Caution October 19, 2023

Worldwide caution, update january 10, 2024, information for u.s. citizens in the middle east.

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Travel Advisory September 28, 2023

Gabon - level 2: exercise increased caution.

Updated travel advisory level due to civil unrest.

Exercise increased caution in Gabon due to civil unrest. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire travel advisory.

Exercise Increased Caution in:

  • Libreville and Port Gentil due to crime, which can include robbery, vehicle break-ins, and residential burglaries.

There is an increased military presence throughout Libreville and other areas of Gabon. Demonstrations may occur with little or no warning. A nighttime curfew is in effect and U.S. citizens should confirm and follow instructions of local authorities.    

Read the  country information page  for additional information about travel to Gabon.

If you decide to travel to Gabon:

  • Respect the curfew.
  • Avoid demonstrations and crowds.
  • Monitor local media for breaking events and be prepared to adjust your plans.
  • Keep travel documents up to date and easily accessible.
  • Have evacuation plans that do not rely on U.S. government assistance.
  • Enroll in the  Smart Traveler Enrollment Program  ( STEP ) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on  Facebook  and  Twitter .
  • Review the  Country Security Report  for Gabon.
  • Prepare a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the  Traveler’s Checklist .
  • Visit the CDC page for the latest  Travel Health Information  related to your travel.

Embassy Messages

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Yellow Fever

Embassies and Consulates

U.s. embassy libreville.

B.P. 4000 Libreville, Gabon Telephone: +(241) (0)11-45-71-00 Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(241) (0)77-38-01-71 Fax: +(241) (0)11-45-71-05 Email:   [email protected]

Destination Description

Learn about the U.S. relationship to countries around the world.

Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

A passport with more than six months of validity remaining, a visa, and proof of vaccination against yellow fever are required for entry into Gabon. For additional immunization information, visit the CDC’s  Health Information for Travelers to Gabon .

The most reliable means of securing a visa for travel to Gabon is to apply prior to departure at the Embassy of the Gabonese Republic  in Washington D.C. or the Consulate of the Gabonese Republic  in New York. Please check their websites for visa requirements.

Immigration officials may require travelers to provide proof of a flight itinerary with a departure from Gabon, the name, number, and address of a contact in Gabon or  an invitation letter from a person or entity in Gabon,  and a confirmed hotel reservation. There have been some reports of airlines refusing to issue a boarding pass for travel to Gabon when a traveler is unable to present a Gabonese visa prior to departure.

Short-term visitors to Gabon are permitted to stay up to 90 days. Visitors who wish to remain in the country for longer than 90 days must obtain a residence permit (carte de séjour). Exit visas for U.S. residents with a carte de séjour are no longer required.

The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Gabon.

Gabon may deny entry to people coming from Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) affected countries.

Find information on dual nationality ,  prevention of international child abduction , and customs information on our websites.

Safety and Security

Political rallies and social protests may occur spontaneously in Gabon, particularly in Libreville and Port Gentil. Even gatherings intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational or violent. Be aware of your surroundings and personal security at all times. Avoid large gatherings, protests, demonstrations, and any other event where crowds congregate. Police and security forces typically disperse crowds using tear gas or other force.

Crime:  Muggings, pick-pocketing, and theft of unattended possessions are the most common forms of crime visitors encounter. There have been reports of violent crime, including armed robbery. Vehicle break-ins and residential burglaries continue to be a problem in Libreville and Port Gentil.

Carry identification at all times to minimize the risk of harassment at police checkpoints.

Avoid poorly lit streets and unfamiliar areas of the city, especially at night. Avoid beaches after dusk. Carry a minimal amount of cash and avoid wearing flashy or expensive jewelry, especially in markets and nightlife spots. In a robbery, comply with the attacker to avoid injury.

In the event of a fire, dial 18 in Libreville. In Port Gentil, please dial 07-63-93-63 or 01-56-27-75.

See the  Department of State  and the  FBI  pages for information on scams.

Victims of Crime:  Report crimes to the local police and contact the U.S. Embassy at +(241) 01-45-71-00. The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line to reach the police is 177 (not available on all cell phones). For the police, call 01-76-55-85 in Libreville and 01-55-22-54 (Central Police Station) or 07-36-22-25 in Port Gentil.  French is often required.

Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crime.

See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas .

  • Help you find appropriate medical care
  • Assist you in reporting a crime to the police
  • Contact relatives or friends with your written consent
  • Explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
  • Provide a list of local attorneys
  • Provide our information on victim’s compensation programs in the U.S.
  • Provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution
  • Help you find accommodations and arrange flights home
  • Replace a stolen or lost passport

Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance.

Tourism:  The tourism industry is unevenly regulated, and safety inspections for equipment and facilities are inconsistent. Hazardous areas/activities are not always identified with appropriate signage, and staff may not be certified by the host government or by recognized authorities in the field. In the event of an injury, appropriate medical treatment is typically available only in/near major cities. First responders are generally unable to access areas outside of major cities and to provide urgent medical treatment. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage .

Local Laws & Special Circumstances

Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned.

Furthermore, some laws are also prosecutable in the United States, regardless of local law. For examples, see our website on  crimes against minors abroad  and the  Department of Justice  website.

Immigration Violations: U.S. citizens working or residing in Gabon must comply with Gabonese immigration laws. Non-compliance with such laws may be punished with fines and up to six months’ imprisonment. You should consult a Gabonese lawyer to assure compliance with immigration and residence laws.

Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our  webpage  for further information.

Language:  The official language of Gabon is French. English is not widely spoken or understood.

Identification:  You should always carry identification and proof of legal immigration status in Gabon. Examples of identification include a residence permit (carte de séjour), U.S. passport, or an authenticated photocopy of your U.S. passport’s biographic information page, and your Gabonese visa. City hall offices in Gabon can authenticate passport photocopies for a nominal fee.

Photography:  Taking photographs of the Presidential Palace, airport, and military or other government buildings is strictly forbidden.

Official Corruption:  Official corruption is common, but paying bribes is strongly discouraged and may make you a target for further attempts at securing bribery payments.

Currency:  Gabon is largely a cash economy. Credit cards are accepted at only a few major hotels. Due to the high rate of credit card fraud, you should exercise caution when using them. Traveler’s checks can be cashed or dollars exchanged for Central African Francs (CFA) at hotels and banks. ATMs are available in major urban centers and dispense CFA. Exercise caution while withdrawing funds from ATMs.

Faith-Based Travelers:  See our following webpages for details:

  • Faith-Based Travel Information
  • International Religious Freedom Report  – see country reports
  • Human Rights Report  – see country reports
  • Hajj Fact Sheet for Travelers
  • Best Practices for Volunteering Abroad

LGBTI Travelers:  There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTI events in Gabon. Although there have been no reports of violence against LGBTI persons, discrimination, including in housing and employment, is a problem. Many LGBTI individuals choose to keep their status secret, except in trusted circles. Stigma is a likely factor in preventing the reporting of incidents.  

See   our  LGBTI Travel Information   page and Section 6 of our  Human Rights report  for further details.

Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance:   Persons with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different in Gabon from what they find in the United States. The law prohibits discrimination against persons with “physical, mental, congenital, and accidental” disabilities and requires access to buildings or services for persons which such disabilities. Most public buildings do not provide adequate access. There is some societal discrimination against persons with disabilities and treatment facilities are limited.

Students:  See our  Students Abroad  page and  FBI travel tips .

Women Travelers:  If you are a woman traveling abroad, please review our tips for  Women Travelers .

Travel and Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety: All drivers and passengers should wear seat belts, lock doors, and keep windows closed. Travelers are routinely stopped at police checkpoints within cities and on roads to the interior. During routine stops, the police may occasionally seek bribes.

Use extreme caution when driving after dark.  Roads to outlying cities are usually unpaved and in poor condition, with large potholes, absence of road signs, poor to non-existent streetlights, timber-laden trucks, and the presence of pedestrians and animals. Construction work is generally poorly indicated. Drivers may change lanes or stop unexpectedly and lane markings are frequently ignored. Four-wheel drive vehicles are recommended for travel beyond the paved road to Lambaréné, especially during the rainy season.

Roadside assistance and emergency medical services are available in Libreville, but they may not be dependable. These services are nonexistent outside of the city. Service stations are available along main roads, but vehicle repair facilities are not always available.

Traffic Laws and Culture: During short-term tourist or business visits, U.S. citizens may drive a vehicle in Gabon provided they have both a valid U.S. and an international driver’s license. Those residing or working in Gabon (holders of a carte de séjour) must either obtain a Gabonese driver’s license (permis de conduire), or register their U.S. driver’s license with the Direction National de Transport Terrestre.

The following items must be kept in the vehicle at all times: the vehicle registration (carte grise), proof of insurance (assurance), proof of vehicle inspection (visite technique), fire extinguisher (extincteur de feu), triangles (triangles), and first aid kit (boite de soins de premiers secours). The police may verify that the driver has all of the required documentation and equipment if they stop a car on the road or at a police checkpoint.

It is against the law to use a cell phone while driving in Gabon. 

When driving a vehicle or as a passenger in a taxi, you should:

  • Keep your belongings out of sight
  • Ensure the doors are locked
  • Fasten your seat belts
  • Keep the windows rolled up

If you are driving, while stopped in traffic, scan rearview mirrors to identify potential trouble. If you are idling at a stop light or sign, leave adequate maneuver room between vehicles to allow for a hasty departure if necessary.  Even in daylight, thieves may open unlocked vehicle doors to snatch valuables. Park only in well-lit areas, preferably in parking lots with a security guard.

Public Transportation: Avoid public transportation throughout Libreville due to the substantial risk of serious and fatal accidents. Many lack proper safety equipment such as seat belts and headlights and are often overcrowded and unlicensed. Drivers are often reckless, making frequent stops to pick up passengers, drive at high speeds, and ignore traffic or road conditions.

Taxi safety and maintenance varies widely. Informal, unregulated taxis are common throughout the city.  Select taxis in good condition and verify that there are passenger seatbelts and avoid those in poor condition. Most major hotels will call an official taxi upon request. Unless using a metered taxi, negotiate the fare and request sole use of the taxi with the driver before entering the taxi.

An inter-city rail system exists, running from Libreville to Franceville with stops at numerous small cities and towns along the way. 

Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information and seek information from Gabonese authorities responsible for road safety.

Aviation Safety Oversight: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Gabon, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the government of Gabon’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page .

Maritime Travel:   Mariners planning travel to Gabon should check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts at the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Security Communications with Industry WebPortal . Information may also be posted to the  U.S. Coast Guard homeport website and as a broadcast warning on the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s website .

For additional travel information

  • Enroll in the  Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)  to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Call us in Washington, D.C. at 1-888-407-4747 (toll-free in the United States and Canada) or 1-202-501-4444 (from all other countries) from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
  • See the  State Department’s travel website  for the  Worldwide Caution  and  Travel Advisories .
  • Follow us on  Twitter  and  Facebook .
  • See  traveling safely abroad  for useful travel tips.

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Gabon Traveler View

Travel health notices, vaccines and medicines, non-vaccine-preventable diseases, stay healthy and safe.

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After Your Trip

Map - Gabon

Be aware of current health issues in Gabon. Learn how to protect yourself.

Level 1 Practice Usual Precautions

  • Global Measles November 20, 2023 Many international destinations are reporting increased numbers of cases of measles. Destination List: Afghanistan, Angola, Armenia, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Republic of South Sudan, Republic of the Congo, Romania, Senegal, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Togo, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe

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Check the vaccines and medicines list and visit your doctor at least a month before your trip to get vaccines or medicines you may need. If you or your doctor need help finding a location that provides certain vaccines or medicines, visit the Find a Clinic page.

Routine vaccines

Recommendations.

Make sure you are up-to-date on all routine vaccines before every trip. Some of these vaccines include

  • Chickenpox (Varicella)
  • Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis
  • Flu (influenza)
  • Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR)

Immunization schedules

All eligible travelers should be up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines. Please see  Your COVID-19 Vaccination  for more information. 

COVID-19 vaccine

Hepatitis A

Recommended for unvaccinated travelers one year old or older going to Gabon.

Infants 6 to 11 months old should also be vaccinated against Hepatitis A. The dose does not count toward the routine 2-dose series.

Travelers allergic to a vaccine component or who are younger than 6 months should receive a single dose of immune globulin, which provides effective protection for up to 2 months depending on dosage given.

Unvaccinated travelers who are over 40 years old, immunocompromised, or have chronic medical conditions planning to depart to a risk area in less than 2 weeks should get the initial dose of vaccine and at the same appointment receive immune globulin.

Hepatitis A - CDC Yellow Book

Dosing info - Hep A

Hepatitis B

Recommended for unvaccinated travelers of all ages traveling to Gabon.

Hepatitis B - CDC Yellow Book

Dosing info - Hep B

CDC recommends that travelers going to Gabon take prescription medicine to prevent malaria. Depending on the medicine you take, you will need to start taking this medicine multiple days before your trip, as well as during and after your trip. Talk to your doctor about which malaria medication you should take.

Find  country-specific information  about malaria.

Malaria - CDC Yellow Book

Considerations when choosing a drug for malaria prophylaxis (CDC Yellow Book)

Malaria information for Gabon.

Infants 6 to 11 months old traveling internationally should get 1 dose of measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine before travel. This dose does not count as part of the routine childhood vaccination series.

Measles (Rubeola) - CDC Yellow Book

Rabid dogs are commonly found in Gabon. If you are bitten or scratched by a dog or other mammal while in Gabon, there may be limited or no rabies treatment available. 

Consider rabies vaccination before your trip if your activities mean you will be around dogs or wildlife.

Travelers more likely to encounter rabid animals include

  • Campers, adventure travelers, or cave explorers (spelunkers)
  • Veterinarians, animal handlers, field biologists, or laboratory workers handling animal specimens
  • Visitors to rural areas

Since children are more likely to be bitten or scratched by a dog or other animals, consider rabies vaccination for children traveling to Gabon. 

Rabies - CDC Yellow Book

Recommended for most travelers, especially those staying with friends or relatives or visiting smaller cities or rural areas.

Typhoid - CDC Yellow Book

Dosing info - Typhoid

Yellow Fever

Required for all arriving travelers ≥9 months old.

Recommended for all travelers ≥9 months old.

Yellow Fever - CDC Yellow Book

  • Avoid contaminated water

Leptospirosis

How most people get sick (most common modes of transmission)

  • Touching urine or other body fluids from an animal infected with leptospirosis
  • Swimming or wading in urine-contaminated fresh water, or contact with urine-contaminated mud
  • Drinking water or eating food contaminated with animal urine
  • Avoid contaminated water and soil

Clinical Guidance

Schistosomiasis

  • Wading, swimming, bathing, or washing in contaminated freshwater streams, rivers, ponds, lakes, or untreated pools.

Avoid bug bites

African sleeping sickness (african trypanosomiasis).

  • Tsetse fly bite 
  • Avoid Bug Bites

African Trypanosomiasis

African Tick-Bite Fever

African Tick-bite fever

Chikungunya

  • Mosquito bite
  • Mosquito bite
  • An infected pregnant woman can spread it to her unborn baby

Avoid animals

  • Touching infected animals (including bats and primates) or their body fluids
  • Touching body fluids (blood or sweat) from an infected person
  • Touching objects contaminated with the body fluids of a person infected with Ebola or Marburg virus
  • Avoid sick people
  • Avoid animals and areas where they live

Ebola virus

  • Scratched or bitten by an infected animal such as a rodent or primate
  • Touching an infected animal or touching animal products, including skins and meat
  • Being near an infected person who is coughing or sneezing
  • Touching the body fluids or rash of a person with monkeypox
  • Avoid animals and animal products
  • Avoid people who are sick

Airborne & droplet

  • Breathing in air or accidentally eating food contaminated with the urine, droppings, or saliva of infected rodents
  • Bite from an infected rodent
  • Less commonly, being around someone sick with hantavirus (only occurs with Andes virus)
  • Avoid rodents and areas where they live

Tuberculosis (TB)

  • Breathe in TB bacteria that is in the air from an infected and contagious person coughing, speaking, or singing.

Learn actions you can take to stay healthy and safe on your trip. Vaccines cannot protect you from many diseases in Gabon, so your behaviors are important.

Eat and drink safely

Food and water standards around the world vary based on the destination. Standards may also differ within a country and risk may change depending on activity type (e.g., hiking versus business trip). You can learn more about safe food and drink choices when traveling by accessing the resources below.

  • Choose Safe Food and Drinks When Traveling
  • Water Treatment Options When Hiking, Camping or Traveling
  • Global Water, Sanitation and Hygiene | Healthy Water
  • Avoid Contaminated Water During Travel

You can also visit the Department of State Country Information Pages for additional information about food and water safety.

Prevent bug bites

Bugs (like mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas) can spread a number of diseases in Gabon. Many of these diseases cannot be prevented with a vaccine or medicine. You can reduce your risk by taking steps to prevent bug bites.

What can I do to prevent bug bites?

