Djibouti is located in Eastern Africa, between Somalia and Eritrea, bordering the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea. It is home to the otherworldly landscapes of Lac Abbe and Lac Assal, fascinating diving magnificent marine life including whale sharks as well as a charming wildlife sanctuary. Learn more about this small country in Africa with these 11 facts.
1. Djibouti is the 3rd smallest country after Swaziland and Gambia which have land areas of 6,704 and 4,127 square miles respectively. Its land area is 8,958 square miles. In comparison to the US states, Djibouti is almost the size of New Jersey which is 8,722 square miles in size.
2. Approximately 90% of Djibouti’s land is desert. Djibouti has no permanent rivers, only salt lakes in the desert. It has the Grand Bara Desert which covers the southern part of Djibouti.
3. Several nations have military bases in Djibouti including France, the US and China. Djibouti’s status as a model of stability in a volatile region and its proximity to the world’s busiest shipping route make it particularly attractive to global military powers.
4. Djibouti is a young country. More than half of the population in this nation is under 25. However, this is expected to change soon, since the demographic growth is slowing down.
5. Interesting fact about Djibouti is that it is one of 16 countries on Earth where there are almost no trees. According to information from the World Bank Open Data, less than 1% of the land is covered in forest. Other similar places are Iceland, Libya, Lesotho and Jordan.
6. There is a higher female-to-male ratio in this country. This means, that there are more women than men in the country.
7. Only one Djiboutian athlete has ever won a medal at the Olympics: Hussein Ahmed Salah won a bronze medal in the marathon in 1988.
8. Lac Assal is the lowest point in Djibouti, it is also the lowest point on the continent of Africa. A section of the lake contains very salty water fed by hot springs. It is considered the saltiest lake in the world apart from the Don Juan Pond and Gaet’ale Pond of Antarctica.
9. Whale sharks – the largest known fish in the world – regularly visit the coast of Djibouti, making the country a prime spot for swimming.
10. The Djibouti national football team was dissolved in 2017 in a bid to “stop poor results”. Ranked 185th in the world, Djibouti has never qualified for a major international tournament.
11. Djibouti is home to the bizarre dystopian landscape of Lac Abbe, a plateau dotted with hundreds of limestone chimneys, some standing 50m (160ft) high and belching puffs of steam.
How to reach?
Djibouti-Ambouli International Airport caters to the travellers to the city and is well-connected with other prominent destinations around Africa. There are regular flights from flights from Ethiopia and Tanzania here. The chartered flights to Paris are also made available by private charter company.
Travel by rail route is possible between Djibouti and Dire Dawa in Ethiopia. The route is very scenic and you will be able to explore the natural heritage of entire continent here.
Captain Nero’s recommendations in Djibouti:
Gulf of Tadjoura: It’s one of the oldest towns on the east coast of African and dates back at least to the 12th century. It is famous for activities like diving and snorkelling with whale sharks which should not be missed at all. Surrounding the gulf are the wonderful Goda Mountains and there are a number of nice mosques as well which you can explore.
Lac Assal: Located on the western side of the Gulf of Tadjoura, the crater Lake Assal is the lowest point of the African continent and the third lowest point on earth. It is the largest salt reserve and the locals consider it to be a national treasure. It is a volcanic lake and the evaporation of salt leaves a snowy white layer above the water which looks absolutely stunning.
Lac Abbe: Spread across the border with Ethiopia, Lake Abbe is one of the hardest spots to reach. Best enjoyed during a sunset and a sunrise, it was used as a set for the movie Planet of the Apes. The area is characterized by ragged limestone chimneys dramatically rising out of a barren, salt covered landscape, randomly spewing steam.
Day Forest National Park: If you have ever desired to visit a real African jungle, then the Day Forest National Park in Djibouti is the right place for you. It is located 20 kilometres away from the Gulf of Tadjoura and is surrounded by desert. It is one of the largest and most protected forests of the country. If you’re lucky you can spot the Toha or Djibouti sunbird – both of which have only ever been seen inside the forest.
Doralé and Khor Ambado: These two amazing beaches are located about 15 km from Djibouti City. Here you’ll find great swimming and black lava cliffs that border the beach. It’s a perfect spot if you want to relax and unwind as you enjoy an amazing sunset on an African beach.