GABON

Country Description: Gabon is a developing nation in west central Africa. French is the official language. Facilities for tourism outside the capital city, Libreville, are limited.

Passport and/or Visa Requirements: A visa is required and must be obtained in advance. Travelers should obtain the latest information and details from the Embassy of the Republic of Gabon, 2035 20th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20009, telephone (202) 797-1000. Overseas inquiries should be made to the nearest Gabonese Embassy or Consulate.

Medical Facilities: Medical facilities in Gabon are limited. Some medicines are not available. Doctors and hospitals often require immediate payment for health services. U.S. medical insurance is not always valid outside the United States. The Medicare/Medicaid program does not provide for payment of medical services outside the United States. Travelers have found supplemental medical insurance with specific overseas and medical evacuation coverage to be useful. For additional health information, travelers can contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's international travelers hotline at (404) 332-4559.

Travel Warnings, Advisories and Areas of Instability: Petty thievery is common in urban areas. Violent crime such as armed robbery, while not endemic, does occur. The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to local police and to the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. The pamphlets "A Safe Trip Abroad" and "Tips for Travelers to Sub-Saharan Africa" provide useful information on protecting personal security while traveling abroad and on travel in the region in general. Both are available from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402.

Drug Penalties: U.S. citizens are subject to the laws of the country in which they are traveling. Penalties for possession, use or trafficking in illegal drugs are strict. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and fines.

Road Travel and Safety: Road conditions vary, but are poor in most of the country. Emergency road service outside of the capital is limited. Travelers are routinely stopped at police checkpoints.

Embassy Location/Registration: U.S. citizens are encouraged to register with the consular section of the the U.S. Embassy in Libreville on Boulevard de la Mer, and to obtain updated information on travel and security in Gabon. The mailing address is B.P. 4000, Libreville, Gabon. The telephone numbers are (241) 762-003/4 or 743-492.

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