  • Cover exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and hats.
  • Use an appropriate insect repellent (see below).
  • Use permethrin-treated clothing and gear (such as boots, pants, socks, and tents). Do not use permethrin directly on skin.
  • Stay and sleep in air-conditioned or screened rooms.
  • Use a bed net if the area where you are sleeping is exposed to the outdoors.

What type of insect repellent should I use?

  • FOR PROTECTION AGAINST TICKS AND MOSQUITOES: Use a repellent that contains 20% or more DEET for protection that lasts up to several hours.
  • Picaridin (also known as KBR 3023, Bayrepel, and icaridin)
  • Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or para-menthane-diol (PMD)
  • 2-undecanone
  • Always use insect repellent as directed.

What should I do if I am bitten by bugs?

  • Avoid scratching bug bites, and apply hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion to reduce the itching.
  • Check your entire body for ticks after outdoor activity. Be sure to remove ticks properly.

What can I do to avoid bed bugs?

Although bed bugs do not carry disease, they are an annoyance. See our information page about avoiding bug bites for some easy tips to avoid them. For more information on bed bugs, see Bed Bugs .

For more detailed information on avoiding bug bites, see Avoid Bug Bites .

Stay safe outdoors

If your travel plans in Gabon include outdoor activities, take these steps to stay safe and healthy during your trip.

  • Stay alert to changing weather conditions and adjust your plans if conditions become unsafe.
  • Prepare for activities by wearing the right clothes and packing protective items, such as bug spray, sunscreen, and a basic first aid kit.
  • Consider learning basic first aid and CPR before travel. Bring a travel health kit with items appropriate for your activities.
  • If you are outside for many hours in heat, eat salty snacks and drink water to stay hydrated and replace salt lost through sweating.
  • Protect yourself from UV radiation : use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15, wear protective clothing, and seek shade during the hottest time of day (10 a.m.–4 p.m.).
  • Be especially careful during summer months and at high elevation. Because sunlight reflects off snow, sand, and water, sun exposure may be increased during activities like skiing, swimming, and sailing.
  • Very cold temperatures can be dangerous. Dress in layers and cover heads, hands, and feet properly if you are visiting a cold location.

Stay safe around water

  • Swim only in designated swimming areas. Obey lifeguards and warning flags on beaches.
  • Practice safe boating—follow all boating safety laws, do not drink alcohol if driving a boat, and always wear a life jacket.
  • Do not dive into shallow water.
  • Do not swim in freshwater in developing areas or where sanitation is poor.
  • Avoid swallowing water when swimming. Untreated water can carry germs that make you sick.
  • To prevent infections, wear shoes on beaches where there may be animal waste.

Schistosomiasis, a parasitic infection that can be spread in fresh water, is found in Gabon. Avoid swimming in fresh, unchlorinated water, such as lakes, ponds, or rivers.

Keep away from animals

Most animals avoid people, but they may attack if they feel threatened, are protecting their young or territory, or if they are injured or ill. Animal bites and scratches can lead to serious diseases such as rabies.

Follow these tips to protect yourself:

  • Do not touch or feed any animals you do not know.
  • Do not allow animals to lick open wounds, and do not get animal saliva in your eyes or mouth.
  • Avoid rodents and their urine and feces.
  • Traveling pets should be supervised closely and not allowed to come in contact with local animals.
  • If you wake in a room with a bat, seek medical care immediately. Bat bites may be hard to see.

All animals can pose a threat, but be extra careful around dogs, bats, monkeys, sea animals such as jellyfish, and snakes. If you are bitten or scratched by an animal, immediately:

  • Wash the wound with soap and clean water.
  • Go to a doctor right away.
  • Tell your doctor about your injury when you get back to the United States.

Consider buying medical evacuation insurance. Rabies is a deadly disease that must be treated quickly, and treatment may not be available in some countries.

Reduce your exposure to germs

Follow these tips to avoid getting sick or spreading illness to others while traveling:

  • Wash your hands often, especially before eating.
  • If soap and water aren’t available, clean hands with hand sanitizer (containing at least 60% alcohol).
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. If you need to touch your face, make sure your hands are clean.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Try to avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • If you are sick, stay home or in your hotel room, unless you need medical care.

Avoid sharing body fluids

Diseases can be spread through body fluids, such as saliva, blood, vomit, and semen.

Protect yourself:

  • Use latex condoms correctly.
  • Do not inject drugs.
  • Limit alcohol consumption. People take more risks when intoxicated.
  • Do not share needles or any devices that can break the skin. That includes needles for tattoos, piercings, and acupuncture.
  • If you receive medical or dental care, make sure the equipment is disinfected or sanitized.

Know how to get medical care while traveling

Plan for how you will get health care during your trip, should the need arise:

  • Carry a list of local doctors and hospitals at your destination.
  • Review your health insurance plan to determine what medical services it would cover during your trip. Consider purchasing travel health and medical evacuation insurance.
  • Carry a card that identifies, in the local language, your blood type, chronic conditions or serious allergies, and the generic names of any medications you take.
  • Some prescription drugs may be illegal in other countries. Call Gabon’s embassy to verify that all of your prescription(s) are legal to bring with you.
  • Bring all the medicines (including over-the-counter medicines) you think you might need during your trip, including extra in case of travel delays. Ask your doctor to help you get prescriptions filled early if you need to.

Many foreign hospitals and clinics are accredited by the Joint Commission International. A list of accredited facilities is available at their website ( www.jointcommissioninternational.org ).

In some countries, medicine (prescription and over-the-counter) may be substandard or counterfeit. Bring the medicines you will need from the United States to avoid having to buy them at your destination.

Malaria is a risk in Gabon. Fill your malaria prescription before you leave and take enough with you for the entire length of your trip. Follow your doctor’s instructions for taking the pills; some need to be started before you leave.

Select safe transportation

Motor vehicle crashes are the #1 killer of healthy US citizens in foreign countries.

In many places cars, buses, large trucks, rickshaws, bikes, people on foot, and even animals share the same lanes of traffic, increasing the risk for crashes.

Be smart when you are traveling on foot.

  • Use sidewalks and marked crosswalks.
  • Pay attention to the traffic around you, especially in crowded areas.
  • Remember, people on foot do not always have the right of way in other countries.

Riding/Driving

Choose a safe vehicle.

  • Choose official taxis or public transportation, such as trains and buses.
  • Ride only in cars that have seatbelts.
  • Avoid overcrowded, overloaded, top-heavy buses and minivans.
  • Avoid riding on motorcycles or motorbikes, especially motorbike taxis. (Many crashes are caused by inexperienced motorbike drivers.)
  • Choose newer vehicles—they may have more safety features, such as airbags, and be more reliable.
  • Choose larger vehicles, which may provide more protection in crashes.

Think about the driver.

  • Do not drive after drinking alcohol or ride with someone who has been drinking.
  • Consider hiring a licensed, trained driver familiar with the area.
  • Arrange payment before departing.

Follow basic safety tips.

  • Wear a seatbelt at all times.
  • Sit in the back seat of cars and taxis.
  • When on motorbikes or bicycles, always wear a helmet. (Bring a helmet from home, if needed.)
  • Avoid driving at night; street lighting in certain parts of Gabon may be poor.
  • Do not use a cell phone or text while driving (illegal in many countries).
  • Travel during daylight hours only, especially in rural areas.
  • If you choose to drive a vehicle in Gabon, learn the local traffic laws and have the proper paperwork.
  • Get any driving permits and insurance you may need. Get an International Driving Permit (IDP). Carry the IDP and a US-issued driver's license at all times.
  • Check with your auto insurance policy's international coverage, and get more coverage if needed. Make sure you have liability insurance.
  • Avoid using local, unscheduled aircraft.
  • If possible, fly on larger planes (more than 30 seats); larger airplanes are more likely to have regular safety inspections.
  • Try to schedule flights during daylight hours and in good weather.

Medical Evacuation Insurance

If you are seriously injured, emergency care may not be available or may not meet US standards. Trauma care centers are uncommon outside urban areas. Having medical evacuation insurance can be helpful for these reasons.

Helpful Resources

Road Safety Overseas (Information from the US Department of State): Includes tips on driving in other countries, International Driving Permits, auto insurance, and other resources.

The Association for International Road Travel has country-specific Road Travel Reports available for most countries for a minimal fee.

Maintain personal security

Use the same common sense traveling overseas that you would at home, and always stay alert and aware of your surroundings.

Before you leave

  • Research your destination(s), including local laws, customs, and culture.
  • Monitor travel advisories and alerts and read travel tips from the US Department of State.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) .
  • Leave a copy of your itinerary, contact information, credit cards, and passport with someone at home.
  • Pack as light as possible, and leave at home any item you could not replace.

While at your destination(s)

  • Carry contact information for the nearest US embassy or consulate .
  • Carry a photocopy of your passport and entry stamp; leave the actual passport securely in your hotel.
  • Follow all local laws and social customs.
  • Do not wear expensive clothing or jewelry.
  • Always keep hotel doors locked, and store valuables in secure areas.
  • If possible, choose hotel rooms between the 2nd and 6th floors.

Healthy Travel Packing List

Use the Healthy Travel Packing List for Gabon for a list of health-related items to consider packing for your trip. Talk to your doctor about which items are most important for you.

Why does CDC recommend packing these health-related items?

It’s best to be prepared to prevent and treat common illnesses and injuries. Some supplies and medicines may be difficult to find at your destination, may have different names, or may have different ingredients than what you normally use.

If you are not feeling well after your trip, you may need to see a doctor. If you need help finding a travel medicine specialist, see Find a Clinic . Be sure to tell your doctor about your travel, including where you went and what you did on your trip. Also tell your doctor if you were bitten or scratched by an animal while traveling.

If your doctor prescribed antimalarial medicine for your trip, keep taking the rest of your pills after you return home. If you stop taking your medicine too soon, you could still get sick.

Malaria is always a serious disease and may be a deadly illness. If you become ill with a fever either while traveling in a malaria-risk area or after you return home (for up to 1 year), you should seek immediate medical attention and should tell the doctor about your travel history.

For more information on what to do if you are sick after your trip, see Getting Sick after Travel .

Map Disclaimer - The boundaries and names shown and the designations used on maps do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. Approximate border lines for which there may not yet be full agreement are generally marked.

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Africa.com

Gabon Travel Guide

Travel & tourism.

Gabon’s tourism industry is still in its infancy stage, but beautiful weather all year round, there is almost never a bad time to explore Gabon. The bigger cities like Libreville and Port-Gentil are full of restaurants, bars, and casinos, but we particularly like the country’s parks and beaches, so be sure to check out our top recommendations. Gabon’s various ecosystems include everything from pristine coastal beaches to lush rain forests, and the country’s biodiversity and low population ensure that the savanna and forests are teeming with a huge variety of wildlife—not tourists. Pack your camera; the natural wonders of Gabon are worth remembering for a lifetime. Making everyone at home jealous with your photos is just a fringe benefit.

What to Do in Gabon

1. Lopé National Park:  If you are looking for perfect photo spots in Gabon, it’s worth your while to include Lopé National Park on your itinerary. The protected rain forest and savanna areas of the park are home to elephants, buffalo, and hogs. Keep your eyes peeled for the colorful and sometimes intimidating mandrills, too. We recommend staying the night at the Lopé Hotel before touring the park.

2. Mayumba:  It is not easy to get to, but the rewards are rich for those who find Mayumba, located near the Congolese border. With its white, serene beaches, Mayumba is a premier resort area in Gabon. From July to September, you can see thousands of humpback whales swimming in the sea and leatherback turtles nesting in the sand, and you can feast on freshly caught fish every day.

3. Cirque de Léconi:  While you are near the border with Congo, you should also check out the Cirque de Léconi, a beautiful, circular, red rock canyon. The best way to enjoy the canyon is to rent camping equipment and spend the night. The view of the canyon in the waning sunlight is unforgettable.

4. Bateke Plateau National Park:  Covering 790 square miles in the southeastern part of Gabon, Bateke Plateau National Park is hard to reach but an amazing site to visit. The ancient volcanic area is full of elephants, buffalo, lions, gorillas, and other animals. Take a walk through the park and cross the large bridges that span the rivers. If you’re going to make an excursion to the park, plan to spend a few days in the area.

5. National Museum of Arts and Tradition:  When in Libreville, we recommend visiting the National Museum of Arts and Tradition (known in French as the Musée des Arts et Traditions du Gabon) for a few hours. A walk through the halls of the museum, which include sections on statues and masks, will introduce you to the traditions and art of Gabon.

6. Cathedral of St. Michael:  Another worthwhile site in Libreville is the Cathedral of St. Michael. The cathedral has 31 carved wooden columns that depict various biblical scenes. (It’s said that a blind craftsman carved the columns.)

7. Mont-Bouët Market:  It’s time to go shopping. The Mont-Bouët market is Libreville’s largest, and exploring it makes for a fun day. Check out the fruit stands early in the morning, and spend the rest of the day admiring fabrics, jewelry, and other goods. One word of caution: the market (or marché, as it’s called in Gabon) is a favorite place for pickpockets. Keep your belongings close to you.

8. Presidential Palace:  Built in 1970, the Presidential Palace in Libreville is a magnificent building that rises from the low-lying landscape of the city. There is usually a crowd outside admiring the ornate building. It’s illegal to take pictures of the building, so be careful if you try to sneak a shot.

9. Cap Estérias:  For a quieter beach experience, you can travel an hour north of Libreville to the Cap Estérias, a perfect spot for water sports or plain relaxation. The route to the beach can be a bit confusing, so we recommend hiring a driver for the day to take you to the Cap Estérias.

10. Pointe Denis Beach:  We love this beach for its versatility: you can remain outdoors from day to night and set up a tent under the stars for an overnight stay. (Hotels are available for those who feel less than comfortable camping.) During the day, hop on a boat to tour the beach’s estuary.

Gabon is hot year-round, but it has also has an extensive rainy season. If you are looking for heat and sun, then January, December, and May through September are the best times to visit. For whale watching, note that the humpbacks migrate from July to October, and the beaches of Loango National Park are the most active with wildlife from November through March.

Getting In and Around

Visas:  Be sure your passport is valid for at least six months past your last day in Gabon. At the airport you can get a three-month, single-entry tourist visa, which can be extended once you are in the country.

Transportation:  Libreville Léon M’ba International Airport is Gabon’s main airport. It handles both international and domestic flights.

The most convenient and expensive means of travel within and between cities is a private car service. You should check with your hotel or travel agency for reputable organizations. Also, the country has very few paved roads, so the ride can be pretty bumpy; we highly recommend renting a four-by-four.

The Trans-Gabon Railway offers another relatively fast and viable option for travel. Just check with your hotel to see whether using the train will not leave you too far away from your planned destinations.

Within cities are numerous minibuses that cram in their passengers, as well as taxi-brousses, which are multi-passenger vehicles that travel between cities and whose form can vary from that of a minivan to that of a truck.

Mobile Phones:  We definitely recommend taking an unlocked, SIM card–enabled phone with you to Gabon. You can also buy a cheap phone in the country. The phone is the most economical and convenient way of staying connected.

Safety and Security

Concerned about your safety as you plan travel to Gabon? We at Africa.com, together with our friends, family and colleagues, travel extensively throughout the continent. Here are the resources we consult when thinking of our safety in Gabon:

•  UK Government Gabon Travel Advice Guidance

Africa.com comment: Very timely and frequently updated. Perspective assumes that you ARE going to travel to Gabon, and seeks to give you good guidance so that you understand the risks and are well informed.

•  U.S. State Department Travel Advisory on Gabon

Africa.com comment: Can sometimes be considered as overly conservative and discourage travel altogether to destinations that many reasonable people find acceptably secure. On the other hand, they have the resources of the CIA to inform them, so they know things that the rest of us don’t know. See what they have to say about Gabon.

Local Advice

1. The capital and largest city of Gabon is Libreville, located on the shores of the Como River and the Atlantic Ocean.

2. The currency used in Gabon is the Central African CFA (Communauté Financière Africaine) Franc, which is also used in some other parts of Africa, including Cameroon and Chad.

3. Gabon has a number of newspapers available, including L’Union, a daily newspaper published by the government, as well as Le Temps and Le Temoin, which are privately published weeklies.

4. The official language of Gabon is French. Fang and many other local languages are spoken as well.

5. There are currently no restrictions on lighting up in public, unless otherwise noted.

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Gabon Travel Guide: Essential Facts and Information

travel to gabon africa

Gabon is a beautiful Central African destination known for its lush national parks, which together account for around 10% of the country's total land mass. These parks protect a bounty of rare wildlife – including the elusive forest elephant and the critically endangered western lowland gorilla . Outside its parks, Gabon boasts pristine beaches and a reputation for political stability. The capital, Libreville, is a modern urban playground. 

Gabon is located on Africa's Atlantic coast, just north of the Republic of Congo and south of Equatorial Guinea . It is intersected by the equator and shares an inland border with Cameroon.

Gabon covers a total area of 103,346 square miles/267,667 square kilometers, making it comparable in size to New Zealand, or slightly smaller than Colorado.

