The city of Djibouti is little more than a ramshackle port village, where the paint is peeling off colonial buildings and modern structures seem to always be under construction without ever being finished. There are no great points of interest in the city, but the appeal of the capital is just enjoying the scenes by walking about, relaxing in the few squares or shopping in the central market. Djibouti’s Red Sea coast does make it an excellent destination for diving and swimming, and the city is a good jumping-off point for further exploring the area.
The chaotic central market is a must-see for any visitor. The sprawling space bustles with activity in the early mornings, then calms down considerably after the noon arrival of qat. Chewing the narcotic leaves is a national past time, and both the market and city seem to shut down after the daily delivery.
The capital is a short drive from Tadjoura, the oldest town in Djibouti. Once a small slave-trading village, the city is now becoming a premier travel destination in the area because of its stunning setting in the shadow of the Goda Mountains. The dazzlingly bright blue sea is at the city’s doorstep, and many superb coral reefs lie just off the coast. Just outside the city is the Plage des Sables Blancs, a white sand beach with a tranquil atmosphere.
Lac Abbe is as desolate as Tadjoura is scenic and lush. The plain is marked by hundreds of spikelike limestone chimneys, reaching heights of up to 50 meters. The result of calcareous deposits, the chimneys belch out giant puffs of steam and give the area a slightly lunar appearance. Even though the area is desolate, local nomads call it home thanks to mineral-rich hot springs that create grazing areas for their goats and camels. Visit the banks of the lake at dawn to see it surrounded by hundreds of startlingly pink flamingos.
The Goda Mountains create a glorious patch of green on the country’ otherwise parched map. Visitors becoming accustomed to the dry air are usually quite surprised and relieved to see the mist blanketing the mountains. The nearby settlements of Randa, Dittilou and Bankouale are inhabited by friendly locals, and the area is home to the Forêt du Day National Park, Djibouti’s only national park.
Divers and hikers will find many intriguing places to explore in Djibouti. Excursions to Assal Lake take visitors through hot water springs, volcanic craters and faults while trips to Moucha Island in the Bay of Tadjoura offer stunning scenery and warm waters. The best dive sites are on the north coast near the Seven Brothers Islands. Uninhabited and remote, the islands are located near the southern entrance to the Red Sea in the Bab El-Mandeb straits. The sites there offer some of the country’s most bio-diverse diving, but the strong currents make the area appropriate only for advanced divers.
From mid-October to late January, visitors to the coast can see whale sharks swimming around Ata Beach. Dolphins, tiger sharks, blue sharks and beaked whales are also common sights during the summer.
Djibouti Geographical Location
The city of Djibouti faces the Gulf of Tadjoura in the southeast of Djibouti.
The population of the city is approximately 567,000.
French and Arabic are the official languages of Djibouti although Somali is the most common despite not being taught in schools. Afar is common in certain areas of the country.
Djibouti Predominant Religion
- 94% Muslim
- 6% Christian
Eastern Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism are the most widely practiced religions within the Christian percentile.
The Djiboutian Franc is the official currency of Djibouti.
Djibouti is hot throughout the year with little rainfall. July and August are marginally the hottest months of the year.
Djibouti Main Attractions
- Grande Pecherie
- Khor Ambado Beach
- Place Menelik
Other Attraction in Djibouti
- Lake Abhe
- Lake Assal
- Maskali Island
- Moucha Island