Work and Travel in Gabon
VOLUNTEER AND PAID WORK OPPORTUNITIES IN GABON FOR TRAVELLERS
How many people have heard of Gabon?
The chances are not many. But this is a country in Africa covered mainly by rainforest. If you love animals and nature, this is the dream African destination for you. However, if you want to travel in Gabon you need to be aware of the problems associated with poverty and a lack of freedom within the country.
Our travel guide to Gabon (https://www.lonelyplanet.com/gabon) is going to show you what you can expect if you decide to make this your destination this year.
1. Conserve Endangered Animals in Gabon
Elephants, primates, turtles, and whales are just some of the different animals that are currently endangered. Help protect them as you work and travel in Gabon by joining a conservation organisation.
You’ll be helping to study these creatures and to figure out how to improve their habitats so they have a higher capacity for survival. This is one of the only volunteering opportunities in Gabon that will get you as close as possible to these animals in a land that receives few tourists every year.
2. Help the Rainforest in Gabon
As we mentioned, Gabon is mainly covered in areas of rainforest. Unfortunately, increasing industrialisation has meant that vast swathes of rainforest are being demolished. Conservation groups are in desperate need of help, and you could support them in that.
Helping scientists and environmentalists conserve the rainforest will enable the trees to be protected and for new trees to grow, once again.
You don’t need to have any expertise to help with rainforest conservation projects. A willingness to live and work in remote areas is all you need to work and travel in Gabon.
3. Support Teachers in Gabon
Decide to work in Gabon in the urban areas and you’ll find plenty of work as a teacher. Education receives a low level of funding across the country and many children receive a wholly inadequate education, as a result. Foreigners who come into the country can teach young children a variety of subjects, such as literacy and mathematics.
It’s ideal if you have existing qualifications, even if it’s just the TEFL, but native English speakers from developed countries can usually find jobs educating younger children.
As you travel in Gabon, you may even be able to find work privately as a tutor for middle class and richer families.
VOLUNTEER WORK VISA / PERMIT REQUIREMENTS FOR GABON
Most countries require some sort of visa to travel in Gabon. One of the few outliers is South Africa, where its citizens are able to enter the country for 90 days (http://www.dirco.gov.za/foreign/bilateral/gabon.html).
However, for many nations there is the option of getting a visa-on-arrival (https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/Gabon.html), which is valid for 90 days. This applies to all European Union (EU) citizens, the United States of America, Mexico, Canada, Japan, and South Korea. It even applies to Russian citizens.
Other nationalities should use the online e-visa system (https://evisa.dgdi.ga/), which was released back in 2015. This can be used for people who would ordinarily need to attend an embassy to apply for their visa to work in Gabon. Kiwi citizens, for example, will ne
SEASONAL BACKPACKER SKILLS NEEDED IN GABON
The spring season is the wrong time of year to visit Gabon. The long rainy season takes place between February and May. These periods of rain can be short and sharp, so it’s not the best time to visit the country. However, you can go to the urban areas, if you so desire.
We will discuss some of the things you can do in the urban areas further down.
The long dry season covers the whole of summer. Although Gabon is hot and humid the whole year round, the dry season is the best time to visit the rainforests, where the temperatures are a tad more bearable. As you can imagine, this is when many conservation projects are in operation.
Conservation projects take place in both the rainforests and on the coastlines. Make sure you apply for these positions well in advance because they tend to have limited spaces. The more qualifications you have the more likely you are to secure one of these volunteer opportunities in Gabon.
But there are plenty of positions for those who’re unqualified.
The autumn season begins in the middle of September. This is made up of another rainy season that lasts for a month. It’s an excellent time to visit the few urbanised areas of the country.
This is an impoverished country, so there are lots of volunteering opportunities in Gabon. You could work as a teacher in schools in deprived areas. There are also the options of working in orphanages or in homes for the elderly and/or disabled.
These projects will bring you into direct contact with locals and give you the chance to get to know them and their culture.
The winter season is another dry season and, again, you can visit the remote areas. As well as conservation projects, you may want to consider a homestay.
These homestay projects require hard workers who want to travel in Gabon and those with some skills. It could be skills in agriculture or construction. Anything like this will be highly valued. You’ll be able to live with a real Gabonese family and get an authentic experience during your time in the country.
ATTITUDE TO FOREIGNERS WORKING OR VOLUNTEERING IN GABON
Gabon is a place few visit, so you may be wondering what to expect there. Work and travel in Gabon is like much of Africa. You will stand out in a crowd and people will want to know about you and where you came from. You’ll always have to keep your wits about you when travelling in any part of Africa, but once you get away from the grifters and into contact with real locals a warm, welcoming culture is in store for you.
Your project manager will usually organise your transport and any other affairs, so you shouldn’t find it too difficult to get into the local areas and away from the few Western hotels there.
Are you prepared to work in Gabon?
- Edited on Dec 11 2018 by Marichka