A Guide To Filming In Gabon

This comprehensive guide to filming in Gabon complied by our production fixers in Libreville provides answers to frequently asked questions regarding filming in Gabon. All the necessary information to organize your filming project in Gabon is available. Obtaining media credentials, hiring a local producer or fixer, obtaining location permits, and many more procedures are all covered in this tutorial. In order to help you plan a successful shoot in Gabon, you will also learn how to engage talent and crew, get equipment clearance from customs, and make advantage of all the extra services that fixers provide.

Gabon is a unique nation in central Africa. There are many different sceneries in Gabon. From the deep rainforests in the interior to the sandy beaches of the Atlantic coast. While the eastern savanna offers a different kind of beauty, the Cristal Mountains and the Chaillu Massif also offer breathtaking views. Gabon is a home to a great number of wildlife species such a lowland gorillas, elephants, chimpanzees and bird species. Gabon has unique traditions and culture from every unique tribe. This is a very fascinating country that filmmakers should consider when planning for a potential projects.

Film Fixer In Gabon

Are you interested in filming in Gabon, At Africa Fixers, we are pleased to offer a range of filmmaking services for your upcoming feature or documentary.  Our local Gabon film fixer also looks at other important considerations when planning a shoot. Are you looking for a Gabon film fixer to assist you with press credentials, work permits and visas, kit customs clearance, travel, housing, and filming authorization? For all of your filming needs, look no further than Africa Fixers, where you can get the most experienced and reliable film fixers.

What Is Needed To Get Permission For Filming In Gabon

Filming in Gabon will require you to have all the necessary permissions.  When filming in Gabon, the authority responsible for handling film permits in Gabon is the Gabonese Ministry of Communication. This process might take up to a month before applicants receive their permits so we recommend that crews plan in advance. You need the assistance of a local fixer to make sure that this process goes smoothly.  For the application to be successful, you have to send in the following documents:

  • Passports of the crew
  • Project synopsis
  • Letter of introduction
  • Purpose of the projects
  • Dates and location of filming
  • Equipment list

Visa Requirements Of Gabon.

Filming in Gabon requires you to have a Visa unless you are coming from a visa exempt country. The Gabon visa can be gotten at your Embassy or consulate but can also be applied for online. Fill out an application form and submit it. The processing time of the Visa is at least 72 hours so you have to consider this when you are applying. You need to have the following for your visa to be approved.

  • Copy of bio date of passport
  • Passport valid for not less than 6 months
  • A recent colored passport-sized photo of size 35 * 45 mm
  • A filled-in application form

Equipment Importation In Gabon

Since Gabon does not participate in the ATA Carnet system, any equipment entering the nation must first obtain a temporary import authorization. An advance application containing the equipment type, description, serial number, and value is required for this. We deal with trustworthy clearing agents who handle all the documentation and clearance procedure; of course, there is a cost involved, which is often determined by the equipment’s value.

Hiring Equipment in Gabon

Gabon as a country has a small pool of equipment rental companies. In order to know what is available, contact us with your desired list of equipment you would like to hire so that we can source what is available and also give recommendations. Crews are advised to fly in with their own equipment to have a smooth and successful shoot.

Drone Importation In Gabon

Importing a drone in Gabon requires permission and registration. The Gabonese National Civil Aviation Agency is responsible for all drone activities in the country. Contact us to help you with the permit process as this can be lengthy and stressful without the help of a local fixer.

Rules And Regulations Of Drone Filming In Gabon

In addition to getting the necessary registration and permits, you have to follow the rules and regulations that have been set by the National Civil Aviation Authority and these include:

  • Drone pilots are not permitted to fly more than one drone at a time.
  • Drone pilots must be certified.
  • Do not fly drones within a radius of three kilometers (two miles) of any airport or airfield. 
  • Do not fly Drones at night.
  • Do not fly the drones in restricted areas. Please contact a local fixer to know the restricted areas in Gabon.
  • Do not fly your drone over people or large crowds.

