Gabon is one of the best ecotourism destinations on the African continent with about ten percent o its land set aside to safe guard its numerous national parks that serve as habitat to a great profusion of wildlife living within its savanna and verdant rainforests. do not miss out on its pristine coastal beaches where you will get an opportunity to enjoy various beach activities and water adventure.
Within the city of Libreville is the National Museum of Arts and Tradition a very popular tourist site best known for its massive collection of tribal crafts that include gorgeous wood carvings, as well as cultural masks. You will also find here a number of musical instruments and photographs that will give you a good insight of the cultural history of this country
President Omar Bongo Ondimba who is a former president of the republic of Gabon who served in this office for 42 years since 1967 up to 2009 when he died. In the 1970s, he passed an order to construct the Palais presidential. This project was estimated to cost a total of 800 million US dollars which nearly drew this country that had at the time just gained independence to bankruptcy. Although visitors are not allowed to access the interior of this Palace that is heavy guarded, the exterior is a very beautiful structure with modern-day designs perfect for photography.
The Cirque de Leconi is one of the most popular geological landmarks found in Gabon and it is a very deep gorge with red rock found in the far southeastern corner of the country close to the border with Congo. Besides the wobbly sand that fills this gorge / canyon, there are several other spectacular geographical formations you can check out on your visit that are found within this area. Because this area is not properly developed, you will surely need a guide to better enjoy your adventure in this area.
Established in 2002 and covering an area of 4,910 square kilometers, the Lope National Park is the largest in the whole of Gabon and its diversified terrain that comprises of thick forests as well as savanna is habitat to a great profusion of wildlife including forest elephants, chimpanzees, lowland gorillas in addition to other large mammals, other primates not to forget the estimated 350 bird species recorded here. The park can be explored in a safari vehicle and also on foot.
Port Gentil is a nice island town found on the mouth of the Ogooue River. Other than the spectacular beaches, this town is popular for its very enjoyable active nightlife that offers fine bars and casinos. Within its swampy areas are a number of different wildlife species and at times heir nightly calls can be heard even while in the residential part of the town. St. Louis Church that was constructed in 1927 which is the oldest church in the country can also be visited while in this town. Holidaymakers will also get a chance to engage in various beach activities including wind surfing, while those interested in fishing can visit the lagoons of Ogooue River for a more rewarding experience.
The Bateke Plateau is comprised of Forest galleries and savannahs with River streams flowing through and this site is best known as a hotspot for wildlife viewing. Some of the animals you will find here include crocodiles, Forest elephants, monkeys, Buffaloes, Gorillas, panthers, River hogs and parrots, to mention just a few. the mulumba strip which is found between a lake and the ocean is another popular sites with approximately 3000 humpback whales that migrate to this area from July to September in addition to several turtle nestings seen along the sandy beach.
Franceville which is among the largest of Gabon’s towns is the burial place for the long serving former president of Gabon President Omar Bongo and also the Primate Medical research institute is found there. The city has been well urbanized with beautiful hotels and a constant supply of electricity thanks to the hydro-electric plant. The statue of former president Omar Bongo, the breathtaking waterfalls as well as the church of St. Hilaire are some of the sites you can visit here.
The Cathedral of Saint Michael also known as L’Eglise St. Michael is a prominent tourist site and landmark within the city of Libreville. This unique structure found in Nkembo was constructed by Gerard Morel a French Spiritan missionary together with Zephyrin Lendongo a Gabonese sculpture. The church is supported by only thirty one (31) heavy and tall wooden columns that were beautifully carved by this Gabonese craftsman who surprisingly was blind. Each of these columns illustrates a different scene from the bible as designed by these two brains.
The Mount Bouet Market found in the capital Librevilles is in fact the largest within the capital city. It has a number of stalls dealing in various items including beautiful colored fabric, food staff, traditional medicines, household items as well as textiles. Visitors normally spend hours moving from one stall to another as they look for some souvenirs to take back home at the end of their visit.
If you are looking for some serenity and quite, a visit to the desert beaches in the northern part of the country – Ekwata and Pointe Denis, as well as Mayumba in the south will be very rewarding. You will get a chance to enjoy several water adventures such as diving and waterskiing.
Below we have compiled a number of questions commonly asked about Gabon as one of the destinations to visit on a holiday in Africa. These we have professionally answered to help you better understand the country and prepare adequately for your stay.
All persons traveling to Gabon with USA, British, Canadian, Australian and other European Union member countries are required to obtain a visa before traveling to Gabon. All visa applications should be made to the embassy of Gabon in your home country and you should provide proof of pre-booked accommodation as well as an airline ticket. All travelers are required to have a passport valid for a minimum of six (6) months from the date of the end of their stay in Gabon.
