Gabon is a gorgeously wild destination in Africa, but avoiding the 2 rainy seasons is essential for a great trip with the best wildlife viewing, beach days, and rainforest exploring opportunities.
Below, you’ll see the best time to visit Gabon along with the cheapest, least busy, and worst times to go. Planning your trip just got a lot easier!
Why You Should Visit Gabon
A true wildlife and natural paradise, Gabon – nicknamed the Eden of Africa – is more than deserving of a visit for adventurous travelers.
Animal and nature lovers will be right at home in the dense rainforests, grassy plains, sandy beaches, and mountainous regions of this African country.
Bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the west, Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea to the north, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the east, Gabon is right on the equator and enjoys a hot, humid equatorial climate.
Three-quarters of the country are rolling hills, mountains, and plateaus with lush equatorial rainforests and grassy savannahs. With so many biospheres, Gabon supports a surprising number of wildlife and plant species.
The dense tropical rainforests in Gabon are home to an amazing number of wildlife species, from monkeys and elephants to gorillas and hippos. Gabon’s western lowland gorilla population is the largest in equatorial Africa.
In the Gabon savannah, lions, leopards, rhinos, buffalo, and wild hogs are exciting to see on safari. There are over 200 species of mammal and 600+ bird species in Gabon!
Don’t miss the chance to visit Lope National Park in central Gabon – an UNESCO World Heritage Site – and the famed Loango National Park in western Gabon for a close-up look at the diversity of the flora and fauna here.
Beachgoers will love visiting Gabon’s sandy shores – some of the very best beaches in Africa – on the western coast. Pointe-Denis Beach in Libreville is a local and visitor favorite with pristine white sand and crystal clear water.
Lakes abound in Gabon, with 6 inland lakes offering chances to swim, boat, and fish in freshwater. These lakes feed into the massive Ivindo, Nyanga, and Ogooué rivers that keep Gabon lush.
Also in Libreville are educational museums, like the National Arts Museum, and colorful local markets that are a lot of fun to peruse. Beautiful churches and cathedrals make excellent sightseeing opportunities here.
It’s clear this is a wonderful place to visit, but what’s the best time to visit Gabon? We’ll explore the best, cheapest, least busy, and worst time to go next.
What Is the Best Time to Visit Gabon?
- Overall best time to visit: June-August
- Cheapest time to visit: December, April-May
- Least busy time to visit: March-May
- Worst time to visit: October-November
Gabon’s equatorial climate is one travelers will either love or hate – it’s warm, humid, and wet through most of the year. Still, there are clearly defined periods that make some seasons better for a visit than others.
Temperatures hang around 80F-90F without too much variation. It’s a little cooler between June and August, when highs are in the low 80s across the country.
There’s a dry season from December to January and again from June to August, which is the driest and coolest season of the year in Gabon. It’s also the best time to visit.
If you’re looking to stick to a budget, the cheapest time to visit Gabon is in December and between April and May.
Most of Gabon’s rain falls from March to May (the hottest months of the year) and from September to November (the heaviest rainy season).
March to May may not receive as much rainfall as September to November, but the rain and heat is enough to prevent many tourists from arriving during this time.
That’s perfect if you’re looking for the least busy time to visit!
Some areas in northwest Gabon receive 100+ inches of rain each year, with most of it falling in October and November alone.
It’s how the rainforests stay so lush and green, but it’s the worst time to visit if you’re hoping to spend time outdoors during the rainy seasons.
Overall Best Time to Visit Gabon
The best time to visit Gabon overall is from June to August during the long dry season. You’ll have the best opportunities for outdoor adventures and exploration.
June, July, and August are the driest and most enjoyable months of the year in Gabon. This is the season for all things outdoors – safaris, beaches, sightseeing, and exploring.
You’ll find very little rainfall in the normally-wet Gabon from June to August. Anywhere from 0.2″ (Lambarene in July) to 2.3″ (Makokou in June) of rain occur in this season.
That means drier vegetation in the grassy plains and rainforests, which makes wildlife easier to spot among the flora and dry grass. This is the ideal season for a safari or rainforest tour!
The beaches are absolutely perfect at this time of year, sunshine is the norm, and hotel rates are surprisingly affordable during this peak tourism season.
