What is the difference between an International Driving Permit (IDP) and an International Driver’s License (IDL)?
An International Driving Permit is a small grey booklet marginally larger than a passport containing a translation of your original driving license in 10 languages, including English, French, Russian, Chinese, Arabic, and Spanish. It is recognized by 141 countries worldwide and is valid for one year.
In comparison, an International Driving License is not a legal document and cannot be used to drive in foreign countries or instead of an IDP.
How does an IDP work in Gabon?
Gabon accepts the international driving permit to drive vehicles on their roads. IDP is valid for one year from the date of issue. However, you can obtain a Gabon driver’s license without tests if you are a French citizen (as Gabon was a part of French overseas territories). A bilateral agreement between France and Gabon allows any national to swap their driver’s license for one from Gabon. Regardless, before preparing to drive in a foreign country, it is usually a good idea to check with your embassy for the most recent regulations. IDP, however, can be used as acceptable identification proof and for obtaining driving authorization. It contains all the data necessary to book accommodations and rent a vehicle. You must carry your international driving permit, passport, and national driving license all time with you while driving in any foreign country. If you don’t have one, you may need to pay tremendous penalties to avoid getting into trouble.
However, if you have a legitimate IDP, you can breeze through the traffic checkpoints because it is acceptable by law and contains several translations of your information.
Because of this, it’s always a good idea to have an international driving permit if you intend to operate a motor vehicle in a foreign nation.
Is an International driving permit recognized in Gabon? How to apply
Is the international driving permit honored in Gabon? Yes. It is. Our website is a reliable resource where you can apply for IDP for practically every nation that accepts it. You can obtain your IDP for a special registration fee of $19 if you provide a copy of your national driving license, the required information, and an updated photo. Once we have examined your documentation, we are authorized to assign IDP. You’ll get quicker, more effective service as fake IDPs or IDL are sold on several online websites.
Also, you can get additional information and tips needed for traveling to foreign nations.
United Nations Agreements on Road Traffic
Numerous organizations have received UN approval to distribute International Driver’s Permit (IDP). Any government body that consents to this must abide by the rules of the UN Road Traffic Convention. There are three conventions which are Paris (1926), Geneva (1949), and Vienna (1968). These conventions already have the support of numerous nations.
They accept IDP as a valid identity for driving vehicles and serve as identification proof. On our website, you may get all these specifics for various countries. Before traveling to the nation, you could choose to order it from our website.
Benefits of Carrying an IDP in Gabon
Functionality as an ID
Your passport and driver’s license are two essential documents that you must maintain safe while traveling abroad. IDP can be used in place of these documents as proof of identity, and you can use IDP while keeping your passport and license secure when necessary. Your information is already available in different languages, making it ideal for use abroad.
Quicker traffic authority stops
While driving in Gabon, you may encounter many checkpoints at a certain distance. Even though you carry documents such as your national driver’s license and passport, you still do not fulfill the criteria for driving. International Driver’s license (IDP) is a valid document approved by the UN and recognized by the government. IDP may save you from unwanted interruptions in your trip. It can save time at the checkpoints as it has all your information translated into the language that the traffic authorities can easily understand and verify. In this situation, they can swiftly take down your contact information and get in touch with you in an emergency.
Car rental companies
IDP is a legitimate driving license accepted everywhere globally (apart from the country of issue). In Gabon, IDP is an essential document apart from your overseas driver’s license to rent a car. If you don’t have an IDP, they might charge you more, refuse to provide the service, or request more information or documents. You may avoid such circumstances and save time by getting an IDP.
Laws requiring an IDP
Gabon has not officially adopted any UN road traffic convention, but still, they recognize and require an IDP for driving around the country. IDP is mandatory and valid for a year. IDP also serves as identity proof for renting a car and a place to stay. Remember that once your international driver’s permit expires, you are no longer permitted to drive in Gabon. You will have to procure their local driving permit, or you can reapply for IDP. If a tourist is found driving without an international driver’s license, a hefty fine will be imposed, and your local driver’s license will be seized.
Driving Requirements for Non-Citizens in Gabon
Short-term visitors vs. residents
For a short visit to Gabon, you can drive a motor vehicle using your driver’s license and IDP. However, IDP is valid only for a year, as per the Geneva convention. Therefore, if you plan to stay for a long time, you may want to get Gabon’s local driver’s license.
When should I get a Driver’s License in Gabon?
You can only drive in Gabon with your country’s valid driver’s license and International Driver’s permit. However, IDP is valid only for one year, so if you plan to stay for a long time, you can get a Gabonese driver’s license.
Renewing Your IDP or Original Driver’s License While in Gabon
Renewing your International Driver’s Permit
International Driver’s permit is valid for one year in Gabon, and you can renew the IDP by getting an application from the Automobile Association of Gabon. Once your international driver’s permit expires, until you renew the paperwork, you cannot drive in Gabon. During police checkpoints, a hefty punishment will be assessed if you are found driving a vehicle without a valid international driver’s license, and your local driver’s license will be seized. So, if you plan on staying for more than a year, you better get a local driving license.
Renewing your Original Driver’s Permit
You can visit the driving schools in Gabon that can assist you in renewing your existing driver’s license in Gabon. You can also see CNEPC (a transport government agency) for further processing your expired permit. The required documents include your old driving permit and valid identification information. The window period for renewing the license is usually within a month from the expiry date. The application process can be further understood through the respective government agency.
