Gabon, the first African country we landed for our backpacking trip. The trip of rich nature of Africa was just begun.
An E-visa is required to be applied in advance through this website, and a confirmation would be replied within 72 hours from the submit of the application. The application and processing fees are not paid upon the online application but at the actual entrance to Gabon at the border. There are two types of E-visa for one to three months: single entry for €85 and multiple entry for €200.
Itinerary – Detail
* M = Morning, A = Afternoon, E = Evening
|Dec 3 E||Arrived at Libreville and moved directly to hotel|
|Dec 4 M||Explored in Libreville|
|A||Explored in Libreville|
|E||Took a Transgabonais from Owendo station|
|Dec 5 M||Arrived at Lope station at 3am and moved to hotel|
|A||Safari drive in Lope National Park|
|E||Explored in Lope village|
|Dec 6 M||Explored in forest in Lope National Park|
|A||Climbed Mt. Brazza in Lope National Park|
|E||Took a Transgabonais from Lope station|
|Dec 7 M||Arrived at Owendo station and moved to a ferry port|
|A||Arrived at Port-Gentil by ferry|
|E||Explored in Port-Gentil|
|Dec 8 M||Explored in Port-Gentil|
|A||Explored in Port-Gentil|
|E||Explored in Port-Gentil|
|Dec 9 M||Explored in Port-Gentil|
|A||Took a boat to Omboue and a land cruiser to Loango National Park|
|E||Boat safari in Loango National Park and stayed at a lodge in the park|
|Dec 10 M||Game safari in Loango National Park|
|A||Game safari in Loango National Park|
|E||Took a land cruiser back to Omboue|
|Dec 11 M||Explored in Omboue|
|A||Took a boat back to Port-Gentil|
|E||Took a flight to Libreville and then another flight to Zimbabwe at midnight|
The costs for 8 days were 1,541,525XAF for two or US$2,527.12 at the exchange rate of 1USD=610XAF. The summary of costs by category is below.
Exchange rate:US$1 = 610XAF
* Local currency
** per person per day
The costs of sightseeing was for safari tours and activities in Lope and Loango National Parks. In Lope, 50,000XAF per person for three activities: safari game drive, forest walking, and mountain trekking. In addition, we paid 7,000XAF to our tour guide and driver in total as tip. In Loango, 15,000XAF per person for a boat safari and 55,000XAF for a full-day safari game drive (including lunch). At Loango National Park, 10,000XAF of park fee per day per person was charged.
A cost to eat out was approximately 2,000XAF per meal. We could have a meal about for 1,500XAF at a local street vendor. During our stay, we saved the costs for food by buying instant noodles and breads at local supermarkets. Also, the hotel we stayed in Libreville offered a free breakfast and the price of lodge in Loango included a dinner and breakfast.
Based on our experience, approximately 5,500XAF (US$9.02) daily would be sufficient for food during a trip in Gabon.
We spent 8 days in Gabon and stayed 7 nights at accommodations. All rooms we stayed were private room with a private bathroom. The breakdown of the accommodation costs is below.
- Libreville: 1 night 2,000XAF
- Lope: 2 nights 50,000XAF
- Port-Gentil: 2 nights 75,000XAF
- Loango: 1 night 200,000XAF
- Omboue: 1 night 36,000XAF
The hotel in Libreville was cheap because we stayed there with SPG points (10,000SPG points) and paid only taxes. Also, the price of the lodge in Loango was expensive because of its luxury and the inclusive price of dinner and breakfast. The lodge was the only accommodation we found around Loango National Park. However, we also saw the information about a person who found a personal tour guide and reached to the National Park with land transportation and did camping in the National Park with much cheaper costs than us.
In Gabon, it is better to ask if a hotel has an annex. The hotels we stayed in Lopé and Omboue had an annex and the price was about 70% of the original hotels.
Based on our experience, the cost of accommodation per night would be about 30,000XAF (US$49.18) to 40,000XAF (US$65.58) if you stay at a private room with private bathroom.
