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Gabon Country Guide

  1. Country Facts
  2. Health
  3. Media
  1. Intro
  2. Geography
  3. People
  4. Travel
  5. Embassies & Visas
  6. Finance
  7. Cities/Regions

Quick Facts

Region: Africa
Full Name: Gabonese Republic
Capital City: Libreville
Language Spoken: French (official), Fang, Myene, Nzebi, Bapounou/Eschira, Bandjabi

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Geographic data

1 00 S, 11 45 E

Elevation Extremes

lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m highest point: Mont Iboundji 1,575 m

Land boundaries

total: 2,551 km border countries: Cameroon 298 km, Republic of the Congo 1,903 km, Equatorial Guinea 350 km

Natural hazards

NA

Natural resources

petroleum, natural gas, diamond, niobium, manganese, uranium, gold, timber, iron ore, hydropower

Land use

arable land: 1.21% permanent crops: 0.64% other: 98.15% (2005)

Environmental current issues

deforestation; poaching

Climate

Equatorial with up to 80 per cent humidity. The dry season is from June to August, and the main rainy season is from October to May. Average temperatures are 25 degrees celcius. Required clothing Lightweight tropical, with raincoats advised during the rainy season.

Time difference

time difference: UTC+1

Population

1,424,906 note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2006 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 42.1% (male 300,914/female 299,141) 15-64 years: 53.9% (male 383,137/female 384,876) 65 years and over: 4% (male 23,576/female 33,262) (2006 est.)

Median age

total: 18.6 years male: 18.4 years female: 18.8 years (2006 est.)

Population growth rate

2.13% (2006 est.)

Birth rate

36.16 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Death rate

12.25 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Net migration rate

-2.65 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female 15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0.71 male(s)/female total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2006 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 54.49 years male: 53.21 years female: 55.81 years (2006 est.)

Total fertility rate

4.74 children born/woman (2006 est.)

Business Practices

Meetings are somewhat formal for the region, but tropical suits are appropriate. French is the principal language used in business circles. Translators and interpreters are available through some hotels and embassies. Strong business ties remain with France despite competition from the USA and Japan. Office hours are 0730-1200 and 1430-1800 Monday to Friday.

Crime

Petty crime such as pick pocketing and purse snatching is common especially in urban areas, however violent crimes such as armed robbery and mugging are fairly rare. Travelers outside urban areas should expect to frequently be stopped at police checkpoints.

Hotels

The five principal hotels in Libreville are the Okoume Palace Intercontinental, the Meridien Re-ndama, the Hotel Atlantique, the Novotel Rapotchombo, and the Monts de Cristal. -Okoume Palace: Managed by Intercontinental Hotels, the Okoume Palace is a 500-room hotel with some apartments, located relatively close to the airport. It has a pool, tennis and squash courts, and a fully equipped health spa with aerobics classes. There are two restaurants. Tel. (241) 732023 Fax: (241) 731629 -Meridien Re-Ndama: Managed by the French group Meridien, this hotel is near the town center, south of the U.S. and French embassies on the main road. It has a well-situated pool on the beach side of the hotel and two restaurants. Tel. (241) 742929 or 766105 Fax: (241) 742924 -Hotel Atlantique: Situated on the best beach front in Libreville, Atlantique is about 200 yards from the airport. It is known for its sumptuous, 3-course brunches. It has a pool. It is located about 10 km north of the U.S. Embassy. Telephone (241) 732446 Fax: (241) 732436 -Novotel Rapontchombo: Only 1 block from the U.S. Embassy, it is on the water but has no usable beach front. It has a pool, casino, restaurant and bar ambiance, but is less luxurious than the Meridian and the Intercontinental. Tel (241) 764742 Fax: (241) 761345 -Monts de Cristal: Situated in Centre-ville, about 1 km from the U.S. Embassy, it is comfortable, not ostentatious and has 49 rooms and a self service restaurant. Tel: (241) 762523

Communications

Telephone IDD is available. Country code: 241. No area codes required. Outgoing international code: 00. Airmail from Gabon takes at least a week to Western Europe. Urgent letters should be sent by special delivery to ensure their safe arrival. Post office opening hours are 0800-1200 and 1430-1800 Monday to Friday.

Electricity

is 220 volts AC, 50Hz. Electricity 220 volts AC, 50Hz.

Plug Types

C

Food And Dining

Most hotels and restaurants serve French and continental-style food and are expensive. Gabonese food is distinctive and delicious, but not always readily available, as most restaurants serve Senegalese, Cameroonian and Congolese food, European food is also served. Gabon is the world's 20th-largest consumer of French champagne. Licensing hours are similar to those in France.

