Bordering the Atlantic Ocean, Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon and the Republic of the Congo, Gabon has 800 km of coastline made up of palm-fringed bays, lagoons and estuaries. The lush green tropical vegetation, which defines most of the landscape, is only occasionally interrupted by savannah. Many Bantu tribes live in the coastal regions and along the numerous rivers. The main cities are Libreville, Port Gentil, Lambaréné, Moanda, Oyem, Mouila and Franceville. Gabon gained its independence from France in 1960 and has been ruled by President Omar Bongo for several decades. The only potential source of conflict in Gabon is the island of Mbagne, which lies in the Bay of Corisco and which may have significant oil and gas deposits. Gabon occupied Mbagne in 1970, but Equatorial Guinea also claims ownership. However, the great white sandy beaches and the rich natural world with gorillas, panthers, parrots and elephants are of tourist interest.
Arriving by plane
According to top-medical-schools, Gabon is currently planning a new national airline. There are no non-stop flights to Gabon from Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Air France (AF) fly to Libreville via Paris and Turkish Airlines (TK) fly to Libreville via Istanbul from Frankfurt/M., Munich, Vienna and Zurich. Flights to Paris and Istanbul are also offered by the national airlines Lufthansa (LH), Austrian Airlines (OS) and Swiss (LX).
Frankfurt/M. – Libreville: 9 hours 55 minutes; Munich – Libreville: 9 hours 45 minutes; Vienna – Libreville: 12 hours 5 minutes; Zurich – Libreville: 9 hours 55 minutes; Paris – Libreville: 7 hours
Arrival by car
You can reach Gabon overland from Cameroon, for example at Ambam, from Equatorial Guinea at Cocobeach (Gabon) and via various border crossings from the Congo. Long-distance buses: Buses coming from Cameroon are not allowed to cross the border into Gabon; Travelers must cross the border on foot. Tolls: There are no toll roads in Gabon. Documents: The national driver’s license with a French translation is officially sufficient. However, it is recommended that you also take your international driver’s license with you.
Arrival by train
There is no cross-border rail traffic.
Arrival by ship
Gabon’s main port, Owenda, is 10 km from Libreville. Cargo ships sometimes take passengers on their way to Cameroon; information on site.
Traveling by plane
Afrijet (J7) offers domestic flights several times a day between Libreville and Franceville, Port-Gentil, Koulamoutou, Tchibanga and Mouila, among others.
Traveling by car/bus
The road network covers approx. 9,200 km. Most places are accessible by land from Libreville; The city of Port-Gentil is not connected to the road network. Tolls: There are no toll roads in Gabon. Gas stations sometimes have no petrol; this is often offered in street sales in Gabon. Travelers should always carry fuel reserves.
Right-hand traffic/left-hand traffic
Condition of the roads
The country’s roads are in poor condition; only about 10% are asphalted. Jungle forest with almost impassable roads covers much of the country, and especially during the rainy season (October – mid-December and Feb – mid-May) many roads are completely impassable.
Gabon’s road network is divided into three types, each identified by a letter and number, with national roads beginning with N, regional roads with R and local roads with L.
Rental cars are available at the airport or in larger hotels. The minimum age for drivers is stated by most car rental companies as 21 years. Drivers under the age of 25 often pay a young driver surcharge or are unable to book certain vehicle categories.
Taxis are available in Libreville and Port-Gentil. The price should be agreed at the start of the journey. For overland journeys there are the so-called bush taxis (taxis-brousses).
Minibuses connect the cities of Gabon. Daily minibus services exist between Libreville and Lambaréné, Mouila, Oyem and Bitam. Seats can be reserved in Libreville. Larger buses also operate to Mouila (and further routes from Mouila).
Traffic regulations: – Alcohol limit: 0.8 ‰. Speed limits: – urban: 60 km/h; – extra-urban: 75-80 km/h (depending on the signs).
The ADAC foreign emergency call offers ADAC members and holders of ADAC foreign health and accident insurance comprehensive assistance in the event of vehicle breakdowns, traffic accidents, loss of documents and money, and medical emergencies. The emergency number is available around the clock; in the event of damage to the vehicle: Tel. +49 (0)89 22 22 22, in the event of illness: +49 (0)89 76 76 76. In the event of accidents and breakdowns with the rental car, the car rental company should always be contacted first.
The national driving license is sufficient; nevertheless, it is recommended to take your international driver’s license with you.
Traveling in the city
Taxis and shared taxis are available in all major towns. Buses also operate in Port-Gentil and Franceville.
Locally on the way by train
The only railway line in Gabon connects Libreville (railway station in Owendo, approx. 8 km south of the city center) with Franceville, via Lastoursville and Booué, over a distance of 670 km. There are only night trains in use; There are no sleeping places. Travelers can choose between the fast Trans-Ogooue train and the slower L’Equateur bus, which stops at all stations.
Traveling by ship
Ferries connect Libreville to Port-Gentil (journey time: 4 hours). Riverboats also operate on the Ogoué between Port-Gentil and Lambaréné; some of these ships sail as far as N’djolé.