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Travel Guide: Getting to and around Gabon

12th Oct 2011 1:57am | By Editor

Getting to Gabon is part of the adventure and well worth it.

Getting There

Fly

Travellers from Europe can take direct flights to the Leon M'ba International Airport near the Gabonese capital Libreville from Brussels, Paris, Rome, Madrid and Geneva. From other continents connecting flights can be organised via South Africa with South African Airways from Johannesburg’s OR Tambo Airport or with Ethiopian Airlines via Addis Ababa and Douala. Royal Air Maroc also offers flights from Casablanca in Morocco to Gabon.

Boat

If you are in the right port at the right time you can negotiate with the captain of the occasional freight ship to hitch a ride to the port of Libreville. Negotiate the fare before you depart and don’t expect comfort. Pack your own food and drinks.

The Solmar II sails between São Tomé, an island in the Gulf of Guinea off the western equatorial coast of Africa and Libreville regularly.

Train

There is a train from Brazzaville in the Republic of Congo to Mbinda on the border of Gabon. Take a “bush taxi” to Franceville and then hop onto the fairly comfortable Transgabonais train to Libreville. The trip can take up to six days but should be a guaranteed experience.

Road

Travelling by bush taxis and minibuses between Youndé in Cameroon and Libreville takes about three days. The crossing is between Ambam in the sourhern province of Cameroon and Bitam in Gabon. Make sure to insist on getting all the necessary paperwork done at the border post because you may be asked to produce entry stamps later during your stay.

Getting Around

Bus

It is easy to get around by bus because there are many services and most of them are fairly cheap.

Fly

Air Service has scheduled flights to Oyem, Makouko and Franceville/Mvengue. Air Nationale flies to Franceville/Mvengue. There are flights to Franceville/Mvengue every day of the week except Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Car

Only about 600 kilometres of the almost 8000 kilometres of roads in Gabon are tarred. So if you plan road trips make sure you have a good strong vehicle. In places a 4x4 is recommended.

Train

The Trans-Gabon railroad goes from Owendo to Franceville. There is a service every day of the week, but the trip can take more than 12 hours with delays and at least 8 hours on a good day.

Boat

Ferries sail along the coast of Gabon with a regular service from Libreville south to Port Gentil.

Riverboats from Port Gentil up the Ogooue River to Lambarene leave every few hours. Depending on your choice of boat, the trip can take between eight and 24 hours. Some boats will take you all the way to Ndjolé, a logging town that is the last to be reached by boat. Higher upstream are strong rapids.