Here’s a look at how much you can expect to pay for a room in Gabon from June to August, according to Google Hotels:
- June: $64-$169/night
- July: $68-$179/night
- August: $68-$178/night
Since it’s the peak season, crowds could be an issue but won’t be overwhelming. Make sure to book your flight and hotel in advance to secure your spot!
Enjoy festivals like Akini-a-Loubou dance festival in Libreville or try whale and dolphin watching along the coast, which is at its peak from July to October.
Cheapest Time to Visit Gabon
The cheapest months to visit Gabon are December, April, and May when hotel rates hit their lowest point of the year. December is slightly cooler and dry, while April and May are rainy and hot.
The month of December is when you’ll find the absolute lowest hotel rates in Gabon. It’s much less rainy than October and November, but some regions still get 7+ inches of rain this month.
It can be worth it if you’re looking to visit Gabon on the cheap, since hotel rooms can be as low as $52/night in December. Things are slightly higher, but still very affordable, in April and May.
April and May are wetter than December. They’re part of the lesser rainy season of the year. Some regions get 6-10 inches of rain in April and 5-7 inches in May.
But while you’ll have more rain to contend with in April and May, it’s a little warmer than in December with highs in the mid-to-upper 80s.
If sticking to a budget is your main priority for the trip, visiting in December, April, or May will be best. Here’s a look at the average hotel rates for these months:
- December: $52-$137/night
- April: $59-$155/night
- May: $61-$162/night
December is the cheapest time for a visit to Gabon overall, followed by the very-wet April and slightly less rainy May.
Least Busy Time to Visit Gabon
The least busy time to visit Gabon is between March and May. This 3-month period sees fewer tourists as the weather gets rainy and heats up to the highest temperatures of the year.
March, April, and May are ideal for a less-crowded visit to Gabon. This is the time of year to come if you don’t want to deal with big groups of tourists, long lines, or limited flight and hotel availability.
Prices can be cheaper during this period, especially in April and May, since fewer people come to the country during this time.
So what makes March through May less busy? It has a lot to do with how wet Gabon is during this “little” rainy season.
Gabon experiences 2 rainy seasons each year: March-May and September-November. The rainfall from March through May is a little less intense than the rains from September to November.
March, April, and May aren’t really ideal for planning lots of outdoor activities, which are usually the main draw for tourists here. Still, you can visit museums, historic sites, cathedrals, massive malls, and casinos on rainy days.
During the rainy season, you’ll be able to see forest elephants migrating into the grassy plains along the coast. Leatherback turtles come to lay their eggs on the beach from October to March.
Since it’s less busy in general during this time, you’ll also find lower rates on hotels. From March to May, here’s what you can expect to pay per night in Gabon:
- March: $67-$177/night
- April: $59-$155/night
- May: $61-$162/night
There are certainly better times to visit, but if you can fill out your itinerary with some indoor activities for rainy days, it’s possible to enjoy a visit to Gabon at this time of year.
Worst Time to Visit Gabon
October and November are the worst time to visit Gabon due to near-constant rain, but temperatures are slightly cooler during this time. It’s the peak of the wettest rainy season in Gabon.
Safaris, rainforest tours, beach days, sightseeing – some of the best activities in Gabon are a little less enjoyable, even impossible, when you throw 8-15 inches of rain into the mix.
That’s how much rain different areas of the country receive between October and November. These months are part of the heaviest rainy season in Gabon (September-November) and receive a ton of rain.
The temperatures around the country cool off a bit during this time with all that rain, but it’s not much of an advantage when it’s so hard to spend time outdoors.
To make matters worse, hotel rates don’t reflect the extremely wet conditions and how much they limit activities while you’re here.
Here’s a look at the average nightly rates in Gabon this time of year:
- October: $69-$183/night
- November: $87-$201/night
If at all possible, wait to visit in December, when the rain tapers off quickly and prices decrease dramatically, or plan to come during the best time to visit from June to August.
Things to Consider
Visiting Gabon can be so much fun with adventures around every corner. Keep these travel tips in mind to help your trip go smoothly!
- Plan a few indoor activities. No matter when you visit Gabon, there’s a chance you’ll run into a rainy day or two. Have some indoor activities planned just in case! You’ll find a wealth of shops and markets, museums, galleries, casinos, malls, cathedrals, and other sightseeing opportunities all around the country.
