Although not so much is known about Djibouti as a holiday destination the country offers a number of fascinating places to explore for the holidaymakers. Its great geography presents a wide array of places to explore and offers the perfect destination for holidaymakers interested in a laid-back Safari experience. The coastal beaches of Djibouti, together with the nearby islands, the beautiful lakes, and stunning landscapes not to forget the distant planes all await you to explore and appreciate the gifts of Mother Nature in this small country.
In this article we bring you the top 10 things to do and places to visit while on holiday in Djibouti
The magical islands covering an area of about two miles are located close to the shore of Djibouti and they are encircled by very beautiful coral reefs the islands are commonly visited by holidaymakers who are interested in diving, snorkeling and fishing and they can only be accessed by a motor boat connecting from Djibouti port. The more adventurous holidaymakers are advised to enjoy an overnight stay while camping on the islands to enjoy the utmost peace and serenity as they dine outdoor and enjoy the views of the stars twinkle up in the sky.
Explore Djibouti City
this is the capital city of the country and it is also referred to as the ‘French Hong Kong” within the red Sea and it is a very busy place with a blend of several old building such as the Kempinski Palace (a very popular place), colorful busy markets and sandy beaches. Being the largest city in the country it is popular for the remarkable 19th century architecture as well as a day entrance to the Red Sea. Visitors normally spend several hours exploring this beautiful city and it is highly recommended for day trips.
The Gulf of Tadjoura
On the eastern border of Djibouti is the Gulf of Tadjoura which is regarded to be one of the wealthiest areas in coral reefs and numerous fish species. This beautiful place is a very popular place for people interested in underwater photography as well as diving. The coastline has very beautiful beaches and you will surely enjoy the views of the coral reefs in the red Sea. It is a great place to enjoy beach activities, aquatic sports and very ideal for day trips.
Day Forest National Park
holidaymakers interested in engaging in the various activities within Djibouti such as exploring the forested areas, Day Forest National Park ( also known as Foret du Day National Park) found within the Goda mountains is the perfect place to go. The park is home to a great diversity of plants and animals in addition to various birds such as the Somalis starling.
Visit Lake Assal
Found 155 meters below sea level, Lake Assal is regarded as the lowest point on the African continent, and in addition is the saltiest Lake beyond the Antarctica. It is found within the Afar Triangle and it is the third lowest point on the entire Earth coming after the Sea of Galilee as well as the Dead Sea. The nearby Ardoukoba Volcano which since 1978 has been dormant dominates the surrounding landscape and the area that is comprised of Lake Assal and the Ardoukoba Volcano has been declared by UNESCO as a world heritage site. The lake can easily be accessed by road and preferably a four-wheel drive car as it is only sixty kilometers (60 km) southwest of the capital.
Aquarium Tropical de Djibouti and Marche Central
In case you are not interested in diving but wish to see the rich wildlife within the red Sea; then a visit to the Aquarium Tropical De Djibouti is highly recommended. This aquarium is a very popular tourist destination in the country and offers holidaymakers an opportunity to see the various undersea creatures found within the red Sea. It is a recommended place for those with limited Safari time and if on a family safari.
Not so far from the aquarium Is the Marche Central a very vibrant and busy market that deals in various items ranging from fresh fruits and vegetables to bags, jewelry and clothing which you can visit after lunch to do some shopping.
The salty lake Abbe which is also known as Lake Abhe Bad is found on the border of Djibouti with Ethiopia and it is part of a series of interconnected lakes. It is among the three major lakes within Djibouti. This look is popular for its towering limestone chimneys which continuously release an unexplainable steam. Special about this place is that part of its landscape was featured in a popular movie ‘Planet of Apes’ as a forbidden zone.
The Khor Ambado Beach
This Sandy Beach offers the perfect setting for picnicking, sightseeing and diving tours. Its close location of just ten (10) miles from the capital makes it a good destination for day trips. It’s a good place to enjoy a swim and watch the sunset as the rays disappeared beyond the rugged horizon of volcanic terrain
This is among the oldest towns in Djibouti and it is a much loved place popular for its relaxed activities such as sightseeing and fishing. Nearby are a number of beautiful golf resorts where guests enjoy views of the mountain ranges in the distance.
The Afar Triangle
The country of Djibouti is located in Afar Triangle a unique geological feature which is among the most isolated and hottest places on earth. This low laying area is with most of it below the sea level is a section of the Great Rift Valley system.
Frequently asked questions on Djibouti
Do I need a Visa to go Djibouti?
Visas are required by all nationals visiting the country such as those of the following citizenship such as Canadians, USA, British, Australian and other European Union member countries, and they should present proof of onward travels such as a return ticket. Nationals of EU can get short one-month stay visas at the airport on arrival however; it is highly advised that you get your visa before traveling to Djibouti.
Passengers on onward travels (transit passengers) are not required to have a visa as they will be proceed with their journey with the same ship or aircraft.
You are required to have a valid passport of at least six (6) months from the date of your departure in the country.
Useful Tip: for the latest updates regarding visa requirements, please consult with the Embassy of Djibouti in your home country before traveling.
