Getting a Visa for Gabon at the Border with Cameroon

After spending a day at the Gabonese embassy in Yaounde, Cameroon I was so annoyed I decided I wasn’t going to visit Gabon.  They were asking for all sorts of completely unnecessary documents, and the staff manning the front desk couldn’t be more rude.  I had decided that visiting Gabon wasn’t worth my time here at the embassy miserably.

I changed my plans to instead cross into Congo from Cameroon, until I met a Dutch couple who heard that getting a visa for Gabon at the border with Cameroon might actually be possible.  I searched online and all the forums and heard no information either way.  It almost seemed as though every other traveller just assumed you needed one and got one prior so the question of whether you actually need on never came up.  Thus, we decided to give it a try.

When we arrived at the border of Gabon and Cameroon, it turned out that the visa process was not only possible but completely hassle free.

Bitam, Gabon

The town of Bitam where immigration into Gabon is processed

This is how I got my visa for Gabon at the border with Cameroon.

Basically, once you arrive near the physical border you’ll go through the typical exit procedures for Africa.  You’ll stop at a police checkpoint where they’ll give you your exit stamp from Cameroon. Then, just 100m away you stop at customs.  Another 3km down the road the gendarmerie takes your information and you cross the bridge to Gabon.

Once you get to the Gabonese side of the Congo-Gabon border you’ll arrive at a police checkpoint.  He asked for my visa, I told him that I didn’t have one yet and he basically said “no problem, you’ll get it in Bitam.”  Not a hint of concern, not the slightest sense given that what I was doing was out of the ordinary.  The police make you fill out a fiche to take with you for immigration.  Then, just up the hill you stop at the gendarmerie so they can put your name in their ledger.  You’ll hit the road again and pass a customs office where they didn’t even get out of their chairs for me.  After that it’s 27km to Bitam and the immigration office.

The immigration office is in a building on the main road in Bitam that says “National Police and Immigration” or something like that.  When you go in there they might ask you to fill out a form and will definitely ask for a passport photo (if you need one there’s a place right across the road).  They don’t need a photo.  You’ll then go into a room where they take your picture, print out your visa and paste it in your passport.

The cost of the visa, which is 30 day single entry, was only 40,000 francs.  In Yaounde, they charge 50,000 francs for the visa and it can take 3 days to get back to you.

The conclusion?

  • Don’t waste your time in Yaounde.
  • No one even hinted at the fact that what we were doing was strange.  This is normal procedure.
  • Both myself and the Dutch couple have vehicles, it wasn’t an issue at all.
  • This might be the easiest and most efficient visa in Africa, if done at the border rather than the embassy.
  • Get your visa for Gabon at the border of Cameroon!

Have you tried for your Gabon visa at the border of Cameroon recently?  If you have we’d love to hear what your experience was.

I crossed into Gabon on March 26, 2013

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