If you were asked to name all the countries of the world, we’d forgive you if you forgot about little Djibouti.
It’s a tiny speck on the north-west coast of Africa, right on the mouth of the Red Sea (you can almost wave to Yemen across the water). With the possible exception of Iceland, Djibouti has one of the weirdest collections of landscapes on the planet: volcanic salt lakes, sunken plains, rocky canyons, limestone pillars bathed in sulfuric steam. Classic Lion King this place is not. In fact, most tourists have never heard of Djibouti, which means you get its world-class hiking, diving and kite surfing all to yourself.
Our Djibouti trips
Articles on Djibouti
Djibouti travel highlights
Lake Abbe, Djibouti
Witness an otherworldly landscape of chimneys, salt flats and hot springs
Arta Beach Whale Sharks
Spot these giant, gentle creatures in the Bay of Ghoubbet
Lake Assal, Djibouti
Trek alongside a camel caravan to a salt lake that’s Africa’s lowest point on land
Foret du Day National Park
Look out for leopards in this compact but diverse national park
Djibouti holiday information
At a glance
Health and safety
Djibouti travel FAQs
All nationalities require a visa to visit Djibouti.
All nationalities – except for India, Syria and Yemen – can obtain a visa on arrival at the airport. A tourist visa is valid for one month and costs around USD 55. A 3-day transit visa is also available at a cost of around USD 25. Proof of onward travel is also required.
If you arrive by land, visa arrangements should be made in advance from a Djibouti embassy in a neighbouring country. Where there are no Djiboutian consulates, visas can often be acquired from French embassies.
Leaving a small tip in restaurants is welcomed.
WiFi is increasingly common in hotels and restaurants, and there are internet cafes across Djibouti City. USB internet dongles can be purchased and loaded with data from a local provider.
Mobile coverage is generally good across the country. Your phone may work on roaming, depending on your home network. You can also purchase a local SIM card for around USD 11.
Very basic squat/pit toilets are the standard in Djibouti, except for western-style flushable toilets that are sometimes available in large hotels and other modern buildings. Carry your own supply of soap and toilet paper, as this is rarely provided.
- Cup of coffee = 750 DJF (approx. USD 4)
- Soft drink = 130 DJF (approx. USD 1)
- Bottle of beer = 700 DJF (approx. USD 4)
- Simple lunch = 1000 DJF (approx. USD 5.5)
- Nice dinner in a restaurant = 6000 DJF (approx. USD 33)
Tap water isn't considered safe for travellers to drink. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Ask your leader and accommodation provider for local advice on where drinking water can be accessed. Also, avoid ice in drinks and peel fruit before eating.
Credit cards are accepted at upmarket shops and hotels, though some will place a surcharge on the payment.
There are ATMs in Djibouti City. They all except Visa. Outside of the capital there are no such facilities. Be sure to have both the local currency (Djibouti franc) and US dollars/euros in cash. The Djiboutian Franc is pegged to the US dollar, but beware of the conversion rate offered in some places.
Absolutely. All passengers travelling with Intrepid are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of their trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.
For more information on insurance, please go to: Travel Insurance
- 1 Jan New Year's Day
- 24 Apr The Prophet's Ascension
- 1 May Labour Day
- 25 Jun Aid el-Fitre / End of Ramadan
- 26 Jun Aid el-Fitre / End of Ramadan
- 27 Jun National Day
- 28 Jun National Day Holiday
- 31 Aug Youm Arafat
- 1 Sep Aid el-Addha / Feast of Sacrifice
- 2 Sep Aid el-Addha / Feast of Sacrifice
- 21 Sep Awal Mouharram / Islamic New Year
- 30 Nov Mouloud / The Prophet's Birthday
- 25 Dec Christmas Day
Please note these dates are for 2017. For a current list of public holidays in Djibouti go to: http://www.worldtravelguide.net/djibouti/public-holidays
Intrepid is committed to travelling in a way that is respectful of local people, their culture, local economies and the environment. It's important to remember that what may be acceptable behaviour, dress and language in your own country, may not be appropriate in another. Please keep this in mind while travelling.
Top responsible travel tips for Djibouti
1. Be considerate of Djibouti customs, traditions, religion and culture.
2. Djibouti has a large Muslim population, so dress modestly and conservatively, especially in the cities.
3. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water instead.
4. Always dispose of litter thoughtfully, including cigarette butts.
5. During Ramadan, make sure to show respect to those who are fasting.
6. Learn some French, Arabic or Somali phrases and don't be afraid to use them – simple greetings will help break the ice.
7. Shop for locally made products. Supporting local artisans helps keep traditional crafts alive.
8. Refrain from supporting businesses that exploit or abuse endangered animals.
9. Taking photos of public buildings, bridges and military structures is forbidden. Ask your leader what you can and can’t shoot.
10. When on community visits or homestays, refrain from giving gifts or money to locals.