Medical services across Gabon are limited with very few medical facilities available especially in rural areas and the few available ones are with limited medical supplies and normally very crowded. Consequently travelers visiting Gabon are highly recommended to get a comprehensive travel insurance that includes medical coverage as well as provides evacuation during instances of emergencies. Please remember to bring a personal First Aid Kit especially when visiting the rural parts of the country.
When visiting Gabon all travelers are required to take a mandatory yellow fever vaccination and present a yellow fever certificate as proof of having been administered with the vaccines. Nonetheless there are a couple of other recommended vaccines such as Hepatitis (B & E), tetanus, typhoid, rabies as well as schistosomiasis; in addition to observing a couple of precautionary measures even throughout your stay in the country. HIV/AIDS is another prevalent issue in this country with approximately 8.5% of the adult population of Gabonese affected so please take serious care with this regard. Malaria is also prevalent so anti-malaria pills are highly recommended.
Malaria is common in the country, so below we have highlighted a number of ways you can avoid contracting malaria in Gabon.
You are highly advised to visit your physician back in your home country so that he/she can recommend the necessary medication basing on travel arrangements. To avoid any disturbances while in transit, please ensure that all the medication you are bringing in Gabon is well labeled and have it accompanied with the doctor’s prescription.
What is the official language spoken in Gabon?
The official language used in Gabon is French and this is prevalently spoken across the country. When we look at the local languages spoken, about 33% of Gabonese speaks Fang as the mother-tongue in addition to more than forty other languages spoken across the country including Eshira, Mbere as well as Sira. On the other hand, although there are plans of making English a second national language, it is not frequently spoken and for that reason, holidaymakers are advised to learn a few phrases in French
What is the official currency for Gabon?
The official currency used in Gabon is the CFA (Communauté Financière Africaine franc). Each franc has one hundred smaller divisions called centimes, and the banknotes come in denominations of CFA 10,000, 5,000, 2,000, 1,000 and 500. The only currencies accepted in this country are those issued by the Bank of Central African. Exchange of foreign currencies like Euros, US Dollars can only be done at banks or airports.
Are credit cards accepted in Gabon?
Generally Credit cards are not accepted across Gabon although you may find a couple of hotels especially within the main cities like the capital Libreville accepting the Visa, MasterCard or American Express. Also ATMs can only be accessed in the main town, for that reason, travelers are highly advised to move with enough cash to sustain them throughout their stay in Gabon.
What is the electric currency in Gabon?
Gabon runs on an electric Voltage of 220V to 240V with 50Hz. The type of plugs and sockets used are the euro-plug plus the schucko. We highly advise all travelers going to Gabon to come with their personal adapters despite the fact that most of the hotels and lodges claim to offer them; this will save you from any disappointments. ladies who plan on bringing personal hair styling electric gadgets such as the flat irons or hair dryers we advise that you bring gadgets that are dual voltage and once in this country please remember to change or adjust the voltage else you may end up blowing them.
What is the Time Zone for Gabon?
The time zone for Gabon is Greenwich Mean Time plus 1 (GMT+1).
The best time to visit Gabon is during the dry season when the country is experiencing cooler weather conditions with less humidity and this season begins in the month of May all through to September. Then a shorter dry season starts from mid-December to towards the end of the month of January. The wildlife views at this time of the year are very rewarding considering that most of the vegetation has dried up and the wildlife tends to gather around the few water sources.
Generally Gabon experiences an equatorial weather that is characterized by both wet and very hot weather. June, July and August are the driest months in a year whereas the rains normally start in October to May with the heaviest amounts of rain being experienced in November as well as April. During the wet rainy season some roads become totally impassable due to the muddy and slippery conditions caused by the down pour especially in the rural dirty roads. The country experiences an abnormally high level of humidity that may shoot up to an average of eighty percent (80%) year round. on a daily basis, the average temperature experienced in Gabon is 81°F.
What to wear in Gabon?
Because of the generally high temperatures and high level of humidity, travelers to Gabon are recommended to wear light-weight clothes through their stay unless when they are traveling in the rainy season when they will need a rainy jacket. Sunscreen and sunglasses are additional items that you should not miss out when packing for your travels.
Why take a Tour in Gabon?
Gabon from West Africa is one of the few countries that have focused on Eco-tourism and conservation of the vast expanse of the remaining rainforests in the world. Gabon is also strongly promoting these facts by advertising itself as a great destination for Gabon Holidays & eco-tourism.
Lying on the Equator, Gabon is bordered by Congo to the south, Equatorial Guinea in the North West and Cameroon to the north. The country is covered in an amazing 85% of Gabon rain forests and is also rich in oil and minerals.
Town and cities
The capital, and largest city, of Gabon is Libreville. This is an attractive coastal city with a relaxed pace of life and feeling of multi-culturalism. The seafront is popular, and other attractions include the arboretum, nearby beaches and boat trips to Pointe Denis, an island about 25 minutes away.
