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Covered with 80% of forest, Gabon hosts an incredible flora and fauna. The country has no less than 13 national parks, including La Lopé, a World Heritage Site. With these natural reserves, Gabon is one of the most important green lungs of the planet. Wild nature lovers will be captivated by the biodiversity that the territory has to offer. Beyond its lush vegetation, Gabon has idyllic beaches with coconut palms and fine sand while being the territory of many marine mammals. Among them, the humpback whale and the dolphin participate in marine life. The economy, based mainly on hydrocarbon exploitation, has boosted the cities and contributes a lot to the country’s development. Fly to Gabon, a land that blends traditions and modernism. From the hustle and bustle of its capital to the giant tropical forests, Gabon is a popular place for eco-tourism and business travel. Discover more about this exceptional country, which will certainly win your heart !
Official long form: Gabonese Republic
Government type: Republic
Area: 267,667 km2
Main cities: Libreville, Port-Gentil, Franceville
Regions: Estuary, Upper Ogooué, Middle Ogooué, Ngounie, Nyanga, Ogooué-Ivindo, Ogooué-Lolo, Ogooué Maritime and Woleu Ntem.
Official language: French
Currency: CFA franc
Population: 1.8 million (UNDP 2018)
Density: 6.7 inhab/km2
Religions: Christian (85%), Islam, Animism
Some key dates:
1471: Gabon is discovered by the Portuguese
1849: Foundation of Libreville, the capital
1886: Gabon becomes a French colony
1960: Gabon’s independence is proclaimed
1961: Léon Mba became the first president of Gabon. He remained the Head of the country until his death in 1967.
Gabon enjoys an equatorial climate. The weather is warm, with an average annual temperature of 26°C, and humid, with a high humidity level (85 to 100% in the rainy season). The climate is more temperate near the coast due to sea winds.
The country alternates wet and dry seasons:
Best period to go? Ideally, you should visit Gabon in the dry season, from June to September. You will be able to travel more easily, especially to discover national parks and reserves.
Crossed by the equator, Gabon is located in Central Africa. This country bordered by the Atlantic Ocean shares its frontiers with Equatorial Guinea to the northwest, Cameroon to the northeast and the Republic of Congo on its entire eastern and southern side.
Gabon’s territory offers a variety of landscapes. Plains spread along the coast while savannah extends to the east and south. When you go inland, the relief changes and gives way to mountain ranges. Mount Iboundji is the highest peak in the country, with its 1575 metres high.
Gabon is covered with 80% of forest which is composed of different areas such as mangroves, swampy and submerged forests or mountain forests. Nearly 8,000 plant species have been identified.
Gabon’s fauna is particularly rich. In the plains, elephants, buffaloes and antelopes live in harmony. In the forests, vipers, pythons, porcupines, turtles, baboons, makis, toucans and parrots cohabit. Other species prefer riversides such as crocodiles and hippopotamus.
RICHNESS OF THE SOIL
Gabon has a very rich subsoil. The country has made of oil, natural gas, manganese and uranium exploitation its most important activities. Gabon also works in wood and minerals industry.
Gabon has nearly fifty ethnic groups, the pygmies is the oldest one. The several ethnic groups are spread over the territory. The biggest ones in terms of numbers are the Fang (32%), followed by the Mpongwe (15%), the Mbédé (14%), the Punu (12%)…
Masks have an important place in the ethnic groups life. Each group has its own masks, dedicated to different ceremonies.
Gabon’s traditional dances reflect the diversity of the ethnic groups and are closely linked to the rites, like the initiatory rite of Bwiti. Both ritual and recreational, they remind the close link between real world and sacred.
Gabonese music is characterized by pop and folk styles carried by artists such as Pierre-Claver Akendengue, Patience Dabany, Annie-Flore Batchiellilys, Vickos Ekondo or Oliver N’Goma.
In Gabon, eating habits vary according to the regions and lifestyles of their respective tribes. But the population mixing brings out dishes common to the whole country. Let’s talk about few of them:
Gabonese people are fond of sodas, and also drink the national beer called Régab. The palm wine, stronger, is also appreciated.
Some tips for living in Gabon:
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In execution of the President of the Republic of Gabon, His Excellency Ali BONGO ONDIMBA’s decision, on March 09, 2022 to lift all restrictive measures taken as part of the response against COVID-19 and as confirmed by the Minister of Transport’s letter ref No. 001596/CAB-MT/SPmcc, the following measures are lifted as of March 17, 2022:
1. PCR test against a fee of 20,000 FCFA for all travelers coming from abroad.
2. Confinement for all vaccinated travelers (gabonese, foreign residents, non-residents) coming from abroad.
3. Mandatory 24-hours confinement in an approved hotel for all unvaccinated people coming from abroad.