Gabon Travel Information

Photo Welcome to the Gabon, located in Africa. Gabon is about half the size of France and a hundred times more fertile. It's bordered by Equatorial Guinea to the north-west, Cameroon to the north, and Congo (Brazzaville) to the east and south. Nearly three quarters of the country (one of the highest rates in Africa) is covered in tropical rainforests with only one minuscule percent falling under the agricultural axe. This unfettered lushness and the deep river valleys that dissect the country makes getting around a challenge. The major artery of Gabon, the Ogooué River, almost cuts the country in half as it passes through Franceville and Lambaréné and rushes toward the Atlantic Ocean.
Gabon is principally known for its tropical rainforests but also has coastal woodland areas and open savannah grasslands where the coastal plains meet the forests. Within the rainforests there is an encyclopedic range of flora from the climbing palms, rubber vines, and liana of cartoon jungles to hardwood trees like purple heart, ebony and mahogany. The hardwoods, including the okoumé (unique to central Africa) and Ozigo tree, represent cash crops of significant value.
Both the floor and the roof of the rainforests are alive with animals: snakes, vipers, and pythons slither around hunting for field mice, insects, and small animals that just ran out of luck; hedgehogs, porcupines, and tortoises lumber around the forest floor; squirrels, monkeys, baboons, lemurs, toucans, and African parrots occupy the trees; crocodiles and hippopotamuses claim the river banks; big game animals - antelopes, buffaloes, and elephants roam the grasslands; and even gorillas, endangered in most other parts of Africa, are so numerous in Gabon they've become an environmental nuisance. Despite the plethora of wildlife, actually getting a glimpse of them is another thing altogether. The growth is so dense that many parts of the rainforest are inaccessible.
The climate is hot - the average daily high is 31°C (88°F) in April and rarely dips below 27°C (81°F) any other time of the year. It's also extremely muggy most of the year. The dry season extends from May to September, with a short dry spell in mid-December. Daytime use of taxis is generally safe as long as the rider specifies the "course" (exclusive use/not shared) to the driver. Rail services are available but not dependable. Travelers should be prepared for delays.
U.S. dollars are widely accepted, but exchange rates may be poor and high charges may apply. Credit cards are rarely accepted, but traveler's checks in U.S. dollars or French francs may be cashed at local banks. Travelers are advised to check with local establishments to determine what type of bankcard usage is permitted. Additionally, phone connections used to verify internationally issued Visa cards are occasionally down, making them non-functional.
Penalties for the use and possession of drugs are strict. Prison sentences are usual. Photography of military installations is strictly prohibited. Permission should be sought before taking any photographs.

Important: Travel to Gabon may require a travel visa. Whether a visa is required for travel depends on citizenship and purpose of journey. Please be sure to review Travisa's Gabon visa instructions for details. Visa instructions for other countries are available on our do I need a visa page.

Country Statistics

Full country name: Gabonese Republic
Capital city: Libreville
Area: 267,667 sq km
Population: 1,608,321
Ethnic groups: Bantu tribes, including four major tribal groupings
Languages: French
Religions: Christian 55%-75%, animist, Muslim less than 1%
Government: republic
Chief of State: President Ali Ben BONGO Ondimba
Head of Government: Prime Minister Raymond NDONG SIMA
GDP: 24.77 billion
GDP per captia: 16,300
Annual growth rate: 6.6%
Inflation: 1.3%
Agriculture: cocoa, coffee, sugar, palm oil, rubber
Major industries: petroleum extraction and refining
Natural resources: petroleum, natural gas, diamond, niobium, manganese, uranium, gold, timber, iron ore, hydropower
Location: Central Africa, bordering the Atlantic Ocean at the Equator, between Republic of the Congo and Equatorial Guinea
Trade Partners - exports: US 41.7%, Australia 9.3%, Malaysia 8.5%, Japan 6%, China 5.1%, Spain 4.6%
Trade Partners - imports: France 32.6%, China 8.3%, US 6.3%, Belgium 5.7%, Cameroon 4.3%