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Summary

  • Exercise a high degree of caution in Gabon because of the high levels of crime. Pay close attention to your personal security at all times. Monitor the media and other sources about possible new security risks.
  • Strikes and political demonstrations can occur across Gabon, especially in the capital Libreville and in Port Gentil. Avoid large crowds, protests and demonstrations where possible as they may turn violent. Be alert and monitor the local media for upcoming political demonstrations and strikes.
  • Incidents of violent crime, including robberies and armed attacks, have been known to occur, especially in the cities of Libreville and Port Gentil. Avoid displays of wealth, as this can make you a target for crime. See Safety and security.
  • Flooding can occur in the rainy seasons from October to mid-December and mid-February to May.
  • Australia doesn't have an Embassy or Consulate in Gabon. The Canadian Honorary Consul in Libreville, Gabon and the Canadian High Commission in Yaoundé, Cameroon, provides consular assistance to Australians in Gabon. This service includes the issuance of Provisional Travel Documents. The Australian High Commission in Abuja, Nigeria, can also assist Australians in Gabon.
  • See Travel Smart for general advice for all travellers.

Entry and exit

Australians require a tourist visa for Gabon.

Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) can change at short notice. Contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Gabon for up-to-date information. Gabon doesn't have diplomatic representation in Australia, the nearest embassies are in Jakarta and Tokyo.

Gabon is listed by the World Health Organization (WHO) as endemic for yellow fever. Yellow fever is a serious and potentially fatal disease preventable by vaccination. See Health.

Valid yellow fever vaccination and cholera certificates are required for entry into Gabon. If you don't have proof of vaccination you may be required to have a vaccine, at your expense, before entry into Gabon.

Some airlines may require passengers to present a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate before being allowed to board flights out of the country. For more information about yellow fever, including Australian re-entry requirements, see the Department of Health website.

Ensure your passport is valid for at least six months after the date you intend to return to Australia.

Safety and security

Crime

Petty theft, including pickpocketing, purse snatching and vehicle break-ins, is common throughout Gabon, particularly in crowded areas, such as markets, transport hubs and tourist areas.

Violent crime, including robberies and armed attacks, have occurred, especially in the cities of Libreville and Port Gentil. Don't tempt thieves – avoid wearing expensive items of clothing.  

Foreigners have been targeted in carjackings, 'snatch–and-grab' robberies from unlocked cars and violent incidents of road rage. Keep your car doors locked, windows up and valuables out of sight.

Victims are often targeted when walking alone or at night, especially in isolated areas or on beaches.

If you become a victim of violent crime, including rape, seek immediate medical attention. HIV/AIDS is prevalent in Gabon.

Civil unrest and Political tension

Strikes and political demonstrations can occur across Gabon, especially in the capital Libreville and in Port Gentil. Be particularly alert. Avoid large crowds, protests and demonstrations where possible. Monitor the media and other information sources about new safety and security risks.

 

Terrorism

There is a low threat from terrorism in Gabon. Terrorism is a threat throughout the world.

More information: Terrorist threat worldwide.

Money and valuables

Gabon is largely a cash-based economy. The currency of Gabon is is the Central African Franc (XAF). Credit cards aren't widely accepted in Gabon, except at major hotels and restaurants. There are reports of credit card fraud and internet scams originating in Gabon. Be particularly cautious when withdrawing money from ATMs, as you may be targeted by thieves. Traveller's cheques must be in either Euro or US Dollars and can only be cashed at larger banks in major cities.

Your passport is a valuable document that is attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. Always keep it in a safe place. You're required by Australian law to report a lost or stolen passport online or by contacting the nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate, as soon as possible.

Local travel

Ecotourism is generally considered to be safe throughout Gabon. Travel with a reputable tour company and don't venture too far from your group.

Road travel

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), you're four times more likely to be killed in a motor vehicle accident in Gabon than in Australia. Driving in Gabon can be hazardous due to poor road conditions, poorly maintained and overloaded vehicles, local driving practices, and inadequate lighting and road signs, especially outside urban areas. Traffic accidents are common. Be alert to pedestrians and animals on the road. Travel outside of major urban centres usually requires the use of a four-wheel drive. Towing and repair services aren't common outside Libreville. Avoid travelling at night. More information: Road safety and driving.

There are police road blocks throughout the country, and you may be asked to show identity and motor vehicle registration papers. If hiring a vehicle in Gabon, confirm with your rental company what you're required to carry in your vehicle, such as licensing documents, proof of insurance or a fire extinguisher. If you're involved in a traffic accident, go to the nearest police station to avoid possible confrontations.

Public transport

Buses and trains in Gabon are reasonably safe, but services are infrequent. Many Gabonese use taxis for regular travel. Taxis are generally safe, however they often pick up multiple passengers and take indirect routes. Negotiate the fare with the driver before entering and avoid using taxis alone or at night. Use only authorised taxis, and where possible, use hotel taxi services.

Air safety

The Australian Government doesn't provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths. See the Aviation Safety Network website for information on aviation safety in Gabon.

Refer to our general air travel page for more information on aviation safety and security.

Sea travel

Cases of armed robbery and piracy against commercial shipping have occurred off the coast of Gabon and across the Gulf of Guinea. See our piracy page for more information. The International Maritime Bureau also issues piracy reports on its website.

Laws

You're subject to the local laws of Gabon, including those that appear harsh by Australian standards. If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular Services Charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail. Research laws before travelling, especially for an extended stay.

