29th Jul 2012 3:19pm | By Editor
Q. I would like to travel to Gabon but can’t find any information about travel within the country (such as scheduled flights or bus routes). Just wondering if you have any tips for where to search?
Steve Weissburg, via email
A. Information about transport in Gabon isn’t easy to find online. Our Thorn Tree forum on lonelyplanet.com is a useful source (where you can find other travellers who are travelling within the country) and seat61.com is good for advice on train services. Visiting the Center Gabonais de Promotion Touristique (tourist office) in Libreville is a good starting point for information when you arrive in the destination.
Gabon has local transport known as taxi-brousses, which are minibuses or 4WDs (often overfilled with passengers) that operate to most destinations. The capital, Libreville, on the northwest coast, will have a good selection of taxi-brousses routes available, which leave from PK8 (8km outside the city).
If you decide to use regular taxis, only use taxis from recognised sources, such as hotels. Do not hail taxis on the street. There is also a limited train service, but it’s not up to Western standards, so expect delays and breakdowns. However, the trains are modern and clean.
The operator SETRAG doesn’t have a website, so you will need to buy your tickets at the station. The train is certainly quicker and more comfortable than the taxi-brousses to cross the country. Gabonese-operated domestic flights are best avoided due to failing safety standards.
Q. I’m planning on going to Jordan on a tour, but was keen to add on a few days in Israel, in particular Jerusalem, at the start of my trip. The main issue I am having is finding out how I get from Jerusalem to Amman. Any advice? Matt, via email
A. You can travel directly by bus from Amman to Tel Aviv, which will save you the hassle of getting to/ from the borders independently. You will have to wait for all of the passengers to clear border control and it is more expensive than travelling with a combination of local buses, but it is certainly easier. You can travel by bus directly from Amman to Tel Aviv with Trust International Transport (six hours, approx £20).
This is your best bet as it is cheaper and easier than travelling by taxis. From Tel Aviv, you can travel to Jerusalem by bus. The journey takes one hour, costs around £3 and they run every 15 minutes (bus.co.il).
With regards to safety, Israel’s complex political history means there are a number of considerations for travellers. Tourists do visit northern Israel without incident, but it is vital that you are aware of the issues for travellers.
I would advise you monitor the Foreign Office’s website (fco.gov.uk). You must be aware that there are areas of Israel you should not visit, in particular Gaza and the Sheba’a Farms and Ghajjar along the border with Lebanon.
In Jerusalem, the Foreign Office advises that visitors should be vigilant in all areas of the city – see the website for more details.
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