- Book a safari. Don’t miss your chance to safari in Gabon, where hitting some of the biggest national parks – Ivindo, Lope, and Loango – will put you in front of gorillas and mandrills, elephants, hippos, lions, leopards, and more. The dry season from June to August is perfect for safaris, but it’s worth it to book no matter when you visit.
- Always make safety a priority. Gabon is generally safe to visit and only Libreville and Port Gentil are under a travel advisory right now (level 2). These areas have an elevated risk for car break-ins, robbery, and burglary but don’t generally have an issue with violent crime.
- Prepare for the equatorial sun. The sun’s UV rays are strongest at the equator, where Gabon is located in Africa. That means spending time in the sunshine here without sunscreen can result in sunburn, even if your skin doesn’t burn easily at home. Pack plenty of sunscreen with high SPF to protect your skin during your trip.
- Take a hands-on approach. There are plenty of sites you can book tours and safaris through, but transportation and infrastructure outside of the largest cities can be hit or miss. Prepare to take a hands-on approach to find transportation and download offline maps to use when you’re in more rural areas.
Frequently Asked Questions
Travelers have a lot of questions about the best time to visit Gabon, what to expect during different seasons, and safety. Take a look at the most frequently asked questions below to learn more!
What is the best month to visit Gabon?
June, July, and August are the best time to visit Gabon, but July may be the best month of all for a visit. It's the driest month and boasts warm temperatures around 80F-83F.
Safaris, beach days, sightseeing, and rainforest tours are ideal during the month of July. It's part of the peak tourism season, so bigger crowds may be part of the trip.
What is the weather like in Gabon in the year?
Gabon has an equatorial climate that is humid, warm, and wet year-round. A dry season from June to August and another from December to January do feature slightly cooler temperatures and less rainfall.
Expect highs in the 80F-90F range throughout the year in Gabon, along with heavy rainfall from March to May and again from September to November.
Sunshine hours remain pretty constant since Gabon is at the equator.
What are the seasons in Gabon?
Gabon has 2 general seasons: Dry and rainy. There's a lesser and greater dry and rainy season each year.
The greater dry season runs from June to August, when 0.2" to 2.3" of rain falls per month throughout the country. The lesser dry season is December to January when 1.9" to 7.9" fall in different regions.
The greater rainy season occurs from September to November, with 2.8" to 15" of rain in different regions. The lesser rainy season occurs between March and May, with 5.2" to 9.9" of rainfall on average.
Is Gabon a beautiful country?
Gabon is known for its natural beauty, diverse landscapes, and biodiversity. Rainforests, coastal plains, sandy beaches, freshwater lakes, undulating hills, and rugged mountains all teeming with wildlife make it simply stunning to visit.
With about three-quarters of the country covered in dense rainforest, hills, plateaus, and mountains, this heavily-wooded coastal African country is beyond beautiful.
How safe is it to visit Gabon?
Gabon is considered safe to visit overall, but there can be issues with petty crime and robbery in the largest cities (Libreville and Port-Gentil). Keeping your belongings secure with valuables stowed in a safe is a good idea.
Take normal travel precautions and always keep safety first and foremost in your mind as you travel to Gabon or any other country.
So, What’s the Best Time to Visit Gabon?
June to August is Gabon’s driest season, making it absolutely ideal for a visit. If you want to go on safari, explore the rainforest, spend time at the beach, or wander around seeing the sights, this is the perfect time to go.
Save a little money by coming in December (the cheapest month), April, or May when hotel rates hit their annual low. You’ll deal with more rain, but indoor activities can fill in the gaps.
Widen the scope to March, April, and May if you’re looking for the least busy time to visit Gabon. This is when the fewest tourists arrive and you’ll find more affordable hotels at this time.
Try to avoid visiting in October or November – the rainiest months of the year when the downpours are nearly constant.
Overall, Gabon is more than a beautiful destination. Its diverse landscapes and biospheres could be the wildest, most untouched natural beauty you’ve ever experienced.
By taking time to plan your stay during the best, cheapest, or least busy time to visit, you’ll enjoy the best Gabon has to offer and find yourself on the trip of a lifetime!