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Gabon Travel Guide: All you need to know to visit Gabon in 2023
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Welcome to Gabon

Gabon Beach Sand Day

Gabon, a country on the west coast of Central Africa, is a stunningly beautiful destination with great ecotourism potential. Most people travel there to explore the dense rainforests and array of wildlife.

Planning a trip to this small African nation? In this ultimate Gabon travel guide you’ll read everything you need to know.

Document checklist for Gabon

  • Visa (if applicable)

  • Valid passport

  • Sufficient funds to cover your trip

  • Return or onward ticket

Essential Gabon travel information

  • Currency - Gabon uses the Central African CFA franc (XOF). $1 is equivalent to approx. XOF 611.

  • Daily budget for 1 person - Allow a daily budget of XOF 30,000 ($54) per person, per day.

  • Languages - The official language of Gabon is French, but English is also spoken in major cities and tourist areas. It's helpful to learn a few basic French phrases before arriving in Gabon.

  • Number of travelers per year - Over 100,000 travelers visit Gabon each year. Most visitors to Gabon travel for professional purposes due to the vast oil and mineral reserves.

  • Socket type - Type C, 220V supply voltage and 50Hz.

  • Time zone - West Africa Standard Time (GMT+1).

  • Top 3 cities to visit - Libreville, Port-Gentil, and Pointe-Denis.

  • Top 3 landmarks/monuments - Loango National Park, Pongara, and Réserve de la Lopé.

Visa information for Gabon

If you’re planning to explore Gabon to discover the beautiful culture, landscapes, and wildlife this country offers, then you are in the right place!

Use our handy Visa Checker Tool now to find out if you need the Gabon Visa for your trip.

The Gabon Visa explained

The Gabon eVisa is a travel document that allows travelers to enter Gabon for tourism, business, and medical purposes. It is a Multiple Entry eVisa and is valid for 30 days after arrival.

Citizens from the following countries are visa-exempt for Gabon:

  • Cameroon

  • Congo

  • Equatorial Guinea

  • Mauritius

  • Morocco

  • South Africa

  • Tunisia

For all other travelers, iVisa offers an easy and affordable way of applying for their eVisa online. With a shorter and clearer application form, you can complete the application in just a few minutes.

Apply online now with iVisa

Visa difficulty index for Gabon

Accessibility: 5/5

The Gabon eVisa can be applied for from the comfort of your own home via iVisa. It’s also possible to download the iVisa app and apply from your mobile device!

Time to get your visa: 4/5

You can obtain this in as little as 4 business days, depending on your nationality and budget.

Costs: 4/5

The government fee depends on your nationality. The sooner you need your visa, the higher the costs.

Typical costs and budget for Gabon

Here's a rough estimate of what to expect daily for food, accommodation, and transport.

  • Daily spending - Around XOF 30,000 ($54) per person, per day. This includes:

  • Meals - Expect to spend XOF 7,000-15,000 ($13-27) daily on meals.

  • Transport - Taxis within major cities can cost between XOF 1,000-3,000 ($1.80-5.40), while longer taxi rides between cities can cost upwards of XOF 30,000 ($54).

  • Hotel - The average hotel price in Gabon for a couple is between XOF 10,000-30,000 per night ($18-54). On average, a trip to Gabon for two people for one week will cost XOF 420,000 ($685).

Transport and best ways to travel around Gabon

Gabon is a small country, and getting around is relatively easy.

Flying to Gabon

Getting to Gabon is relatively easy, as the country has several international airports that serve major cities around the world. Here are the main ways to get to Gabon:

By air: The main international airport in Gabon is Libreville Leon M'ba International Airport, which is located in the capital city. Several major airlines offer flights to Libreville from cities around the world, including Air France, Ethiopian Airlines, and Royal Air Maroc.

By land: Gabon shares borders with Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, and the Republic of Congo. Visitors can enter Gabon by road from these neighboring countries, but it is important to check the visa requirements and border crossing regulations before attempting to enter Gabon by land.

Arrival and immigration tips for Gabon

Here are some tips to help you navigate the airport in Gabon and make your arrival as smooth as possible:

  • Apply for your Gabon Visa in advance to avoid issues at the border.

  • Exchange currency: Watch out for credit card fraud and only use your cards in a trustworthy machine. Bring some USD in cash, just in case.

  • Arrange transportation: If you have not arranged transportation beforehand, you can find taxis at the airport, but always check the price. It’s best to get your hotel to arrange a shuttle service.

Getting around Gabon

Once in Gabon, visitors can travel around the country by air and road. Domestic flights and buses are available to travel between cities.

It's recommended to use a reputable tour operator for travel outside of major cities.