Capital City:

The capital of Gabon is  Libreville . 

Population:

According to the CIA World Factbook, July 2018 estimates put Gabon's population at just over 2.1 million people. 

The official language of Gabon is French. More than 40 indigenous languages are spoken as a first or second tongue, the most prevalent of which is Fang. 

Christianity is the dominant religion in Gabon, with Catholicism being the most popular denomination. In total, 82% of the population identifies as Christian while Islam accounts for nearly 10%.

Gabon's currency is the Central African CFA Franc. Use this website for up-to-date exchange rates. 

Gabon has an equatorial climate defined by warm temperatures and high humidity. The dry season lasts from June to August, while the main rainy season falls between October and May. Temperatures remain constant throughout the year, with an average of around 77°F/25 ℃. 

When to Go:

The best time to travel to Gabon is during the June to August dry season. At this time, the weather is better, the roads are more navigable and there are fewer mosquitoes (therefore reducing your chances of contracting mosquito-borne diseases). The dry season is also a good time for going on safari as animals tend to congregate around water sources, making them easier to spot. 

Key Attractions:

Libreville  

Gabon's capital is a thriving city with upmarket hotels and restaurants for the luxury traveler. It also offers beautiful beaches and a choice of lively markets that together provide a more authentic insight into urban Africa. The Museum of Arts and Traditions and the Gabon National Museum are cultural highlights, while the capital is known for its vibrant nightlife and music scene.

Loango National Park

Bordered on one side by the Atlantic Ocean, beautiful Loango National Park offers a unique blend of coastal adventure and inland safari. Sometimes, the wildlife of the forest even ventures out onto the park's idyllic white sand beaches. Top sightings include gorillas, leopards and elephants, while nesting turtles and migrating whales can be spotted on the coast in-season. 

Lopé National Park

Lopé National Park is the easiest national park to get to from Libreville, making it the country's most popular destination for wildlife-viewing. It is especially known for its rare primate species, including western lowland gorillas, chimpanzees and colorful mandrills. It is also one of the best spots for birders, providing a home for bucket list species like the grey-necked rockfowl and the rosy bee-eater.

Pointe Denis

Separated from Libreville by the Gabon Estuary, Pointe Denis is the country's most popular seaside resort. It offers a number of luxury hotels and several stunning beaches, all of which are perfect for watersports ranging from sailing to snorkeling. Nearby Pongara National Park is renowned as a breeding site for the vulnerable leatherback turtle. 

Getting There:

Libreville's Léon M'ba International Airport (LBV) is the main port of entry for most overseas visitors. It is serviced by several major airlines, including Air France, Ethiopian Airways and Turkish Airlines. Visitors from most countries (including Europe, Australia, Canada and the U.S.) need a visa to enter the country. You can apply for your Gabon visa online - see this website for more information. 

Medical Requirements:

Yellow fever vaccination is an entry requirement for visitors from all countries. This means that you will need to provide proof of vaccination before you are allowed to board your plane. If you live in the U.S., be aware that shortages of the yellow fever vaccine mean that you should organize yours several months in advance. Be prepared to travel some distance to reach your nearest clinic.

Other recommended vaccines include hepatitis A and typhoid, while anti- malaria pills are also required. Cases of Zika virus have been reported in Gabon, so pregnant women or those that are trying to conceive should consult their doctor about the risks of traveling there. For a full list of health advice, see the CDC website. 

This article was updated and re-written in part by Jessica Macdonald on April 26, 2019. 

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Warnings and insurance

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office ( FCDO ) provides advice about risks of travel to help British nationals make informed decisions. Find out more about FCDO travel advice .

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COVID-19: travel health notice for all travellers

Gabon travel advice

Latest updates: Editorial change

Last updated: January 29, 2024 16:29 ET

On this page

Safety and security, entry and exit requirements, laws and culture, natural disasters and climate, gabon - exercise a high degree of caution.

Exercise a high degree of caution in Gabon. The safety and security situation is calm, but tense. The situation could degrade rapidly.

Back to top

Political situation

On August 30, 2023, a coup d’état occurred in Gabon. A nationwide curfew is in place from 12 am to 6 am.

The situation remains volatile and could escalate without notice.

If you are in Gabon:

  • exercise caution
  • monitor local media to stay informed of the evolving situation
  • avoid areas where security forces are present
  • follow the instructions of local authorities
  • carry proper identification at all times
  • be prepared to provide evidence of the purpose of your travel
  • register or update your personal information through the Registration of Canadians Abroad

Demonstrations

Demonstrations occur. Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can lead also lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.

Mass gatherings (large-scale events)

Petty crime

Pickpocketing, theft and “smash and grab” robberies occur.

Vehicle break-ins are common, particularly in markets, transportation hubs and areas frequented by tourists.

  • Keep car doors locked, windows and your belongings out of sight
  • Ensure that your personal belongings, including passports and other travel documents, are secure at all times
  • Avoid showing signs of affluence and carrying large sums of cash.

Violent crime

Crime is more common in Libreville and Port Gentil than in rural areas.

  • Although rare, violent crime occurs, including business and residential robberies and armed attacks
  • Be vigilant at all times, particularly in Libreville and Port Gentil
  • Avoid walking alone after dark, even in places visited by tourists
  • Avoid walking alone in isolated areas, including beaches, particularly at night

Resisting a robbery can lead to further violence.

Fraud involving the use of a credit card and ATMs occurs in Gabon. Be cautious when using debit or credit cards:

  • pay careful attention when your cards are being handled by others
  • use ATMs located in well-lit public areas or inside a bank or business
  • avoid using card readers with an irregular or unusual feature
  • cover the keypad with one hand when entering your PIN
  • check for any unauthorized transactions on your account statements

Overseas fraud

Road safety

Road conditions and road safety can vary greatly throughout the country.

Driving can be hazardous. Outside urban areas, road conditions are poor and there are very few road signs. Insufficient lighting and overloaded vehicles also pose hazards. If possible, use a four-wheel-drive vehicle, particularly outside urban areas.

In the event of a traffic accident, go to the nearest police station to avoid possible confrontations.

Cooperate with local authorities and avoid travelling after dark.

Towing and repair services are not widely available outside Libreville.

Public transportation

Public transportation such as trains or buses are available.

If you’re taking taxis in the cities, negotiate the price before getting in the cab. Taxi drivers may pick up more than one fare at a time. Drivers may charge more if they don’t pick up any other fares during your ride. Most taxi drivers automatically double their fares after 9 pm. Avoid taking taxis alone, particularly at night.

Pirate attacks and armed robbery against ships occur in coastal waters. Mariners should take appropriate precautions.

Live piracy report - International Maritime Bureau’s Piracy Reporting Centre

We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.

Information about foreign domestic airlines

Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.

We have obtained the information on this page from the Gabonese authorities. It can, however, change at any time.

Verify this information with the  Foreign Representatives in Canada .

Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.

Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.

Regular Canadian passport

Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond the date you expect to leave Gabon.

Passport for official travel

Different entry rules may apply.

Official travel

Passport with “X” gender identifier

While the Government of Canada issues passports with an “X” gender identifier, it cannot guarantee your entry or transit through other countries. You might face entry restrictions in countries that do not recognize the “X” gender identifier. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.

Other travel documents

Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.

Useful links

  • Foreign Representatives in Canada
  • Canadian passports

Tourist visa: required Business visa: required Transit visa: required

If you reside in Gabon, you must obtain an exit visa a few weeks before departure.

Children and travel

Learn more about travelling with children .

Yellow fever

Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).

Relevant Travel Health Notices

  • Global Measles Notice - 31 August, 2023
  • Zika virus: Advice for travellers - 31 August, 2023
  • COVID-19 and International Travel - 31 August, 2023

This section contains information on possible health risks and restrictions regularly found or ongoing in the destination. Follow this advice to lower your risk of becoming ill while travelling. Not all risks are listed below.

Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic preferably 6 weeks before you travel to get personalized health advice and recommendations.

Routine vaccines

Be sure that your  routine vaccinations , as per your province or territory , are up-to-date before travelling, regardless of your destination.

Some of these vaccinations include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.

Pre-travel vaccines and medications

You may be at risk for preventable diseases while travelling in this destination. Talk to a travel health professional about which medications or vaccines may be right for you, based on your destination and itinerary. 

There is a risk of hepatitis A in this destination. It is a disease of the liver. People can get hepatitis A if they ingest contaminated food or water, eat foods prepared by an infectious person, or if they have close physical contact (such as oral-anal sex) with an infectious person, although casual contact among people does not spread the virus.

Practise  safe food and water precautions and wash your hands often. Vaccination is recommended for all travellers to areas where hepatitis A is present.

Yellow fever   is a disease caused by a flavivirus from 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.

  • There is a risk of yellow fever in this country.

Country Entry Requirement*

  • Proof of yellow fever vaccination for travellers from all countries.

Recommendation

  • Vaccination is recommended.
  • Contact a designated  Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre  well in advance of their trip to arrange for vaccination.
  • Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care professional.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites .

About Yellow Fever

Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada * 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.

Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease that is caused by parasites spread through the bites of mosquitoes.

Malaria is a risk to travellers to this destination.   Antimalarial medication is recommended for most travellers to this destination and should be taken as recommended. Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic before travelling to discuss your options. It is recommended to do this 6 weeks before travel, however, it is still a good idea any time before leaving.    Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times: 

  • Cover your skin and use an approved insect repellent on uncovered skin.
  • Exclude mosquitoes from your living area with screening and/or closed, well-sealed doors and windows.
  • Use insecticide-treated bed nets if mosquitoes cannot be excluded from your living area.
  • Wear permethrin-treated clothing. 

 If you develop symptoms similar to malaria when you are travelling or up to a year after you return home, see a health care professional immediately. Tell them where you have been travelling or living. 

In this destination, rabies is commonly carried by dogs and some wildlife, including bats. Rabies is a deadly disease that spreads to humans primarily through bites or scratches from an infected animal. While travelling, take precautions , including keeping your distance from animals (including free-roaming dogs), and closely supervising children.

If you are bitten or scratched by a dog or other animal while travelling, immediately wash the wound with soap and clean water and see a health care professional. In this destination, rabies treatment may be limited or may not be available, therefore you may need to return to Canada for treatment.  

Before travel, discuss rabies vaccination with a health care professional. It may be recommended for travellers who are at high risk of exposure (e.g., occupational risk such as veterinarians and wildlife workers, children, adventure travellers and spelunkers, and others in close contact with animals). 

Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It can spread quickly from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.

Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of being infected with it when travelling internationally.

Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are fully protected against measles.

  Hepatitis B is a risk in every destination. It is a viral liver disease that is easily transmitted from one person to another through exposure to blood and body fluids containing the hepatitis B virus.  Travellers who may be exposed to blood or other bodily fluids (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) are at higher risk of getting hepatitis B.

Hepatitis B vaccination is recommended for all travellers. Prevent hepatitis B infection by practicing safe sex, only using new and sterile drug equipment, and only getting tattoos and piercings in settings that follow public health regulations and standards.

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious viral disease. It can spread from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.

It is recommended that all eligible travellers complete a COVID-19 vaccine series along with any additional recommended doses in Canada before travelling. Evidence shows that vaccines are very effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. While vaccination provides better protection against serious illness, you may still be at risk of infection from the virus that causes COVID-19. Anyone who has not completed a vaccine series is at increased risk of being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 and is at greater risk for severe disease when travelling internationally.

Before travelling, verify your destination’s COVID-19 vaccination entry/exit requirements. Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are adequately protected against COVID-19.

Safe food and water precautions

Many illnesses can be caused by eating food or drinking beverages contaminated by bacteria, parasites, toxins, or viruses, or by swimming or bathing in contaminated water.

  • Learn more about food and water precautions to take to avoid getting sick by visiting our eat and drink safely abroad page. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
  • Avoid getting water into your eyes, mouth or nose when swimming or participating in activities in freshwater (streams, canals, lakes), particularly after flooding or heavy rain. Water may look clean but could still be polluted or contaminated.
  • Avoid inhaling or swallowing water while bathing, showering, or swimming in pools or hot tubs. 

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 standards of hygiene and 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.

Typhoid   is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among children, travellers going to rural areas, travellers visiting friends and relatives or those travelling for a long period of time.

Travellers visiting regions with a risk of typhoid, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation, should speak to a health care professional about vaccination.  

There is a risk of schistosomiasis in this destination. Schistosomiasis is a parasitic disease caused by tiny worms (blood flukes) which can be found in freshwater (lakes, rivers, ponds, and wetlands). The worms can break the skin, and their eggs can cause stomach pain, diarrhea, flu-like symptoms, or urinary problems. Schistosomiasis mostly affects underdeveloped and r ural communities, particularly agricultural and fishing communities.

Most travellers are at low risk. Travellers should avoid contact with untreated freshwater such as lakes, rivers, and ponds (e.g., swimming, bathing, wading, ingesting). There is no vaccine or medication available to prevent infection.

Insect bite prevention

Many diseases are spread by the bites of infected insects such as mosquitoes, ticks, fleas or flies. When travelling to areas where infected insects may be present:

  • Use insect repellent (bug spray) on exposed skin
  • Cover up with light-coloured, loose clothes made of tightly woven materials such as nylon or polyester
  • Minimize exposure to insects
  • Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in buildings that are not fully enclosed

To learn more about how you can reduce your risk of infection and disease caused by bites, both at home and abroad, visit our insect bite prevention page.

Find out what types of insects are present where you’re travelling, when they’re most active, and the symptoms of the diseases they spread.

There is a risk of chikungunya in this country.  The risk may vary between regions of a country.  Chikungunya is a virus spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Chikungunya can cause a viral disease that typically causes fever and pain in the joints. In some cases, the joint pain can be severe and last for months or years.

Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times. There is no vaccine available for chikungunya.

  • In this country, risk of  dengue  is sporadic. It is a viral disease spread to humans by mosquito bites.
  • Dengue can cause flu-like symptoms. In some cases, it can lead to severe dengue, which can be fatal.
  • The level of risk of dengue changes seasonally, and varies from year to year. The level of risk also varies between regions in a country and can depend on the elevation in the region.
  • Mosquitoes carrying dengue typically bite during the daytime, particularly around sunrise and sunset.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites . There is no vaccine or medication that protects against dengue fever.

African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness)  is caused by a parasite spread through the bite of a tsetse fly. Tsetse flies usually bite during the day and the bites are usually painful. If untreated, the disease is eventually fatal. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from bites especially in game parks and rural areas. Avoid wearing bright or dark-coloured clothing as these colours attract tsetse flies. There is no vaccine available for this disease.

Animal precautions

Some infections, such as rabies and influenza, can be shared between humans and animals. Certain types of activities may increase your chance of contact with animals, such as travelling in rural or forested areas, camping, hiking, and visiting wet markets (places where live animals are slaughtered and sold) or caves.

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, livestock (pigs, cows), monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats, and to avoid eating undercooked wild game.

Closely supervise children, as they are more likely to come in contact with animals.

Mpox (monkeypox)   is a risk in this country. It is a viral disease that can cause serious illness in some circumstances. Risk is generally low for most travellers.

Mpox spreads in 3 ways:

  • from animals to humans through direct contact or by eating or preparing undercooked meat of infected animals or coming into contact with an infected animal's body fluids
  • from person to person through close contact, including direct contact with the skin lesions, blood, body fluids, or mucosal surfaces (such as eyes, mouth, throat, genitalia, anus, or rectum) of an infected person
  • through direct contact with contaminated objects such as bedding and towels, or by sharing personal objects used by an infected person

Follow recommended public health measures   and avoid contact with animals such as rodents and primates to help prevent getting or spreading the infection.

Person-to-person infections

Stay home if you’re sick and practise proper cough and sneeze etiquette , which includes coughing or sneezing into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand. Reduce your risk of colds, the flu and other illnesses by:

  •   washing your hands often
  • avoiding or limiting the amount of time spent in closed spaces, crowded places, or at large-scale events (concerts, sporting events, rallies)
  • avoiding close physical contact with people who may be showing symptoms of illness 

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) , HIV , and mpox are spread through blood and bodily fluids; use condoms, practise safe sex, and limit your number of sexual partners. Check with your local public health authority pre-travel to determine your eligibility for mpox vaccine.  

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 professional.

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

Sporadic outbreaks of Ebola disease occur in this country.

Ebola disease can be caused by 6 different viruses, including Sudan virus and Ebola virus, which spread through contact with infected bodily fluids (from people or animals). It is very serious and often fatal.

Practise good hygiene (frequent and proper hand washing) and avoid contact with the body fluids of people with Ebola disease or unknown illnesses. Avoid contact with wild animals.

Of the different viruses that cause Ebola disease, there is only a vaccine to prevent disease caused by Ebola virus. It is available under certain circumstances; however, it is not authorized for sale in Canada. There are currently no approved vaccines or effective treatments for Ebola disease caused by the other viruses, including Sudan virus.

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). 

