Gabon - Country 129 is for purpose

But the Gabon E-Visa is a mess

I had no big plans for Gabon and that was a pity. I should have informed myself better about the possibilities this country offers for tourists. But my focus on this Africa trip was definitely on other countries. Actually, Gabon only served as a stepping stone to get from the two Congo's to Equatorial Guinea.

So Gabon was very important for this trip and it actually made an easy "travel impression" to come here. Because Gabon offers a great website to apply for the E-Visa.

Unfortunately, the E-Visa system doesn't work and the visa was never issued.

I almost had zero plans for Gabon. The plan was to get here, which is already a considerably challenging plan. But once here I had about 4 days to spend.  

Gabon e-Visa is not issued. What's the problem?

From far away, the application process for the e-Visa looks very reliable, but once everything is submitted, nothing happens. Nothing!

It is said that after 72 hours I will receive the e-Visa, but this is not true - nothing happened and the status of the application remains "in process" for several weeks. So no refusal or acceptance. There are contact details on the website and I have tried everything to contact them, but all in vain.

Meanwhile, I was already in Angola and still had no visa for Gabon.

And without a Gabon visa, there is no entry to Gabon and therefore no further travel to Equatorial Guinea. That would have been an absolute disaster for the whole trip.

So I had no other choice but to go to a Gabonese embassy either in Angola or in one of the two Congo's and apply for the visa there.

Get the Gabon Visa in Angola 

So I visited the embassy of Gabon during the time I was in Luanda, to apply for the visa.

Fortunately, the embassy is almost in the center. It is a nice independent house but the guard didn't want to let me in at first because I have been wearing shorts and he refused me entry. Two policemen watched this and approached me when I left the property and asked me what was going on. They both laughed and accompanied me to the embassy again and asked the Gabon embassy guard if he could make an exception.

The house was a two-story building but completely empty except for an office on the upper floor where the ambassador's office was.

She was very friendly and understanding and after clarifying the facts she offered me to issue a multi-entry visa:

Ahh Africa again. I'm sorry for your efforts with the e-Visa and also the guard who didn't let you enter with the shorts. You know, normally, not the things themselves are difficult, but the people are the ones who make it difficult.

Ahh yes! How true! She told me to be back here tomorrow morning to pick up the passport.

There was a huge price difference in the visas. The Multi entry visa cost only 60 euros. 

What a bargain compared to the E-Visa, which costs 185 euros + 15 euros handling fee.

Day 1 - Arriving in Gabon from Kinshasa

I was supposed to land this early afternoon in Libreville, but the African "flight-god" played around again and changed my flight from the DRC's Kinshasa to Gabon by 50 hours! to the future, with a very short notice period of one day before departure.

Thankfully there was more than one flight from Congo to Gabon that day and I was able to quickly buy a seat from another airline. So I arrived late in the evening in Gabon.

Those funny African excuses

The hotel taxi confirmed to me by Whatsapp for a third time that they will wait for me despite the changed arrival time.

But of course, they did not.

Arriving at the hotel they came up with the best excuses which of course all make a lot of sense.

The taxi driver forgot the paper with your name
The taxi driver was there but he did not find you
The taxi driver was informed that the plane arrived later

At the end of the day, I got the wrong room and had to get along without A/C but was allowed to pay the full price.

Sorry, we didn't know the A/C does not work
We cannot understand why our colleagues gave you that room
Unfortunately, we don't have another room today

Ahh yes! Africa! I took it quite relaxed because I am very lucky to have the chance to be here in Gabon today.

So much more things could have gone wrong in the last days and weeks.

Day 2 - Walking around Libreville to take photos

This morning I was allowed to change the room and breakfast made yesterday's exertions away again. 

My plan today was simple. Just to walk around Libreville.

Walking along the "Boulevard Triomphal"

The hotel was located on Boulevard Triomphal, one of the busiest main streets in Libreville and also the street with the most ministries and large governmental buildings.

