Like many places in Central Africa, Oyem isn’t a place you go to visit but rather a place you stop on the way to somewhere else. However, I have to admit to really enjoying Oyem. After the chaotic streets of other African cities like Yaounde, for example, the quiet of this northern Gabonese city is really refreshing. Sure, it’s hot and a little bit dull, but in many ways that’s exactly what I wanted. I imaging Oyem is only really worth a couple days before you’ll find yourself completely bored. However, if you’re just arriving in Gabon from Cameroon, this town is such a good place to chill for a couple days and get things like SIM cards and banking organized. I don’t have the fondest memories of Gabon, but Oyem was really cool.
Where to Eat in Oyem
I have a couple favourites, but I’d be lying if I told you I marked down their names. On the main street of town, the road goes right towards Equatorial Guinea or left towards the interior of Gabon. Head left, and just before a little tire repair shop, you’ll find a nice cafe. This is a great place for lunch. Try the fried bananas. There are some other options in town as well. You’ll find a couple places serving bush meat like antelope as well. There isn’t really a restaurant scene, so it might be a good place to hit up the supermarket, which is also good.
Where to Stay in Oyem
For me, the best place to stay is the Catholic Mission. They were extremely good to me and let me camp out in their vast expanse of a garden area. They also gave me the keys to one of the rooms to use and charged me $5 to use the shower which was amazing and hot. If you want to actually stay in one of the rooms, expect to pay about $40 a night. The only other option I’m aware of in Oyem is a place called Mvet Palace Hotel which is good. I’m told it’s about $30 a night there and they have A/C and hot showers. If you don’t want to make the hike each day from the mission to town, the palace is a better option.
Getting out of Town
At the heart of town, you’ll be able to find transport quite easily to places like Libreville and Bitam. You should also be able to find transport to Equatorial Guinea, if you’re headed that way. If you’re driving, the roads are really good each way. Ask, however, what the situation is with the bridge towards Libreville. When I was there, people were waiting 2 days for transport across because the bridge was out. Others were taking a detour on the secondary highway which I’m told is in rough shape.
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