City Guide, Djibouti
Djibouti is the capital and largest city in the Republic of Djibouti in the Horn
of Africa. Two thirds of the country's population lives in the city. Djibouti city
is situated on the coast, on the Gulf of Tadjoura right across from Yemen. In 1891
the French made Djibouti the capital of French Somaliland. Djibouti gained independence
from France in 1977. The population of Djibouti is around 500,000 and they're largely
of Somali, Afar and Arab descent. The inhabitants of Djibouti city are predominantly
Djibouti is surrounded by Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Red Sea, and Gulf of Aden.
Djibouti shares its 314 km coastline with Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Somalia. The country
has typically stony desert with a number of plateaus and hills spread across the
The city of Djibouti is best toured when on foot. The Presidential palace, Le
Marche Central or the Central Market, and the Aquarium Tropical de Djibouti are
the most popular tourist sites. Some of the priceless marine treasures are found
in the aquarium.
Take a walk down L’Escale during dusk to get acquainted with the local
culture. Also, relax and watch the sights of dhows, skiffs, and pleasure craft on
the marina. Two of the best beaches near the city are Doralé and Khor-Ambado. The
central market of the city is a must-visit for travelers. The mornings and afternoons
are the best times to visit as is bustles with activity during these times. Qat
leaves, which have narcotic characteristics, are chewed as a mild stimulant.
Culture and entertainment
Excursions into Djibouti’s interior are prudently done in four-wheel-drive
convoys of at least two cars. Djibouti’s most famous natural attraction is
Lake Assal. Set among hills, Lake Assal is a beautiful body of water that is ten
times saltier than the ocean and over 500 feet below sea level. It is two hours
from Djibouti City via a newly paved road. Farther into the interior is Lake Abbe,
a large salt lake on the Ethiopian border in an area of interesting geologic formations.
The trip to Lake Abbe requires an overnight stay at rustic accommodations in Dikhil
or camping in the desert. There are many opportunities to explore the varied aspects
of Djibouti’s desert landscape, using Djibouti City or the towns of Dikhil
or Ali Sabieh as bases.
The islands of Moucha and Meskali are popular destinations for their beaches.
A boat must be rented to get there. The tented camp hotel of Lagon Bleu opened in
2004. Arrangements to stay there are made through Atta Travel in Djibouti city.
They offer watersports (diving, waterskiing) a sand beach, and an outdoor bar.
Food and drink
Djibouti produces almost no food, and virtually everything but seafood and small
amounts of produce is imported. As a result, food prices are very high. Powdered
milk are generally available, as are a broad selection of cheeses and butter from
France . Fruits and vegetables are available from the supermarkets and from produce
stands located throughout the city.
In addition to the supermarkets, Djibouti has a small number of reputable butchers.
Various cuts of beef and pork are available. Lamb and veal cuts are often available.
Frozen whole chickens are available, although fresh chickens and chicken parts are
hard to find. Fresh and frozen seafood is available, and local seafood (fish, crab,
lobster, shrimp) is delicious and relatively inexpensive. Djibouti has several bakeries
that produce breads and pastries. Local baguettes are widely available and inexpensive.
Many of the markets sell rotisserie chickens that are both delicious and inexpensive.
Imported alcohol, beer, wine, soft drinks, and bottled water are available from
supermarkets and from one store that sells at duty free prices. Locally bottled
tonic, Coke, Sprite, and several flavors of Fanta are good and inexpensive.
The endless choice of shops, both street side and in posh supermarkets, have
made Shopping in Djibouti city lots of fun. You are sure to love Shopping in Djibouti
city as there are so many shops and a wide variety of merchandise to choose from.
Whether you like browsing through the fare of street side hawkers who line the shopping
boulevards or enjoy window shopping in markets and shopping malls, you can do it
all in Djibouti city. One of the must buy item in your list of Shopping in Djibouti
city are art and craft items that also make for excellent gifts for your near and
dear ones back home.
If you are looking for local art and craft products, head to the shops in rue
de Brazzaville in Djibouti city that sell everything from hand crafted goods from
Yemen, Somalia, Kenya and Ehiopia to T-shirts and traditional African dresses called