive. Private taxis can be found at major hotels and airports, and it is recommended to negotiate the fare before starting your trip.

Motorcycles and bicycles

Motorcycles and bicycles are also popular options for transportation in Gabon, especially for shorter trips and for exploring smaller towns and villages. They can be rented at several locations and are a good way to avoid traffic congestion and explore the country's landscape and culture.

Air transportation

Gabon has several airports, the main one is the Leon M'ba International Airport located in Libreville and serves several destinations in Africa and Europe. This is a convenient option for travelers who want to save time and avoid long road trips. Air Gabon, the national airline, covers several destinations within Gabon as well as to some neighboring countries like Congo Brazzaville, Equatorial Guinea and others.

Accommodation

Hotels

Gabon offers a wide range of accommodation options, including hotels, resorts, and guesthouses. Hotels in Gabon are generally of a good standard, and there are options available to suit all budgets. Many hotels in Gabon are located in the capital, Libreville, and other major cities such as Port-Gentil, Franceville and Oyem.

Guesthouses

Guesthouses are another popular option for accommodation in Gabon. These are often family-run and offer a more authentic and local experience. Guesthouses are often less expensive than hotels and resorts and can be a great option for budget-conscious travelers.

Resorts

Gabon is home to several resorts, including beach resorts, which are mainly located in the coastal areas. These resorts offer more luxurious accommodation options and are often equipped with amenities such as swimming pools, restaurants, and spas. They are perfect for travelers looking for relaxation and luxury while enjoying the beach.

Campsites

Gabon also offers several camping sites, mainly located in the national parks and protected areas. This option is perfect for nature enthusiasts and travelers who want to explore Gabon's nature and wildlife. They generally offer basic facilities such as toilets, showers and fireplaces, and travelers need to bring their own camping gear.

Money

Money Tips for Travel

  • Research the currency and exchange rates of your destination before you depart.
  • Notify your bank and credit card companies of your travel plans to avoid any potential issues with international transactions.
  • Bring a mix of cash, credit, and debit cards--and possibly a travel money card.
  • Be aware of the fees associated with withdrawing money from ATMs and using credit cards abroad.
  • Make sure to have a backup option for accessing money in case your primary method doesn't work.
  • Consider using a card with no foreign transaction fees.
  • Be aware of the local customs and etiquette when it comes to paying.
  • Keep an eye on the exchange rate throughout your trip and try to make large purchases or withdraw large sums of money when the rate is favorable.
  • NEVER accept currency conversion at ATMs! Always get your home bank to convert at much better rates.
  • Think about getting a Wise or other travel debit card; these can provide much better rates and some free ATM withdrawals.

ATM and Credit Cards

  • Research the availability of ATMs and credit card acceptance at your destination before you depart.
  • Keep your ATM card in a safe place and be mindful of your surroundings when using it.
  • Try to stick to using ATMs that are affiliated with major banks.
  • Keep your credit card information safe and secure, and be aware of potential scams.
  • Make sure your cards have the necessary security features, such as chip and pin.
  • Be aware of the fees associated with withdrawing money from ATMs and using credit cards abroad.

Exchange Rates

  • Research the currency and exchange rates of your destination before you depart.
  • Consider using a card with no foreign transaction fees.
  • Be aware of the local customs and etiquette when it comes to paying.
  • Keep an eye on the exchange rate throughout your trip and try to make large purchases or withdraw large sums of money when the rate is favorable.
  • Be careful of places that may offer to exchange money at rates that seem too good to be true.

Mobile

When traveling, getting mobile access is very important these days. If you are working remotely, wanting to update social media, or need to access your banks SMS authentication messages having a reliable service is a must. At WhereNext we recommend:

eSIM

Services such as those offered by our partner, Airalo, allow you to easily order and install an eSIM for different countries or regions that you are traveling in.

Dual SIM phone

If you have a phone that supports dual SIM's then you can get a SIM on arrival for each country, this is probably better done at a telco store rather than at the airport.