High risk activities include anything which puts you in contact with blood or body fluids, such as unprotected sex and exposure to unsterilized needles for medications or other substances (for example, steroids and drugs), tattooing, body-piercing or acupuncture.

Medical services and facilities

Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.

Travel health and safety

You must abide by local laws.

Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad .

Identification

You may be asked to prove your identity and date of entry into the country. Failure to provide internationally recognized identification could result in detention. Carry photo identification, such as a photocopy of your passport, and keep another photocopy of your passport in a safe place, in case it’s lost or confiscated.

You should carry an international driving permit that must be used along with a Canadian driver’s licence. It can only be used for the first 30 days of a visit in Gabon.

Drivers must carry on their person or in the vehicle:

  • a valid licence
  • proof of insurance
  • proof of inspection
  • a reflective vest and an emergency triangle
  • a fire extinguisher and a first aid kit

The use of a cellular telephone while driving is prohibited.

International Driving Permit

Dual citizenship

Dual citizenship is legally recognized in Gabon.

If you are a Canadian citizen, but also a citizen of Gabon, our ability to offer you consular services may be limited while you're there. You may also be subject to different entry/exit requirements .

Travellers with dual citizenship

International Child Abduction

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is an international treaty. It can help parents with the return of children who have been removed to or retained in certain countries in violation of custody rights. It does not apply between Canada and Gabon.

If your child was wrongfully taken to, or is being held in Gabon by an abducting parent:

  • act as quickly as you can
  • consult a lawyer in Canada and in Gabon to explore all the legal options for the return of your child
  • report the situation to the nearest Canadian government office abroad or to the Vulnerable Children’s Consular Unit at Global Affairs Canada by calling the Emergency Watch and Response Centre.

If your child was removed from a country other than Canada, consult a lawyer to determine if The Hague Convention applies.

Be aware that Canadian consular officials cannot interfere in private legal matters or in another country’s judicial affairs.

  • International Child Abduction: A Guidebook for Left-Behind Parents
  • Travelling with children
  • Canadian embassies and consulates by destination
  • Emergency Watch and Response Centre

Penalties for possession, use or trafficking drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can expect harsh punishments including jail sentences.

Drugs, alcohol and travel

2SLGBTQI+ travellers

Gabonese law does not prohibit sexual acts between individuals of the same sex. However, homosexuality is not widely accepted in Gabonese society.

2SLGBTQI+ travellers should carefully consider the risks of travelling to Gabon.

Travel and your sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics

The currency in Gabon is the African Financial Community (CFA) franc (XAF).

Exchange rates are those quoted by the Bank of Central African States. Euros and U.S. dollars are widely accepted, but high exchange charges may apply. Credit cards are accepted only in Libreville’s large hotels, restaurants and supermarkets.

ATMs are available, but cash withdrawals are limited. If possible, use cash for all transactions.

Rainy season 

The rainy seasons extend from October to mid-December and mid-February to May. Some roads outside urban areas may be impassable during these periods. 

  • Monitor local media for the latest updates, including road conditions
  • Stay away from flooded areas
  • Follow instructions from local authorities, including evacuation orders

Local services

In case of emergency, dial:

  • police: 177
  • medical assistance: 1300, 0174 or 0880 (for SOS Médecins)
  • firefighters:
  • in Libreville dial 18 01 74 09 55 or 01 76 15 20
  • in Port Gentil dial 07 63 93 63 or 01 56 27 75

 Consular assistance

Chad, Central African Republic, Gabon

For emergency consular assistance, call the High Commission of Canada in Cameroon, in Yaoundé, and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.

The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.

The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, expressed or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.

If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.

Learn more about consular services .

Risk Levels

  take normal security precautions.

Take similar precautions to those you would take in Canada.

  Exercise a high degree of caution

There are certain safety and security concerns or the situation could change quickly. Be very cautious at all times, monitor local media and follow the instructions of local authorities.

IMPORTANT: The two levels below are official Government of Canada Travel Advisories and are issued when the safety and security of Canadians travelling or living in the country or region may be at risk.

  Avoid non-essential travel

Your safety and security could be at risk. You should think about your need to travel to this country, territory or region based on family or business requirements, knowledge of or familiarity with the region, and other factors. If you are already there, think about whether you really need to be there. If you do not need to be there, you should think about leaving.

  Avoid all travel

You should not travel to this country, territory or region. Your personal safety and security are at great risk. If you are already there, you should think about leaving if it is safe to do so.

Bradt Guides

This country has so many beautiful places waiting to be discovered by adventurers and nature-lovers. In fact, little-visited Gabon has everything to become Africa’s next big ecotourism destination. Sean Connolly , author of Gabon: The Bradt Travel Guide

Famously dubbed ‘Africa’s last Eden’ – and, even more enticingly, ‘the land of the surfing hippos’ – Gabon is one of the world’s most pristine ecotourism destinations. Much of the country is swathed in dense rainforest populated by chimpanzees and mandrill troops, while the remainder is grassy savannah, vast island-dotted lagoons and miles of white-sand beaches where gorillas and elephants can be seen strolling alongside the surf.

Gabon’s national parks protect over 12% of the country and offer visitors a trip into Africa at its purest, where you can still enjoy wildlife and breathtaking natural beauty while having the place to yourself. Loango National Park has become synonymous with wildlife promenading on the beach, while outdoor enthusiasts can explore Ivindo National Park by taking a pirogue through the rainforest to the spectacular Koungou Falls. Birders are drawn to Akanda or Lopé National Park and whale watchers should head to Pongara. 

In fact, little-visited Gabon has so many beautiful places waiting to be discovered by adventurers and nature-lovers that one might almost forget that the country also offers a fascinating tradition of pre-animist culture, as well as some interesting remains from colonial times. The secret society Bwiti, whose initiates eat the hallucinogenic shrub of the iboga to facilitate contact with their ancestors and deepen their understanding of life, has always lured – and sometimes frightened – curious visitors. Another highlight is Albert Schweitzer’s famous colonial hospital in the small town of Lambaréné, which is still functioning today.

Gabon is investing heavily in unlocking its touristic potential and the country aims to attract 100,000 visitors. It won’t be long before these tourists arrive – so now is the perfect time to go.

Food and drink in Gabon

It is possible to eat very well in Libreville and Port-Gentil if you can afford the international prices. Some of the world’s most popular cuisines are readily available, notably Italian, Chinese and, of course, French. There are French-style boulangeries selling all manner of croissants and pastries, and the supermarkets are stocked with cheeses, wines and even meat and vegetables imported from France. The choice is supplemented by goods imported from Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea and South Africa.

In Libreville, Port-Gentil and other places where there are tourist restaurants and hotels, it is usual to find both European and African dishes on menus, and often tasty grillades (barbecued fish or meat) as well. In smaller towns and out-of-the-way places there may be a handful of small African restaurants or maquis . These tend to be Senegalese or Cameroonian, and the best serve generous portions of good food for not very much money.

The quickest and cheapest sources of prepared food, however, are les bédoumeuses . These are the women selling doughnuts, small brochettes of meat and filled baguettes on the street. Amazingly, fresh baguettes are sold every morning in just about every market in the country, no matter how remote. French baguettes are one of the Gabonese staples, alongside smoked or salted fish, manioc, plantain and rice.

Fish market, Gabon, David Stanley, Flickr

Fish-lovers will be in heaven in Gabon as fresh fish is available all over the country, from upmarket restaurants to local maquis . Gabonese-style crabes farcis (stuffed crabs; made from shredded crab meat cooked with onion, garlic, chilli, lemon juice, parsley and other spices then baked in the shell) are a must-try.

No meal is complete without piment , a very hot sauce made of peppers and herbs. Othr typical sauces are prepared with arachides (peanuts), nyembwe (the pulp of palm nuts) or odika (an oil-producing seed also known as chocolat ). Chocolat in fact consists of crushed, fermented odika seeds. This paste of crushed seeds is stuffed into plastic bottles used as moulds, and dried until the chocolat is solid. Readymade chocolat can be found in the big supermarkets in Libreville.

Drinking is an extremely popular pastime and, particularly in rural areas, it’s quite often easier to find a bar than something to eat. The local beer Régab, a light lager sold in 65cl bottles, is good value. Its brewery, the Société de Brasseries du Gabon (Sobraga, owned by the French Groupe Castel), is one of the country’s biggest employers. Sobraga also brews Guinness, 33 Export, Castel and Beaufort under licence. Count on paying 600CFA for a Régab in the local wooden shack, rising to 1,000CFA in a mid-range bar or restaurant, and over 1,500CFA in an upmarket hotel or restaurant.

In rural areas, the ubiquitous palm wine is the usual tipple. It’s extremely cheap and easy to produce by extracting the sap from a wine palm and leaving it to ferment over the course of a day. The wine produced is sweet in the morning, but starts to pack a punch by nightfall.

To be on the safe side, it is better not to drink the tap water in Gabon unless you have water-purifying tablets. Bottled water is widely available, as are beers, wines and spirits, and soft drinks (often simply – and somewhat confusingly – referred to as jus ) like Coca-Cola, Sprite, Fanta, and local brand D’jino.

Health and safety in Gabon

Gabon’s medical facilities are relatively good. Most hospitals are public, but in the main cities (Libreville, Port-Gentil and Franceville) there are some good private clinics. The best known is without doubt Lambaréné’s Albert Schweitzer Hospital, but better equipped to deal with emergencies are Port-Gentil’s Clinique Mandji or Libreville’s Polyclinique El-Rapha Clinique. Be aware that few doctors speak English. If you are not confident of your language level, you might want to enlist the help of someone to act as your translator. Note that consultation fees and laboratory tests are comparable to those in most Western countries. The US Embassy maintains a list of doctors here .

Pharmacies are omnipresent in larger cities and towns and commonly required medicines such as broad-spectrum antibiotics are widely available throughout the region, as are malaria cures and prophylactics. If you are on any medication prior to departure, or you have specific needs relating to a known medical condition (for instance if you are allergic to bee stings or prone to attacks of asthma), then you are strongly advised to bring any related drugs and devices with you. Sadly, there is a problem with counterfeiting drugs in Africa, Gabon included, so while pharmacists will be selling medicines in good faith, you would be wise to carry anything that you know you will need with you.

Sensible preparation will go a long way to ensuring your trip goes smoothly. Particularly for first-time visitors to Africa, this includes a visit to a travel clinic to discuss matters such as vaccinations and malaria prevention. All advice found online should be used in conjunction with expert advice received prior to or during travel.

Although Gabon is, by and large, a safe country in which few travellers experience any problems, it doesn’t hurt to remain cautious and be prepared for potential dangers. Contrary to what you might expect, tropical disease, most notably malaria, poses the biggest safety threat at any time of year.

Serious crime, such as muggings and hold-ups, are comparatively rare, but travellers should guard against petty crime. As is the case anywhere in the world, pickpocketing and bag snatching can be a problem in busy areas like markets, buses and train stations. It’s also worth being cautious in poorer areas and on isolated beaches, particularly around Libreville, and avoid walking on any beach at night. If you’re headed to any of these places, it’s best to take a few sensible precautions: keeping valuables safely stashed or – better yet – not bringing them at all. For the essentials you are carrying, simply work to make them less accessible – think money belt and front (buttoned) pockets.

Carry your passport with you at all times, particularly when travelling. Random controls are a feature of life in Gabon and foreigners can be a lucrative target. You may even hear some unpleasant stories of nights spent in jails for those without papers. These may not be usual (or may not even be true), but it’s simply not worth the risk.

Female travellers

Travelling alone in Gabon does not pose any particular security problems for women; although, as anywhere in the world, there are always drageurs (scoundrels) on the prowl.

Generally speaking, Gabonese men may try to flirt, but usually a (fictitious) boyfriend or husband does the trick in losing their attention. And the extra attention you may receive will tend to be more annoying than dangerous. It’s worth noting that in Gabon, revealing dress will increase the amount of this type of attention you receive.

LGBTQ+ travellers

In December 2008, Gabon co-sponsored and signed the nonbinding UN declaration on sexual orientation and gender identity, calling for the global decriminalisation of homosexuality – one of only six African countries to do so. Homosexuality is not explicitly illegal (in contrast to most African countries) but is definitely frowned upon. Discrimination is a problem and many people turn away from gay individuals who are open about their sexual identity. Predictably, you won’t find a vibrant gay scene here.

Travelling with a disability

Gabon has no infrastructure that suits visitors with disabilities. There are no laws for providing access to transportation, buildings or services, and few buildings in the main cities have disabled access. Only the more luxurious buildings have lifts. Staff at hotels are generally not used to taking care of visitors with specific needs, and disability awareness still has some way to go.

Travel and visas in Gabon

Needless to say, you must ensure you have a valid passport, and one that is not due to expire for at least six months. An International Certificate of Vaccination against yellow fever is also necessary for entry into Gabon and is the first thing to be checked upon arrival.

Visas are required for all travellers. If flying into Gabon, you will either need to apply for a visa at a Gabonese embassy before departure or take advantage of the e-visa system (only available for travellers arriving by air to Libreville): both one-to-three-month single-entry (€70 plus €15 processing) and six-month multiple-entry (€185 plus €15 processing) visas can now be applied for online . After filling out the form and uploading the required documentation (passport and colour photo), you will receive an application receipt ( reçu d’inscription ) which, assuming your paperwork is in order, should be followed by a travel authorisation ( autorisation d’entrée ) within 72 hours. Print this and bring it to the airport, where you will receive the visa sticker and pay in euros (cash only) on arrival.

Once in Gabon, visa extensions (usually up to three months) can be arranged at the Direction Générale de la Documentation et de l’Immigration (Directorate General of Documentation and Immigration; DGDI; often known by its former acronym CEDOC – after Centre de la documentation; Zone Industrielle d’Oloumi, Libreville), but in the first instance it might be advisable to talk to a travel agent. 

Getting there and away

For all intents and purposes, Gabon has only one international airport, Léon Mba International Airport in Libreville. Port-Gentil’s airport can technically handle international flights, but at the time of writing this was limited to a twice-weekly connection to Pointe-Noire in the Republic of the Congo with Equaflight. There are also international connections between Franceville and Brazzaville, also in the Republic of the Congo, on a similar schedule with Afrijet.

To fly direct to Libreville from Europe, your options are basically Air France from Paris, or Turkish Airlines from Istanbul. The direct flight time from Paris is about 7 hours. Other easy connections include flying with Ethiopian Airlines via Addis Ababa, Royal Air Maroc via Casablanca, or Rwandair via Kigali. Flights are not known for being especially cheap, but it’s often possible to fly from Europe for under €700 return, depending on the city of departure.

There are no direct connections from North America, so you’ll have to transfer in via one of the above-mentioned cities.

There are regular flights to Libreville from other African countries, including Benin , Cameroon, Congo (Republic and Democratic Republic), Ivory Coast , Equatorial Guinea , Ethiopia , Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda , Togo, and São Tomé and Príncipe .

If you plan to enter Gabon overland you’ll firstly need to acquire a visa in either a neighbouring country or your home country as, at the time of writing, visas weren’t available at land borders. The most popular route for overlanders involves entering Gabon from the north and crossing the Ntem River, which forms a natural border with Cameroon. There are two crossings in the northwest corner of Woleu-Ntem province, with the most popular being at the north end of the N2 between Eboro (Gabon) and Abang-Minko (Cameroon). Alternatively, there is a lesser-used but still reasonably busy crossing between Meyo-Kye (Gabon) and Kye-Ossi (Cameroon). Both crossings are 25–30km away from Bitam, which is reachable on surfaced roads.

Your passport, visa and hotel booking will be examined at the border checkpoint, but you must formalise your stay with a passport stamp from immigration in Bitam. (If you’re leaving Gabon via this route, don’t forget to get your exit stamp from the same immigration office.) Border formalities in Cameroon are carried out in Ambam. There is also a remote and little-used crossing 20km north of Minvoul between Nsak (Gabon) and Aboulou (Cameroon).

There are a few boats that regularly take passengers between Port Môle in Libreville and other regional ports. Société Hawa runs large passenger boats to Douala (Cameroon), Calabar (Nigeria), Cotonou (Benin) and Lomé (Togo). Schedules change, so call or visit their bureau at Port Môle for upcoming departures.

Otherwise, freight boats bound for Libreville will sometimes take paying passengers. These usually leave from Bata (Equatorial Guinea), Abidjan (Ivory Coast), São Tomé and, most frequently of all, Douala (Cameroon). Crossings are irregular and you would need to make enquiries at the boats docked at the ports and negotiate with the captain. Prepare for a rough ride and take more food and drink than you think you will need.

Your only other option for getting to Gabon by water is with a pirogue (5,000CFA) from Cogo in Equatorial Guinea, which sits 15km up the Muni River from Cocobeach in Gabon.

Getting around

Getting from place to place in Gabon can be difficult, time-consuming and expensive; more often than not, it’s all three. Despite this, it can also be a fantastic way to see the country and meet its people.

