Threat level: Low-Medium
Trips to Gabon are relatively risk free for most. The country enjoys a low terror threat but travellers especially from western countries should be aware of the overall heightened threat. Political unrest is common at the moment, in 2015 the Benin Embassy in Libreville was burnt down by demonstrators.
Recent Security Risk Events
Crime rates are high in some areas of Gabon including Port-Gentil. Recent reports have seen that foreign nationals have fallen victim to assault, robbery and armed attacks. Cases of serious crime against tourists are isolated and basic security measures should reduce the risk of any trouble. Maintain a high level of vigilance in public and avoid road travel after dark.
Petty crime such as pick pocketing is an issue in some areas of Gabon: poorer areas of Libreville have experienced a peak in theft. It is advised not to display expensive jewellery as foreign tourists are high priority targets due to their perceived wealth.
Unauthorised political demonstrations in Libreville and Port Gentil have a tendency to turn violent without warning. In recent months there have been several strikes and demonstrations in these areas.
It is highly advised to avoid getting involved in any large gatherings and monitor the local media as often as possible. During periods of political unrest, police checks may increase.
Gabon is a valued member of the United Nations and the Organisation of African Unity. Ever since gaining its independence in 1960, it has had a strong diplomatic relationship with France, as French nationals live and work in Gabon. The 6th Marine Infantry Battalion of the French Armed Forces is also stationed in the country. Gabon also has good relations with many other western countries including the United States, and the United Kingdom.
The licensing policy for driving in Gabon is very relaxed, you can drive with most national driving licenses, it is best to keep either your license or a copy of it on you in case a policeman asks to see it.
The biggest risk of road travel is damaged caused during the wet seasons which last from October to mid-December and mid-February to May. It is advised to only to travel with four wheel drive vehicles during these periods.
Official languages: French Religion: Christianity and Islam Currency: Central African CFA franc (XAF)
To enter Gabon, a passport valid for more than six months is required by all nationals. A yellow fever vaccination certificate is also required. Single-entry tourist visa cost about £60 and you must provide a copy of your airline ticket and proof of booked accommodation.
It is advised that visitors to Gabon are up-to-date with primary boosters such as MMR. It is essential that you get vaccinated against Yellow Fever as there is risk of the disease throughout the country. It is an entry requirement that you present a certificate proving your immunisation and should be completed at least 10 days prior to departure.
It is further recommended that most travellers also get Tetanus, Typhoid and Hepatitis A vaccinations. You should check with your local health professional prior to travel if you are unsure.
Other health risks
Medical facilities are scarce in Gabon and are often of poor quality. It is recommended for travellers purchase comprehensive travel health insurance that will cover the cost of evacuation to another country if necessary.
Gabon has also experienced an AIDS epidemic, as such you should exercise normal precautions to avoid exposure to HIV/AIDS.