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Living in Libreville
A comprehensive guide about living well in Libreville
Living in Libreville is a continuous surprise: the city is cosmopolitan and vibrant, but still home to some beautiful, unexpected natural spots. The tropical climate and the laid-back attitude, moreover, contribute to create a top-destination for expats.
Life in Libreville
Culture and Leisure
The biggest attraction in Libreville is generally considered to be the seafront, and there are lots of beach activities and attractions tied in with this. The Bord de Mer (seafront) is the part of the city where most people will choose to gather daily to relax, and the seafront is littered with Gabonese sculptures of up to 20ft tall, creating a truly interesting place to walk and relax.
There are pleasant areas of nature to enjoy within Libreville, such as the Arboretum de Sybang, a tree sanctuary, and the Pointe Denis, which is a peninsula across the bay, close to the city. There is a regular boat service over to Pointe Denis which is popular with tourists and local alike, and costs between 10,000 and 15,000 franc CFA.
Transportation in Libreville
There are various ways to get around Libreville, but public transport is not as widely used as it is in other parts of the world. This means that, for the most part, getting around Libreville means taking a car of some description. You can hire a car to get around the city, although this can be a little expensive, and you must remember that if you want to leave the city you won’t be able to take a hire car out of the city limits.
Most people use taxis to get around Libreville. Gabon has different colored taxis for each district and in Libreville they are red. New taxis were recently launched which run on a counter system, although there are still standard taxis which take cash as well. The fare will be negotiated with the driver before the passenger gets into the car. Taxis are not considered the safest mode of transportation and many cars have problems such as broken doors or a lack of seat belts. However, if you ask a driver to drive carefully, they will usually oblige.
Libreville International Airport is the largest airport in Gabon and is just 11km north of the city.
Safety and Security
Libreville is not generally considered a particularly violent or dangerous place to live in or visit, but it still experiences violent crime, much like anywhere else in the world. Incidents of rape, robbery and armed attacks have been reported, and it is generally suggested that visitors and residents take standard precautions to keep themselves safe when visiting. Avoid displaying valuables when out and about in Libreville, keeping jewelry hidden under clothing and leaving expensive items at home. It is best to be cautious on the quieter, isolated beaches in Libreville, and avoid them altogether at night.
On occasion, Libreville has held unauthorized demonstrations and political rallies, and people are advised to avoid these if they happen as even the most peaceful protests have the capacity to escalate and become violent.
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