Gabon Travel Advice
Security travel advice for Gabon
How safe is Gabon?
Threat level: Low-Medium
COVID-19 Situation in Gabon
There have been reported cases of the coronavirus in Gabon and as a result of this, a state of emergency was in effect between April - May. The country has lifted some of the restrictions but to curb the spread of the virus, a series of measures are still applicable: the issue of tourist visas has been suspended, land borders are closed, public gatherings over 10 people are banned, the use of face masks in public places is compulsory. Further to this, international travellers must provide a negative COVID-19 test result issued up to 14 days prior their arrival and they must quarantine for 15 days in a government facility. To avoid contracting the disease: self-isolate, apply good hygiene practices, maintain social distancing, avoid unnecessary public gatherings and unnecessary travel.
Security in Gabon
Trips to Gabon are relatively risk-free for most, although the current travel advice for Gabon is for visitors to take normal precautions when visiting the country. The country enjoys a low terror threat but travellers, especially from western countries, should be aware of the overall heightened threat. Political unrest is common at the moment, in 2015 the Benin Embassy in Libreville was burnt down by demonstrators.
Intelligent Protection International Limited provides its business and private clients with Security and Bodyguard services in the Gabon. If you are interested in these services, please see our page: Bodyguard Services in Gabon.
Recent Security Risk Events
Crime rates are high in some areas of Gabon including Port-Gentil. Recent reports have seen that foreign nationals have fallen victim to assault, robbery and armed attacks. Cases of serious crime against tourists are isolated and basic security measures should reduce the risk of any trouble. Maintain a high level of vigilance in public and avoid road travel after dark.
Petty crime such as pick pocketing is an issue in some areas of Gabon: poorer areas of Libreville have experienced a peak in theft. It is advised not to display expensive jewellery as foreign tourists are high priority targets due to their perceived wealth.
Unauthorised political demonstrations in Libreville and Port Gentil have a tendency to turn violent without warning. In recent months there have been several strikes and demonstrations in these areas.
On the 7th of January 2019, a failed coup was attempted by a group of soldiers while President, Ali Bongo, was recovering from stroke in Morocco.
It is highly advised to avoid getting involved in any large gatherings and monitor the local media as often as possible. During periods of political unrest, police checks may increase, the best travel advice for Gabon is to ensure that you review news for the country prior to travel.
Same-sex sexual relations are illegal in Gabon and are punishable by a six-month prison sentence and a fine of up to 5 million CFA francs, so LGBT must be cautious and should avoid public displays of affection.
Gabon's International Relations
Gabon is a valued member of the United Nations and the Organisation of African Unity. Ever since gaining its independence in 1960, it has had a strong diplomatic relationship with France, as French nationals live and work in Gabon. The 6th Marine Infantry Battalion of the French Armed Forces is also stationed in the country. Gabon also has good relations with many other western countries including the United States, and the United Kingdom.
Travelling around Gabon
The licensing policy for driving in Gabon is very relaxed, you can drive with most national driving licenses, it is best to keep either your license or a copy of it on you in case a policeman asks to see it.
The biggest risk of road travel is damaged caused during the wet seasons which last from October to mid-December and mid-February to May. It is advised to only to travel with four wheel drive vehicles during these periods.
Commercial Travel Risk Services
Intelligent Protection International Limited provides companies and organisations with Commercial Travel Risk Services designed to mitigate risks of staff when they travel for business. If you are interested in these services, please see: Commercial Travel Risk Services.
Emergency Services in Gabon
All emergency services: 177
Religion: Christianity and Islam
Currency: Central African CFA franc (XAF)
Time now in Libreville:
Consular information for Gabon
U.S. Embassy Libreville
Telephone: +241 0145 7100
Telephone: +241 0145 7200 (Out of hours)
There is no British Embassy in Gabon so nationals will have to contact the closest Embassy in Cameroon should they need assistance.
British High Commission in Yaoundé
Avenue Winston Churchill,
Telephone: +237 222 22 07 96
Visa requirements for Gabon
To enter Gabon, a passport valid for more than six months is required by all nationals. A yellow fever vaccination certificate is also required. Single-entry tourist visa cost about £60 and you must provide a copy of your airline ticket and proof of booked accommodation.
Healthcare and Immunisations
It is advised that visitors to Gabon are up-to-date with primary boosters such as MMR. It is essential that you get vaccinated against Yellow Fever as there is risk of the disease throughout the country. It is an entry requirement that you present a certificate proving your immunisation and should be completed at least 10 days prior to departure.
It is further recommended that most travellers also get Tetanus, Typhoid and Hepatitis A vaccinations. You should check with your local health professional prior to travel if you are unsure.
Medical facilities are scarce in Gabon and are often of poor quality. It is recommended for travellers purchase comprehensive travel health insurance that will cover the cost of evacuation to another country if necessary.
Gabon has also experienced an AIDS epidemic, as such you should exercise normal precautions to avoid exposure to HIV/AIDS.