Filming Locations In Gabon

Gabon is renowned for its rivers, lakes, waterfalls, coastal wildlife areas, and stunning uninhabited beaches. There are several locations to look out for when filming in Gabon and these include:

The capital Libreville is a developed city with paved roads, clean streets, and a plethora of upscale restaurants as a result of the nation’s oil wealth. In spite of its density, disorder, and bustling marketplaces, the city exudes a laid-back atmosphere all around. The National Museum, Presidential Palace, L’Eglise St-Michel (St. Michael Cathedral), and the Musée des Arts et Traditions du Gabon are among the film sites that are particularly interesting to touring productions.

Located in the centre of the country is Lopé National Park that is home to a savanna and monsoon forest environment. Elephants, crocodiles, huge pangolins, gorillas, mandrills, chimpanzees, and leopards are among the wildlife.

Loango National Park a coastal landscape is made up of mangroves, beaches, grassland, lagoons, and forests. Elephants, buffalos, hippos, gorillas, and leopards are among the wildlife that can occasionally be seen strolling along the stunning white sand beaches.

The rocky crystal mountain ranges of Gabon’s northwest are home to the high altitude forests that make up Crystal Mountains National Park. In addition to hundreds of different types of butterflies, the woodlands are home to a variety of flora and animals, including begonias and orchids, as well as chimpanzees, gorillas, buffalos, elephants, and leopards.

Gabon’s east-central region is home to Ivindo National Park. The magnificent Koungou, Mingouli, and Djidji Waterfalls are the park’s main draws. Gorillas, chimpanzees, buffalos, elephants, and a variety of wildlife.

Southwest of the nation is home to Moukalaba-Doudou National Park. Its terrain is made up of wetlands, grasslands, and rainforest. Because there are a lot of chimpanzees and gorillas in Moukalaba-Doudou National Park, it’s an excellent site to watch and photograph both animals.

Situated on the extreme southwest coast is Mayumba National Park. Some of the most significant beaches in the world for leatherback turtle breeding are found in the park. Elephants, buffaloes, leopards, gorillas, chimpanzees, crocodiles, hippos, and many species of monkeys can all be found in the park. In addition to being a marine park, it serves as a protected habitat for humpback whale migration, sharks, and dolphins.

Southeast of the nation is home to Batéké Plateau National Park, which is renowned for its savanna and forest scenery. Lions, jackals, elephants, buffalo, gorillas, and chimpanzees can all be found in the park.

The nation’s northeast is home to Mwagne National Park. Elephants, gorillas, and a wide variety of birds live in the park.

 The north coast’s Akanda National Park is home to a variety of tidal beach and mangrove environments. A wide variety of migrating birds can be seen in the park, as well as breeding green turtles of birds are among the wildlife.

South Central Region of the Nation is home to Birougou National Park. The Chaillu Mountains’ thick rainforest is part of the scenery. It’s among the greatest spots to capture footage of the native sun-tailed guenon.

The nation’s center is home to Waka National Park. The Chaillu Mountains’ thick rainforest is part of the scenery. Chimpanzees, gorillas, and elephants reside in the park.

National Park Pongara is a coastal park close to Libreville. The terrain consists of grassy savanna, riverine forest, mangrove forest, and swamp forest. While leatherback turtles deposit their eggs on the beach, hawksbill, green, and olive ridley sea turtles visit the estuary to do so. Elephants, gorillas, monkeys, buffaloes, and chimpanzees live in the jungle.

The nation’s extreme northeast is home to Minkébé National Park. Isolated rock domes with views of wetlands and forests dominate the landscape. Notable species of wildlife include mandrills, chimpanzees, gigantic pangolins, elephants, gorillas, leopards, and crocodiles.

How should one conduct themselves when filming in Gabon?

Observing proper etiquette is crucial when filming in Gabon. Ensure to follow the rules and regulations set by the government of the country in order to have a smooth shoot.  It is customary to respect everyone. Show respect for the local environment by avoiding wasteful practices.  Adhering to these cultural norms fosters positive interactions and mutual respect during your time in Gabon.

Are there any limitations on the type of content that can be filmed in Gabon?

Please note that when filming in Gabon, Any content that is considered harmful to moral image of the country prohibited. Most of the filmed content should have no negative effect on the country’s government to avoid any backlash on your project.

