Landscape in the country of Djibouti

Travel Guide: Explore Djibouti in the Horn of Africa

This week we will be exploring one of the countries in the Horn of Africa. This tiny country is not well known but it is a strategically important global trade area. It is located next to Bab-el-Mandeb which is a straight that links the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea via the Red Sea, the Suez Canal and the Gulf of Aden.

So overall this country is an advantageously situated place for trade and with its growing tourism and economy it attracts tourists all year around. The main attractions are the beaches, scuba diving, fishing, hiking and wildlife. It is certainly a great place to spend your holiday. I have found a few things you might enjoy on your travels in this tiny African country. 

Before Visiting

Djibouti by night
Credit: Photographer-Nicolas Hoellinger via Pinterest

As always, there are a few things you should know about this country before you visit. I recommend in addition to reading what I have suggested that you do your research. It is better to know more about what to expect and what may be taboo in the country you are visiting. So without further ado, here are a few things to consider before you visit the beautiful country of Djibouti. 

Get the Jabs

Graphic of a needle and syringe
Credit: School of Public Health – University of Michigan

I like to start with vaccinations. With Covid-19 changing the way we look at vaccinations I think that it is important to take the recommended vaccinations so as no to spread any kind of virus or disease. We are each entitled to our opinions and so if you are against vaccinations you are welcome to skip this section after the first bullet point. But for those that are open to preventative vaccines please read further.

  • Yellow Fever: REQUIRED if Travelling from a Country with High Transmission. Spread through mosquito bites.
  • Hepatitis A: Recommended for most travellers especially if you are unvaccinated. This virus is spread through food and water. 
  • Hepatitis B: Recommended for most travellers. Spread through Blood and bodily fluids.
  • Tetanus: Recommended for most travellers especially if you are unvaccinated. Spread through wounds or breaks in the skin especially from rusty metals.
  • Typhoid: Recommended for most travellers especially if you are unvaccinated. Spread through food and water.
  • Cholera: Recommended for most travellers especially if you are unvaccinated. Spread through food and water.
  • Rabies: This is a high risk country as such the vaccine is highly recommended. Especially for those that are staying long or come in contact with animals. Spread through saliva of an infected person or animal. 


Explore Some of the Natural Wonders

Before you explore the city of Djibouti in the country of Djibouti…you should check out the natural wonders. There are  alot of places to check out in this tiny African country. From salt water lakes to forests and wildlife parks. There are plenty of places to explore on your trip to Djibouti. I have gathered a few adventures you might like to check out in this amazing country. We will start with places outside of the city to start your adventures. But if you would prefer to check out less rural things to do, feel free to skip ahead and check out my section on the ‘City of Djibouti’. 


Lake Assal

The first place I would like to mention is the salt water ‘Lake Assal’. This crater lake is located at the top of the ‘Great Rift Valley’ in a desert known as the ‘Danakil Desert. Not much wildlife surrounds this lake due to the salt water. So although Lake Assal is high in minerals the only life form which calls this place home is bacteria. However this lake is of great use to local farmers. The lake is known to be one of the world’s largest natural salt deposits. So harvesting salt is a great way for the locals to make money. The reason there is so much salt in Lake Assal is because the Danakil Desert is known as one of the hottest places on earth. This causes the underground of the lake to constantly evaporate which creates layer after layer of salt.

This is a fantastic place to start your adventures. Checking out the surreal alien-like landscape is truly amazing. I know I would find exploring such a desolate place to be a great and interesting experience.

Lake Assal in Djibouti - Explore the Salt Lake
Credit: The Culture Trip

Explore the Lake Abbe in the Dikhil Region

Located near a dormant volcano, Lake Abbe is a great place to see various local animals. If you are lucky you may spot gazelle, monkey and any number of birds. The landscape surrounding the lake is unique. With hundreds of limestone stalagmite-like formations on the ground in the surrounding area. They call these formations chimneys and they certainly look the part in this desolate landscape. This makes the landscape interesting to look at. Despite the barren landscape this area of Djibouti is far from uninhabited. With many animals in the area and local nomads grazing their goats and camels on the lake’s shores. There is really quite a lot to see and explore in this neck of the woods.

Explore the chimney formations at Lake Abbe in Djibouti.
Credit: Monika Salzmann

Day Forest National Park

If you are exploring the country of Djibouti you will need to add the largest forest in the country to your list. This National Park is known for the majestically massive trees which reach over 66ft in height. Not only is the plant life impressive but the multitude of endemic species of bird is worth the trip alone. What makes the ‘Day Forest National Park’ unique is the semi-desert landscape surrounding the forests. As such this forest is quite dry and inhospitable. Strangely even in this desert climate there are plenty of animals and birds to see on your travels. 

Overall this is a fantastic place to explore. If you are someone that enjoys hiking and treks through the wilderness you have to add this place to your list of things to do.

Explore the Day Forest in Djibouti.
Credit: Elevations Map Logs

Khor Ambado Beach

If you are on holiday you need to spend at least one day relaxing on the beach. If you just want a day to rest and have fun the beach is always a winner. Khor Beach is arguably one of the best in Djibouti. The Khor Ambado beach is sheltered in a small cove just a stone’s throw from a French Military Base. This is a family friendly beach  and has long stretches of golden brown sand as well as shaded beach chairs and tables. 

