Travel Guide for Gabon
Want to know the in's and out's of travel in Gabon: here's our quick guide to a country considered to be Africa's Eden.
Getting to Gabon:
Direct flights: Air France (Paris), South African Airways (Johannesburg), Royal Air Maroc (from Paris to Morocco and Libraville), Lufthansa (Frankfurt), Kenya Airways, Detla airlines. Slightly ropier airlines, only for the brave: Air Bukina, Air Nigeria, Ruwandair express, Air Ethiopia
Visas are obtainable on arrival, but can only be purchased in dollars. For the most up to date information about air travel in Gabon use http://www.adlgabon.com.
Getting around Gabon:
Mayumba is in the far South so your only two options are flying down or renting a car and driving.
Flying: Air Service and La Nationale service Mayumba, but be aware that sometimes flights are cancelled or not running because of repairs to the runways or bad weather, check ahead. Otherwise you can fly to Gamba or Tchibanga and catch a 5-hour or longer bush taxi to Mayumba.
Driving : The ‘gare routière'/ bush taxi station is at the ‘nouveau marché' / new market. Any should be able to point you in the right direction but get there early. A one-way trip is about CFA 7,000 (cabin) and in the back of the truck CFA 6,000. The route is about 108 km and can be very bumpy, but incredibly beautiful. If you are staying the night in Gamba, try the Hotel of the Conseil Departemental and in Tchibanga the Hotel Modibotie
It is about 700 kilometers from Libreville to Mayumba and the route can take anything from 20 hours, to a couple of days depending on road conditions. A 4X4 vehicle is a must. Renting a 4WD is difficult without also renting a driver but try Europcar, Hertz and Avis have offices in Libreville. Check points are common in Gabon and drivers are asked to show passports, driving license or vehicle registration documents. International Driving Permit and international insurance are required.
When to go:
Gabon is on the equator and has a very humid, tropical climate where average temperature can go from 26.3 °C to 30-35 °C in February.The best and most comfortable time to travel is during the dry season during June and August, as there is slightly less rain and less chance of you being locked in one area. June to September is the best if you are planning to go on Safari, and if you are coming to see the whales arrive in July and early September.
Accommodation in Mayumba:
Sleeping in Mayumba is very basic, don’t come expecting to much and bring along a mosquito net if you plan on getting a peaceful nights rest. Try the Hotel del’Ocean at the far southern end of town (25,000 or 20,000 CFA). Center of town options are the Hotel de Bac and the Motel Mayeye Foutou / l'Hotel Panzou. Outside of town try the Hotel Mbidia Koukou (15,000 CFA per night) and the Safari Club (found at the historic mission on the continental side of the lagoon)
Best time to see Leatherback turtles:
November and April are the best times to see the turtles nesting (hot and humid but worth it), and January, February and March towards the end of the season is the best to see the hatchlings. A great source of information is the Mayumba National Park website: http://mayumbanationalpark.com/travel.htm