Flight schedules change frequently and with little notice and airlines should be contacted directly for the most up-to-date information. They usually have offices in town as well as in the airports. Flying around Gabon isn’t cheap. Depending on the distance and the airline, a one-way trip can cost 70,000–150,000CFA and a return flight will be double that.

At the time of writing, there were three airline companies serving the interior, of which Afrijet is by far the most reliable.

If you have the funds, hiring your own light aircraft will give you even greater flexibility. It’s expensive, but the views are amazing – that is, unless weather conditions force the pilot to fly above the clouds. Seeing the rainforest from 10 to 100m above is much more than a means of getting to your destination, it is an attraction in itself. Make enquiries with Afrijet or a tour operator.

Gabon’s only railway, the Transgabonais (Trans-Gabon Railway), bisects the country east–west, running from Libreville through over 20 stations to its terminus, Franceville. It plays a crucial role in the country’s economy and in linking the capital to rural areas. The railroad is administered by the Société d’Exploitation du Transgabonais (SETRAG).

SETRAG runs two types of train. The Train Omnibus l’Equateur links all 21 stations between Libreville and Franceville; the Train Express Trans-Ogooué stops only in Ndjolé, Lopé , Booué, Ivindo , Lastoursville and Moanda. The cheaper (and slower) Omnibus leaves Libreville on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, and the faster (and more expensive) Express departs on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. According to the timetable, all trains depart at 18.50 and the fast train gets you to Franceville in 12½ hours, while the Omnibus needs 1 hour more. In reality, delays are chronic and a delayed departure followed by a 14–16-hour journey time on either train is more likely.

Despite remaining challenges, Gabon’s infrastructure sector has seen large improvements since President Ali Bongo took over. When he came to power, only 10% of Gabon’s 9,000km of roads were tarred and only 20% of the untarred roads were considered ‘good’. Although the government missed their stated objective of tarring 3,600km of road by 2016, Ali Bongo’s ten-year administration has seen more roads surfaced than the entirety of his father’s 41-year tenure.

Major renovation of the road between Libreville and Ntoum, currently a main bottleneck for all incoming and outgoing traffic, was underway at the time this guide went to print, and the first stage of the road between Libreville and Port- Gentil (between Port-Gentil and Omboué) will be officially inaugurated at the end of 2019.

No matter how you get around on Gabon’s roads, checkpoints and roadblocks are a fact of life here and will inevitably slow you down. It’s not uncommon for officials to try and catch you on a mistake (or simply invent one) in order to attempt to solicit a bribe, so make sure your paperwork is in order and always carry your passport. To avoid unnecessary hassle, also carry your international immunisation record (yellow booklet).

Pirogues, or dugout canoes, are the traditional method of transport wherever there is water. Increasingly, pirogues are now motorised. A man who directs a pirogue is called a piroguier , or a pagayeur , after the pagaye or pole used in traditional pirogues. Ferries run between Libreville and Port-Gentil and between Port-Gentil and Lambaréné.

When to visit Gabon

Like all equatorial regions, Gabon’s is a tropical climate. It’s hot and humid all year-round, averaging 26°C and 85% humidity, with a typical annual rainfall of 2.51m. The climate does of course vary slightly depending on where you are. Thanks to the trade winds, the humidity on the coast is less intense, and there is less rain the further south you head. Broadly speaking, Gabon has two main seasons: a long rainy season between February and May, followed by a long dry season from late May to mid-September. The rest of the year is made up of two shorter seasons: a rainy season from late September to November (the month with the highest average rainfall) and a dry season from December to January.

What to see and do in Gabon

Fernan vaz lagoon.

A trip to the Fernan Vaz Lagoon is one of the highlights of any exploration of the Ogooué-Maritime region and, with the opening of a new road from Port-Gentil, it is more accessible than ever. The setting is delightfully dramatic, with the lagoon’s dark waters ringed by an impossibly green and vegetated shore.

sainte anne, fernan vaz, janhamlet, flickr

The lagoon takes its name from the Portuguese sailor Fernão Vaz, who discovered it at the end of the 15th century, but its most famous landmark, the Mission Sainte-Anne and its rust-red église , dates from four centuries later. The church was built in 1889, the same year as the Eiffel Tower, and, unlikely as it may seem, there’s actually a connection. Look no further than Gustav Eiffel himself, who shipped the plans and materials all the way from Paris at the behest of Mrs Bichet, the mother of Sainte-Anne’s founding priest and a wealthy woman with Paris connections. The church stands tall and elegant, the metal worn to a deep, rusty red over the years.

fernan vaz gorilla project, gabon, Gregoire Dubois, flickr

Today, the lagoon is also home to the commendable Fernan-Vaz Gorilla Project, which has been caring for orphaned gorillas since 2001. Situated on Île Evengué-Ezango (popularly known as Île aux Gorilles), the project runs a sanctuary and reintroduction centre. The four gorillas in the sanctuary, a forested enclosure on the island, act as conservation ambassadors to help educate national and international visitors on the plight of great apes. The rehabilitation centre is located on nearby Île Oriquet, away from human exposure, where eight orphaned gorillas currently reside. The aim is to reintroduce them back into the wild. The PGFA base camp is located at Mpando (on the mainland,) just 600m across from Oriquet Island. Visits generally last about 90 minutes, including a short introduction to the centre.

Ivindo National Park

Traversed in the north by the black waters of the Ivindo River – the Ogooué’s largest tributary – and by the little-explored Djidji (Dilo) and Langoué rivers to the south, the 300,000ha of Ivindo National Park are among Gabon’s wildest and most spectacular. Southwest of Makokou, the Ivindo’s strikingly dark, tannic waters widen and break up into a labyrinth of channels and rapids flowing around hundreds of rocky islets, culminating in the phenomenal display of the Chutes de Koungou: a complex of waterfalls nearly 2km wide, broken up into four levels and three separate sets of cascades. These impressive falls, with a drop of over 50m, are the highest in equatorial Africa and of great spiritual value to local people. Intensely vegetated islands dot the river here, with some as small as individual trees that seem to grow directly out of the falls.

Koungou Falls Ivindo National Park Gabon by Stuart Jarvis

A pirogue trip through the forest to the Koungou Falls provides an exhilarating introduction to the wilderness, with plenty of opportunities to glimpse birds, monkeys and hippos. More than 430 species of bird, including large concentrations of African grey parrots, are recorded as living in the Ivindo Basin, making it one of the most rewarding bird-spotting regions in Africa. Underwater, the Ivindo’s ichthyological fauna changes significantly above and below the falls, as most fish are unable to cross the natural barrier formed by the rapids.

Léconi Canyons

The small town of Léconi (population 7,300) sits just east of its namesake Léconi River (home to a good spot for swimming) and is a convenient base from which to visit the Léconi Canyons (eroded sand escarpments) and Léconi Park. There are three named canyons in the area, that are individually named after their colours (red, white and green).

By far the most visited of the three, the Canyon Rouge (also known as Canyon Rose or the Cirque de Lékoni) is fortunately said to be the prettiest of the three. It sits less than 10km southeast of Léconi town, though the last 5km are on a sandy track, so a 4×4 is required. It may be useful to have a guide in the rainy season (just ask at your hotel). The track emerges at the lip of a cliff without warning (so drive carefully), and you’ll find yourself looking down into twin canyons – the larger ‘male’ canyon and the smaller ‘female’ one behind. There is a trail along the edge of the male canyon, leading to the female one. According to local belief, the canyons are home to spirits and those who enter will never return. More prosaically, don’t leave valuables unattended in your vehicle, as they may be gone if and when you return. The lake beyond is the Lac aux Caïmans, which was once home to a large population of crocodile, though hunters have ensured that there are very few here anymore.

Gabon’s capital lies in the far northwest of the country, splayed haphazardly along the shores of the Atlantic Ocean for close to 30km. Libreville – or Elbévé, as the locals call their home town (just pronounce L-B-V in French) – is a beguiling hodgepodge of a city: a grab-bag mix of gleaming, vainglorious government buildings, modern tower blocks turned black with tropical mould, and singlestorey shops and tin-roofed shacks of the style found across the African continent. While the architecture may seem incoherent, the welcome is well established – Libreville is a laid-back capital city and the Librevilleois who call it home are warm, genuine, and inevitably intrigued to hear that you’ve come to their town as a tourist.

Libreville, Gabon, Bogdan Skaskiv, Shutterstock

Arriving by air in the daytime offers a fantastic view over the riotous greenery and labyrinthine creeks of Akanda National Park to the north, and by night you see the city’s isolated glow – surrounded by the Atlantic’s inky blackness to the west and Gabon’s famous forests to the east. You can sometimes even spot the eerie fires of oil platforms burning off excess natural gas offshore. The runway is no more than 500m from the palm-studded shore, and the tropical humidity will have you in its pillowy grasp before you’re down the boarding stairs. From here, the city is your oyster, and Libreville has a little something for everyone, whether you’re after glittering nightclubs and fine gastronomy or traditional art and secretive ceremony.

Loango National Park

Loango National Park is the jewel in the crown of Gabon’s 13 parks and offers one of the world’s most exhilarating safari experiences, thanks to its irresistible combination of scenery and wildlife. With more than 175km of uninhabited shoreline, it is widely regarded as one of Africa’s last great coastal wildernesses. Lagoons, forests, savannahs and wetlands all come together within the park’s 1,500km 2 .

Loango’s endless beach is one of the few places in the world where buffalo and forest elephant still have access to the sea, and even gorilla families are occasionally seen foraging in beachside trees. The park is also home to the legendary ‘surfing hippos’, memorably captured on film by National Geographic photographer Michael Nichols in 2004. In season, humpbacks and dolphins may be seen frolicking in the warm equatorial waters of the Atlantic Ocean just offshore. Many rare bird species have also been spotted here, including Forbes’s plover, Loan go weaver, quail finch, rosy bee-eaters and Congo River martins. The park is a paradise for lovers of sport fishing and record catches of tarpon, as well as barracuda, rouge, and big sharks are possible here.

Western Lowland Gorilla by Michal Jirous Shutterstock

Loango’s attractions change depending on the time of year but, regardless of season, the park is worth at least two or three days of your time, should your budget allow. The whale season begins around mid-July and continues through to mid-September, the tarpon fishing season lasts from October to mid-November, and the turtle season is October to mid-January. For the best chance of seeing elephant wandering the white-sand beaches, visit during the rainy season from October to April. At all times, you’re likely to see at least some of the following: buffalo, hippo, crocodile, manatee, elephant, chimpanzee and gorilla.

Lopé National Park

Lopé National Park is a vast expanse totalling 485,000ha. Bordered by the majestic Ogooué to the north, the Offoué to the east, the du Chaillu Mountains in the south and the Mingoué River to the west, more than 1,500 plant species have been recorded here, of which 40 represent new species for Gabon.

Lopé is also home to 412 of the 700 species of birds recorded in the country, including seven kinds of hornbill, three forest kingfishers and the vulnerable grey-necked picathartes.

Side View of a Mandrill Gabon by Cloudia Spinner Shutterstock

The largest known wild primate gathering – 1,350 mandrills in one great foraging group – was recorded here in 1996. Mandrills are particularly visible in the dry season (July–August), when they hang around in the north of the reserve for up to two weeks at a time. No-one knows why they gather in such large groups. Besides mandrill, there are large gorilla and chimpanzee populations.

The first thing to strike you as you arrive at Lopé is the dramatic patchwork landscape of open savannah and dense rainforest. The explanation for this landscape lies in the last ice cap in northern Europe, 18,000 years ago, when the cooler, drier climate caused great stretches of tropical rainforest to disappear.

Moukalaba-Doudou National Park

Gabon’s third largest national park, the 503,000ha Moukalaba-Doudou is a rugged area with a diverse range of habitats, from tropical rainforest and grassy savannahs to papyrus swamps. Running between the Moukalaba River to the east and the Ndogo Lagoon to the west, the park also covers the Doudou Mountains. This is the largest mountain range in southwestern Gabon, reaching an altitude of approximately 700m. While the Doudou Mountains were logged from the 1960s until the 1980s, the area is now completely uninhabited.

With an estimated population of almost 5,000 chimpanzees and gorillas, Moukalaba-Doudou has some of the highest densities of primates in Gabon, making it one of the country’s most promising gorilla-tourism sites. The best time of the year to see primates is during the dry season, between June and September. Gorilla trekking visits are possible and, while accessing the park is not exactly easy, they are well worth the effort.

black-backed barbet, Gabon, Nigel Voaden, Wikimedia Commons

Former logging sites are now abundant with succulent marantaceae plants, a major food source for gorilla as well as forest elephant and other species. Furthermore, the savannahs near Doussala are the only place in Gabon where herds of common cobe (waterbuck) are found. The park is also a remarkable area for birders; more than 380 species (many of them unique) have been spotted here, including the vermiculated fishing owl, black-backed barbet, black-headed batis, fiery-breasted bush-shrike, brown twinspot and some rare swallows.

Pongara National Park

One of Gabon’s most accessible parks, Pongara National Park is astonishingly beautiful. Extending for 870km 2  over much of the Pointe Denis peninsula and the riverine landscapes of the southern Gabon Estuary, it was granted protected status because of its diverse scenery – vast mangrove flats, forest, savannah, and of course the beach itself. It harbours a rich and varied birdlife, including vulnerable Damara terns. The beach at Pointe Pongara, where the estuary meets the ocean, is famous for the large number of vulnerable leatherback turtles that crawl ashore to lay their eggs. Pongara’s mangroves are full of shrimp and young saltwater fish. Its forests have remnant populations of monkey, buffalo, duiker and even a few chimpanzee and elephant.

Pongara National Park by tropicalpixsingapore istock

Most visits to Pongara National Park take in only the peninsula portion that surrounds Pointe Denis, as there is currently no tourist development in the riverine southern part of the park. Aventures Sans Frontières organises wonderful excursions to the peninsula. As turtles tend to lay their eggs at night, the company offers to pitch a tent for you right on the beach. You can spend the day walking along the coast on the lookout for turtle traces, or join a guided forest tour. All excursions start at ASF’s Pongara Eco-museum (located near Pointe Pongara), which provides information about turtle biology, threats and conservation issues, and displays several shells and turtle models, giving you an idea of these creatures’ grand scale. The trip is excellent value for money.

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Gabon

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Your full Wanderlust guide to travel in Gabon

Set on the equator, in western Central Africa, Gabon is stunningly beautiful and has the potential to be one of the world’s top destinations for ecotourism.

Currently, its oil and mineral reserves, combined with a small population, have helped Gabon become one of Africa's wealthiest countries. But the late President Bongo realised his country was too dependent on its oil, so gave more than 10% of the country over to national parks in 2002, acknowledging that Gabon’s other natural resources could be key to its economic future.  

This is a land of astonishing wildlife, including lowland gorillas and chimpanzees, while endangered turtles and whales ply its unspoilt Atlantic coast. It has fantastic potential for ecotourism and adventure travel, but still has a long way to go in terms of infrastructure.

  • Capital city: Libreville
  • Population: 2.3 million
  • Money: Central African CFA franc
  • Int dialing code: + 011
  • Languages: French
  • Visas: You will need a visa to visit Gabon. For full information on the visa application process, visit the website of the Gabonese Embassy in the UK.
  • Voltage: 220 V
  • Time: GMT + 1

Wanderlust recommends

  • Visit   Loango National Park   for its mix of coast and rainforest: humpback whales and turtles can be seen in season; elephants and hippos patrol the beaches; gorillas and chimps are sometimes seen.
  • Lopé National Park has thousands of gorillas , with a research station, Mikongo, where you can stay. It is also famous for its huge troops of mandrills, with several hundred sometimes seen together, particularly in July and August.
  • Bais   are forest clearings where wildlife congregate. One of the best known, especially for its gorilla sightings, is   Langoue Bai in Ivindo National Park . The park also has the stunning Mingouli waterfalls.

Further Reading

When to go to gabon.

Gabon is a   year-round destination . Climate-wise it is hot and humid all year. The dry season is May to September, while December and January tend to be a mini dry season with very little rain. The wet seasons are February to April and October/November. Roads can become impassable during this time, however the parks remain open and offer good viewing.

Gorillas and chimps are most often seen from October to March   when there is more food around and they don’t need to travel so far.

Four species of turtle , including leatherbacks, lay their eggs on the beaches from November to March.   Humpback whales   are seen off the coast from July to September/October.

Gabon international airports

Libreville Leon M'ba International   (LBV), 12km from the city.

Getting around in Gabon

There are   very few sealed roads , so the most comfortable and quick option is to take internal flights or the Trans-Gabon train.

Buses do run between major centres and are very cheap. Car hire is available but   you’ll need a 4WD   if venturing out of town. Roads can be completely impassable in the rains.

Gabon accommodation

International hotels can be found in Libreville and in Port Gentil, the centre for the oil and timber industries and so full of expats.

Accommodation in the national parks is   rustic and comfortable   but not yet anywhere near the standard you would get in East or Southern Africa.

