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Djibouti

DJIBOUTI TRAVEL GUIDE

Djibouti, a small country located in the Horn of Africa, may not be a well-known tourist destination, but it is an emerging gem waiting to be discovered. Djibouti offers a unique blend of African and Middle Eastern culture, stunning landscapes, and a rich history that is sure to captivate any traveler. With its location at the crossroads of Africa and the Middle East, Djibouti is a melting pot of cultures and languages, making it an exciting and dynamic destination to explore.

 

Some of its unusual attractions include a lake that is one of the lowest surfaces in the world, another that is home to thousands of flamingos at dawn, natural chimneys blowing steam that seems to come from nowhere, spectacular diving and snorkelling off the Red Sea coast and bustling little Arab-style souks around the country. The country can be divided into three regions; the coastal plain and volcanic plateaus in the central and southern parts of the country and the mountain ranges in the north. Much of the country is a vast wasteland with virtually no arable land.

 

From its breathtaking beaches and underwater wonders to its rugged mountains and stark deserts, Djibouti is a land of contrasts and diversity. Whether you are seeking adventure, relaxation, or cultural immersion, Djibouti has something to offer for every type of traveler. With its warm hospitality, fascinating history, and stunning natural beauty, Djibouti is a destination that should not be missed.

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  • Capital: Djibouti

  • Currency: Djiboutian franc (DJF)

  • Area: 23,000 sq km

  • Population: 958 920 (2018)

  • Language: French (official), Arabic (official), Somali, Afar

  • Religion: Muslim 94%, Christian 6%

  • Electricity: 220/240V 50Hz

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Best Time To Go

SEASONS AT A GLANCE

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Djibouti

BEST TIME FOR

SNOW SPORT IN DJIBOUTI

HIKING & CYCLING IN DJIBOUTI

Although outdoor activities are possible all year round in Djibouti, May to September can get unbearably hot.

BEACH OPTIONS IN DJIBOUTI

It's always hot in Djibouti, so any day is a good day for the beach! May to September can get unbearably hot. Some of the best beaches to visit are: Khor Ambado, Doraleh, Siesta Beach and Heron Beach. 


Just be sure to check which beaches are tolerant of western swimwear before you plan your beach holiday! The best season for watching whale sharks off the coast is from November to January, although this is also a busy tourist season.

SURFING IN DJIBOUTI

KITESURF IN DJIBOUTI

Although not well known, it is possible to kitesurf all year round from the Maskali Islands in Djibouti, with the best winds in June, July and August.

BEST TIME FOR

BEST TIME TO VISIT DJIBOUTI

The best time to visit Djibouti is during the winter months, from December to February, when the weather is cooler and more pleasant. During this time, temperatures range from 25°C (77°F) to 30°C (86°F) during the day and drop to around 20°C (68°F) at night, which is much more comfortable than the scorching heat of the summer months.

 

However, if you are interested in diving or snorkeling, the best time to visit Djibouti is from October to January when the water is at its clearest and calmest, allowing for excellent visibility and underwater exploration.

 

It's important to note that Djibouti experiences a hot and humid climate for most of the year, with temperatures reaching up to 45°C (113°F) during the summer months from June to September. During this time, it can be challenging to engage in outdoor activities, and visitors are advised to take necessary precautions to prevent heatstroke and dehydration.

 

SAFETY IN DJIBOUTI

Djibouti is generally a safe country to visit, with a low crime rate and a stable political situation. However, like any country, there are some safety concerns that visitors should be aware of. These include:

  • Petty Crime: There is a risk of petty crime such as pickpocketing, especially in crowded areas such as markets and public transportation. Visitors are advised to take precautions such as keeping valuables out of sight and carrying only the necessary amount of cash.
  • Terrorism: Djibouti is located in a region with a high risk of terrorism. Visitors are advised to avoid areas close to the borders with Somalia and Eritrea and to remain vigilant at all times.
  • Traffic: Djibouti has a high rate of traffic accidents, and visitors are advised to exercise caution when crossing roads and driving.
  • Health: Djibouti has a high prevalence of diseases such as malaria, dengue fever, and cholera. Visitors are advised to take precautions such as using insect repellent and drinking only bottled water.

Overall, Djibouti is a relatively safe country to visit, but visitors are advised to take common sense precautions and stay aware of their surroundings at all times.

DJIBOUTI WEATHER SYNOPSIS

Djibouti’s climate varies across the country. The inland is hot, with average temperatures above 30°C during the summer months of May-September. Nights are generally warm, with average temperatures around 17°C. At the peak of the hot season, temperatures have been known to top 45°C. The cooler season runs from October-March/April with average temperatures of 25°C. Climate on the coast varies from the north to the south. The average temperatures are around 24-25°C and the wettest months are April, July, and August, with a monthly average of 30 mm. January, June and December are the driest months, with average rainfall of 10 mm or less. The humidity is very high with peaks of 90%. Rainfall is largely regulated by the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) and the climate is also susceptible to the impacts of the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO). The country also experiences occasional catastrophic floods.