The long Boulevard Triomphal is the main street within Libreville
Stayed at the Hotel Hibiscus Blvd Triomphal, Libreville, GabonAnt on the Flag of GabonPeople in Gabon wearing umbrellas to cover from UV

Along the way are all the ministries and governmental buildings

Ministries of Mines and Tourism have a hand monument
Industry and Tourism, Forest and French Institure are all at the same roadThe huge building is at the Boulevard TriomphalNo one works here and thats why no police watching me

The markets at the end of the road.

Very modern supermarket in Libreville
Its sold in Libreville in front of Geant Casino RizIn front of the supermarketFor sale in front of the Geant Casino Riz

The church "Cathedrale Sainte Marie"

The most famous church in the country is located at the main branch at the end of the boulevard.

Just beside the intersection at Boulevard Triomphal
This exemplar is not the nicest but does it service to godKatholic is the main religion in GabonTravelsvenue in Libreville

The port to"Pointe Denis Island"

I wanted to find out today how I can get to the island of Pointe Denis for the time in a few days, after returning from Equatorial Guinea.

Pointe Denis is half an hour by boat from Libreville and is said to have a great view of the city. On the island are also Elephants walking around.

The departure port was not in the city but around 5km south of Libreville at the port called "Michel Marine".

The departure times are very limited and there is only one boat from Libreville to the island. So I will try to make the trip in a few days.

Pointe Denis is the island with the elephants on it
Half hour ride from Libreville to Pointe DenisThe departure area is at Michel MarinaIts clean like Switzerland here in Libreville

Walking through the streets of Libreville 

The streets of Libreville are relatively quiet compared and very clean compared to most of other African capitals. 

It's quiet and does not have that many restaurants or shops.

Doesnt look like Paris but has a good monument in the district Petit Paris
In the city center its busy with traffice, but not that worseIn the Petit Paris district is the MonumentFriendly muslims live friendly together with catholics in GabonLibreville has many mosques but also many ChurchesIn petit Paris there are many mosquesGabon Telecom tower has a graffity at the wall

At the top of the road Ndende is the stadium "Stade Complexe Omnisport"

As it was around Christmas time and almost everything was shut down these days, I wanted to skip time and solely randomly walked around without any intention to visit the stadium.

But the more surprised I was, suddenly seeing the huge complex appearing.

Stade Complexe Omnisport
The stadium is mainly for footballFor a small city like Libreville, this is a huge stadium

The second church "Cathédrale Saint Pierre"

After having a leisurely lunch and I continued the walk down to the coast of Libreville and direction south.

On the way down there is the church.

Cathédrale Saint Pierre in Gabon is like an arrow
The church is a modern churchClean cityWalk happily on the streets as there is no war anymore

The monster statue which is not allowed to take a photo

At this boulevard is the most famous statue/monument of the country.

This one monument at the boulevard looks like a dancing monster that was tied to piles but escaped like hulk from the chains. On its wrists are still the handcuffs and the chains.

The monster monument is at the boulevard on the beachside but it's not allowed to take photos, which I discovered a bit later.

Police want their daily bribe

Far and wide there are no people to be seen. So I thought nobody would care if I took some snapshots of this thing.

1 photo, 2 photos and then I heard whistling from very far away.

I looked around but couldn't see anybody. Then about 200 meters away I saw a person running behind a fence, which started screaming like crazy and ordered me there. It was a policeman and that pointed to trouble.

IT'S NOT ALLOWED TO TAKE PHOTOS! How many did you take?

So I had taken about two photos and he said it is not allowed and I have to go to his boss. When I asked him if he wanted "something" he nodded and I gave him the CFA1000. Then he walked away.

It's a pity that even in a quite civilized country like Gabon corruption is so obviously working.

And this is the statue.

The forbidden Statue to take Photos. Be aware!
Its forbidden to take images and police asks for a bribe. Happens in Gabon!Stone wall with brown and white paintingIts at the boulevard in Libreville

Walked along the street "south of the boulevard"

I had a lot of time. I walked a long way southwards to see if there are maybe any other spectacular buildings, but there were not.

Only normal stuff. Not very spectacular.