Taxis and rental cars are also options for getting around locally. However, it's important to note that road conditions in Gabon can be poor. You generally need a four-wheel drive vehicle. Towing and repair services are not widely available, so exercise extreme caution.

Safety in Gabon

Gabon is generally a safe country to visit, but it's always important to exercise standard precautions when traveling to any foreign country.

As a visitor, you should keep the following in mind: * Avoid walking alone at night, especially in urban areas.

  • Petty crimes like pickpocketing and theft are not uncommon, so visitors should keep their belongings close at all times. If something happens, report it to the nearest police station.

  • Credit card fraud is a common scam, so only use ATMs and payment facilities in major hotels and shops.

  • Vehicle break-ins are also common, so lock vehicles at all times and park in secured spots.

  • Avoid the areas of downtown Libreville and Port Gentil, where armed attacks can occur.

  • It's also important to avoid political demonstrations and gatherings, as these can sometimes turn violent.

  • Malaria is prevalent in Gabon, so visitors should take precautions against mosquito bites by wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants, using mosquito repellent, and sleeping under mosquito nets.

  • Get travel insurance that covers emergency medical services and private medical facilities.

  • If you're planning on visiting rural areas of Gabon, it's important to use a reputable tour operator who is familiar with the area and can provide a safe and enjoyable experience.

Weather in Gabon

Gabon has a tropical climate with high temperatures and humidity year-round. The country experiences two distinct seasons: a rainy season and a dry season.

The wet season in Gabon runs from October to May, with the heaviest rainfall typically occurring from February to April. The dry season in Gabon runs from June to September, with little to no rainfall.

This is generally considered the best time to visit Gabon, as the weather is more pleasant and wildlife is easier to spot.Temperatures during the dry season range from 20°C (68°F) to 28°C (82°F).

Overall, the weather in Gabon is warm and humid year-round, with the wet season bringing heavy rain and the dry season offering more pleasant conditions for travel and wildlife viewing. It's important to pack appropriate clothing and gear for the weather when visiting Gabon, especially during the wet season when rain and flooding can occur.

Must do and see in Gabon

Gabon is a beautiful and diverse country with a variety of attractions and activities to offer visitors. Here are the top 5 things to see and do in Gabon:

  1. Visit Loango National Park: This is Gabon's flagship national park and one of the best places in the world to see forest elephants, hippos, and other wildlife in their natural habitat. The park also boasts beautiful beaches and lagoons.

  2. Explore Lopé National Park: This is Gabon's largest national park and home to a diverse range of wildlife, including gorillas, chimpanzees, and forest elephants. Visitors can also hike through the park's beautiful savannah and rainforest landscapes.

  3. Witness the Mandrill migration: Gabon is home to the world's largest population of mandrills, and every year in the dry season, they gather in large groups to migrate to different parts of the country. This is a unique and unforgettable wildlife spectacle that should not be missed.

  4. Visit the Pongara National Park: This national park is located on the coast of Gabon and is home to various bird species and sea turtles. Visitors can also enjoy hiking, kayaking, and camping in the park.

  5. Relax on the beaches of Pointe-Denis: This beautiful beach town is located just outside of Libreville and offers white sandy beaches, turquoise waters, and a variety of water sports and beach activities.

Typical Gabon food to try

Gabonese cuisine is influenced by its location on the coast and its proximity to other African countries. Some typical dishes include:

  • Nyembwe Chicken: A chicken stew made with palm oil, onions, and spices.

  • Poulet Moambé: Another chicken stew made with moambé sauce, which is made from the pulp of the African oil palm fruit.

  • Fufu: A starchy side dish made from cassava, plantains, or yams.

  • Grilled Fish: Gabon's location on the coast means that fresh fish is readily available and often grilled or fried.

Vaccine information for Gabon

A Yellow Fever vaccination certificate is necessary to visit Gabon. It's also important to know what routine vaccines and COVID-19 measures are required to enter Gabon before booking your trip.

We advise you to check the CDC website for more info about all vaccine requirements and recommended travel advice.

How to visit Africa’s last Eden

Guided tours to Gabon are available from a few specialized tour companies. One of the main sights in the country is Loango National Park, also known as Africa's Last Eden. About 70% of this national park is covered by rainforest and is home to elephants, hippos, and western lowland gorillas.

A three-day tour often includes a boat tour of the Iguela Lagoon, a trip to Yatouga Gorilla research camp to see gorillas in their natural habitat, and a safari.

Reputable companies offering tours in Gabon include:

  • Gabon Adventure Tours

  • On the Path of Gorillas Safari

  • Koussou Tours Gabon

  • AfriGO Travels & Tours

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