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DJIBOUTI TRAVEL COSTS

The cost of traveling to Djibouti can vary depending on various factors such as the time of year, accommodation, transportation, and activities. Here is a breakdown of some of the typical expenses you can expect:

  • Flights: The cost of flights to Djibouti will depend on where you are flying from and the time of year you are traveling. Flights from Europe and Asia can range from $500 to $1000 or more, while flights from neighboring African countries can be much cheaper.
  • Accommodation: Accommodation in Djibouti can range from budget guesthouses to luxury hotels. Budget options can cost around $20-$40 per night, while mid-range hotels can cost around $60-$100 per night. Luxury hotels can cost upwards of $200 per night.
  • Transportation: Public transportation in Djibouti is relatively cheap, with bus fares costing around $0.50 to $1. Taxis are also available, and fares can range from $2 to $10 depending on the distance.
  • Activities: The cost of activities in Djibouti can vary, with some activities being relatively cheap, such as visiting the markets and museums, while others, such as diving or visiting national parks, can be more expensive. For example, a day trip to the Lake Assal salt flats can cost around $80-$100.

Overall, a budget traveler can expect to spend around $50-$70 per day, while mid-range travelers can expect to spend around $100-$150 per day. Luxury travelers can expect to spend upwards of $200 per day. It's important to note that prices can vary depending on the time of year and availability, so it's always a good idea to research and plan ahead to get the best deals.

Cost & Spending
Travel Tips

TRAVEL TIPS FOR DJIBOUTI

DJIBOUTI TRAVEL TIPS

Here are some travel tips to help you prepare for your trip to Djibouti:

  • Visa Requirements: Visitors to Djibouti are required to have a visa. It's best to check the visa requirements for your country before you travel, and make sure you have all the necessary documents.
  • Language: The official languages of Djibouti are French and Arabic, but many people also speak Somali and Afar. It's a good idea to learn a few basic phrases in French or Arabic to help you get around.
  • Currency: The official currency of Djibouti is the Djiboutian franc (DJF). Credit cards are accepted in some hotels and restaurants, but it's always a good idea to have some cash on hand.
  • Health: Djibouti has a high prevalence of diseases such as malaria, dengue fever, and cholera. Visitors are advised to take precautions such as using insect repellent and drinking only bottled water.
  • Clothing: Djibouti is a Muslim country, and visitors are advised to dress modestly, especially when visiting religious sites. Women should cover their shoulders and knees, and men should avoid wearing shorts in public.
  • Transportation: Public transportation in Djibouti is relatively cheap, with bus fares costing around $0.50 to $1. Taxis are also available, and fares can range from $2 to $10 depending on the distance.
  • Culture: Djibouti has a rich cultural heritage, and visitors are encouraged to respect local customs and traditions. Always ask for permission before taking photos of people, and avoid pointing with your feet or showing the soles of your feet, as this is considered rude.

By keeping these travel tips in mind, you can have a safe and enjoyable trip to Djibouti.

Regions & Highlights

REGIONS & HIGHLIGHTS OF DJIBOUTI

SIGHTS & HIGHLIGHTS OF DJIBOUTI

Djibouti is a small country, but it offers a wealth of diverse landscapes, cultures, and experiences. Here are some of the main regions worth visiting and their highlights:

  • Djibouti City: The capital city of Djibouti is a vibrant hub of culture, history, and commerce. The city boasts several museums, including the Djibouti National Museum and the Hamoudi Mosque Museum, which showcase the country's rich heritage. The lively central market is also worth a visit, where you can find an array of spices, textiles, and handicrafts.
  • Lake Assal: Located about 120 km southwest of Djibouti City, Lake Assal is one of the main highlights of Djibouti. It is the lowest point in Africa and the saltiest lake outside of Antarctica. The stark, otherworldly landscape of the surrounding salt flats is a photographer's paradise.
  • Tadjourah: Tadjourah is a historic town located on the northern coast of Djibouti. Its whitewashed buildings and palm-lined streets give it a charming and laid-back atmosphere. Highlights of the town include the Tadjourah Mosque, which is one of the oldest mosques in East Africa, and the nearby Moucha Island, which is known for its crystal-clear waters and coral reefs.
  • Ali Sabieh: Located in the southeast of Djibouti, Ali Sabieh is a rugged and scenic region that is home to several national parks, including the Day Forest National Park and the Goda Mountains National Park. The Goda Mountains offer breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape, including the nearby salt lake, Lac Abbe.
  • Obock: Obock is a sleepy fishing village located on the northern coast of Djibouti. It is a great place to unwind and relax, with beautiful beaches and crystal-clear waters. The nearby Ras Bir lighthouse, which was built in the 19th century, is also worth a visit.

These are just a few of the main regions worth visiting in Djibouti, each with its own unique highlights and experiences. Whether you are seeking adventure, relaxation, or cultural immersion, Djibouti has something to offer for every type of traveler.