Gabon food & drink

The food has a   strong French influence , with baguettes being the nearest thing to a national dish. Main meals tend to be barbecued/grilled meat or fish served with rice, potatoes, plantain or manioc. Bushmeat is widely eaten.

There is a range of international cuisine available in Libreville and Port Gentil, as well as imported French wines.   Prices tend to be on the high side , even by European standards.

Vegetarians   won’t find it the most interesting place to eat, with omelette being the usual dish offered. Fortunately there is plenty of fresh fruit.

Health & safety in Gabon

A   yellow fever certificate   is mandatory, and spot checks take place at immigration. Take advice from a specialist travel clinic or your GP regarding   antimalarials   and immunisations. Drink bottled mineral water.

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Latest update

Exercise a high degree of caution in Gabon due to the threat of violent crime.

Gabon

Gabon (PDF 231.94 KB)

Africa (PDF 1.68 MB)

Local emergency contacts

Fire and rescue services, medical emergencies.

Call 177 or go to the hospital.

Depending on your mobile network, call: 1300, 0174 or 0880 for SOS Médecins.

Operators may only speak French.

Call 177 or visit the nearest police station.

Advice levels

Exercise a high degree of caution in Gabon.

See Safety .

  • Following recent elections, there has been a military takeover in Gabon. Protests and civil unrest are expected. Local authorities are on high alert and may act unpredictably. There is an increased risk of being held and questioned by authorities for an extended period.  Some tourists have been held and questioned about their reasons for travelling to Gabon following the military takeover. Some tourists have also been stopped from leaving Gabon and have had their passports removed. Ensure you carry identification and evidence of the purpose of your travel.
  • Curfews could be imposed at short notice. Telecommunications may be disrupted. Borders have reportedly reopened, but travel may still be disrupted. Stay indoors, avoid protests, government buildings and unnecessarily attracting the attention of local authorities. Monitor local media for updates.
  • Petty crime, including pickpocketing, bag snatching and vehicle break-ins, is common in Gabon. Keep your valuables out of sight.
  • Violent crime, including robberies and armed attacks, occurs, especially in Libreville and Port Gentil. Don't walk alone or at night. Avoid isolated areas, including beaches.
  • There has been a military presence on the streets since a failed coup in January 2019. Protests can turn violent. Avoid large public gatherings.
  • Flooding occurs during the rainy seasons. Check local conditions before driving. You may need a 4WD vehicle on some roads.

Full travel advice: Safety

  • Insect-borne diseases such as yellow fever and malaria occur throughout the year. Ensure your accommodation is insect-proof and use insect repellent.
  • Gabon has had cases of Zika virus. If you're pregnant, discuss your travel plans with your doctor.
  • HIV/AIDS is common. Take precautions if you're taking part in high-risk activities.
  • Foodborne, waterborne and other infectious diseases include cholera, typhoid and hepatitis. Drink only boiled or bottled water. Avoid raw or undercooked food. 
  • Medical facilities are adequate in major cities, but basic or unavailable in rural areas. If you're seriously ill or injured, you'll need medical evacuation. Ensure your travel insurance covers this. 

Full travel advice: Health

  • Local authorities are on high alert and may act unpredictably. There is an increased risk of being held and questioned by authorities for an extended period. Ensure you carry identification and evidence of the purpose of your visit at all times. Local security forces may interpret laws broadly and inconsistently. You could break the law without intending to.
  • Don't use or carry illegal drugs. Penalties include long prison sentences.
  • Be careful when taking photos. It's illegal to photograph military sites, government buildings, border posts, airports and the Presidential Palace.
  • Don't buy or sell endangered wildlife products, including rhino horn and ivory. It's illegal to do so without a licence.
  • Same-sex relationships aren't legally recognised. There have been attempts to charge people in same-sex marriages under public order and obscenity laws. Avoid public displays of affection.

Full travel advice: Local laws

  • You need a visa to enter Gabon. You'll also need a letter of invitation or sponsorship from your accommodation or sponsoring partner outlining the purpose of your visit and duration of your stay. The letter should be in French and contain the contact details of the author. You'll need to show the letter to immigration officials on arrival.  You may be at increased risk of being held and questioned by authorities for an extended period.
  • Entry and exit conditions can change at short notice. You can contact the nearest embassy or consulate for the latest details.
  • Restrictions and government requirements for internal travel within Gabon may change without notice. Seek local advice before internal travel, particularly when visiting areas not frequented by tourists.
  • Carry proof of your yellow fever vaccinations.
  • Gabon is a largely cash-based economy. The local currency is the Central African CFA franc (XAF). Credit cards are not widely accepted. There are ATMs in major centres. 
  • Piracy and armed robbery occurs in Gabon's coastal waters and in the Gulf of Guinea. Check International Maritime Bureau piracy reports before you travel.

Full travel advice: Travel

Local contacts

  • The Consular Services Charter  details what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas.
  • Australia doesn't have an embassy or consulate in Gabon. The Canadian High Commission in Cameroon provides limited consular assistance to Australians. It can issue Australian provisional travel documents .
  • For full consular assistance, contact the Australian High Commission in Nigeria .
  • To stay up to date with local information, follow the Australian High Commission in Nigeria's social media accounts.

Full travel advice: Local contacts

Full advice

Petty crime is common, including:

  • pickpocketing
  • bag snatching
  • vehicle break-ins

Hotspots for thieves include crowded:

  • transport hubs
  • tourist areas

Violent crime

Violent crime is common, especially in Libreville and Port Gentil. Incidents include  robberies and armed attacks.

Travellers have been victims of:

  • carjackings
  • 'snatch–and-grab' robberies from unlocked cars
  • violent road rage

Victims have been targeted when walking alone or at night. This is more common in isolated areas or on beaches.

There are reports of credit card fraud originating in Gabon.

To protect yourself from violent crime:

  • don't walk alone or visit beaches and isolated areas alone, especially at night
  • always keep car windows and doors locked, even when moving
  • watch your credit card at all times, including during transactions
  • monitor local media for updates about safety or security risks

If you're a victim of violent crime, including rape , go to the doctor or a hospital straight away. HIV/AIDS is common in Gabon. 

Cyber Security

You may be at risk of cyber-based threats during overseas travel to any country. Digital identity theft is a growing concern. Your devices and personal data can be compromised, especially if you’re connecting to Wi-Fi, using or connecting to shared or public computers, or to Bluetooth. 

Social media can also be risky in destinations where there are social or political tensions, or laws that may seem unreasonable by Australian standards. Travellers have been arrested for things they have said on social media. Don't comment on local or political events on your social media. 

More information:  

Cyber security when travelling overseas  

Civil unrest and political tension

Following recent elections, there has been a military takeover in Gabon. Protests and civil unrest are expected. Local authorities are on high alert and may act unpredictably.  Curfews could be imposed at short notice. Telecommunications may be disrupted. Borders have reportedly reopened, but travel may still be disrupted. Stay indoors, avoid protests and government buildings and monitor local media for updates.  Avoid unnecessarily attracting the attention of local authorities, particularly in areas outside Libreville where tourism is less common. 

There is an increased risk of being held and questioned by authorities for an extended period.  Some tourists have been held and questioned about their reasons for travelling to Gabon following the military takeover. Some tourists have also been stopped from leaving Gabon and have had their passports removed.

Demonstrations and protests

Public protests and events that draw large groups of people can turn violent. Demonstrations are more common in Libreville and Port Gentil.

A military takeover in September 2023 has led to an increasingly visible military and security presence on the streets.

To protect yourself during periods of unrest:

  • avoid demonstrations, protests and large gatherings
  • monitor local media
  • avoid affected areas
  • follow the advice of local authorities

More information:

  Demonstrations and civil unrest

Terrorism is a threat worldwide.

Climate and natural disasters

Gabon experiences natural disasters and severe weather .

Flooding occurs in the rainy seasons from:

  • October to mid-December
  • mid-February to May

You may need a 4WD on some roads at this time.

If a natural disaster occurs:

  • secure your passport in a safe, waterproof location
  • monitor local media and other sources
  • keep in contact with friends and family

Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System

Travel insurance

Get comprehensive travel insurance before you leave.

Your policy needs to cover all overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation. The Australian Government won't pay for these costs.

If you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. This applies to everyone, no matter how healthy and fit you are.

If you're not insured, you may have to pay many thousands of dollars up-front for medical care.

  • what activities and care your policy covers
  • that your insurance covers you for the whole time you'll be away

Physical and mental health

Consider your physical and mental health before you travel, especially if you have an existing medical condition.

See your doctor or travel clinic to:

  • have a basic health check-up
  • ask if your travel plans may affect your health
  • plan any vaccinations you need

Do this at least 8 weeks before you leave.

If you have immediate concerns for your welfare, or the welfare of someone you know, call the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or contact your  nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate  to discuss counselling hotlines and services available in your location.

  • General health advice
  • Healthy holiday tips  (Healthdirect Australia)

Many pharmaceutical products are in short supply in Gabon.

If you plan to bring medication, check if it's legal in Gabon. Take enough legal medication for your trip.

Carry a copy of your prescription or a letter from your doctor stating:

  • what the medication is
  • your required dosage
  • that it's for personal use

Health risks

Insect-borne diseases.

Yellow fever is widespread in Gabon. Yellow fever is a potentially fatal virus spread by mosquitoes. It's prevented by vaccination. Get vaccinated before you travel.

Malaria is common throughout the year.

Other insect-borne diseases include:

  • chikungunya
  • African sleeping sickness

If you're pregnant, the Australian Department of Health and Aged Care recommends that you:

  • discuss your travel plans with your doctor
  • consider deferring non-essential travel to Zika-affected areas

To protect yourself from disease:

  • make sure your accommodation is insect-proof
  • use treated mosquito nets and insect repellent
  • wear long, loose, light-coloured clothing

Consider taking medication to prevent malaria.

Seek medical advice if you have a fever, muscle pain, rash or severe headache.

HIV/AIDS is common in Gabon.

Take precautions if taking part in activities that put you at risk of infection.

Other health risks

Waterborne, foodborne, parasitic and other infectious diseases are common. These include:

  • tuberculosis

Serious outbreaks sometimes occur.

To protect yourself from illness:

  • drink boiled water or bottled water with sealed lids
  • avoid ice cubes
  • avoid raw and undercooked food, such as salads
  • don't swim in fresh water
  • avoid contact with dogs and other mammals

If you're bitten or scratched by an animal, get medical help straight away.

Get medical advice if you have a fever or diarrhoea.

Medical care

Medical facilities.

Medical facilities are adequate in major cities, but basic or unavailable in rural areas.

You'll need to pay up-front before doctors and hospitals will treat you.

If you become seriously ill or injured, you may need to be evacuated to a place with better facilities. Medical evacuation can be very expensive.

You're subject to all local laws and penalties, including those that may appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling.

If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular Services Charter . But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.

Penalties for drug offences are severe and can include long prison sentences in local jails.

Carrying or using drugs

Following the military takeover on 30 August 2023, local authorities are on high alert and may act unpredictably. There is an increased risk of being held and questioned by authorities for an extended period. Ensure you carry your identification and evidence of the purpose of your visit at all times. Local security forces may interpret laws broadly and inconsistently. You could break the law without intending to. The Australian Government can’t intervene in local judicial processes.

It's illegal to photograph:

  • military sites
  • government buildings
  • border posts
  • the Presidential Palace

It's illegal to buy or sell endangered wildlife products without a licence. This includes ivory and rhino horn.

Local laws may change without notice.

LGBTI information

Same-sex relationships aren't legally recognised.

Local communities can be intolerant towards same-sex relationships, so avoid public displays of affection.

There have been attempts to charge people in same-sex marriages under public order and obscenity laws.

Advice for LGBTI travellers

Australian laws

Some Australian criminal laws still apply when you're overseas. If you break these laws, you may face prosecution in Australia.

Staying within the law and respecting customs

Dual citizenship

Dual citizenship is recognised in Gabon.

Help for dual nationals can be limited if local authorities consider you a Gabonese citizen.  Travel on your Australian passport.

Dual nationals

Visas and border measures

Every country or territory decides who can enter or leave through its borders. For specific information about the evidence you'll need to enter a foreign destination, check with the nearest embassy, consulate or immigration department of the destination you're entering. 

Visa conditions

You should obtain a visa to enter Gabon.  Those entering Gabon under visa-free arrangements have experienced immigration issues during their stay.

You also need a letter of invitation, or sponsorship, from your accommodation or sponsoring partner outlining the purpose of your visit and the duration of your stay.  The letter should be in French and contain the contact details of the author. Y ou'll need to show the letter to immigration officials on arrival.

Gabon doesn't have an embassy or consulate in Australia. Gabon's nearest embassy is in Tokyo.

Entry and exit conditions can change at short notice. You can contact the nearest embassy or consulate for the latest details. They'll tell you about visas, currency, customs and other travel requirements.

Other formalities

Yellow fever vaccination.

You'll need a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate to enter Gabon. Some airlines may want to see one when you leave.

Find out about returning to Australia after exposure to yellow fever .

Countries with a risk of yellow fever

Some countries won't let you enter unless your passport is valid for 6 months after you plan to leave that country. This can apply even if you're just transiting or stopping over.

Some foreign governments and airlines apply the rule inconsistently. Travellers can receive conflicting advice from different sources.

You can end up stranded if your passport is not valid for more than 6 months.

The Australian Government does not set these rules. Check your passport's expiry date before you travel. If you're not sure it'll be valid for long enough, consider getting a new passport .

Lost or stolen passport

Your passport is a valuable document. It's attractive to people who may try to use your identity to commit crimes.

Some people may try to trick you into giving them your passport. Always keep it in a safe place.

If your passport is lost or stolen, tell the Australian Government as soon as possible:

  • In Australia, contact the Australian Passport Information Service .
  • If you're overseas, contact the nearest Australian embassy or consulate .

Passport with 'X' gender identifier 

Although Australian passports comply with international standards for sex and gender, we can’t guarantee that a passport showing 'X' in the sex field will be accepted for entry or transit by another country. Contact the nearest  embassy, high commission or consulate of your destination  before you arrive at the border to confirm if authorities will accept passports with 'X' gender markers. 

LGBTI travellers  

The local currency is the Central African CFA Franc (XAF).

Declare all amounts of local or foreign currency more than XAF200,000 on arrival and departure. This covers all forms of currency, not only cash.

You can only cash traveller's cheques at larger banks in major cities. The cheques must be in either euros or US dollars.

Gabon is largely a cash-based economy.

Credit cards aren't widely accepted, except at major hotels and restaurants.

You'll find ATMs in major centres. Take care when using ATMs because thieves may target you.

Ask your bank if your cards will work in Gabon.

Local travel

Local restrictions.

Restrictions and government requirements for internal travel within Gabon may change without notice. Seek local advice before internal travel, particularly when travelling to areas not frequented by tourists. When travelling within Gabon, local authorities may inspect your documentation. Always carry evidence of the purpose of your travel for presentation on request. There is an increased risk of being held and questioned by authorities for an extended period.

Travelling with a reputable Ecotourism operator is not a guarantee that your travel plans will not be subject to restrictions.

Driving permit

To drive in Gabon, you need both:

  • a valid Australian driver's licence
  • an International Driving Permit (IDP)

You must obtain your IDP before leaving Australia.

Road travel

You're more likely to be killed in a motor vehicle accident in Gabon than in Australia.

Hazards include:

  • poorly maintained roads
  • poorly maintained and overloaded vehicles
  • local driving practices
  • poor lighting and road signs, especially outside urban areas

Travel outside of major urban centres usually requires a 4WD vehicle.

Towing and repair services aren't common outside Libreville.

There are police roadblocks throughout the country. You may be asked to show identity and motor vehicle registration papers.

Check you have adequate travel insurance cover before driving.

If you hire a vehicle, confirm with your rental company what you're required to carry in your vehicle, such as:

  • licensing documents
  • proof of insurance
  • safety equipment such as a fire extinguisher

To reduce your risks if you plan to drive:

  • get to know local traffic laws and practices
  • be alert to pedestrians, animals and other hazards on the road
  • avoid travelling at night
  • get local advice on road conditions, especially during the rainy season

If you're involved in a traffic accident, go to the nearest police station to avoid possible confrontations.

Driving or riding

Motorcycles

Your travel insurance policy may not cover you when riding a motorbike, quad bike or similar vehicle.

Always wear a helmet.

Taxis are generally safe, but they often pick up multiple passengers and take indirect routes.

To reduce risks when using taxis:

  • negotiate the fare with the driver before entering the taxi
  • avoid using taxis alone or at night
  • ask the driver not to pick up other passengers
  • only use authorised taxis
  • use hotel taxi and limousine services if they're available

Public transport

Buses and trains in Gabon are reasonably safe.

Services are infrequent.

Transport and getting around safely

Boat travel

Armed robbery and piracy against commercial shipping has occurred off the coast of Gabon and across the Gulf of Guinea.

Take extreme caution when  travelling by boat , and:

  • check the International Maritime Bureau (IMB)  piracy reports
  • take appropriate security precautions
  • be alert to threats

DFAT doesn't provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths.

