French is the official language of Gabon spoken by almost everyone under the age of 50. At least 32 percent of the population also knows Fang as their mother tongue, but over 40 indigenous languages and dialects like Mbere, Sira and Eshira, are widely used. Very few people know and speak English, although the government is planning to make it a second language soon. Some immigrant taxi drivers from West Africa may be able to communicate with you, but other than that bring a phrase book.
Gabon’s official currency is the CFA, or the Communauté Financiére Africaine franc, which is made up of 100 centimes. Notes come in denominations of CFA 10,000, 5,000, 2,000, 1,000, and 500. Only currency issued by the Bank of Central African States is valid for use in the country. ATMs are available in major cities, but you should bring plenty of cash when travelling to the remote wilderness. Credit cards are not widely accepted, so travelers’ checks may be a safer bet. There is no limit on the import and export of foreign currency, although amounts must be declared upon entering the country.
Gabon uses 220-240V as a standard voltage rate. The primary socket types are europlug and schucko, so bring a plug adapter and a voltage converter if you want to use electronics while visiting.
The country code for Gabon is +241. Communication lines are pretty reliable throughout the country, especially in the main cities. Phone lines are adequate, and mobile phones are also widely used. Internet is available all over Port Gentil and Libreville.
Certain goods may be imported into the country without incurring customs duty. These include up to 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars, or 250 g of tobacco (women may only bring cigarettes), two liters of alcohol, 50 ml of perfume, and gifts valued up to CFA 5,000.
Centre Gabonais de Promotion Touristique: +241-728-504 or www.gabontour.ga
Consulates in Gabon
US Consulate, Libreville, Gabon: +241-762-003
French Consulate, Libreville, Gabon: +241-797-000
Canadian Consulate, Libreville, Gabon: +241442-965
Belgian Consulate, Libreville, Gabon: +241-740-718
Brazilian Consulate, Libreville, Gabon: +241-760-535
Chinese Consulate, Libreville, Gabon: +241-743-207
Danish Consulate, Libreville, Gabon: +241-762-108
Egyptian Consulate, Libreville, Gabon: +241-732-538
German Consulate, Libreville, Gabon: +241-760-188
Italian Consulate, Libreville, Gabon: +241-742-892
Dutch Consulate, Libreville, Gabon: +241-745-282
Russian Consulate, Libreville, Gabon: +241-724-869
South African Consulate, Libreville, Gabon: +241-774-530
Spanish Consulate, Libreville, Gabon: +241-721-264
Swiss Consulate, Libreville, Gabon: +241-765-354
Police and emergency services: 177