Lopé National Park
- Taxi from airport to Owendo station: 5,000XAF
- Train from Owendo station to Lopé station: 15,000XAF (2nd class) / person
- Train from Lopé station to Owendo station: 25,500XAF (1st class) / person
- Taxi from Owendo station to a ferry port: 5,000XAF
The price of a train ticket is varied based on the speed and class of a seat with the range between 15,000XAF to 30,000XAF for one way. Each day has only one train either local or express. Please see the post, Way to Lope National Park in Gabon, for the train schedule. The train car we took on the way to Lopé was not an enjoyable experience because of smell from a bathroom and bugs on seats. When we have another chance to visit Lopé, we will definitely purchase 1st class seat for both ways. If you go to Lopé from Libreville with a 1st class seat, it costs approximately 60,000XAF (US$98.37) for a round trip (10,000XAF for taxi and 50,000XAF for train).
Loango National Park
- Ferry from Libreville to Port-Gentil: 28,000XAF / person
- Boat from Port-Gentil to Omboue: 25,000XAF / person
- Land cruiser from Obmoue to Loango: 25,000XAF / person
- Land cruiser from Loango to Omboue: 25,000XAF / person
- Boat from Omboue to Port-Gentil: 25,000XAF / person
- Taxi from Port-Gentil ferry port to airport: 2,000XAF
- Flight from Port-Gentil to Libreville: 91,500XAF / person
The price of a ferry is varied based on the speed with the range between 10,000 to 28,000XAF. We paid 28,000XAF for a fast ferry and it took 5 hours from Libreville to Port-Gentil. There is a local ferry for 10,000XAF and it takes about one day from Libreville to Port-Gentil. If you want to take either ferry, you need to figure out the ferry schedule because some days have only either one of them.
A fast boat from Port-Gentil to Obmoue (3 hours) was 25,000XAF. We also heard that there was a slow boat for 12,000XAF (12 hours) but could not confirm the schedule. You need to ask people at a ferry port for the schedule and price of the boats.
For a land transportation from Obmoue to Loango, we reserved seats with Loango lodge for 25,000XAF per person. The hotel in Obmoue also offered one vehicle (7 seats) to Loango lodge for 125,000XAF.
Due to our time limitation, we took a flight between Port-Gentil to Libreville. If no limitation, there was no need to take a flight to go back to Libreville.
Based on our experience, if no time limitation, the costs of transportation from Libreville airport to Loango lodge were approximately 104,000XAF (US$170.50) including 10,000XAF for taxi between the airport to ferry port in Libreville. If in rush, it would be approximately 166,000XAF (US$272.14).
We found information about a person who went to Loango National Park without ferry but all land transportation. However, we could not find such information during our stay in Gabon this time.
€85 for a single entry visa for up to 3 months. €170 for two (USA and Japan).
SIM card of Gabon Telecom. A concierge of the hotel we stayed in Libreville helped us to obtain the sim card. We asked them to get a sim card with an allowance of calls for one hour. Thus we do not have any information about a store location or price.
Because Gabon has a higher average income level compared to the African countries in the same area, the costs for a travel was also higher than those countries. The total costs for food and accommodation were approximately 30,000 (US$49,18) to 40,000XAF (US$65.58) per person. Also, the infrastructure of transportation was still under developing, and this made the transportation costs higher. Sightseeing costs were piled up on the top of those uncheap costs. Gabon was not a cheap destination as expected for a travel in Africa overall.
Gabon government is currently working on developing infrastructure with China. And more paved roads are expected to be ready soon, even a road from Libreville to Loango. This will make a trip in Gabon much easier (hopefully cheaper as well). However, because of unease of traveling in Gabon, the number of travelers was limited and there were still a lot of untouched nature by human beings. You have a higher chance to have a private tour without any extra costs. At Loango National Park, you may have a chance to have a gorilla tour only for US$500. We met tourists who actually joined the gorilla tour and they excitedly told us that gorillas were only 5 meters away from them.
For nature and animal lovers, Gabon is really an attractive destination regardless of the higher costs. You will have an enjoyable time with a lot of animals and untouched nature by human beings.