Extend your home plan

Depending on where you live and your mobile service provider you may be able to extend your plan to cover mobile roaming at reasonable rates.

Keep your primary SIM

With the amount of accounts we all have that require two factor authentication via SMS, keeping a constant number for these accounts is a must.

Community

There are several online communities and platforms that you can use to meet people while traveling, both for making new friends or for networking professionally. Some popular options include:

Facebook groups

There are many Facebook groups dedicated to connecting people while traveling, from expat groups and travel communities to groups specific to certain cities or regions of the country. You can search for groups based on your interests or location and connect with others who share similar interests.

Meetup

Meetup is a platform that allows you to find groups of people that share your interests in your local area. There are Meetup groups all around the world, and they cover a wide range of topics, such as language exchange, sports, and cultural activities.

Internations

Internations is a social network for people who live or work abroad. It has a large community of expats and organizes regular events, activities and gatherings that allow members to connect and socialize.

Couchsurfing

Couchsurfing is a platform that connects travelers with local hosts, who offer free accommodation and a chance to experience the local culture. It's a great way to meet locals and make friends!

Reddit

Reddit has a large community, and there are several subreddits dedicated to connecting expats and travelers. You can use it to ask questions, get advice, and connect with others who are also living or traveling in the country.

Linkedin

LinkedIn is primarily a professional network, but you can also use it to connect with people who work in the same industry or have similar backgrounds. It can be useful to connect with people before you arrive and establish a few professional contacts to help you get started.

At WhereNext, we use Nomad List as a global community and then research more local ones for our destination. These are just a few examples of online communities you can use to meet people; please suggest any others that you think are appropriate for this destination.

Insurance

Travel insurance can provide financial protection and peace of mind for travellers in the event of unexpected situations or emergencies. It covers a wide range of needs--even some you might not expect!

Medical Coverage

Travel insurance can provide coverage for medical expenses if you become ill or injured while traveling. This can include coverage for doctor visits, hospital stays, and emergency medical transportation. It's also a good idea to ensure that your travel insurance covers COVID-19 related illness and delays!

Trip Cancellation and Interruption

Travel insurance can provide coverage if you need to cancel or interrupt your trip due to unexpected events such as illness, weather, or travel bans. It can also provide coverage if your trip is delayed or if your travel provider goes out of business.

Lost or Stolen Luggage

Travel insurance can provide coverage for lost or stolen luggage, as well as personal items such as passports and electronic devices.

Emergency Assistance and Evacuation

Many travel insurance plans offer emergency assistance services, such as providing information on local hospitals and doctors, assistance with replacing lost or stolen documents, and help with arranging transportation in the event of an emergency. At WhereNext we have partnered with Global Rescue for evacuation services, which are highly recommended if you are undertaking dangerous activities or are travelling to dangerous parts of the world.

Liability coverage

Travel insurance can also provide liability coverage in case you cause an accident or harm someone while you are traveling.

Travel insurance can provide financial protection and peace of mind for travellers in the event of unexpected situations or emergencies. It can help cover the costs of medical expenses, trip cancellations, lost or stolen luggage, and more. It's always a good idea to review the coverage and compare the different options available before making a decision. At WhereNext we both use and have partnered with Safety Wing for general travel insurance.

Entry Requirements

Here are some general travel tips regarding entry requirements that apply across all countries:

Passport

Make sure that your passport is valid for at least six months from the date of your arrival in the country you are visiting. Some countries will not allow you to enter if your passport is set to expire within a certain period of time.

Visa

Check with the embassy or consulate of the country you are visiting to see if you need a visa. Some countries require a visa for entry, while others do not. Make sure to apply for a visa well in advance of your trip as the process can take several weeks. Check the latest Visa requirements and if necessary get an online Visa with our partner iVisa.

Health Requirements and COVID-19 Rules

Check with the embassy or consulate of the country you are visiting to see if there are any health requirements for entry. Some countries require vaccinations or proof of medical insurance. Check the latest health requirements and if necessary get an online Visa with our partner iVisa.