National specialties: ?Braised fish (bass and red fish).
? Nyembw?.
? Manioc leaves.
? Bouillon de poisson (fish stew).

Tipping:
10 to 15 per cent unless service is included in the bill.

Nightlife
There are nightclubs in Libreville with music and bars. Food is often served, although this can be expensive. The African quarter of Libreville is full of fairly cheap places to eat and drink. There are also casinos at several hotels.

Entry departure requirements

Visa immigration information

Passports

Passport valid for more than six months required by all.

Visas

Required by all.

Types of visa and cost

Single-entry: US$86 (Tourist or Transit); US$120 (Business). Double-entry: US$172 (Tourist or Transit); US$241 (Business). Multiple-entry: US$481 (Tourist, Transit or Business).

Validity

Single-entry: Three months from date of issue.

Application to

Consulate (or Consular section at Embassy); see Passport/Visa Information.

Application requirements

(a) One passport-size photo. (b) One application form. (c) Fee, payable in cash or by cheque only. (d) Valid passport valid for six months, with one blank page. (e) Registered stamped, self-addressed special delivery envelope for postal applications. Tourist: (a)-(e) and, (f) Hotel reservation, or invitation from resident of Gabon legalized in the town hall. Business: (a)-(e) and, (f) Letter from the company stating the date of departure and the reasons for the visit.

Note

(a) While possession of references is not an official requirement when applying for a tourist visa, they may help speed up the application process. (b) Both yellow fever, tropical disease and cholera vaccination certificates may be required to enter Gabon but are not necessary when applying for a visa. However, it is best to check with the Embassy prior to travel.

Working days required

Minimum of four days.

HIV entry requirements

No Test Required

Departure tax

None

Embassies

Embassy of the Gabonese Republic in the UK

27 Elvaston Place, London SW7 5NL, UK
Tel: (020) 7823 9986.
Website: http://gabon.embassyhomepage.com
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 0900-1500.

Embassy of the Gabonese Republic in the USA

2034 20th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20009, USA
Tel: (202) 797 1000.
E-mail: [email protected]
Consulate in: New York.

Travel Advice

The threat from terrorism is low, but you should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by foreigners.
Crime is increasing, particularly in Libreville and Port-Gentil, including incidents of robbery and armed attacks.
Following a number of carjackings within Libreville it is recommended that travelers keep their car windows closed and car doors locked if they are traveling at night.
Public demonstrations in Port Gentil have on occasion turned violent. Travelers should avoid demonstrations, rallies and large public gatherings.
This advice is based on information provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. It is correct at time of publishing. As the situation can change rapidly, visitors are advised to contact the following organizations for the latest travel advice:

British Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Tel: (0845) 850 2829.
Website: www.fco.gov.uk

US Department of State

Website: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel.html

Currency

CFA (Communaut? Financiaire Africaine) Franc (CFAfr or XAF) = 100 centimes. Notes are in denominations of CFAfr10,000, 5000, 2000, 1000 and 500. Coins are in denominations of CFAfr500, 100, 50, 25, 10, 5 and 1. Only currency issued by the Banque des ?tats de l'Afrique Centrale (Bank of Central African States) is valid; currency issued by the Banque des ?tats de l'Afrique de l'Ouest (Bank of West African States) is not. The CFA Franc is tied to the Euro. Note: Libreville is one of the most expenisive cities in the world.

Currency restrictions

The import of local and foreign currency is unlimited, subject to declaration. The export of local and foreign currency is limited to CFAfr200,000.

Banking hours

Mon-Fri 0730-1130, 1430-1630.

Currency exchange

Gabon is part of the French Monetary Area.

Credit cards

American Express, MasterCard and Visa are not widely accepted. Check with your credit or debit card company for merchant acceptability and other facilities which may be available.

Travellers cheques

To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travelers are advised to take traveller's cheques in Euros.

City/RegionCity/Area codeFollowed by
Libreville1+ 6 digits
Outside Libreville2+ 6 digits
  1. Health Information
  2. Recent Disease Outbreaks
  3. Hospital Database

Dental care

There are some European trained dentists in Libreville, avoid dental care elsewhere in Gabon

Medication Availability

Some international medication is available from the larger pharmacies in Libreville.

Blood supplies

Screening is inconsistent in Gabon, therefore blood supplies should be considered as unsafe

Medical facilities

Medical facilities in Gabon's major cities are limited, but generally adequate for routine or basic needs. Medical services in rural areas are generally unavailable. Some medicines are not available.