What To See & Do
Travel Map

Djibouti is a small country, but it offers a variety of unique and unforgettable experiences for visitors. Here are some of the best things to see and do when visiting Djibouti:

  • Snorkeling and Diving: Djibouti is home to some of the most pristine and biodiverse marine ecosystems in the world. Visitors can swim with whale sharks, dolphins, and dugongs, explore colorful coral reefs, and discover shipwrecks.
  • Visit Lake Assal: Located in the heart of the Danakil Depression, Lake Assal is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Djibouti. It is the lowest point in Africa and the saltiest lake outside of Antarctica, offering a unique and surreal landscape.
  • Hiking in the Goda Mountains: The Goda Mountains offer some of the most stunning vistas in Djibouti. Visitors can hike to the top of the mountains to see breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding desert landscapes.
  • Explore Tadjourah: This historic town is known for its whitewashed buildings and palm-lined streets, as well as its rich cultural heritage. Highlights include the Tadjourah Mosque, which is one of the oldest mosques in East Africa.
  • Visit the Goubbet al-Kharab: This cove in the Gulf of Tadjoura is known for its unique ecosystem and rare wildlife, such as the dugong, whale shark, and various species of sea turtles.
  • Visit the Arta Beach: This stunning beach is a popular spot for swimming and sunbathing. It also offers stunning views of the Gulf of Tadjoura.
  • Explore Djibouti City: The capital city of Djibouti is a bustling hub of culture, history, and commerce. Highlights include the Central Market, the Presidential Palace, and the Hamoudi Mosque.
  • Visit the Hanle Plain: This region is known for its volcanic landscapes and unique geological formations. Visitors can explore the nearby Lake Abbe and witness the stunning natural phenomena of the chimneys and limestone formations.

These are just a few of the best things to see and do when visiting Djibouti. With its stunning natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and unique experiences, Djibouti offers something for every type of traveler.

WHAT TO SEE AND DO IN DJIBOUTI

Djibouti
What To Eat

WHAT TO EAT IN DJIBOUTI

WHAT TO EAT IN DJIBOUTI

Djibouti's cuisine is a blend of Somali, Afar, and Yemeni influences, resulting in a unique and flavorful culinary experience. Here are some of the most popular dishes to try when visiting Djibouti:

  • Skoudehkaris: This is Djibouti's national dish, which is made of tender lamb or goat meat, mixed with aromatic rice, and a variety of spices, including cumin, cardamom, and turmeric.
  • Lahoh: This is a popular breakfast food in Djibouti, which is similar to a pancake or a crepe. It is made with a batter of flour, water, and yeast, and is often served with honey, butter, or jam.
  • Cambaabur: This is another type of bread, which is made with sorghum flour and cooked on a griddle. It is often served with stews, soups, or sauces.
  • Fah-fah: This is a spicy soup made with lamb or beef, vegetables, and a blend of spices, including coriander, cumin, and turmeric. It is often served with bread or rice.
  • Shigni: This is a spicy tomato-based stew made with beef, goat, or lamb, and a variety of vegetables, including onions, carrots, and potatoes.
  • Maraq: This is a spicy soup made with chicken or beef, vegetables, and a blend of spices, including cinnamon, cardamom, and cumin. It is often served with bread or rice.
  • Hilib ari: This is a grilled or roasted goat meat dish that is popular in Djibouti, especially during festive occasions.
  • Asida: This is a sweet and sticky porridge made with flour, butter, and sugar, and is often served with honey or dates.

These are just a few of the many delicious dishes to try when visiting Djibouti. Whether you are a fan of spicy stews, savory meats, or sweet porridges, Djibouti's cuisine is sure to tantalize your taste buds.

LGBTQ IN DJIBOUTI

Djibouti

WHERE TO STAY IN DJIBOUTI

When visiting Djibouti for the first time, it's essential to consider the unique landscapes, cultural experiences, and accessibility of different regions. Here are recommendations for areas to stay, along with accommodation options for each category: budget, mid-range, and luxury.


Where to stay in Djibouti City:

Djibouti City, the capital of Djibouti, serves as the primary entry point for visitors and offers a blend of urban amenities, cultural sites, and proximity to natural attractions like Lac Assal and the Day Forest National Park.

  • Budget: Djibouti Palace Kempinski - Despite being a luxury hotel, Djibouti Palace Kempinski offers occasional deals and discounts, making it accessible for budget travelers seeking a taste of luxury. It provides comfortable rooms, waterfront views, and access to upscale amenities.

  • Mid-range: Hôtel Les Acacias - This mid-range hotel offers comfortable accommodations, friendly service, and a convenient location in the heart of Djibouti City, making it an excellent choice for travelers seeking value and convenience.

  • Luxury: Sheraton Djibouti - Situated along the Gulf of Tadjourah, Sheraton Djibouti offers luxurious rooms, multiple dining options, a private beach, and stunning views of the Red Sea, providing an indulgent experience for those seeking luxury.

Tips: To find the best value accommodation in Djibouti City, consider booking your stay during the offseason (typically May to September), when prices may be lower due to fewer tourists. Additionally, booking directly with hotels and checking for package deals or promotions can help secure better rates.


For hassle-free bookings, use platforms like Booking.com for competitive rates or Holiday Swap for unique homes worldwide. Ensure to book in advance, especially during peak seasons, and align your preferences with nearby activities such as surfing, snorkeling, or cultural exploration.

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