The Republic of Gabon

AT THE REQUEST OF HIS EXCELLENCY ALI BONGO ODIMBA, PRESIDENT OF THE GABONESE REPUBLIC, THE AFRICAN MUSIC INSTITUTE IS A PAN-AFRICAN EDUCATIONAL AND PRODUCTION INSTITUTION DEDICATED TO DEVELOP AFRICAN TALENTS IN THE CULTURAL AND ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY.

According to Unesco, cultural and creative industries are a factor of international influence and competitiveness. They have a multidimensional impact on social development, foreign trade, heritage and gender equality.

Like the “Centre International des Civilisations Bantu”, which once made Libreville an internationally recognized heritage study center, the African Music Institute aims to offer Gabon a prominent role on the international market for black music and training in the performing arts. The foundation stone laying ceremony will take place on January 1st, 2016.

This large institution aims to welcome internationally renowned artists in its studios.

The African Music Institute aims to improve the academic program quality, to develop teacher skills and to promote the economic and social development of the region. The final goal is to make Libreville the “City of African Culture”.

The President Ali Bongo Ondimba, visiting the Berklee College, Boston.

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TRAVEL TOURISM AND CULTURE

Stitched Panorama

© Eric Damas

Gabon is synonymous, ‘eyes closed’, as the country of Africa’s most naturally beautiful. Mysterious, impenetrable at first contact, it is a genuine country, engaging with land great prospects for the future. This is one of the countries in the world where you feel immediately at home.

 

Les chutes de l'Ivindo

© Eric Damas

Forests, savannahs, lagoons, mangroves, beaches … waterfalls and cascades, you will find all of which we dream of African nature. On the horizon of Libreville, you will fall under the charm of the beautiful lay of sunshine in the rainy season. Light from the sun rises around 5 am is not anywhere else for that matter. Helicopter tours are preparing for up early to enjoy the show from the sky. For drivers this light is unforgettable. The forest when we go to Libreville, is endless, like a big broccoli, but a big, Gabon is a green country. There are still forests.

Besides the natural beauty of our generous nature, Gabon is also endowed thirteen national parks, priceless gift for travelers men in the world, it is also the hub of business tourism, new encounters and an amazing culture, where the sounds of nature blend with instruments.

Culture is represented by a strong presence of the first art and the traditional teaching of the evolution of man from his animal state up to that of a developed dialogue with its geniuses …

musique

© Eric Damas

Sacred Harp brings back the original sound to open the door to beauty and inner peace. dances reveal and transmit visions obtained when passing the initiation rite and symbolize the perfect woman in harmony with the world. The vibration of the vine of Mongongo back dancers in the heart of the forest and brings a musical intoxication, the dances mimic the spirit of the forest.

Percussion allow dancers to embrace new animal world and do anything else that dance, sing and be happy. The mask dances, costumes and makeup are the reflections of the genies of the forest. They transport you to a mystical fantasy world, it nourishes the soul’s will.

The Bantu ethnic groups and pygmies of Gabon live in harmony for centuries, The Gabon embodies freedom ‘true’ or cultural diversity lives in peace and perpetual movement without faces. Libreville is the main business, cultural and political center of Gabon and the city of surprising encounters. City business and economic exchanges, Libreville is a real attraction in itself. Lambaréné Gabon one of the cities tend to become the capital of cultural tourism in Central Africa, it represents by itself through its river ‘l Ogooue’ green Venice in Ecuador, the river is a real time travel.

panthère du Gabon

© Eric Damas

From Lambaréné, mythical crossroads, you will drive in one of the most beautiful national park in Gabon, the Monts de Cristal, only three hours of Libreville. Panthers, elephants, gorillas, walk in the forest and waterfalls of … Lambaréné, you will find the Lope National park in this region of Gabon center which is currently the area where the man left the greatest number of archaeological footprints, it was classified in 2007 World Heritage of Unesco as a mixed cultural and natural site.

elephants

© Eric Damas

When you walk along the river Ogooue Lambaréné a fall on fine hippos and find the beautiful natural reserve Presidential site or form are the protectors of wildlife and flora Gabon evidence of anti poaching. In short, these few lines to introduce you to an amazing country, a young tourist destination to find, so be welcome …

 

GABON LIFESTYLE

DRESS CODE

The dress code is generally casual and causal chic during the day and elegant the night. Tee shirts, and short sleeved shirts, long pants or dress shorts are perfect for the day. Flip flop, sandals and pumps for the day, running shoes or hiking boots to visit outside the city. Elegant pumps for ladies for all the ceremonies. Men are expected to wear lounge suits for high level meetings.

Food and entertainment

Libreville has a well established restaurant and shopping culture with a wide variety of food styles on offer in diverse settings. The city has an active night life focused on Quatier Louis and weekends are centred around the beach and friends with the elite crossing over the Komo River to Pointe Dennis.

(picture) The food is one of the best food in all French Africa, all the products are seasonal ensuring fresh food, and due on the fact that Libreville is situated on the beach, eating white fishe is a favourite –  types include « capitaine , bar, rouge”. The local food is not too spicy, nor very light, pepper, most tables provide very hot chilli for anyone that wants to try. Rice, bananas and plantain fried are appreciated by all. The beef is generally from France and South Africa. The food is influenced by French cuisine.

Do’s and Don’ts

Learn some basic French phrases and greetings, as Gabon is a French speaking country, although many people speak some English, especially those returning from studies in the UK, USA, South Africa and Ghana.

Mbolo: Good morning in a Gabonese language

Mbolouani: Good morning when you greet more than one person.

Libreville is a very modern city mentality, be relaxed. Foreign women can expect to get many marriage proposals from Gabonese men. Handle this with a sense of humour !!!

Pull on your running shoes and join the crowds for a jog along the Corniche in the sea breeze while enjoying stunning views of the beach.

Immigration Essentials

VISAS

Visa Requirements Checklist:

  • Valid passport.
  • Visa Application form (online visa application: https://evisa.dgdi.ga/)
  • Passport photographs.
  • Flight information.
  • Proof of accommodation in Libreville.
  • Confirmation of travel health insurance.

Cost is dependent on visa type and processing time, the Berklee students will have a special arrangement with the Government of Gabon.

 

GETTING TO GABON

FLIGHTS

Regular, mostly daily, flights between Libreville and Paris, Dubai, Johannesburg, Istanbul, Addis Ababa, Kigali , amongst other destinations. Entry visas are required for most countries but online e-Visa’s are obtainable before departure.

TRAVELLING WITHIN LIBREVILLE

The traffic in Libreville can be heavy during working hours, however at night it is easy. Driving is safe. Most roads in Libreville are of a good quality. Parking is often an issue making use of drivers or taxis advisable during working hours.

TRANSPORT WITHIN LIBREVILLE

TAXIS

Cheap, safe and everywhere. Two kind of taxis (1) with meters (2) without meters, so negotiate all fares beforehand. Back up your bargaining skills by first checking with a local what a fair price might be. Also, make sure your taxi has the right change before departing, and leave a tip only if you think the service was good.

Weather

THE RAINY SEASON

(end of September to May) features hours of bright sunshine interspersed with periods of heavy rain – mostly at night. The rainy season is warm to hot with high humidity. Temperatures range from 24 – 32ºC

THE DRY SEASON

(June to late September) is comfortable to warm with lower humidity and strangely features more cloudy conditions. Locals say this is ‘winter’ but temperatures are seldom lower than 22ºC.