If you are into snorkelling this is a great place to start. The diverse marine life in the clear ocean water makes for a great way to spend your time. The water is quite calm as well so swimming and snorkelling is relatively safe. But of course you should always be careful and aware of your surroundings. During low tide you can see shipwrecks in the shallow water which you can photograph or explore. Additionally there are a few eateries in the surrounding area. Overall this is a well situated beach with everything you need close at hand. It is a drive from the city of Djibouti. As such you will need a car to get there so be aware of that.

Explore the Khor Ambado Beach in Djibouti
Credit: Trip Advisor

Rushing Waters Adventures

This aquatic tourism company is a must if you are in Djibouti. The Rushing Water Adventures offers many water based activities such as snorkeling, kayaking, scuba diving as well as beach visits. If you are someone who enjoys exploring the sea and the creatures under the waves. You have to get a hold of this company. They offer a lot and allow you to dive with sharks and explore the reefs. As always with this kind of activity you need to have your scuba certificate and be able to swim at least for snorkeling. But over all this is certainly something to consider if you would like to see the marine life Djibouti has to offer. 

A whale shark in the sea surrounding Djibouti
Credit: The Culture Trip

Check Out of City of Djibouti

The capital city of Djibouti is also called Djibouti. This port side city is on the southern shore of the Gulf of Tadjoura which is an inlet to the Gulf of Aden. This city is beautiful and interesting to check out. There are three levels to this city known as Djibouti, Serpent and Marabout. Each one is linked by jetties. The city itself is a mix of old and few with e definitive French influence. It is a great city to explore and there are quite a few things you can see in Djibouti. I have curated a few things you might want to explore if you decide to check out this beautiful city. So without further ado here is my list. 

A mosque in the city of Djibouti -Explore the city of Djibouti
Credit: Daily Sabah


Explore the Hamoudi Mosque

This mosque was built in 1906 and is one of the oldest mosques in the city of Djibouti. The design reflects the Abbasid style. You can see this in the green and white walls, stone carvings, impressive wooden doors and the yellow arched windows. Overall it is a simple design but it holds significance to the people. The Hamoudi Mosque is located near a small market but is actively a sanctuary and can hold over 1000 worshipers. It is certainly a place you should consider seeing in the city of Djibouti.

Explore the Hamoudi Mosque in Djibouti
Credit: Islamic Architecture Heritage


Place Menelik

This old building is in the heart of Centreville, the oldest part of Djibouti. It is also the best place to get a feel for the city. You will get to see a series of colonial architecture in the surrounding area. The Place Menelik is officially known as 27 Juin 1977 which is the date of the country’s independence. It is an interesting place to explore and a beautiful building. Not only that but the surrounding area is full of restaurants and souvenir shops so you can get a taste of the city and get some of that shopping out of the way. 

Overall this is a great place to go if you want to explore a piece of the country’s history. Get a taste for the culture and city itself and take photos. I recommend at least making a stop at the Place Menelik for these reasons.

Place Menelik
Credit: Agnes et Patrick

The Tropical Aquarium

This aquarium is full of creatures from the Red Sea and more. It is open from 16:00 to 18:00 every day. With the fantastic tunnels this aquarium is built so that you feel like you are under the water and able to see all the multitudes of creatures. It is a beautiful place and if you are interested in sea creatures without getting wet then this is the place for you. 

As always please be respectful of the creatures in the aquarium and the staff that work there. The money that you pay to visit goes toward maintaining the aquarium and of course paying the staff. Places like this are helpful to marine life. Due to overfishing, there are sometimes endangered animals. I like to think of aquariums as a place where you can save a species. 

With the opportunity to reintroduce a whole species back into the sea one day. But if you are not interested in aquariums or disagree with them that is up to you. Every creature deserves respect and freedom but sometimes the best you can do to save them is to create a place for them and give them as much freedom as you can within the constraints.

Tropical Aquarium in DJibuti
Credit: Travel Brochures via Pinterest


Dolphin Excursions in Djibouti

I introduced one scuba diving company before however I simply have to mention the ‘Dolphin Excursions’ tourism company too. They are the oldest tour agency and the only PADI Dive centre in Djibouti. From swimming with whale sharks, to land tours and scuba diving and much more. There is so much on offer from this tourism agency. I know I would certainly look into them if I were going to Djibouti. So if you are interested in marine life and scuba diving I highly recommend this travel agency to help you explore the deep sea.

A boat on the water. Dolphin Excursions: Helping you to explore the world below the sea.
Credit: Tribloo

The Moucha Islands

If you have the opportunity and the funds I recommend taking a trip to this little island just off the city of Djibouti. It is just a few miles away and is a magical place to experience. With stretches of sandy paradise and clear blue water. The Moucha Islands are a paradise to behold. 

If you enjoy fishing, snorkeling, or just relaxing on the beach this is the trip for you. If you book with the right people you can get a good deal  on a day trip to these islands. With aquatic sports, or water activities and even lunch with a drink. There are different deals with different offers you can check out. But overall I highly recommend taking a top to these islands. It is one of the more popular starting places for those looking to explore the coral reefs and enjoy the beach. 

The Moucha Islands off the coast of Djibouti
Credit: Discovery Loyalty


The End of this Djibouti Travel Guide

That is all for this week’s travel guide. Djibouti has a lot to offer and is a great place to explore. This is just one of many African countries you can check out and experience. There are a few blogs I have done on several countries in Africa. Such as Uganda, Kenya and more. 

As always, take that final step and write your own story. 

You only get one life so make it a grand adventure. All it takes is determination and time and you will be able to get to where you want to. Whether that is travelling the world and experiencing everything there is or something else. I hope to encourage you to take that final step. Begin your adventure and don’t look back.

Camels walking in the desert
Credit: Emaze

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