Car Rental in Gabon
Requirements for car rental
In Gabon, the minimum age to drive legally is 18 years, but you must be at least 25 years old to rent a car. If you are under 18, some car agencies may charge you extra. Each rental car company has terms and conditions for young drivers under a specified age. It would be best to research before approaching any car rental agency to tailor your budget accordingly. To rent a car in Gabon, you must have a valid driving license, an IDP, a valid credit card, and additional proof of identity (such as a valid passport). The car rental companies must recognize IDP as it already has the driver’s information.
Deposits and Costs for car rental
On average, a standard car rental rate per day in Gabon is around $92, and if you get lucky, you’ll find an offer of $82 per day. You can book your car from the car rental companies like Europcar, Hertz or Avis. Economy (Hyundai Accent or similar) is the most frequently booked car hire type. The usual deposit for drivers from foreign countries to rent a car is 10% of the car rental fees. However, to reduce this, you can offer tank-to-tank renting. That means you can receive and return the car with a full tank. The overall cost of renting a car in Gabon is more or less the same throughout the year.
Car insurance is one of the necessary documents while driving in Gabon. The car rental company issues car insurance papers as soon as you book the car. However, you can add more insurance to feel secure while driving. Super Collision Damage Waiver (SCDW) costs $30 to $45 daily, while Roadside Assistance Cover (RAC) costs $10 to $15 daily. When driving in Gabon, you typically need to check out the locations first or read some information and reviews. Some car rental agencies have Personal accident insurance (PAI), which covers theft, interior damage, and exterior damage. So, with prior knowledge, you can select the insurance accordingly.
Driving and Safety in Gabon
Driving regulations and code
Brushing up on the driving laws in Gabon before you get behind the wheel is wise. Some things to remember are:
- The minimum driving age is 18 years old.
- The minimum age to rent a car is 25 years old.
- People drive on the right-hand side of the road.
- Wearing a seat belt is mandatory (and using booster seats for children under 12 years old)
- Using a phone while driving is forbidden
- Always carry your license, passport, IDP, and insurance documents.
- Speed limits to follow
- The speed limit is 60 km/h in urban areas and 120 km in rural areas.
- Drinking and driving
- The Gabonese government authorities take drunk driving seriously -the mandated alcohol limit is 0.08% or 80 mg per 100mL of blood.
- Driving at night on the streets of Gabon is unsafe, so make sure you avoid it if possible.
- Be cautious of the presence of pedestrians and animals on the roads.
- You must lock doors and keep windows closed while driving a car.
- Park your vehicles in well-lit areas, mainly parking lots with security personnel.
Top 3 Places to Visit in Gabon
Libreville is a trendy town and the capital of Gabon. This place offers incredible restaurants, clean paved roads, the country’s striking coastline, fantastic views, and fabulous markets. However, the Presidential Palace and Michael Cathedral are one of the top monuments in Libreville. You can view the magnificent design of the Presidental palace from the outside as entry inside the palace is not allowed. The Cathedral of Saint Michael is also an ancient and one of the famous landmarks in Libreville. This incredible building has ornately carved columns, which a blind local craftsman fantastically carved. Each column depicts a different Biblical scene, a remarkable feature of these columns.
Loango National Park
Loango is known as ‘Africa’s Last Eden.’ Loango National Park gives you the best safari experience in Africa. The lush green national park stretches about 200km along the coastline. The fabulous park offers eye-catching wildlife along the wild coastal regions. You can find beautiful lagoons and marshlands. You can watch giant elephants, buffalos, gorillas, and amazing aquatic animals like dolphins and whales. This national park is famous as one of the earth’s unique places, allowing people to see wild animals and access the sea. The national park organizes a ‘Catch and Release fishing program’ where you can participate in catching and releasing marine animals into the sea.
Kongou Falls in Makokou
Makokou is famous for being the gateway to the gushing Kongou waterfalls, a must-visit destination in Gabon. The Kongou falls are Gabon’s version of Nigeria falls, and it is a 60-meter waterfall drop that is eye-catching. The waterfall is also considered spiritually unique for the residents of Makokou. Kongou Falls is located inside Ivindo National Park near the Loa Loa village, which is 17km away from Makokou. You can visit the fall through a pirogue (a long, narrow boat made from a single tree trunk) for three to five hours through the spectacular rainforest from the village of Loa Loa.
Am I required to have an IDP in Gabon?
Gabon has made it mandatory to carry an IDP for tourists and your original driver’s license. IDP gives you the benefits of a driver’s license and a valid ID for renting a car and a place to stay in Gabon.
Can you drive with a foreign license in Gabon?
Your overseas driver’s license can be used in Gabon only after registering with Gabon’s Road Traffic Department within three months after arriving in the region. Only after the government’s authorization and permission can you drive on the streets of Gabon.
Is there any online portal to apply for IDP in Gabon?
No. You can apply for the same through our website. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us for any queries.
How long will my International Driving Permit be valid in Gabon?
One year from the date of issue. If the IDP expires, you must renew the document. If caught driving without the IDP, your original driver’s license will be seized, and a huge penalty will be charged.
Do you need an IDP if you have a french driving license in Gabon?
No. You don’t require IDP if you have a French driving permit.
On which side do you drive in Gabon?
Cars are driven on the right side of the road, and pedestrians walk on the left side.
Do you need a foreign license printed in English to drive in Gabon?
You can get an IDP if you don’t have a foreign license in English and don’t plan to stay for long. It contains a translation of your essential information in multiple languages, which the traffic authorities of Gabon can understand.