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Gabon

Summary: Gabon is in western Africa between Equatorial Guinea and Congo, and has a narrow coastal plain with a hilly interior, and savanna in the east and south of the countries. The modest population has helped the country to control human expansion and preserve rain forest areas. Since its independence from France in 1960, Gabon has balanced political problems with a stable, diversified economy based on oil, timber and manganese, and is working to continue with privatization of state enterprises and increasing fiscal discipline.
Capital: Libreville
Time Zone: UTC+1
Population: 1,485,832
Languages: French, Fang, Myene, Nzebi, Bapounou, Eschira, Bandjabi
Power: 220V, 50 Hz
Currency: Communaute Financiere Africaine Franc - Currently 1 XAF = 0.0021 USD $
Climate: Gabon has a tropical climate, and is almost always hot and humid with a drier season from May to September. - Currently 55º, var t
Recent Headlines:
Euro-Swiss public quizzed on Gabon's chances at finals - Reuters via Yahoo!7 Sports - Jun 06 6:41 AM
Production problems on 'Survivor Gabon' - Post-Bulletin - Jun 06 9:14 PM
Libya defeat Gabon in Group 5 - BBC News - Jun 07 3:41 PM
Jeff Probst: 'Survivor: Gabon' experiencing on-site production problems - Reality TV World - Jun 05 9:44 AM
Probst: Production problems on `Survivor: Gabon' - AP via Yahoo! Finance - Jun 05 8:01 AM



Libreville: With mostly white buildings set against the backdrop of the rich green jungle nearby, Libreville is a distinctly African city with a little French colonial flair and modern shops and restaurants. Among the sights are the National Museum, with collections of African art and wood carvings, the market places, where smells and colors mix to intrigue visitors, and the carved pillars of the Saint Michel Cathedral, and the waterfront, beaches and nightlife.

Port-Gentil: Southwest from Libreville along the coast is Port- Gentil, built on an island and making a great place to stop, relax and explore. Enjoy the restaurants and shops, walk past the architecture in African quarter, or head to Cap Lopez, the northern part of the island for more ritz and a nice beach. Head inland about 60 miles to the Wonga Wongue National Park, with impressively preserved rain forests, and another 40 miles to Lambaréné, to see the Albert Schweitzer Hospital and museum a few miles outside of town.

Lastoursville: Lastoursville, on the the Ogooué River and called Lozo by locals, makes a great jumping point to the deeper parts of Gabon. Stays are relatively cheap, and it’s easy to get to by the Transgabonais train from the capital, and waterfalls and caves lie within a fairly easy hike from the town. The Réserve de la Lopé, about 60 miles west by jeep, has both savannah and forest terrains for a wide variety of wildlife, but camping isn’t allowed on the grounds. Makokou, a long 100 mile journey north of Lastoursville, sits by rainforest, mountains, and the Ipassa Nature Reserve favored amongst birdwatchers.



Security: Gabon is a relatively safe country to visit, although you should avoid demonstrations, if any occur, and be generally aware of your surroundings.
Point and Click: Ask before taking someone's picture, or of people's houses. The local culture means that locals are both very welcoming and friendly, but would still appreciate your respect for their beliefs.
Cash is King: Exchanging traveller’s checks can be difficult, and credit cards are not accepted in most places, even in the bigger cities. Changing currencies is most easily done in the capital at the banks, which are open weekdays but close for several hours over lunch, so you're best to carry along some francs before leaving for other parts of the country.
When To Visit: The dry season, from May to September, makes for the most comfortable time to visit the country, as the rest of the year can be quite muggy. Other than traditional Muslim events like Ramadan or Takaski, the biggest event in Gabon is Independence Day, a three day festival around August 17th.
Food: Although the bigger cities will serve French styled foods, traditional cuisine in Gabon includes rice or manioc paste, yams or cassava, and available meat or fish. Spicy sauces are often served with antelope or wild boar and gari, a flour made from cassava and prepared into a porridge, and other common dishes include nyembwe, chicken cooked with pine nuts, stews with meat and fufu, crushed and pounded plantains, and stuffed crab.
Phrases: Yes = oui, no = non, please = s'il vous plait, thank you = merci, do you speak English = parlez vous anglais?
Tipping: Check your bill, however, if a service charge hasn't already been included, add an extra 10% to 15% to the total.



Members who live in Gabon: Bret Itskowitch

Member trips to Gabon: W. Africa - October 2007

Forum threads about Gabon: None

Member tips about Gabon: Living in Gabon


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