Best Time To Film In Gabon

The best time to film in Gabon primarily relies on the kind of content you’re after and how accustomed you are to the local climate. The dry season is in the months of May to September. This is characterized by less rain, clear skies visibility and heat. The dry season is best for wildlife filming and festivals. The wet season is in the months of October to April and it is characterized with rainfall and lush vegetation, fewer crowds.

Languages Spoken In Gabon

Gabon’s official language is French. It is spoken widely in the country. Gabon is a Bantu speaking country with over 40 languages from different tribes. The major ones include:

Fang is the most commonly spoken indigenous language, with between 25 and 30 percent of the people speaking it. It predominates throughout northern Gabon, particularly in the capital city of Libreville. Another important Bantu language that is mainly spoken in western Gabon, namely in the Ngounié Province, is the Mbere language, also referred to as Mbede or Mbete. The other language known as Sira, Eshira, or Shira is mostly spoken in the Ngounié Province and the central region of Gabon. Other common languages include Teke, Vili, Punu, Myene, and Kota.

Filming Wildlife In Gabon

In addition to the general film permits, Gabon provides special permits that are managed by the Parks Management Authority to crews that want to film in regions of national parks or other protected places. Different wildlife parks have different permissions and different tariffs for the activities done in addition to this, you have to follow the respective rules and regulations that are put in place to protect the wildlife. When filming wildlife, a code of conduct must be followed. Some regulations include keeping a safe distance from the animals, not damaging the environment, refraining from animal disturbance, etc.

Safety Precautions When Filming In Gabon

The country is generally safe, but be aware of any potential threats and keep up with local security developments. Seek advice from knowledgeable experts or local authorities to ascertain what safety precautions and procedures are required for your shoot. It is generally advisable to have a local fixer with you, particularly in isolated places.

Local Transport Services In Gabon

Local transport services are available and reliable for use in Gabon. The transport system is very efficient and safe. You have several options to choose from. This choice will depend on your budget, crew size, equipment, and any other preferences you may have. Africa Fixers provides these transportation services with professional and well-versed drivers in Botswana’s local areas.

Local Crew In Gabon

There is a very small local community of directors, photographers, and videographers in Gabon. Important personnel must be hired from overseas. If you need a director, DP, photographer, videographer (cameraman/camera operator), camera assistant (focus puller), grip, gaffer, stylist, PA/runner, production driver, or any other member of the film crew for your shoot in Gabon, get in touch with us. It is advisable to have some of your crew to fly into the country if your shoot is big. The day rates vary for each position and the type of work involved.

Access And Affordability

The main ways to reach Gabon are by air into the country. There are 42 official airports in the Gabonese Republic, with Leon-Mba International Airport situated in Libreville, the nation’s capital. The airports in Gamba and Franceville are the next largest. Roads in Gabon are notoriously bad, and they get significantly worse when it rains a lot. Once you leave the airport, the main roads deteriorate further, therefore keep in mind the vast distances that must be covered. Travelling by car in a country where you are vulnerable to “local law” and attempted bribery is not the safest option, especially for foreigners. It is usually advisable to travel with a local fixer who has the technical know-how and will help you deal with the political and social bonds in the country. Using a 4×4 or a vehicle with adequate clearance is always advised.

Projects Filmed In Gabon

Because of the country’s diverse and beautiful landscapes, some notable projects have been filmed here, and you can take a look at the same to have an idea of what you can achieve when filming in Gabon. The list includes Assang Mefa, la fin du commencement, Bwiti: An Exploration, Bwiti: An Exploration, Gabon: The Last Eden, The Last Stand of the Elephants, Okoumé: Gabon’s Green Gold, Lee White: Gabon’s Green Guardian, Gabon: A Green Nation, Mythes et Légendes du Gabon and so many more.

Why Use Africa Fixers For Your Shoot In Gabon

Africa Fixers is an African fixing company. We support production companies and filming companies in Botswana and other countries that are listed on our website. Over the years, we have worked with many production firms on several projects, making us quite experienced in this area. We manage all fixer services required with our skilled staff of local fixers. We have all required relationships with various service providers and government authorities in Botswana to ensure that accreditation and filming permissions are processed fast. For further information and other necessary specifics for a successful filming experience, get in touch with us.