Travel Insurance

Consider purchasing travel insurance, especially if you are traveling internationally. Travel insurance can cover you in the event of trip cancellation, medical emergencies, and other unexpected events. Our travel insurance partner is SafetyWing. For dangerous activities and/or countries consider a rescue service like those offered by our partner, Global Rescue.

Customs

Be familiar with the customs and laws of the country you are visiting. Some countries have strict laws regarding drug possession, alcohol consumption, and dress codes.

Currency

Check the currency exchange rate and make sure you have enough local currency for your trip. Some countries may not accept credit cards or travelers cheques, so it is always good to have some cash on hand. At WhereNext we recommend use a Wise debit card, which provides low cost currency conversions and ATM withdrawals.

Research the country

Research about the culture, customs and laws of the country you are visiting. It will help you to understand the place more and also prepare you better for the trip.

Contact Information

Make a copy of your passport and keep it in a separate place from your passport. Also, leave a copy of your itinerary and contact information with a friend or family member at home.

COVID Status

I am vaccinated 
Gabon Open
Test
Not required
Quarantine
Not required

Check Visa Requirements

      Things to Do

      Gabon is a small country located in Central Africa, known for its diverse wildlife, stunning landscapes, and rich culture. If you're planning a visit to Gabon, here are the top 10 things you won't want to miss:

      1. Visit Loango National Park

      Loango National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site located on the Atlantic coast of Gabon. It's home to a wide variety of wildlife, including elephants, gorillas, and hippos, as well as stunning beaches and lagoons. It's a great place to go for a safari or a beach holiday.

      2. Explore Libreville

      Libreville is the capital and largest city of Gabon, and it's a great place to learn more about the country's culture and history. The city is home to several museums, including the National Museum of Gabon and the Gabon Cultural Centre. It also has several markets and shops where you can find traditional crafts and souvenirs.

      3. Visit the Pongara National Park

      Pongara National Park is located in the south of Gabon, and it's home to a wide variety of wildlife, including gorillas, chimpanzees, and elephants. It's a great place to go for a safari or a hike.

      4. Visit the Lopé National Park

      Lopé National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site located in the central region of Gabon, and it's home to a wide variety of wildlife, including gorillas, chimpanzees, and elephants. It's a great place to go for a safari or a hike.

      5. Visit the Mayumba National Park

      Mayumba National Park is located in the south of Gabon, and it's home to a wide variety of wildlife, including gorillas, chimpanzees, and elephants. It's a great place to go for a safari or a hike.

      6. Visit the Akanda National Park

      Akanda National Park is located on the Atlantic coast of Gabon, and it's known for its stunning beaches, lagoons, and mangrove forests. It's a great place to go for a beach holiday or a boat trip.

      7. Visit the Pointe Denis Beach

      Pointe Denis is a popular beach located on the Atlantic coast of Gabon, and it's known for its beautiful scenery, clear waters, and great surf. It's a great place to go for a beach holiday or a surf trip.

      8. Visit the Wongo Beach

      Wongo is a popular beach located on the Atlantic coast of Gabon, and it's known for its beautiful scenery, clear waters, and great surf. It's a great place to go for a beach holiday or a surf trip.

      9. Visit the Libreville Botanical Garden

      The Libreville Botanical Garden is a beautiful garden located in the capital city, and it's home to a wide variety of tropical plants, flowers, and trees. It's a great place to take a stroll and enjoy the natural beauty of Gabon.

      10. Visit the Gabon National Museum

      The Gabon National Museum is a great place to learn more about the country's culture and history. The museum is open to visitors, and you can learn more about the customs and traditions of the Gabonese people.

      Gabon is a country with an incredible biodiversity, a rich culture and a lot of natural beauty to offer. From the lush rainforests to the beautiful beaches, Gabon has something to offer to every kind of traveler. So pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable adventure!

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