Another of Gabon’s larger cities is Franceville. This city is in the far east of the country and has a number of attractions. As with Libreville, the city itself is very attractive and is famous for its numerous waterfalls, the best known of which is Poubara Falls. Port-Gentil, as with a number of other cities in Gabon, has grown up around the discovery of oil. Port-Gentil has also developed into a city with several attractions of interest to visiting tourists too. There are various hotels here, and the city has developed a vibrant nightlife as well as a casino, zoo, beaches and a golf course.
All 13 of Gabon’s national parks are spectacular in one way or another. Loango National Park, for example, protects an area of coastline including an African lagoon system. Just off the coast are large populations of dolphins, humpback whales and killer whales whilst on dry land you might see elephants, hippos, gorillas and leopards roaming along the beautiful white sandy beaches.
Several of the national parks in Gabon along the Atlantic Ocean coast. These include Mayumba National Park which protects the nesting ground of leatherback turtles and marine life, whilst Akansa National Park protects coastal mangrove forests. Other interesting parks to visit in Gabonb include Banteke, Ivindo Akanda, Crystal Mountains park, lope and Mikembe National Park
Air Gabon has recently gone out of business. Air France and Gabon Airlines fly from Paris to Libreville, and Royal Air Maroc flies from Casablanca to Gabon. Air Service also flies to Douala Cameroon, and Air Ethiopia flies from Addis Ababa. There are also on occasion flights to Brazzaville, Congo. Other fliers to Gabon include Interair with daily flights from South Africa-Johannesburg, South Africa Airways, Lufthansa and many others.
There are also domestic flights from Libreville to Mvengue, Port Gentil and Franceville with Air Nationale. Alternatively get around on public buses, taxis or book a private car with Gabon tour operators.
There are three international name hotels – Le Meridien, Intercontinental and the Novotel. Apart from these, there are several other budget and economy hotels in the capital Libreville and other surrounding towns
A large number of nature lovers familiar with the African continent think about Gabon an uncommon and exotic tropical treasure, though tourism here remains comparatively undeveloped. The Wildlife filled forests cover about 70% of the country’s landmass, its huge attractive coastline is mainly wild and pristine, and its interior plus coastal waters are filled with varieties of fish species, reptiles as well as marine mammals. it is not simply a dream this country really exists!
Gabon is wild and unfaltered and its charming coastline plus lagoons are mostly wild
There are plenty of hippos plus elephants
Gabon is habitat to the western lowland gorillas and almost 200 other species of mammal, 600 bird species, and over 8,000 species of plants
Gabon’s defined regions of desert, coast and mountains creates different climates. The heat of summer is especially intense within the Sahara Desert while mid-level altitudes plus cities around the Atlantic coast – such as urban Casablanca plus Essaouira – are enjoyably hot. The northern coast together with Rif Mountains experience a mild Mediterranean climate with lengthy, hot, sunny days. i recommend that in these places you wear free breathable clothing, which won’t simply keep you cool but additionally shield you from the rays of the sun.
from October to February are winter months and these are an excellent time to visit the south when day temperatures are still moderate, however ensure that you pack a thick jacket since the evenings become shockingly cold. Northern Gabon receives wet plus cloudy winters as the High Atlas Mountains are usually extremely cold, at times keeping their snow-capped summits as late as the month of July. This nation is most beautiful during spring time (from mid-March to close of May) as the lands are covered in abundant greens, creating stunning mountain hikes. And the pleasant mild heat from September to November is yet another perfect time to visit Gabon.
Are Gabon people Friendly?
The people of Gabon are extremely welcoming and also friendly to all their guests. The first inhabitants of Gabon were the pygmies. Pygmy tribes are recognized for their hunting and gathering tradition within the central African rain forests, as well as for their height: the adults can grow to averages below 150 cm (which is 4 ft 11 inches). Little was known about the Gabon people until the 13th century, when the pygmies were predominantly replaced and also absorbed by the Bantu tribes since they migrated into this area.
Out of the more than forty Bantu tribes today present within Gabon, the biggest are the Okande, Fang, Mbele plus Eshira. Just a small portion of indigenous Gabonese reside in the towns, because the population is centered along the coastal areas plus the villages near the banks of several rivers, and these follow a traditional rural lifestyle .
Gabon’s rainy season usually starts in October to May, when the temperatures are between 25°C and 35°C, with a high humidity. the rainfall is heavy and the stormy downpours occur each one or two days, then clear skies plus calm weather (and typically great light for taking pictures). As a result of a nearly constant yet light plus cooler coastal breeze, this rainy season is an appropriate time to go to Gabon.
In the dry season, which usually runs starting June to September, the skies remain cloudy and hazy. Because of the cooler coastal breeze (that at times stiffens into a wind), the temperatures differ from 20 to 25 degrees. There is a short dry season throughout December, with humid plus warm temperatures and clear skies (suitable for photography).