Djibouti is a small nation located at the point at the Gulf of Aden, where the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean meet. It gained its independence from France in 1977 and is currently governed in a multiparty arrangement based on the French and Islamic systems of law.
The capital city of Djibouti is also known as Djibouti (or Djibouti town or Djibouti city), and around 65 percent of the nation’s population lives in this urban center. It is from here that most visitors start their journeys to explore the relatively untouched, isolated, and breathtaking sights of this small yet remarkable nation.
Djibouti enjoys a strong economic relationship with neighboring Ethiopia, which uses Djibouti’s port for its exports. The two nations are connected by the Ethiopian-Djibouti rail link.
The Top 7: What to Do in Djibouti
1. Lake Assal:
Visit the lowest point on the African continent: Lake Assal is roughly 155 meters below sea level. It is also the saltiest body of water on Earth, almost 35 percent more saline than the Dead Sea. Salt flats surround the lake where salt is mined for export to Ethiopia; they are a strange but beautiful sight. It gets very hot at Lake Assal, so remember to bring enough bottled water and dress accordingly.
2. Djibouti Town:
Explore the capital city, both the traditional side (inhabited by Djiboutians) and the expatriate neighborhoods, complete with Western restaurants. Wander in the market, and observe the sale and consumption of the popular drug called khat, made of leaves of a plant native to East Africa that are chewed to give the user a sense of euphoria.
3. Moucha and Maskali Islands:
These islands are about a 45-minute boat ride from the port of Djibouti town. The waters off these islands are a dream for divers: manta rays and various types of sharks live around the islands.
4. Khor Ambado:
Located a 45-minute drive by four-by-four from Djibouti town in Tadjoura Bay, this idyllic white sand beach is a wonderful snorkeling spot. Explore a reef teeming with sea life just 115 feet (35 meters) from the shore. Though a popular destination for European tourists and expatriates, Khor Ambado is rarely busy.
5. Lake Abbe:
This salt lake sits on the border between Djibouti and Ethiopia, at the Afar Triple Junction, where three pieces of Earth’s crust meet and form a depression in the earth. It is part of a string of six connected lakes in Ethiopia. The most impressive feature of this lake is its limestone chimneys, some of which reach heights of 164 feet (50 meters) and vent steam. Small camps of the nomadic Afar people can be found around the shores of the lake, as well as pink flamingos.
6. Gulf of Tadjoura:
The best beaches in Djibouti are in this region. The town of Tadjoura has a small airport, providing easy access for tourists. That town has traditionally been a bustling port and trade center.
7. Grande Pecherie:
This fish market in Djibouti town is set up along the waterfront early in the morning. Have your choice of fresh-caught fish prepared in front of your eyes. High quality and unbeatable prices: that’s certainlya winning combination for food lovers.
When to Go
The climate in Djibouti, a desert country, remains hot and arid year-round. Temperatures are especially high in the summer months, so we recommend visiting between October and April.