Don't Miss Places In Djibouti
Djibouti is named after its capital city, a major port situated on important shipping routes between Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea. Before independence in 1977, it was called the Territory of the Afars and Issas, who are the country’s two major ethnic groups. The Afars were converted to Islam in the 800s and fought several wars against their Christian neighbor, Ethiopia. The Issas, also Muslims, moved into the south of the Afars’ territory from what is now Somalia.
The economy of the country is mainly dependent on shipping. The capital city has been the main trading port for Ethiopia since it was built by French colonists in the 1800s. In the past, most of Djibouti’s people were nomads, herding sheep, goats, camels, and cattle in the deserts and mountains. Many still live this way, surviving in one of the harshest landscapes in Africa- Djibouti is mostly a wilderness of scrub and rock.
Here are the not to be missed places in Djibouti…
Khor Ambado Beach
The Khor Ambado Beach is one of the most beautiful diving experiences in the waters of Africa. Nowhere else in the world you can admire the natural coral and unaltered reefs. Sharks pass and the legionaries pull their tail. Huge turtles come in full force and it will be difficult to follow them. The Coral fish is impressive by the sound it emits. The beach has crisp arches and rich in aquatic flowers. The diving experience is unparalleled due to the isolation of the beach and the journey to cross the desert. It exemplifies the true African adventure.
Khor Ambado Beach is nice if you want to spend a day with family or friends. There are some small local restaurants that offer menus with starter / main / dessert for a reasonable price. They also offer fish and salads. Everything is cooked on site. On the menu, there are more varied dishes based on vegetables and fish kebabs, chicken or beef. The desserts are made with fresh fruit and guests are entitled to chocolate crepes. The food is prepared by a local chef and the banquet is such a delight.
It is a clean beach where you can advance far into the sea while walking on foot. To access this beach, it is necessary to have a 4x4 because the path is very hilly. Once you reach the first part of the journey, the view from the top is splendid. Volcanic rock mixes with African trees, all leading to beaches whose water attracts everyone in the vicinity. If you go to the diving side (fins / mask / snorkel are available from tour operators), there is a lot of things to see, provided they exceed the algae wall before falling. Suffice to say that at low tide, it's not obvious. It is not rare and once you’re in the water (whether for swimming or diving) sightings of flying fish is what you will witness. It is quite an unusual and incredible show. This beach is popular with kite surfers because of the strong winds.
The Place Menelik has several different faces depending on the time of day. In the morning it has an “infernal” atmosphere due to the heavy traffic, while it turns calm and quiet during the siesta hours. In return, it becomes more charming in the evening with good restaurants that attract customers. The taxi drivers abound and you always find a place to explore. It has one of the more luxurious restaurants in Djibouti City with a very nice menu. Alcoholic beverages are also served in contrast to several other hotels in Djibouti. This hotel restaurant is located in the center of town. The Menelik square is considered as the heart of the European district. It is within walking distance of everything, the market, some restaurant with good prices, cafeterias, and souvenir shops with great items for tourists.
The Menelik concentrates on the nightlife of the capital, Djibouti City and the banks and their distributors and service providers (Internet).The center is spread over several streets and lined with restaurants. The Ethiopian restaurant is known for dances about the Ethiopian brides and serves typical dishes, the country's values of respect, and the heavy influence of France. The night clubs are filled with revelers, foreign and local. As for the bars, they all offer TV and pool table. It is an urban center where you can touch the distinct traditions and customs of Djibouti.
Tourists and locals make it a point to visit the Hamoudi Mosque for its beautiful Islamic architecture. It is the most famous attraction of the African neighborhood and gives the feeling of being at a meeting of diverse cultures; African, Islamic and European. The mosque itself is an ordinary building. Outside it is surrounded by vibrant atmosphere. There is a great lively market in front of the mosque.
Taking pictures inside and outside the mosque is strictly not allowed. If you plant to visit, wear modest and appropriate clothing. Friday is the prayer day and visitors are not allowed to enter. This religious structure has been preserved well and has been established since the era of colonization. This mosque is easily accessible form the city center and stands next to the market area of Djibouti.
