9 Things to Do in Djibouti That You Shouldn't Miss

December 13, 2017 Veronika Gaddis

Nestled on the southern tip of the Gulf of Tadjoura, the seaside capital of Djibouti is a modest harbor town and a major port of trade and travel via Ethiopia and other points in Africa, especially as the terminus for the Djibouti-Addis Ababa Railway. Beaches along the eastern shore provide some respite from the blistering heat, while the chaotic central market is alive with activity throughout the day.
Restaurants in Djibouti

1. Rushing Waters Adventures

Djibouti, Djibouti
Excellent
92%
Good
8%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 45 reviews

Rushing Waters Adventures

Rushing Water Adventures offers a variety of Kayak Snorkeling Trips, Whale Shark trips, Camel Caravans, Fishing Trips, Turtle Watching trips, Mangrove Kayak trips, Day Trips to the Islands and hiking trips in Djibouti. RWA also does trips to Lac Abbe and Lac Assal, and Tours of Djibouti. We can also organized specialized trips to suit your interest. Our season is from September through May.

Reviewed By Anilegna - Hong Kong, China

Got to spend 3 wonderful & memorable days with Rushing Waters Adventures. Started with a day visiting stunning Lac Assal, nearby Hot Springs, prehistoric rock art, and lava tubes. Followed up by snorkeling with majestic whale sharks, octopuses, dolphins and lunch on an empty & pristine beach (except for an army of cute little hermit crabs), and a 3rd day kayaking with turtles, blue spotted stingrays and herons. As this was the tail end of the whale shark season was quite pleasantly surprised to see so many of them and also was glad to be with RWA (it was just me, Ken and the boatman in a little wooden boat vs some of the other boats that looked really crowded). Definitely a bucket list trip.

2. Dolphin Excursions Djibouti

Djibouti, Djibouti
Excellent
100%
Good
0%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 15 reviews

Dolphin Excursions Djibouti

Dolphin Excursions has been leading adventures in Djibouti since 1999. We are the only PADI Dive center in all of Djibouti. ​ With over 20 years of experience leading tours to lac assal/ lac abbe, as well as whale shark research and tours, scuba diving and our famous live aboard boat trips we are the foremost authority on everything Djibouti.

Reviewed By Lafi M

I spent with Dolphin three years of fun, adventure, exciting and wonderful experience where you see interest, dedication and professional work. I would like to thank all the staff, especially Matthew, Helen and Sarah for their wonderful efforts and wish you more success. Best regards...MoreLafi, thanks for the comments we really appreciate it and look forward to you returning from vacation for our trip to seven brothers!

3. Khor Ambado Beach

Djibouti, Djibouti
Excellent
25%
Good
52%
Satisfactory
13%
Poor
6%
Terrible
4%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 72 reviews

Khor Ambado Beach

This cool beach in Tadjoura Bay, ideal for swimming and snorkeling, is a respite from the oppressive heat.

Reviewed By Chip D - Atlanta, Georgia

We followed the GPS in through a gate which apparently was for keeping people out of a gravel pit run by a Chinese construction company. This was the beginning of a VERY rough road. I am am guessing another 5 miles of it before we arrived at French Beach. Many portions we had to creep over in 4wd for fear of puncturing a tire or breaking an axle. When we got to French Beach a man came out and motioned us to keep coming toward the beach. The sand got softer and he kept telling us to come to a stop sign stuck in the sand. I was spinning all four wheels as my tires were thin. I became stuck right at the stop sign. Putting it in reverse spinning all the way backward got me out. A group of westerners told me it was intentional to make money on getting me unstuck. I don't know whether that was true but the sand gets really soft past the little line of trees about 200 feet from the beach so park up there.
We took a picture of a group of camels and the same man who tried to get us stuck (supposedly) tried to charge us 1,000 francs for taking pictures of what he said were his camels. My wife told him we would delete them. She is Thai and has seen many scams in Thailand on westerners. We grabbed a table in the shade which is the ONLY shade and another man told us that was 1,000 for each one of us. He settled for 1,000 francs after negotiating with my wife. She wasn't happy and he seemed to appreciate that fact. No more scams while we were there.
The beach is beautiful. It was VERY hot. The water was very warm but with the very hot wind blowing once you got wet the wind really cooled me off. I am told this is the starting of the very hottest part of the year in Djibouti. Hot winds lasting for months.
There were three groups of foreigners there and three Djibouti men who appeared to be scamming or serving food or both. We brought our own food so I cant say much about the food service.
The road was extremely rough. Between some of the lighter sandy places, the rocks you needed to crawl over in 4wd low and the danger of bottoming out a car simply will not make it. You do need a high ground clearance 4wd preferable with wider tires otherwise the thin tires sink. I saw Land Rovers with wide tires having driven right up to the beach. It was a scenic trip of lava rock and views of the ocean. Well worth going.

