Country guides Africa
Djibouti is a small and easily overlooked destination on the Horn of Africa. A frequent pit stop for vessels passing in and out of the Red Sea, it's certainly off the beaten track for tourists.
Around two thirds of Djibouti's citizens reside in the capital, Djibouti City, making their living through the large informal market economy. Travellers looking to spend a few hours here should visit the Central Market, the Stade du Ville (national stadium), Presidential Palace, and Hamouli Mosque. Getting around isn't cheap, though, as the lack of regulation and infrastructure means that taxis are expensive.
Largely desert, the country's landscape includes mountains in the interior, a coastal plain in the east (the beaches at Doralé and Khor-Ambado have warm waters and exotic marine life) and an arid plateau in the west. Most of the interior sits within the Afar Depression, a region that lies 500 feet (155m) below sea level and is rich in ancient fossils. It's also one of the hottest places on Earth, with temperatures sometimes reaching 118°F (48°C). Lake Assal is another area of interest. Located some 75 miles (120km) south of Djibouti City, it is the lowest point in Africa.
The British Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office advises against all travel near the border with Eritrea, but the rest of this unique country enjoys political stability and a relatively safe atmosphere.