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Djibouti is situated where the Red Sea flows into the Indian Ocean and offers a diverse range of marine life and some of the best and most unspoilt dive sites in the world. 

No trip to the country is complete without a diving expedition in the Red Sea. Alongside whale sharks, many species of sharks, manta rays, beaked and pilot whales as well as most species of dolphin are present in Djibouti’s waters. 

Lac Assal

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Lac Assal is a huge crater lake some 155 m  below sea level famous for being the third lowest point on Earth and lowest point on the African continent.

Circled by dormant volcanoes, it features rich aquamarine water ringed by a crystallised, glistening salt field. The unique landscape, the views and history of this UNESCO World Heritage Site make it a once in a lifetime experience. 

City centre

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A trip to the old town of Djibouti is a must to experience the unique convergence of European and Arab influence.

The most outstanding site is Place du 27 Juin 1977 lined with cafes, shops, bars and restaurants. At the heart of this historic quarter, which is influenced by the country's colonial past, rests the city’s striking cathedral and main Orthodox Church, the Église Éthiopienne Orthodoxe Tewahido St Gabriel du Soleil.  

To capture the true spirit of Djibouti City in all its glory, a trip to the old residential areas is a must.

Dominated by the capital’s most iconic building, the Hamoudi mosque, it is also home to the vibrant Quarter 1, a crisscross of alleyways featuring stalls and shops. Les Casses market, also located in the area, is a hub of activity day and night, and is the best place in the region to try local produce or buy anything from wood carvings to clothes. 

Abourma rock art site

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Well-preserved rock engravings dating back to the Neolithic times can be explored at the Abourma rock art site.

The site, which was uncovered by a French archaeologist in 2008, features striking engravings of animals no longer found in the area and human figures. To access the prehistoric art it is necessary to hike 8 km through spectacular landscape featuring rugged hills, little gorges, barren expanses and erratic boulders. A knowledgeable guide is recommended. 

Goda Mountains

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The spectacular Goda Mountains rise to 1,750 m above sea level and are Djibouti’s most heavily vegetated area.

A part of the mountains is protected within the Forêt du Day National Park. A trip to the Goda Mountains would not be complete without a trek to the hidden valley of Bankoualé. The route to the valley is breathtaking, an unpaved track passing riverbeds and canyons, with scenery that is very different from other parts of the country. 

Moucha Island

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Moucha Island is an easily accessible coral island in the Gulf of Tadjourah, just off the shores of Djibouti City.

The Island, no more than 3 km in length, boasts uncrowded beaches with white sand and warm waters. Moucha Island is known for its diving, swimming, snorkeling and fishing activities. Diving opportunities include the Le Faon wreck, a 120 meter-long cargo ship that lies in 27 m of water and Le Tombant, a reef blessed with healthy coral and an abundance of marine life.  

Decan – wildlife refuge

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Veterinarian Bertrand Lafrance founded the Decan Refuge for cheetahs confiscated from smugglers and poachers by the Djibouti government.

Today, in addition to cheetahs, the Decan Refuge takes in other African animals such as gazelles and rehabilitates them for eventual release into the wild. The refuge is set amid acacia trees and scrub on an arid plain south of Djibouti City. Visitors can walk along trails, view the animals, learn about Djibouti's wildlife in the visitors' centre, and get an overview of the refuge from the watchtower. The best way to get to the Decan Refuge from Djibouti City is by taxi. 

Kite surfing

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Djibouti is renowned among the kitesurfing community as a world-class destination for the sport.

Enthralling landscapes, year-round sunshine, winter trade winds and the summer Khamsin wind provide perfect conditions for the activity throughout the year. The country has a large kitesurfing community and instruction is available for all levels from novices to professionals. 

Lac Abbé

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The scenery in Lac Abbé is sensational; a vast rugged plain punctuated with hundreds of limestone chimneys puffing steam, some of which can be climbed. 

The landscape of this geological wonder is sometimes likened to the surface of the moon. The best time to visit the lake is early morning or early evening when the sun sets and rises above the chimneys at which time the landscape is truly enchanting. Despite feeling desolate the lake is home to an abundance of flamingos. A guide to Lac Abbé is essential. 


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Built in the 12th century, Tadjourah is known as one of the oldest cities on the East African coast and has maintained an Arabian atmosphere. 

With its long beach, quiet harbour area and quaint streets with whitewashed houses, it is an ideal place to relax and enjoy a quiet afternoon. The town also has a small female-run local handicraft centre that sells colourful Afar basketwear.