Djibouti Travel Guide: All you need to know to visit Djibouti in 2024
Welcome to Djibouti


The Republic of Djibouti is a nation in the Horn of Africa, bordered by Somalia to the South, Ethiopia to the West, Eritrea to the North, and the Gulf of Aden to the East. The country shares borders with the red sea and the Gulf of Aden, so it is not landlocked.

Geography: Djibouti is generally one of the smallest countries in Africa, covering an area of 23,200 square kilometers. It is, therefore, the third smallest country in Africa and 151 worldwide. Geographically, Djibouti is dominated by rugged mountains in the north and a series of low desert plains separated by parallel plateaus in the west and south. The highest peak is Mount Moussa at 6,654 feet (2,028 meters). Nevertheless, Djibouti has no rivers but only intermittent mountain streams that flow during the rainy season. It also has some lakes, such as Lake Abhe and Gummare. Lake Assal is the most famous lake, about 129 kilometers.

Climate: The country has an arid tropical climate of semi-desserts, except for the mountainous regions of the northern Gulf Tadjourah. The country is also characterized by high temperatures and evaporation year-round. It is also affected by low and irregular precipitation patterns. Djibouti is marked by two distinct seasons of the cold season beginning from October to April, with mild temperatures ranging between 22 to 30 degrees Celsius with relatively high humidity and sea wind. The hot and dry season starts from June to September and October with high temperatures of 30 to 40 degrees Celsius and hot and arid sand wind (khamsin). The wettest months are April, July, and August, with a monthly average of 30milimetres; June and December are the driest months, with an average rainfall of 10 millimeters or less. The country also occasionally experiences catastrophic floods.

Population: Based on the odometer elaboration of the United Nations data, the population of Djibouti stands at 1,027,205. Djibouti is a multiethnic country with the main ethnic groups being Afar and non-issa Somalis, comprising Isaaq and Gadabuursi and sub-clans of the Dir. The population is mainly divided into two groups Afar of the north and dominant Issa (ciise)and other Somali speakers in the south and the capital. The majority of people in Djibouti are the ones between the age of 15 to 65 years at 60.9%, followed by children between the age of 0 to 15 years at 35.8%, and finally, those above 65 years at 3.3%. The other ethnic communities include Arabs, Djibouti Arabs, Yemenis, Omanis, and other minor clans. The infant and mortality rate is still high in Djibouti, with the mortality rate standing at 29.845 deaths per 1000 live births and the death rate at 30.724 per 1000 live births. Life expectancy is also very low, with only 3.3% living beyond 65 years and above.

Languages: Djibouti is characterized by diverse cultures with various languages such as Afar, Arabic, Somali, and French. However, the country uses Arabic and French as the official national languages. Fluency in French is essential for those with political aspirations. Arabic and French are taught both in primary and secondary schools. The English language is also rarely used, mainly by hoteliers, taxi drivers, and traders.

Religion: Djibouti is an Islamic country. Most of Djibouti’s population are Muslims, nearly all adhering to the Sunni branch of Islam. Even though the Islamic religion dominates Djibouti, other religions exist in the country, such as Eastern Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism. Islam was introduced to this area early on from the Arabian peninsula, shortly after the hijra. Zeila in the adjacent Somalis, two mihrab masjid al Qiblayatan, dates to the 7th century and is the oldest mosque in the city.

Government: Djibouti is an Islamic republic with a presidential system of government. The president heads the state, and the prime minister heads the government. Djibouti adopted its constitution in 1952, providing for a semi-presidential regime in which the president’s power is vested in the government, and legislative power is shared between the government and the parliament. President in Djibouti is elected after five years, and one should be at most the 75years of age. The president appoints the cabinet in consultation with the prime minister, who serves as the seniormost minister. The national assembly in Djibouti, formerly known as the Chamber of Deputies, is a unicameral legislative branch of the government. The judiciary in Djibouti is headed by the supreme court, supervened by the Court of Appeal and Courts of first instance. The legal system blends French codified law and Islamic Sharia rules.

Economy: The economy of Djibouti relies majorly on its strategic location on the red sea. Djibouti is primarily barren, with little development in the agricultural and industrial sectors. The country has a harsh climate, a largely unskilled labor force, and limited natural resources. Its economy is commanded by the service sector, providing services as both a transit port for the region and as international transshipment and refueling center. From 1991 to 1994, Djibouti experienced a civil war that devastated her economy.

Culture: Djibouti has as diverse and colorful as the mosaic culture of languages spoken, including Somali, Afar, Arabic, and French, and the mesmerizing ethnic combinations. Ancient and Islamic rites are practiced daily and punctuated with superstitious myths.

Recent History: The Djiboutian civil war (the first Afar insurgency) was a conflict in Djibouti from 1991 to 1994, resulting in thousands of fatalities. This unequal power sharing between the Issas and the Affars led to the civil war that ravaged the country for three years.

Djibouti visa: Contact between Djibouti and India has existed since ancient times. The port of Adulis was the maritime trade hub where Indian seafarers traded spices and silk for gold and ivory. Djiboutian traders traded hides and skins for Indian perfumes and spices.

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For an individual to enter the Islamic Republic of Djibouti, individuals of Indian nationality need a visa.

Visas on arrival are issued at the diplomacy of the Djibouti immigration authority. Passengers with a passport proven for a minimum of 6 months from arrival can obtain a visa on arrival.

The earliest time one can apply for the Visa is two months before the intended travel date.

Indians are granted three months, six months, or a year visa validity.

Visas on entry are available to business people and investors, mainly at Ambouli International Airport.

Djibouti travel checklist

  • Valid passport
  • Valid Djibouti visa
  • Flight tickets
  • Travel Insurance
  • Accommodation booking confirmation
  • Supporting documents
  • Emergency contact information
  • Foreign currency
  • Travel itinerary