Dolphin Excursions Djibouti
Djibouti is ideal for all divers and fans of the underwater world. It offers magnificent views for diving and especially the huge chance of seeing exceptional marine species such as dolphins. Aside from seeing dolphins here at the Dolphin Excursions Djibouti, the professional divers and staff are all PADI certified and offers diving lessons for anyone who wants to level up or wants to learn many things about scuba diving.
The staffs are very friendly, efficient, and the courses are priced fairly, the gears are provided and lunch is included. The courses are excellent from start to finish. The boat is safe and operated by competent staff on board. The dives or wrecks are enticing and the most fun part is the dolphins chasing the boat and giving a show in the ocean.
Lac Assal (Lake Assal)
Do not miss a visit to the Lac Assal or Lake Assal because the scenery is breathtaking. There are contrasting colors between the black lava rock, the dazzling white of the salt, the shades of green and turquoise water, the Red Rock, and the blue sky. It is nature of Djibouti at its finest. If you want you can also take a walk in the water and get wet a little, but do not forget to put in your bag the right shoes because the salt formations are sharp and you can actually buy some salt from the local boys.
The tour of Lake Assal is a must in Djibouti. This is one of the most beautiful sceneries you will ever see in Africa. You can rent a boat and take pictures of these natural phenomena in Djibouti. The boat sails between these islands that are made of salt in central Djibouti. It is the lowest part of Africa. The islands form when the lake’s salty water evaporates in the hot sun leaving a huge salt crust formation. It is breathtaking!
It is best to go outside of the warm period and it is highly recommended going between November and April. In the middle of summer, the heat is very intense and accentuated by the ubiquitous salt. The beaches are not made of sand but salt and it is mandatory for the welfare of your feet to wear shoes so as not to burn or not to cut. Flip-flops can do the trick provided you do not bathe with it. Since the lake water is very salty; flip-flops do not take the foot and rise to the surface. However, it generally cuts the feet if you walk on the sharp salt unprotected. If you decide to swim to experience the feeling of extreme buoyancy, do not forget to bring in your vehicle bottled water to help rinse off the salt and sand, because when the water dries on your skin, it's as if you had a salt crust and it stings! For this trip, try to spend half a day on site, or even less. The tour is mostly done early in the day to give you enough time to discover this rather unique place in the morning and leave at noon to the beach after going to the volcano. The journey is quite long and exhilarating to get there, but it is all worth it.
Café de la Gare
The map and the food are excellent in this restaurant. The meat is tender and well cooked. The price is a little excessive but it is tolerable to go there from time to time. Café de la Gare is one of the most beautiful restaurants in Djibouti where you will receive a warm and friendly welcome from the boss who is attentive and fussing on his staff. The café has a refined and expensive kitchen. They offer fine French cuisine Fine cuisine in a pleasant atmosphere with attentive service and quality food. The attention from the staff is a little high but they just want to guarantee that you’ll have a good time.
The waitresses are very caring and service is good and not too fast involving dishes prepared in advance or served too long for the customer to lose patience. The managers are very pleasant and the dishes are more expensive than the average other restaurants and very tasty. The coffee the station deserves to be recommended and this café is one of the ideal places to hangout in Djibouti. For dinner, a delicate presentation of the best dishes of the day is offered by the resident chef. There is a large selection of fish and shellfish in Djibouti. Tournedos Rossini and breast with honey are part of their refined menu and paired with an excellent wine. While you’re having coffee, you can stay at the eastern part of the veranda and at the same time enjoy the pleasure of smoking a shisha (hookah pipe).
The Moukbasa National is a wonderful restaurant where you can enjoy excellent fish and fresh seafood. You can choose them on the spot in their small tank and they will readily cook it for you. They even have special dishes made for the catch of the day and they even give free sample or tasting so you can have better options on your order. The owner here is very accommodating, the staffs are amiable and overall their service is fine. Their specialty is mostly Middle Eastern cuisine.