Penalties for drug offences are severe and can include lengthy prison sentences. More information: Carrying or using drugs.

Serious crimes, including murder and assault, carry the death penalty.

Homosexual activities aren't illegal, although the local community may be intolerant of homosexuality. Attempts to have homosexual marriages charged under 'affront to public order' and 'obscenity' laws have occurred. Same-sex relationships aren't recognised under Ganbonese law. More information:  LGBTI travellers.

It's prohibited to photograph military sites and government buildings, including border posts, airports and the Presidential Palace.

The unlicensed purchase of or trading in endangered wildlife products, such as ivory and rhino horn, is illegal and carries severe penalties. See the Australian Department of the Environment's Wildlife trade website for more information. 

Australian criminal laws, relating to money laundering, bribery of foreign public officials, terrorism, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, child pornography and child sex tourism apply to Australians overseas. Australians who commit these offences while overseas can be prosecuted in Australia.

Information for dual nationals

Dual citizenship is legally recognised in Gabon. However, our assistance to dual nationals can be limited if local authorities decide to consider you a Gabonese citizen. See our Dual nationals page for more information.

Health

Take out comprehensive travel insurance that will cover any overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before you depart. Confirm that your insurance covers you for the whole time you'll be away, and check what circumstances and activities aren't included in your policy. Regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government won't pay for a traveller's medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs.

Consider your physical and mental health before travelling overseas. Get  vaccinated before you travel. At least eight weeks before you depart, make an appointment with your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and any implications for your health, particularly if you have an existing medical condition. The World Health Organization (WHO) provides information for travellers and our health pages also provide useful information for travellers.

Medical facilities in Gabon are adequate in major cities, but very basic or unavailable in rural areas. Upfront payment is usually required, and the inability to pay will often delay treatment. In the event of a major illness or accident, medical evacuation to a destination with appropriate medical facilities would be necessary. Costs for a medical evacuation are considerable.

Pharmaceuticals may be in short supply. Carry sufficient medication for the duration of your stay.

Services and accessibility for travellers with a disability aren't up of the standard expected in Australia.

Gabon is listed by the World Health Organization (WHO) as endemic for yellow fever. Yellow fever is a potentially fatal viral disease transmitted by mosquitoes, which is preventable by vaccination. See Entry and exit for vaccination certificate requirements. For more information about yellow fever, see the Department of Health website.

Malaria occurs widely and throughout the year in Gabon. Other insect-borne diseases (including chikungunya fever, dengue fever, Zika virus, filariasis and African sleeping sickness) also occur. Take prophylaxis against malaria and take measures to avoid insect bites, including using insect repellent at all times, wearing long, loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing, and ensuring your accommodation is mosquito proof.

Water-borne, food-borne, parasitic and other infectious diseases (including cholera, typhoid, hepatitis, tuberculosis and rabies) are prevalent, with more serious outbreaks occurring from time to time. Boil all drinking water or drink bottled water, avoid ice cubes and raw and undercooked food. Don't swim in fresh water to avoid exposure to certain water-borne diseases, such as bilharzia (schistosomiasis). Seek medical advice if you have a fever or are suffering from diarrhoea.

HIV/AIDS is prevelant infection in Gabon. Exercise appropriate precautions if engaging in activities that expose you to risk of infection.

Where to get help

Depending on the nature of your enquiry, your best option may be to contact your family, friends, airline, travel agent, tour operator, employer or travel insurance provider in the first instance. Your travel insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.

The national emergency number is 177. Depending on your mobile telephone network, medical assistance may be reached on 1300, 0174 or 0880 (SOS Médecins). Operators may only speak French.

If the matter relates to complaints about tourism services or products, contact the service provider directly.

The Consular Services Charter explains what the Australian Government may do and can't do to assist Australians overseas.

Australia doesn't have an Embassy or Consulate in Gabon. By agreement between the Canadian and Australian governments, the Canadian Honorary Consul in Libreville, Gabon and the Canadian High Commission in Yaoundé, Cameroon, provide limited consular assistance to Australians in Gabon. This service includes the issuance of Provisional Travel Documents

Canadian Honorary Consul, Libreville

Quartier Batterie IV
Pont de Gué-Gué (1st Street behind the EU)
Libreville, Gabon
Telephone: +241 01 44 29 65
Email: conhongab@gmail.com

Canadian High Commission, Yaounde

Les Colonnades Building
New Bastos, Road 1 792
Yaoundé, Cameroon
Telephone: +237 222 50 39 00
Facsimile: +237 222 50 39 04
Email: yunde@international.gc.ca
Website: canadainternational.gc.ca/cameroon-cameroun.

You can also obtain consular assistance from the Australian High Commission in Nigeria.

Australian High Commission, Abuja

48 Aguiyi Ironsi Street
Maitama
Abuja, Nigeria
Telephone: +234 9 461 2780
Email: ahc.abuja@dfat.gov.au
Website: nigeria.highcommission.gov.au.

See the High Commission website for information about opening hours and temporary closures that may affect service provision.

If you're unable to contact the High Commission in a consular emergency, you can contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre in Canberra on +61 2 6261 3305, or 1300 555 135 within Australia.

Additional information

Natural disasters, severe weather and climate

Flooding occurs in the rainy seasons from October to mid-December and mid-February to May. During this period, some roads may become impassable without the use of a four-wheel drive vehicle. Monitor local weather reports, especially during these periods. If a natural disaster occurs, follow the advice of local authorities.

Additional resources