Money and Costs
Central African Franc (CFA; sometimes XAF)
Budget: Less than CFA65,000
- Hotel room: CFA32,000
- Pizza: CFA5000
- Coffee: CFA1000
- Local taxi ride: CFA500
- Hotel room: CFA50,000
- Three-course set-menu lunch: CFA12,000
- Bottle of Regab beer: CFA2500
- Half-day excursion in national park: CFA20,000
Top end: More than CFA150,000
- Hotel room: CFA150,000
- Grilled tuna in beach-side restaurant: CFA14,000
- Glass of French wine: CFA4000
- Day excursion to see wild gorillas: CFA255,000
Stall-holders in the the artisanal markets would be surprised if you didn't haggle a bit over your souvenirs.
Gabon uses the Central African Franc (CFA) along with other countries in the region.
ATMs in Libreville and Port-Gentil usually only work with Visa cards, although MasterCard sometimes works at branches of UGB. Note that ATMs start to run out of cash on Thursdays as people withdraw money in time for the weekend, particularly at the end of the month. This phenomenon is worse in Port-Gentil than in Libreville.
Cash is king here, so bring plenty with you, and certainly take more than you need everywhere you go outside of Libreville or Port-Gentil, as you won't be able to get more cash outside these cities.
There is a national change shortage so ask for small notes wherever possible.
US dollars and Euros are the preferred currency for exchange; other currencies are generally not possible to exchange. You can change money at banks and exchange bureaus.
Credit cards are only accepted at top-end hotels, not in restaurants or shops.
You cannot withdraw money against a credit card over the counter in banks.
Tips are not expected in hotels and restaurants, except at upmarket places that see a lot of foreigners. Do tip drivers and guides, though; 10% of the cost is usually an acceptable amount.
Travellers' cheques are not used in Gabon.
For current exchange rates, see www.xe.com.