Its located at the Boulevarde de L'independence
Libreville has a population of 700000Its friendly in the housesHeavy traffic in Gabon at the mainroadsBlue bench with yellow letters is visible often in the cityWalking Tour through Libreville to spot PalmsMany big buildings in clean streets. A nice atmosphere to work.

Day 3 - Departure to Equatorial Guinea

Departures from African airports are like a box of Forest Gump's chocolates, you never know what you will get, and that was especially exciting today.

Yes, flight planning in Africa is definitely not funny, everything can go wrong.

The airport in Gabon is relatively small and overcrowded with people screaming everywhere. That leads to the fact that I can't hear the loudspeakers and had no idea if my flight was canceled or not. 

CEIBA Airline is good, but only once the plane is in the air

If this flight had not taken place, it would have been a huge disaster for me. After all the effort to get all the visas, it would have been a horror for me to have to give up the trip to Equatorial Guinea.

Actually, the flight with CEIBA should have gone directly to Equatorial Guinea, but this flight was rerouted to Sao Tome first.

Now I'm sitting in the departure hall and the flight has a delay of 2 hours but that was easy to digest. From there it goes now tonight in the direction of Equatorial Guinea.

Two times per week CEIBA is flying to Equatorial Guinea

Day 4 - Four days later, returning from Equatorial Guinea

My fourth day in Gabon. I Flew back from Equatorial Guinea this morning

Now I still have time today and tomorrow in Gabon and the day after tomorrow I will fly on to Sao Tome to spend a few days there.

No Pointe Denis island trip for me

I was again staying in the same hotel, but this time the shuttle service from the hotel left me hanging. This had the consequence that I couldn't catch the boat to Point Denis. Pointe Denis is an island off Libreville, which is perfect to relax. Elephants are also there.

Christmas in Gabon

Around noon I walked to the beach of Libreville to have lunch at the Promenade. Today is Christmas and so it is in Gabon.

Because of that all restaurants are closed and finding one was not easy.

But the food in the restaurant "Samo Beach" was quite good, even if a bit expensive, but had no other possibility.

After all the experiences of the last days, especially the great days in Equatorial Guinea, I was tired. The rest of the day I did practically nothing except drinking coffee and sleeping. It was also just too hot today.

What to see within 2 days in Libreville
Restaurants in Libreville at the BeachGabon Libreville Beach for touristsPerfect beaches at the mainland LibrevilleAmazing beach views in GabonAt the beach of Libreville

At the promenade, there are a few restaurants.

Restaurants in Libreville beach like Akouango Beach
Akouango BeachLibreville Beach Club Food and RestaurantNational Colors on the bench of Gabon

Day 5 - From Gabon to Sao Tome Island

Sitting in the airport of Gabon again and waiting for the departure to Sao Tome.

Afrijet Airport is in a separate terminal about 300 meters from the main terminal. But there is only one terminal, which makes everything very relaxed. There is also free coffee and Wifi in the terminal.

Everything here gives the impression that the departure today will be on time.

Hopefully, the people from the hotel shuttle will be waiting for me when I arrive in Sao Tome.

Librevilles Airport is only 10 minutes from the Triomphal Boulevard
There is a view over Libreville on the road to the airportThe boulevard Triomphal is perfectly located and near the airportGabonese people along the streets


  1. Hallo Sven, zuerst einmal vielen Dank für Deine wertvollen Reisebeschreibungen, konnte dadurch schon viel Zeit für meine Reiseplanungen einsparen. Nun meine Frage an Dich, ich bin auch Schweizer und möchte im November 2023 für ein paar Tage nach Libreville in Gabun reisen, ist es eventuell möglich das Visum bei Ankunft auf dem Airport zu erhalten?
    Für Deine Antwort vielen Dank.

    1. Hoi Walter. Danke für dein Kommentar. Ein Visum bei Ankunft am Flughafen war damals (für uns Schweizer) unmöglich. Mittlerweile hoffe ich jedoch das sie es hingekriegt haben, in Gabon ein funktionierendes E-Visa System zum laufen zu bringen :). Ansonsten bleibt wohl nichts anderes übrig als die Botschaft in Genf. Gutes Gelingen und gute Reise. Gruss,

    2. Vielen Dank