Gabon: practical information
The official language is French. The principal African language is Fang. Eshira is spoken by a tenth of the population. Bantu dialects spoken include Bapounou, Miene and Bateke.
The country’s telephone code is +241, with no area codes required. The coverage for mobile telephone is variable; roaming agreements exists with some international mobile phone companies. Internet in Gabon is increasingly available; there are growing number of internet cafes in Libreville. Loango Lodge of Africa’s Eden in Gabon has an internet facility.
The local currency in Gabon is CFA Franc. However, Euro and Dollars accepted in most places. It is worthwhile to travel with small denomination notes as change is often paid out in local currency (the CFA). The exchange rate is 656 CFA francs to a Euro (exchange rate in March 2008). The only credit card type that is accepted in major hotels in Gabon is the VISA. There are ATMs at the airports in Gabon, but they only accept the VISA type.
The lodges of Africa’s Eden in Gabon currently do not have credit card facilities and do not accept travellers’ cheques, but they do accept the Euro.
Electric Power is 220V running at 50Hz. The Plug type used is Type C plug (European 2 pin) .
Gabon time is one hour ahead of GMT (GMT +1 ).
Airmail from Gabon takes at least a week to reach Western Europe. Urgent letters should be sent by special delivery to ensure their safe arrival.
In 2002, late President Omar Bongo Ondimba put Gabon firmly on the map as an important future ecotourism destination by nominating more than 11% of the nation’s territory as National Park – a new standard in African eco-tourism and conservation!
Gabon is home to western lowland gorillas and nearly 200 other mammal species and 600 species of birds. In Loango National Park, you can find elephants and buffalos roaming freely on its endless beaches.
Rainfall varies from an annual average of 120 inches in the capital Libreville to 150 inches on the northwest coast, with almost all of it falling between October and April. In the period from May to September there is little, if any, rainfall, but humidity remains high.
The earliest inhabitants of Gabon are the pygmy people. Pygmy tribes are known for their hunting & gathering culture in the central African rainforest, and for their height: adult members grow on average to less than 150 cm (4 feet 11 inches).