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Moving to Libreville

Libreville has an African heart behind a colonial appearance: its design buildings encounter traditional outdoor markets and the typical friendly atmosphere, creating a cosmopolitan and welcoming city that expats moving to Libreville will definitely enjoy. Find out more in this guide.

About the City

Libreville is the capital, and largest, city of Gabon, which is situated in west central Africa. Libreville is a major port on the Komo River, making it an important area for import and export, and it is also a trade center for the timber industry. The city was founded in 1843 as a French trading station and it was named Libreville (Freetown) in 1848, after many freed slaves were sent there. Libreville was the chief port of French Equatorial Africa from 1934 to 1946.

The city had a recorded population of 797,003 in 2012 and is fairly evenly split with regards to gender. French is the predominant language in the area, and Libreville is one of the only African cities where French is actually the native language. The language has some local features to it which makes it unique.

The Climate in Libreville

Libreville has a tropical monsoon climate, meaning that it is hot and has plenty of rainfall throughout the year. The city has a lengthy wet season, lasting from September to May, and a shorter dry season from June to August, when the temperature remains fairly steady at around 30°C. During the dry season, there is still very little sun, and the city is under near-constant cloud cover during these months.

Finding Accommodation in Libreville

There are a range of different districts in Libreville, and some more popular as residential areas than others. The main areas are Batterie IV and Lalala, which are both residential areas, Quartier Louis, known for its nightlife, Oloumi which is a major industrial area, Mont-Bouët and Nombakélé, major commercial areas, and Glass, the first European settlement in Gabon.

Batterie is a popular residential area, where you can mostly find houses and apartments with a pool, which are close to the French school and the city center. La Sablière is another popular residential area, particularly with families, and there are a good range of houses with pools which are close to the beach. These properties can be a little more expensive, however, particularly those closest to the beach. Finally, Tahiti has more apartments than houses, making it more suitable for business people and those moving without their families. These apartments are usually close to the beach and come with a pool.

When leasing property in Libreville, you may be asked to hand over a considerable amount of money before you are allowed to sign the lease, and this money will be up to six months’ rent to cover the fees, as well as the first three months’ rent upfront.

David Thyne

"I'm an NGO worker on my first overseas posting, and InterNations helped me to make some very good business contacts in Libreville."

Marisa de Bryner

"Getting insights from fellow expats also living in Gabon has really been of great help to me."

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