4. Day Forest National Park

Djibouti, Djibouti
Excellent
52%
Good
28%
Satisfactory
8%
Poor
8%
Terrible
4%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 25 reviews

Day Forest National Park

Reviewed By FriskyG - Southampton, United Kingdom

The forest is the only home to the Djibouti Francolin and the habitat could be gone within 10 years, causing the extinction of this beautiful pheasant-like bird.
The forest is blighted by prolonged draught, habitat degradation and overgrazing, all of which are destroying the juniper forest . A few areas have been safeguarded and these show how rich the habitat could be but the locals need somewhere to graze their animals.
The drive up here takes you through desolate Valleys and reveals the tenacity of humans to survive in the harshest of conditions.
The view down to Sable Blanc is through a deep gorge of layer upon layer of basalt columns.
We were lucky enough to hear the francolin but the sound of chainsaw cutting down the forest was sadly more dominant.

5. Place Menelik

Djibouti, Djibouti
Excellent
10%
Good
36%
Satisfactory
40%
Poor
12%
Terrible
2%
Overall Ratings

3.5 based on 88 reviews

Place Menelik

This is the shady center of town, home to the tourist office and some other buildings.

Reviewed By percyvakil - Mumbai, India

Palace Menelik, in Menelik square are I'm assuming named after King Menelik. We went there late one evening. The place seemed deserted, almost like a ghost town. There were just a couple of shops and a shady restaurant open in the area.
Here we saw Palace Menelik. I'm not sure if it's an old palace and maybe it's a hotel now.

6. Lake Assal

Djibouti, Djibouti
Excellent
67%
Good
33%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 6 reviews

Lake Assal

Reviewed By Biztraveller30 - UK, North America etc

Saltier than the dead sea, but not as low (below sea level) it has a very different feel to the dead sea (more remote), and is definitely worth a visit and a dip - before the planned body cream factory and salt factories are built on this site and detract from the purity of the place and experience.
If you are going for a dip, I would suggest you bring rubber water shoes as the salt crystals get very sharp and something to wash off the salt afterwards.

7. Hamoudi Mosque

Djibouti, Djibouti
Excellent
20%
Good
20%
Satisfactory
60%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

3.5 based on 15 reviews

Hamoudi Mosque

Reviewed By KGB777 - Singapore, Singapore

Located near the market area this is worth a visit for the photo opportunity. Within easy walking distance of the city centre.

8. L'ELIXIR parfumerie

Boulevard Bonhour, Djibouti 99, Djibouti +253 21 35 28 38
Excellent
0%
Good
100%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 2 reviews

L'ELIXIR parfumerie

Reviewed By ArshadBholim - Kampala, Uganda

Was pleased to find a nice perfume shop in Djibouti. The perfumes are genuine unlike in many shops where you find imitations. Prices are competitive. ..and an extra 5$ wouldn't hurt...keeping in mind the staff especially the absolutely welcoming and pleasant manager...

9. Grande Pecherie

Djibouti, Djibouti
Excellent
50%
Good
0%
Satisfactory
50%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 2 reviews

Grande Pecherie

This waterfront fish market is an early morning tradition.

Reviewed By pented - bres

Bonjour , alors à la pêcherie vous arrivez vous choisissez votre poisson ( pêché le matin) et des poissonniers vous le préparent d'une façon spectaculaire, le service y est excellent et rapide et le rapport qualité / prix y est imbattable !!! Alors un conseil allez y et sans crainte . Une ex habitante de djibout qui ne voulait plus retrer en France.

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