Check Gabon's air safety profile with the Aviation Safety Network.

Emergencies

Depending on what you need, contact your:

  • family and friends
  • travel agent
  • insurance provider

Always get a police report when you report a crime.

Your insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.

Consular contacts

Read the Consular Services Charter for what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas.

Australia doesn't have an embassy in Gabon.

The Canadian High Commission in Cameroon provides limited consular assistance to Australians in Gabon. It can issue Australian provisional travel documents .

Limited consular services are also available from the Australian High Commission in Nigeria.

Canadian High Commission, Yaounde

Les Colonnades Building

New Bastos, Road 1 792

Yaoundé, Cameroon

Phone: +237 222 50 39 00

Fax: +237 222 50 39 04

Email: [email protected]

Website: canadainternational.gc.ca/cameroon-cameroun .

Australian High Commission, Abuja

Phone: +234 (0) 9460 6960

Email: [email protected]

Website: nigeria.highcommission.gov.au

Facebook: Australia in Nigeria

Twitter: @AusHCAbuja

Check the High Commission website for details about services or to make an appointment.

24-hour Consular Emergency Centre

In a consular emergency, if you can't contact an embassy, call the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on:

  • +61 2 6261 3305 from overseas
  • 1300 555 135 in Australia

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Not required for vaccinated visitors

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Can I travel to Gabon from South Africa?

Most visitors from South Africa, regardless of vaccination status, can enter Gabon.

Can I travel to Gabon if I am vaccinated?

Fully vaccinated visitors from South Africa can enter Gabon without restrictions.

Can I travel to Gabon without being vaccinated?

Unvaccinated visitors from South Africa can enter Gabon without restrictions.

Do I need a COVID test to enter Gabon?

Visitors from South Africa are not required to present a negative COVID-19 PCR test or antigen result upon entering Gabon.

Can I travel to Gabon without quarantine?

Travellers from South Africa are not required to quarantine.

Do I need to wear a mask in Gabon?

Mask usage in Gabon is not required in enclosed environments.

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Restaurants in Gabon are open. Bars in Gabon are .

Gabon aims to become Africa's off-the-beaten-path safari destination in 2023

Mar 27, 2023 • 5 min read

travel to gabon africa

Gorillas are among the wondrous wildlife you can spot on a safari in Gabon © Michal Jirous / Shutterstock

Two buffalo saunter along white sands to splash in the Atlantic Ocean before disappearing into a thick forest stretching down to the beaches of Pongara National Park . In a country where an estimated 88% of the land is still primary forest, wildlife encounters like this soon become all too commonplace.

Welcome to little-known Gabon , the African country that’s home to two million people, 95,000 elephants and thousands of lowland gorillas and chimpanzees – and which is attempting to position itself as an alternative safari destination in 2023. Launching itself to the world in January as “ The Last Eden ,” Gabon is where the lush forests of equatorial Africa collide with the crashing surf of the Atlantic.

Look at a map of West Africa and you can pick out the large land mass of Gabon (which has some 100,000 square miles of rainforest, mountains and coastline) between Equatorial Guinea , Cameroon and the Republic of Congo . This former French colony is one of the most biodiverse destinations in the region, with 13 national parks protecting 11 per cent of the country’s nature and wildlife.

Portrait of a male mandrillus monkey.

For the adventurous traveler looking to get off the well-trod safari circuit, Gabon delivers extraordinary wildlife to spot. Gorilla trekking is possible in Loango National Park  (where permits, at around $900, cost less than in Rwanda or Uganda ). Large troupes of mandrills (the world’s largest species of monkey) are found in Lopé National Park , while Gabon’s unusual “surfing hippos” can be spotted on the Atlantic Coast. (The creatures quite literally…run into the ocean’s surf.) 

Forest elephants and buffalo are everywhere, and they’re easily spotted in Pongara National Park. Just a 30-minute boat ride away from Libreville , the capital city, Pongara also offers unique opportunities for a coastal safari, where buffalo can be seen on the white sand beaches and hippos spotted among the dense mangroves. Whales can be spotted off the same beaches between July and September, while leatherback turtles nest here in December and January.

A waterfall in a lush forest in Gabon.

Visit Gabon in 2023 and you’ll be seeing the nation in a raw state. Historically, Gabon hasn't pushed for tourism due to its economic reliance on fossil fuels like oil and gas. Today, the government is seeking to move away from extractive industries and betting that ecotourism can not only fill a looming economic void but help to protect one of the world’s few carbon-negative countries. On paper, Gabon’s green credentials are excellent, with innovative conservation programs using AI cameras to track wildlife and catch poachers , Meanwhile, authorities hope to raise conservation funds by selling “carbon credits” to richer countries.

Yet tourism is a new concept in Gabon, and infrastructure and facilities for ecotourism are limited outside of the well-established safari lodges and resorts in Pongara National Park. There’s often a disconnect between Gabon’s grand ecotourism plans and the reality on the ground. Space in safari lodges is limited, gorilla-trekking permits are difficult to secure given that there’s currently only one habituated family of gorillas in Loango National Park, and NGOs struggle to raise funds to rehabilitate trafficked gorillas and other animals. Human-wildlife conflicts are common, too: the country has installed an extensive network of electric fences to stop elephants from encroaching on villages.

For the intrepid safari goer, however, this all adds to the destination’s intrigue. Just remember that Gabon is very much an emerging tourism destination, and that not everything will go to plan. If you’re prepared to be waylaid by tropical rains and aren’t scared by early morning run-ins with elephants on bush hikes, then the country’s potential as an alternative safari destination is an irresistible reason to visit Gabon in 2023.

A woman grilling fish at a traditional restaurant, Ndjolé, Gabon, Africa

Where to eat in Gabon

You’ll want to fuel up for a day on safari, and baguettes, pastries and omelets make for a wholesome French-inspired breakfast. Barbecued prawns ( gambas ) and grilled chicken are a feature of tantalizing post-safari beach buffets, as you enjoy fresh seafood, meat and vegetables as the sun sets over the Atlantic Ocean.

Gabonese cooking provides a sublime blend of West African spices and French cooking techniques (a culinary holdover from the colonial period). Brochette (skewered, barbecued fish and meat) is a favorite at resorts like Pongara Lodge , while plantains and cassava are often followed by chocolate mousse and crème brûlée. The nation’s favorite dish is nyembwe chicken, a stewed delicacy prepared with palm butter, onions and garlic.

Where to drink in Gabon

If you’re dining in Libreville’s fanciest restaurants (try Roma for upmarket Mediterranean cuisine with West African flair), then don’t be surprised by the eclectic wine menus. Yet the availability of Bordeaux wines in remote safari lodges across Gabon might surprise you. For the more casual traveler, Libreville’s beaches are the place to wind down with a beachside beer at a restaurant or bar overlooking the water. The local beer of choice is Regab, which should only ever be served ice-cold.

Where to stay in Gabon

Located on the beaches just north of Libreville’s airport, Hotel La Sablière is a luxurious place to start your Gabonese journey. In the city center to the south, you can take your pick of the Park Inn by Radisson , Hôtel le Cristal and many other hotels in the capital. The real adventure begins in the national parks. Pongara National Park, just a quick boat ride away from Libreville, is home to the relative luxury of Pongara Lodge and River Lodge Resort, where you can enjoy scenic surroundings just steps away from the forest and beaches. In Loango National Park (where you can see gorillas and hippos),  Luxury Green Resorts operates three luxury glamping camps in remote locations.

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Gabon Holidays and Tours

The dense rainforests of Gabon are some of the most enigmatic landscapes in Africa. They are home to an incredible array of flora and fauna, which has long disappeared from much of the continent. Our Gabon holidays and tours explore this little visited gem, taking you to jungle camps of the pygmies, holders of the forest’s secrets, and learning about the ways of the first inhabitants of this land.

Discover the rituals of Bwiti, a hybrid religion encompassing some truly spectacular rituals, and travel through old colonial outposts isolated in the thick vegetation. With 80% of the country covered by primary forest and tropical savannah, iconic species such as gorilla and elephant thrive. National parks like Loango are among the best in all of Africa.

Gabon’s oil wealth makes for some interesting juxtapositions. Libreville’s glittering buildings stand in stark contrast to the simple villages of the interior, and while you’ll find the latest SUVs driving the streets of the capital, rural life is a lot more modest.

Top highlights on Gabon holidays and tours

  • Track lowland gorillas and look for forest elephants in Loango National Park
  • Take a boat trip on jungle flanked rivers, feeling like one of the first explorers in the region
  • Explore the old colonial Schweitzer Hospital at Lambarene
  • Spend the night at a Bwiti ceremony
  • Hang out with the locals in one of Gabon’s lively bars
  • Look for huge troops of mandrills in Lope National Park

It’s a sparsely populated country, just two million people in all, which means there’s an awful lot of forest and countryside to explore on a Gabon holiday.

And it is here that the country really shines, making it a true paradise for nature enthusiasts. Some 13% of the country has been designated as national parks and reserves, and although some of these exist in name only, the big hitters like Lope, Loango and Ivindo have decent infrastructure offer some unique wildlife experiences.

Our Gabon holidays allow you to discover what has been described as ‘Africa’s Eden’.

Gabon is home to a number of different ethnic groups, each with their own language, but the official language in the country is French. With its oil wealth, you’ll find that in the larger towns – and especially in the capital Libreville – it can feel a lot more ‘western’ than other parts of Central Africa, but you only need to go into the villages to discover a more traditional way of living.

With its thick rainforests, Gabon is home to some of pygmy groups, who like elsewhere have been very much marginalised. They are perhaps the most interesting of Gabon’s people, still following ancient customs and relying very much on the forest for their livelihoods.

A unique aspect of Gabonese culture is the Bwiti religion, which originated with the pygmies but has now spread into mainstream society. Bwiti ceremonies are centred on the use of the psychoactive root iboga and are used for healing purposes and communing with the spirits. These ceremonies usually last all night, with whole villages turning out to take part, dancing and drumming all night. If you get the chance to see one, it’s a truly incredible experience.

When to go on holiday to Gabon

Gabon is hot and humid all year round, sitting on the equator, but experiences two dry seasons. The long dry season runs from June to September, and the short dry season from December to January. With its many forest roads and rough tracks, it can be difficult and frustrating to travel in the wet season.

Start planning your trip to Gabon

Check out our small group tours to Gabon, Rhythms of Central Africa and Gabon Explorer . Although many of our trips are small group adventures with set departures, as a bespoke operator, we can design and create trips to suit any traveller, from solos to larger group. If you would like to find out more about tailor-made holidays to Gabon or our group tours, call us on 01473 328546 or email us via our contact page . We’d love to hear from you.

Pygmy community making traditional music - Gabon tours and holidays

Group Tours

Gabon Holidays and Tours - Young boy at Bwiti ceremony

Gabon Explorer

Gabon has been described as a paradise for wildlife enthusiasts, with a huge proportion of its land designated as national parks. Explore its forests and rivers looking for iconic wildlife such as gorillas and elephants, and uncover the secrets of the mystical Bwiti religion, a bizarre and fascinating belief system.

Rhythms of Central Africa

Rhythms of Central Africa

The jungles of Central Africa have forever been a mysterious land. On this trip you travel to its heart, spending time in pygmy communities, heading deep into the rainforest and looking for wildlife at Loango National Park. Our Cameroon and Gabon tour is a unique cultural and wildlife journey through a challenging part of the continent.

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Gabon tours

Loango is Africa’s Last Eden: The naturalist Mike Fay has referred to Loango, one of Gabon thirteen national parks, as ‘Africa’s Last Eden’. This is also where the photographer and conservationist Nick Nichols from National Geographic took his famous pictures of surfing hippos and elephants on the beach. 70% covered by wildlife rich rainforest. But there’s plenty more to discover in the rainforests and waters besides hippos, for Gabon is home to forest elephants and western lowland gorillas and nearly 200 other mammal species, 600 species of birds, and more than 8,000 plant species.

Loango Lodge by night

3 nights Loango – dry season- Juni-September

Day 1 Arrival at Loango Lodge, enjoy a boat tour of the Estuary on the Iguela lagoon. After this special boat trip whereby you can see many bird species you will enjoy a few sundowners at the beach, dinner at lodge, overnight Loango Lodge.

Day 2 Depart Loango Lodge by boat to Yatouga Gorilla research camp, search for the gorillas and experience them in their natural habitat. After this great experience travel to Akaka Camp, overnight Akaka Camp.

Day 3 Enjoy and explore the immediate area around Akaka, travel by boat to Sitatunga Point to be picked up to go to Lourie Wilderness Camp. Enjoy the Lourie area with a safari vehicle and have a BBQ at the camp. Overnight Lourie Wilderness Camp.

Day 4 Travel back to Loango Lodge and start your journey to Port Gentil for your flight back to Libreville.

Loango Lodge paillotte

4 nights Loango – dry season – June-September

Day 1 Arrival at Loango Lodge, enjoy a boat tour of the Estuary on the Iguela lagoon. After this special boat trip whereby you can see many bird species you will enjoy a few sundowners at the beach, dinner at lodge, overnight Loango Lodge .

Day 3 Enjoy and explore the area around Akaka, by boat on the Ngowe & Echiera rivers and do a nice hike in the incredible scenery and try to spot the lesser seen animals like chimpanzees or even leopard. Overnight in Akaka Camp.

Day 4 Travel by boat to Sitatunga Point to be picked up to go to Lourie Wilderness Camp. Enjoy the Lourie area with a safari vehicle and see it’s savanna, yet another remarkable part of the eco system in Loango NP. Have a BBQ at the camp. Overnight Lourie Wilderness Camp.

Day 5 Travel back to Loango Lodge and start your journey to Port Gentil for your flight back to Libreville.

Akaka lodge

6 nights Loango – dry season – June-September

Day 3 Depart Akaka for a hike to petit Loango, this 16 km hike will take about 3-4 hours to complete. The hike will take you to a great costal forest, wild beaches and small lagoons where hippos are living. Dinner and overnight in Petit Loango camp.

Day 4 Hike back to Akaka camp enjoying the beautiful scenery. After lunch some time to relax and in the late afternoon a boat excursion. Dinner and overnight in Akaka camp listening to the forest sounds of the bush.

Day 5 Travel by boat to Sitatunga Point to be picked up to go to Lourie Wilderness Camp. Enjoy the Lourie area with a safari vehicle and see it’s savanna, yet another remarkable part of the eco system in Loango NP. Have a BBQ at the camp. Overnight Lourie Wilderness Camp.

Day 6 Early morning hike in the Lourie area to wake up with the beautiful surroundings. After the hike take a road transfer to Loango Lodge for lunch and have the afternoon at leisure. If you want to do another excursion you are more then welcome to ask your guide. Think of whale watching when you come in the right season. Dinner and overnight in Loango Lodge.

Day 7 Start your journey to Port Gentil for your flight back to Libreville.

Gorilla research

3 nights Loango – wet season – October-May

Day 2 Depart Loango Lodge by boat to Yatouga Gorilla research camp, search for the gorillas and experience them in their natural habitat. After this great experience travel with a safari vehicle to Tassi Savanna Camp. During the drive you can see some nice sighting. Dinner at the camp, overnight at Tassi Savanna Camp.

Day 3 Today you’ll spend a full day in the Tassi Area. This will include hikes, drives and kayaking. The Tassi area offers some of the best game viewing opportunities in the rainy season. Buffalo, elephant and red river hog is common and the latter can be approached on foot up to a few meters. After lunch travel towards Loango Lodge via the Louri area. This part of the park is renowned for elephants visiting the beach in the afternoons and it will make for some unique sightings.

Day 4 Start your journey to Port Gentil for your flight back to Libreville.

travel to gabon africa

6 nights Loango – wet season – October-May

Day 1 Arrival at Loango Lodge, enjoy a boat tour of the Estuary on the Iguela lagoon. After this special boat trip whereby you can see many bird species you will enjoy a few sundowners at the beach, dinner at lodge, overnight Loango Lodge

Day 5 Travel by boat to Sitatunga Point to be picked up to go to Lourie Wilderness Camp. Enjoy the Lourie area with a safari vehicle and see it’s savanna, yet another remarkable part of the eco system in Loango NP. Have a BBQ at the camp. Overnight Lourie Wilderness Camp

Day 6 Early morning hike in the Lourie area to wake up with the beautiful surroundings. After the hike take a road transfer to Loango Lodge for lunch and have the afternoon at leisure. If you want to do another excursion you are more than welcome to ask your guide. Think of whale watching when you come in the right season. Dinner and overnight in Loango Lodge.

travel to gabon africa

Tours  Gabon >

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Louri wilderness camp

Combination Tour >

travel to gabon africa

Africa’s Eden offers several attractive tours in Gabon and Príncipe. From just a weekend in Loango or Roça Belo Monte, up to 13 days combination tour Gabon-Príncipe. read more

nieuws

In 2002, late President Omar Bongo Ondimba put Gabon firmly on the map as an important future ecotourism destination by nominating more than 11% of the nation’s territory as National Park – a new standard in African eco-tourism and conservation!

travel to gabon africa

Biodiversity

In addition to the conservation activities together with our partners: Max Planck Institute and the Fernan-Vaz Gorilla Project, Africa’s Eden also supports individual researchers, mostly in terms of on-the-ground logistical support and accommodation. read more

Gabon-algemeen

A rare and exotic tropical gem, where tourism is relatively undeveloped. Wildlife rich forests cover 70% of its landmass, its vast picturesque coastline is predominantly wild and unspoiled, and its inland and coastal waters teem with myriad species of fish, reptiles and marine mammals.

