The Margouilla's Advice on Nightstopping in Oyem

OYEM - EWORMEKOK (FOGO/OYE)


What airfield can I expect?

Oyem’s runway is paved, but it has been patched up a lot and its condition is average. Runway 03 is upslope. Given the high density altitude, make sure you always land 03 and takeoff 21. The parking is large enough for four regional jets, with additional parking space available on the dirt west of the runway. The airport has an AFIS operator and is open from 0800 to 1600 LT, which are his working hours; extensions to sunset can be requested in writing before noon at the Libreville airport office. Keep in mind the AFIS operator is poorly trained, not supervised, and his radios are often down: don’t rely too much on him…

The terminal is used as a waiting room for scheduled flights. The former VIP room has been pillaged and is empty. The airport is normally unguarded. There are several houses next to the terminal, though, and the friendly people living there will watch you airplane overnight for a few thousand francs. No flight plan filing is required to leave Oyem, although normally circular flight plans are filed in Libreville for return flights. The applicable landing fees for Oyem will be charged by the Libreville airport office.

The city is located about 10 km to the north of the airport; the 10-minute taxi ride on the paved road can be negotiated at about 3000 XAF.

 

Where am I?

Oyem was founded in 1907 as a French outpost in the northern hilly region of Gabon. With a population of 25,000, it is today the capital of the Woleu-Ntem province. Bordering Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea, populated by the same ethnical group (Fang), Oyem is a center for trades and traffics of all kinds. Nevertheless, it is quite dirty and badly maintained compared to other cities in Gabon.

Gendarmerie (military police): +(241) 98 61 87 or 98 61 90 

Hospital: +(241) 98 60 44

Pharmacies (Gracia): +(241) 98 63 42; (Adjougou): +(241) 98 66 06

Bank: UGB

 

Where do I sleep?

 

Mvet Palace (15mn from the airport)

            City center

Tel: +(241) 98 61 72

            Fax: +(241) 98 61 73

A former Novotel, the so-called Mvet Palace is largely derelict but remains the largest hotel in Oyem. Only the ground floor rooms have been renovated to a good standard, with working air-conditioning and local TV. In the rest of the hotel, god knows what you will get... The restaurant may seem attractive, yet not much of what's on the menu is available. Renovated rooms from 26,500 XAF. (2010)

Hotel Le Baron (15mn from the airport)

            City center

The second choice after the Mvet. Rooms are quite clean, with working air-co. (2010)

Auberge de l’Imprévu (15mn from the airport)

            City center

            Recently opened, nice and clean.

Hotel les Champs Fleuris (20mn from the airport)

About a dozen clean and air-conditioned rooms, with a TV. The restaurant next door has a nice terrace and decent food.

Hotel le Diki (15mn from the airport)

            Quartier Adjougou

            Air-conditioned. Restaurant.

 

Where do I eat?

Finding food is a major issue in Oyem. The restaurant of Hotel Le Baron is considered to be the best in town. Many small cafeterias in town will offer grilled chicken and the like for less than 4,000 XAF.

 

What can I visit?

Just behind the church Saint-Charles Lwanga, the Salesian Sisters have a workshop to teach young girls to make traditional tools and crafts. They sell typical Fang craft, including the famed Mvet music instruments.

The catholic mission Sainte Thérèse d’Angone, located 5 km north of Oyem, on the road to Bitam, features an impressive cathedral. Built in the 1950’s with pink bricks, its bell tower is 29 meters high and dominates the small village of Angone. Mass is celebrated in Fang at 9 AM everyday, complete with traditional songs, and lasts until the worshippers are out of voice.

 

Where can I go out?

The New Pam-Pam

The Préservatif Bar

            City center, behind the Place de l’Indépendance

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