General caution

Recent medical and dental exams should ensure that the traveler is in good health. Carry appropriate health and accident insurance documents and copies of any important medical records. Bring an adequate supply of all prescription and other medications as well as any necessary personal hygiene items, including a spare pair of eyeglasses or contact lenses if necessary. Drink only bottled beverages (including water) or beverages made with boiled water. Do not use ice cubes or eat raw seafood, rare meat or dairy products. Eat well-cooked foods while they are still hot and fruits that can be peeled without contamination. Avoid roadside stands and street vendors. Swim only in well-maintained, chlorinated pools or ocean water known to be free from pollution; avoid freshwater lakes, streams and rivers. Wear clothing which reduces exposed skin and apply repellents containing DEET to remaining areas. Sleep in well-screened accommodations. Carry anti-diarrheal medication. Reduce problems related to sun exposure by using sunglasses, wide-brimmed hats, sunscreen lotions and lip protection.

Specific concerns

AIDS occurs. Blood supply may not be adequately screened and/or single-use, disposable needles and syringes may be unavailable. When possible, travelers should defer medical treatment until reaching a facility where safety can be assured.

Immunization

Hepatitis A: Consider active immunization with hepatitis A vaccine or passive immunization with immune globulin (IG) for all susceptible travelers. Especially consider choosing active immunization for persons planning to reside for a long period or for persons who take frequent short-term trips to risk areas. The importance of protection against hepatitis A increases as length of stay increases. It is particularly important for persons who will be living in or visiting rural areas, eating or drinking in settings of poor or uncertain sanitation, or who will have close contact with local persons (especially young children) in settings with poor sanitary conditions. Hepatitis B: Vaccination is advised for health care workers, persons anticipating direct contact with blood from or sexual contact with inhabitants, and persons planning extended stays of 6 months or greater (especially those who anticipate using local health care facilities, staying in rural areas, or having intimate contact with the local population). Polio: A one-time booster dose is recommended for travelers who have previously completed a standard course of polio immunization. Refer to CDC guidelines for vaccinating unimmunized or incompletely immunized persons. Pregnancy is a relative contraindication to vaccination; however, if protection is needed, either IPV or OPV may be used, depending on preference and time available. Typhoid: Vaccination should be considered for persons staying longer than 3 weeks, adventurous eaters, and those who will venture off the usual tourist routes into small cities, villages and rural areas. Importance of vaccination increases as access to reasonable medical care becomes limited. Contraindications depend on vaccine type. Yellow fever: Vaccination is recommended for travelers over 9 months of age going outside of urban areas. Note: All routine vaccines (such as DTP or Td, Hib, MMR, polio, varicella, influenza and pneumococcal) should be kept up-to-date as a matter of good health practice unrelated to travel.

Disease risk summary

Insect-borne diseases: are major causes of illness. Many diseases, including yellow fever, are endemic, with only scattered cases being reported and, from time to time, more extensive outbreaks. Dengue fever - occurs Filariasis - prevalent Leishmaniasis - occurs (both cutaneous and visceral types may be found, particularly in the drier areas) Loiasis - prevalent Malaria - prevalent Onchocerciasis (river blindness) - prevalent Relapsing fever - occurs Trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness) - occurs (human type - mainly in small, isolated areas - is reported) Typhus - occurs (louse-, flea-, and tick-borne types occur) Food-borne and water-borne illness: highly endemic. The dysenteries and diarrheal diseases, giardiasis, the typhoid fevers and viral hepatitis are widespread. Echinococcosis (hydatid disease) is widespread in animal-breeding areas. Dracunculiasis - occurs Helminthic (parasitic worm) infections - prevalent Schistosomiasis - common Other hazards: Diseases such as measles and diphtheria are commonly reported, and cases of polio still occur regularly. Influenza risk extends throughout the year. Rabies - occurs Trachoma - prevalent

Entry requirements

Yellow fever: A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travelers over 1 year of age coming from all countries.

Recent disease outbreaks

No recent disease outbreaks

NameAddress
Clinique du Dr. BiyogueB.P. 3925 Montagne Sainte Libreville
Polyclinique ChambrierB.P. 2230 Montagne Sainte Libreville
Polyclinique El - Rapha465 Bd. Quaben Libreville

Media

Mostly, Gabon's media is Government-controlled and journalistic pressure is subtle but ever-present.
Press: The two daily newspapers are Gabon Matin and L'Union, published in French. There are several private weeklies, published mainly on the topics of the Government and the economy. Official bulletins are published in French and have a limited circulation.
TV: Gabon's national state broadcaster (Radiodiffusion-Television Gabonaise) operates two TV stations. TeleAfrica is a private station and TV Say is a pay-TV operator.
Radio: There is a French-language radio network and a network of provincial stations. Africa No 1 is a Pan-African broadcaster based in Gabon, heard across Africa on shortwave and on FM relays in many cities. French concerns have a financial stake Radio France Internationale is available via an FM relay.

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