In the early night, the stroll along the thoroughfare in the northwest part of L’Escale makes an ideal and relaxing walk. The Moorish-enlivened presidential castle (not open to the general population) denotes on one end the harbor of L'escale. The cute marina is home to an assortment of vessels, from the customary and beautiful Arab dhows to the basic neighborhood fishing vessels and passenger ships that operates for the town of Tadjoura.
This is the capital city’s legitimate port and access to which is a bit prohibited. If you come on a busy day, along the marina you can see the huge cargo moving equipment and payload vessels. Picture taking is allowed and you can view the port even from afar.
Settled in the shadow of the verdant Goda Mountains with the brilliant blue ocean crossing at its entrance, Tadjoura is a pleasant little place but has nothing much to explore, but it is lined with palm trees, plain white houses and a few mosques. The place has a strong Arabian atmosphere to it. Because there is not much to do here, you can stroll around the small town and meet its friendly locals along the way. It is a nice spot to spend a few hours, to relax, or spend some quiet time if you have already explored the capital city.
La Mer Rouge
La Mer Rouge has a nice ambience in the outdoor area and rich in soft lighting. The interior is less impressive but very welcoming; the tables and chairs are made of imported wicker. They offer excellent appetizers and the fish is of high quality. This restaurant specializes in seafood. It also offers Japanese menus with mainly maki and sushi. It is not uncommon for lobsters on the menu and it allow cooks to offer this kind of food at level prices, it's a bit expensive, but the quality of the food is worth it. In this wonderful restaurant you will the opportunity to taste perfectly cooked lobster. The scenery is beautiful but begins to age. Do not hesitate to ask to lower the background music if you wish to discuss.
The atmosphere in the restaurant is very nice with a smoking area and a non-smoking area. There is a bar in the restaurant in the center and it offers many different types of cocktails. The staffs are friendly and concerned about the well-being of its clients. It is fashionable to leave a generous tip to the waiters or employees. Private parking allows guests to park in an inner courtyard, which is great. If you dine in the evening, there are tables outside under colorful lights and a relaxed mood. The wines are ok, the beer is cold, and the service is friendly. However, the quality of the food is not consistent and not cheap.
Melting Pot Restaurant
The Melting Pot Restaurant is one of the most romantic dining places of the city. It is located near the Kempinski Palace in a small street. The atmosphere is subdued, the exterior lights are usually made of multiple candles and fairy lights. The kitchen is impressive. This restaurant offers many Japanese foods (sushi, soups, noodles, ramen, etc.), but also meat dishes which are commonly offered in Djibouti. It is also possible to taste duck meat either broiled or grilled. The food rates are rather high and it is one of the most expensive restaurants in the city. Fortunately, the food is good, friendly environment (especially for outings, couples, or friends). The welcoming staff is friendly and very attentive to their clients but the servers are often overwhelmed when the restaurant gets too crowded. There are a few cons but it does not affect the generally good mood and feel of this restaurant.
It is a fine dining restaurant with dishes of great quality. It is also one of the only places where you can eat the camel on Djibouti. The meat is very good and their chef also makes the best Japanese food. The staff is fine as long as you are not very many at the table or else they get completely lost ; but all in all, the service here gets really great no matter what. The place is well known and oftentimes serves as a good reference to Djibouti. The kitchen is very varied, neat, and there is a bit of everything. The meats are excellent and presented on a stem or a pin (sword style). For dessert, a decadent serving of chocolate fondue is inevitable. You must book in advance if you want to have the best dinner date here in Djibouti.
For the best family adventure or honeymoon escapade, Djibouti is one of the ideal places to visit in Africa. Aside from seeing natural salt lake formations, diving reefs, you can delight in the gastronomic journey that you can enjoy in Djibouti. Travel not only involves delighting the eyes but also the palateand this is the perfect place if you want to taste various international dishes and exquisite African cuisine.