The natural glories of Gabon

The small nation is cloaked in forest but 'rewards are huge' for those who go exploring

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forest in Western Gabon

Sandwiched between Cameroon and the Republic of the Congo on Africa's west coast, Gabon has long been promoted to tourists as the continent's "last Eden" – and not without justification, says Mike Carter in the FT . This equatorial country is half the size of France, its former colonial power, but home to only 2.2 million people, most of whom live in the coastal cities of Libreville (the capital) and Port-Gentil. 

Almost nine-tenths of the rest is cloaked in forest, much of it never significantly disturbed by human activity, and more than 10% of it strictly protected. There's little infrastructure, and only 40,000 tourists visit each year. But for the adventurous few, the rewards are huge, including the chance to see western lowland gorillas, forest elephants, and a vast amount of other spectacular fauna. 

The dictator Ali Bongo Ondimba (a keen conservationist) was deposed in a coup d'état last year, but the situation has since been calm. Roads are "hideously rutted", but you can also cover long distances by river boat, and there are some pleasant lodges, such as Ndola and Pongara. To see gorillas, you must tag along with scientific researchers.

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The apes' favourite habitat is a swamp, where you might sit and watch an eight-strong family relaxing in a clearing, "bathed in a celestial glow as if stage-lit". Also "thrilling" is the chance to track a 1,000-strong troop of mandrills – the world's largest monkeys, and most likely its biggest primate group – which set the whole forest "vibrating" as they fly through the canopy. You might also see hippos, crocodiles, leopards, manatees, pythons, forest buffalo and plenty of beautiful birds.

And there is much of cultural interest too, not least the shamanic ceremonies of the Bwiti religion, during which participants holding fiery torches perform ecstatic dances to the music of drums and antelope-horn trumpets. They also take iboga, a natural hallucinogen that I found "wild but not unpleasant", but which can have seriously adverse psychiatric or medical effects in some people. 

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Gabon Mandrill

Gabon Safari Tours – 2023 / 2024

Travel to gabon: ivindo, lopé, loango & beyond.

Let your Gabon safari dreams begin here! Gabon is known as the Eden of Africa – an undiscovered wonderland not to be missed. A remote country of great rainforests, coastal lagoons, and seemingly endless beaches, it is a haven for iconic African wildlife, including forest elephants, mandrills, chimpanzees, and lowland gorillas.

With an impressive 11.25% of the country proclaimed as national parkland, this little-visited country is perfect for experienced African travelers and those in search of a true wilderness experience. Gabon is the region’s most progressive and traveller-friendly destination, although tourism remains extremely DIY.

Gabon Safari Highlights

  • Search for forest elephants amongst the lagoons, forests and shorelines of Loango National park or the forest clearing of Langoué Bai and encounter the forest elephants of Ivindo National Park. Gabon has one of the largest populations of Forest Elephant in Central Africa.
  • Search for several species of monkey in the forests of Lope and Loango National Parks, including Black Colobus and Red-capped Mangabey.
  • Track large groups of Mandrills at Ledeki and Lope National Park and visit the sanctuary for gorillas and chimpanzees.
  • Observe the world’s largest population of leatherback turtles nesting on Gabon’s beaches.
  • Observe some of Africa’s and the world’s most spectacular birds including African Fish Eagle, Goliath Heron, Hamerkop, Grey Parrot, Pel’s Fishing Owl and Great Blue Turaco. Other impressive birds to be found include Long-tailed Hawk, Grey-necked Picathartes, Vermiculated Fishing Owl, and Black-headed and Rosy Bee-eater.
  • Explore Gabon’s coastal lagoons, with hippos, manatees, crocodiles, and tarpon all found within the protected waterways.
  • Learn about the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Lopé National Park, known for its wildlife and anthropological value. Inhabited almost continuously for 400,000 years, Lopé includes artifacts of hunter-gatherer settlements, representing the oldest concentration of archaeological relics in central Africa.
  • Travel deep into the forests of Ivindo National Park and discover Gabon’s waterfalls. These are some of the largest and most impressive in central Africa.
  • Best time to visit Gabon
  • Gabon visa information
  • Gabon vaccination and health information

Browse our Favourite Gabon Safari Tours for 2022

Looking for the Best Gabon Safari Tours & Packages? While some of the itineraries mentioned here are for scheduled group trips, please know that it is possible to customise a private safari to Gabon as well.

Gabon Gorilla

#SafarisWithSangeeta

• Visiting Lekedi Park for its habituated mandrill troupes; • Walking, quad-biking, game driving in Pongara NP for its nesting and hatching leatherback turtles; • In search of forest elephants, red river hogs, chimps, African grey parrots, Central African buffalo and sitatunga on the beaches of Loango; • Habituated gorilla tracking with the gorilla project in Loango National Park;

Gabon Trip

• Wending down the Ogooue, and Akaka rivers in a boat;

• Visiting Lopé National Park, Langoué Baï (made famous by Mike Fay on his extraordinary mega-transect) in Ivindo National Park, and Akaka and Iguela Lagoons in Loango National Park;

• Walking, quad-biking, game driving and boating in rainforests, savannas and mangroves;

• In search of forest elephants, mandrills, red river hogs, chimps, African grey parrots, African finfoots, slender snouted and dwarf crocodiles, anomalures and more;

• Habituated gorilla tracking at Akaka in Loango National Park;

• Venturing out to sea for a gathering of humpback whales;

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The eco beauty of West Africa

Gabon's vast rainforests and vast savannahs are home to a diverse range of species that will captivate nature enthusiasts. With excellent white-sand beaches, flowing rivers, and ethereal scenery, you enjoy an Eden-like vacation experience in an unexplored corner of Africa.

Forest covers nearly 90% of Gabon. Rainforests are crucial for absorbing the globe’s climate-heating emissions and Gabon’s rainforest captures more carbon than the country emits. Eco-tourism activities in Gabon are a diverse, multi-type, and traveler-friendly destination. Every global traveler wishes to go and explore the ecosystem and Relict Cultural Landscape of Lopé-Okanda that known as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, beauty combined tropical rainforests and relict savannahs, it’s home to a wide diversity of species including endangered large mammals.

Take Well-Prepared Backpacking to Gabon!

Top trending attractions, loango national park.

Known as one of the amazing destinations for eco-tourism on this planet, Loango National Park offers these wild animals access to the sea. Travelers can take sight of the breathtaking lush green landscape and eye-catching wildlife in this fabulous park. Not only enjoy the beauty of 200 km along the coastline and rare completely wild coastal regions, but travelers also participate in a ‘Catch and release fishing program’ organized at this park to catch and release marine creatures, such as rouge, sharks, barracuda, and other amazing fishes.

WHALE WATCHING

WHALE WATCHING

From mid-July to mid-September, humpback whales visit the coastline of Loango National Park.

WALKING SAFARIS

WALKING SAFARIS

You can encounter wildlife such as elephants and buffalo, but even more so, discover the more inconspicuous forest animals and birds.

GORILLA TREKKING

GORILLA TREKKING

Go on a rare opportunity to find the habituated Western Lowland Gorilla's of Loango National Park.

Lopé National Park

The oldest and most amazing ecosystem on the African continent. The national park is the habitat to around 1400 endangered mandrills and 420 bird species, as well as western gorillas, sun-tailed guenon, black colobus, chimps, and forest elephants, which flourish in the forest gallery and fingers of lush, misty savannah. The wet seasons from February to May and October to November provide the finest opportunities for animal encounters. During the dry season, from July to August, there will be a spectacular gathering of mandrills.

Safari Exploration

Safari Exploration

Its biodiversity as it includes 50 local gorillas, mandrills, chimpanzees and many more.

Mikongo Camping

Mikongo Camping

Tourist accommodation and Lope Hotel which is the only hotel in Lope National Park

The Trans Gabon Railway

The Trans Gabon Railway

If you’re travelling directly to Lopé from Libreville, The Trans Gabon Railway offers the most comfortable experience.

Ivindo National Park

With its deep forests, majestic rivers, and thunderous waterfalls; Kongou, Mingouli, and Djidji. Ivindo National Park uncovers some of Gabon's most amazing and hidden wildlife. Except for the amazing wildlife that gathers in the forests, along the river banks, and at Langoué Ba — the fifth biggest forest clearing in equatorial Africa and one of the world's most pristine ecosystems — little disturbs its trance.

Forest Camp

Forest Camp

Kongou Forest Camp is an authentic ‘nature’ camp that shelters in the shade of rainforest within striking distance of Kongou Falls.

Go Wildlife

Go Wildlife

Some of the popular animals in the park include gorillas, bongo, red river hog, leopard, giant pangolin, slender snouted crocodile, chimpanzees, sitatungas, buffalo and elephant.

Kongou Waterfalls

Kongou Waterfalls

The Kongou waterfalls, situated in the heart of the Ivindo National Park, are among the most beautiful and impressive waterfalls in the African forests.

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travel to gabon africa

IMAGES

  1. Gabon Travel Guide: Essential Facts and Information

    travel to gabon africa

  2. Gabon Travel Guide

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  3. Gabon

    travel to gabon africa

  4. Visit Gabon: Best of Gabon, Africa Travel 2022

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  5. Gabon Attractions and Map I Africa Discovery

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  6. Visit Gabon: 2022 Travel Guide for Gabon, Africa

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VIDEO

  1. Ozouri, GABON 🇬🇦 Ep. 7

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  4. COUP D'ETAT IN GABON |Episode

COMMENTS

  1. Gabon International Travel Information

    Yes VACCINATIONS: Yellow Fever CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY: None CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT: None ALL / Embassies and Consulates Destination Description Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements Safety and Security Local Laws & Special Circumstances Health Travel and Transportation Fact Sheet Please see Fact Sheet for this country/area.

  2. Gabon travel

    01 / Attractions Must-see attractions for your itinerary Lopé National Park Gabon One of the most accessible of Gabon's national parks, Lopé offers rainforest and savannah teeming with apes, elephants and birds. Covering 4970 sq km, it… Loango National Park Gabon

  3. Gabon

    Gabon Travel Health Notices Vaccines and Medicines Non-Vaccine-Preventable Diseases Stay Healthy and Safe Packing List After Your Trip Hide Travel Health Notices Be aware of current health issues in Gabon. Learn how to protect yourself. Level 1 Practice Usual Precautions

  4. Is Gabon Safe? 11 Essential Tips Travelers Need to Know

    Gabon is located on the west coast of Central Africa, bordered by Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, the Republic of the Congo, and the Gulf of Guinea. Here are a few things you should know to stay safe in Gabon. 1. Crime threats in Gabon Crime increases dramatically during peak holiday season in Gabon (May to September).

  5. Gabon Travel Guide

    1. Lopé National Park: If you are looking for perfect photo spots in Gabon, it's worth your while to include Lopé National Park on your itinerary. The protected rain forest and savanna areas of the park are home to elephants, buffalo, and hogs. Keep your eyes peeled for the colorful and sometimes intimidating mandrills, too.

  6. COVID-19 Information

    Gabon COVID-19 Information. Country-Specific Information: As of July 3, the Gabonese government has confirmed 5,620 cases of COVID-19 in Gabon. The following modifications to previously imposed confinement measures took effect on July 1: Commercial air travel may resume with domestic flights and two international flights per airline per week.

  7. Travel Advisory: Gabon

    Gabon - Level 4: Do Not Travel. Do Not Travel to Gabon due to COVID-19. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire travel advisory. Read the Department of State's COVID-19 page before you plan any international travel. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 4 Travel Health Notice for Gabon due to COVID ...

  8. Gabon Travel Guide: Essential Facts and Information

    The best time to travel to Gabon is during the June to August dry season. At this time, the weather is better, the roads are more navigable and there are fewer mosquitoes (therefore reducing your chances of contracting mosquito-borne diseases).

  9. Entry requirements

    COVID-19 rules There are no COVID-19 testing or vaccination requirements for travellers entering Gabon. Passport validity requirements Your passport must have an 'expiry date' that is at least 6...

  10. Gabon travel advice

    14 December 2023 Latest update: This travel advice has been rewritten to make it easier to read and understand. The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office ( FCDO) provides advice about risks...

  11. Travel advice and advisories for Gabon

    If you are in Gabon: exercise caution. monitor local media to stay informed of the evolving situation. avoid areas where security forces are present. follow the instructions of local authorities. carry proper identification at all times. be prepared to provide evidence of the purpose of your travel.

  12. Gabon Travel Information and Guide

    Gabon. This country has so many beautiful places waiting to be discovered by adventurers and nature-lovers. In fact, little-visited Gabon has everything to become Africa's next big ecotourism destination. Sean Connolly, author of Gabon: The Bradt Travel Guide. Famously dubbed 'Africa's last Eden' - and, even more enticingly, 'the ...

  13. Gabon

    Gabon travel guide, including map of Gabon, top Gabon travel experiences, tips for travel in Gabon, plus where to see wildlife in Gabon. Competitions; Wanderlust magazine; ... Set on the equator, in western Central Africa, Gabon is stunningly beautiful and has the potential to be one of the world's top destinations for ecotourism. Currently ...

  14. Gabon Travel Advice & Safety

    Destinations Africa Gabon Latest update Still current at: 17 February 2024 Updated: 29 September 2023 Latest update:Following recent elections, there has been a military takeover in Gabon. Protests and civil unrest are expected. Curfews could be imposed at short notice. Telecommunications may be disrupted.

  15. Gabon Travel Restrictions

    Travelling from South Africa to Gabon Most visitors from South Africa, regardless of vaccination status, can enter Gabon. Entry Open for vaccinated visitors COVID-19 testing Not required Quarantine Not required for vaccinated visitors Restaurants Open Bars Masks Not required in enclosed environments. COVID-19 testing Quarantine Ready to travel?

  16. Gabon aims to be Africa's emerging safari destination

    Gabon aims to become Africa's off-the-beaten-path safari destination in 2023. Two buffalo saunter along white sands to splash in the Atlantic Ocean before disappearing into a thick forest stretching down to the beaches of Pongara National Park. In a country where an estimated 88% of the land is still primary forest, wildlife encounters like ...

  17. Gabon, Africa (2024 Guide)

    Gabon, formally the Gabonese Republic, is a sovereign state on Central Africa's west coast. Gabon is located on the equator and is bounded to the northwest by Equatorial Guinea, to the north by Cameroon, to the east and south by the Republic of the Congo, and to the west by the Gulf of Guinea. It has a land area of about 270,000 square ...

  18. Best Things To Do in Gabon, Africa. [Ultimate] Travel Guide, Tips

    Looking forward to exploring Gabon, Africa? Get the most out of your vacation by exploring the best things to do in Gabon, Africa, and the best places to visit in Gabon, Africa, below.Wondrous Drifter is a Web 3.0 startup in the tourism industry that aims to disrupt the industry as a whole by utilizing Web 3.0 technologies.

  19. Gabon Holidays & Tours

    Take a boat trip on jungle flanked rivers, feeling like one of the first explorers in the region Explore the old colonial Schweitzer Hospital at Lambarene Spend the night at a Bwiti ceremony Hang out with the locals in one of Gabon's lively bars Look for huge troops of mandrills in Lope National Park

  20. Gabon tours

    Day 1 Arrival at Loango Lodge, enjoy a boat tour of the Estuary on the Iguela lagoon. After this special boat trip whereby you can see many bird species you will enjoy a few sundowners at the beach, dinner at lodge, overnight Loango Lodge. Day 2

  21. The natural glories of Gabon

    Sandwiched between Cameroon and the Republic of the Congo on Africa's west coast, Gabon has long been promoted to tourists as the continent's "last Eden" - and not without justification, says ...

  22. Best Gabon Safari Tours: 2023 / 2024

    Travel to Gabon: Ivindo, Lopé, Loango & Beyond. Let your Gabon safari dreams begin here!Gabon is known as the Eden of Africa - an undiscovered wonderland not to be missed.A remote country of great rainforests, coastal lagoons, and seemingly endless beaches, it is a haven for iconic African wildlife, including forest elephants, mandrills, chimpanzees, and lowland gorillas.

  23. Travel to Gabon

    Gabon's vast rainforests and vast savannahs are home to a diverse range of species that will captivate nature enthusiasts. With excellent white-sand beaches, flowing rivers, and ethereal scenery, you enjoy an Eden-like vacation experience in an unexplored corner of Africa. Forest covers nearly 90% of Gabon. Rainforests are crucial for absorbing ...