Facing the sea, lined with a succession of wide, clean and well-maintained boulevards, dominated by imposing buildings, bypassed by an expressway that encircles the city from one end to the other, Libreville, the Gabonese capital looks like a modern Mediterranean city.
Libreville is the largest city and capital of Gabon, a small country on the western coast of Africa.
It is a tropical city that has a port on the Komo River. The city is the main trading center for the country. Timber, the country’s most important export, comes through the Libreville port, down the Komo River and then into the Gulf of Guinea.
Before the French acquired the land in 1839, Libreville was populated by the oldest indigenous ethnic group in Gabon, the Mpongwe, who had inhabited the area for about 2,000 years. In 1846 the French Navy captured L’Elizia, a Brazilian ship carrying slaves for sale near Loango in present-day Angola. The slaves were freed in Gabon and in 1848 they founded the city of Libreville, which literally meant “free town,” naming it as the symbol of their own liberation.
The official language in Libreville is French due to its previous colonization by France.
Sights N Sound of Libreville
Since its independence, Libreville has grown exponentially. With almost 600,000 people, Libreville now has nearly half the population of Gabon.
It is the home of the nation’s shipbuilding, brewing, and lumber industries. It also exports wood, rubber and cocoa through its port. Libreville is now the education center in Gabon and serves as the home of a number of schools, libraries, and research facilities and Omar Bongo University, which has served as the national university since 1970.
Where to stay in Libreville
Radisson Blu Okoume Palace Hotel, Libreville offers accommodation in Libreville. Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, this stylish hotel with a contemporary art sculpture in the lobby is 3.5 km from Libreville International Airport and 4 km from Omar Bongo University.
The rooms have a flat-screen TV with satellite channels. Rooms are fitted with a private bathroom.
How to get to Libreville
Libreville International Airport, located eight miles north of the city, is the largest airport in Gabon.