What vaccines do I need when visiting Djibouti?
as per the World Health Organizations, there are a number of vaccinations recommended for persons going Djibouti among which are Tetanus, typhoid, Hepatitis A, as well as a Yellow Fever vaccine which is required for people of one year and over of age and all persons must show a yellow fever vaccine certificate at the time of entry into the country to the immigration officers as proof of having received this vaccine.
There is a big threat of malaria and Cholera in Djibouti.
How to avoid Malaria in Djibouti?
Below are some of the most recommended ways to avoid contracting malaria while in Djibouti:
- Sleeping under a mosquito net at all times,
- Wearing long-sleeved shirts and trousers to avoid insect bites,
- Using an insect repellent
- Properly taking the anti malarial prophylaxis as prescribed by your doctor
What is the official language for Djibouti?
There are two official languages spoken within Djibouti and these are Arabic and French, however Somali and Afar are also commonly spoken across the country.
Is English spoken in Djibouti?
English is mainly spoken within the tourist facilities for that reason; all holidaymakers are advised to learn a number of basic Arabic and French phrases so as to communicate with the local people such as cab drivers.
What is the local currency used in Djibouti?
The local currency used in Djibouti is the Djiboutian franc (DJF) which presents in banknotes of different dominations of DJF 500, 1,000, 2,000, 5,000 and 10,000.
Are credit cards accepted in Djibouti?
A number of up market hotels, some airlines, shops and large travel agencies accept the Visa credit cards. Only ATMs in the capital Djibouti city can accept these cards. There are no constraints on exporting or importing local and foreign currency, however, the most recommended way to carry foreign currency into the country is using travelers’ cheques.
Foreign currencies can easily be exchanged at banks, major hotels as well as licensed bureax de change shops found within the capital.
What is the local Time zone in Djibouti?
The local time zone in Djibouti is GMT + 3:00.
What is the Electricity current used in Djibouti?
The standard electricity current used in Djibouti is 220 V – 240V with the frequency is 50 Hz.
Is there internet connection in Djibouti?
Wireless internet connection is widespread across the capital Djibouti City and it is actually free in most major hotels in Djibouti City. As per the western standards, the internet connect can be ranked as fairly good.
What is the most dominant religion in Djibouti?
Djibouti’s majority population is mainly Sunni Muslim, with 94% of the local population practicing Islam whereas the rest of the 6% are Roman Catholics, Bahais, Protestants, Hindus Jews, Ethiopian Orthodox, atheists, Greek Orthodox and Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Do I need travel insurance when visiting Djibouti?
Because medical facilities within Djibouti are below the international standards, all travelers are advised to obtain a good travel insurance that also covers emergency evacuation. When you go to areas out of the capital, you will realize that majority of the medical facilities are nearly non-existence. There are a few insurance policies that are accepted by the local hospitals or medical facilities. Normally you will be required to pay the hospital bill before being discharged and then your insurance company reimburses you. For that reason, all travelers are advised to verify that their insurance policy does so.
Is photography allowed in Djibouti?
Djibouti has heavy military presence unlike many African countries; for that reason, during your stay in this country you are highly advised to take care when taking photographs. It is against the law to take photos of the various public infrastructures; it is prohibited to take photos of military personnel and policemen. Please do not take photos of military facilities, airports as well as public buildings.
Is it safe to drink tap water in Djibouti?
No, the tap water in the major cities especially the capital Djibouti City has large amounts of chlorine and this may cause stomach disorders especially to persons who are not used to it. Please only drink well boiled water as well as bottled water. Ensure that the boiled water has the seal of its cap intact at the time of consuming it.
Where to stay while on holiday in Djibouti?
most of the nice and good Tourist accommodation is found within the capital Djibouti City, however in case you are going out to sea for scuba diving or snorkeling, you are advised to have your accommodation a liveaboard as they offer a cooler, safer and more comfortable accommodation setting.
What is the best time to Visit Djibouti?
October to April re considered the months to visit Djibouti as the weather is somewhat cool with occasional rain showers that bring the landscape to life with the spread of greenery. You should keep in mind that Djibouti generally receives very minimal rainfall with the highest temperatures being experienced in June, July and August (hitting a maximum of 113°F) when the khamsin hot dusty winds are blowing from the Sahara desert.
The strategic location of Djibouti on the coastline with the Red Sea, Eritrea, Somalia and Ethiopia on the eastern side of the African continent; and the unique topology of the country that includes volcanic mountain-ranges, semi-desert terrain inland and beautiful coastal beaches have tuned the climatic atmosphere of this country to be dry will long hot seasons that begin in May September with temperatures ranging between 104°F and 113°F.
The more pleasant season that comes with cooler temperatures of an average of 77°F starts in mid-October all through towards the end of April.
What items you should not forget when visiting Djibouti?
Because it is generally dry and the temperatures are scotching hot, all travelers visiting this country are advised to pack a scarf and a hat to protect them from the hot sun.
Sunglasses and sunscreen are also highly recommended at all times