Traveling tips for Djibouti – what you should know before a trip to Djibouti

Traveling tips for Djibouti is a complete guide that we give to you as you set out on your adventure to see the fascinating country of Djibouti. This post aims to provide you with the necessary information and useful tips to guarantee a hassle-free and pleasurable trip.

We get into the specifics of trip preparation in this article, beginning with the necessary travel papers and visa requirements. From making sure your passport is valid to knowing the specifics of Djibouti’s visa application procedure, we offer comprehensive advice on what to do before your trip. We also stress the need of return tickets, health insurance, and documentation of lodging—aspects of trip planning that are sometimes disregarded but are really important.

You will get to know the financial aspects that should be taken into account by visitors to Djibouti, such as the availability of ATMs, cash economy, and local currency. We also discuss the many modes of mobility available in the nation, such as water taxis, automobile rentals, and taxis. This article is your go-to source for a hassle-free trip, regardless of your level of experience traveling to Djibouti.

Essential Travel Documents and Visa Requirements

When traveling internationally, it’s important to have the following essential documents:

  1. Passport: Your passport should be valid for at least six months beyond the date of your return.
  2. Visa: Depending on your nationality and the country you’re visiting, you may need a visa. It’s important to check the visa requirements for your destination.
  3. Health Insurance: Valid health insurance that covers any medical expenses during your stay is often required.
  4. Proof of Accommodation: Some countries require proof of accommodation for the duration of your stay.
  5. Return Ticket: Proof of onward travel or a return ticket may be required.

For Djibouti specifically, almost every nationality needs to apply for a visa to enter the country. You can apply for a Djibouti visa online or at the embassy/consulate of Djibouti in your home country. The processing time for a Djibouti visa is between six to nine working days.

Currency and Financial Considerations

The currency of Djibouti is the Djiboutian Franc (DJF). The currency code for Djiboutian Francs is DJF, and the currency symbol is Fdj. The Djiboutian franc is pegged to the U.S. dollar at a rate of 177.721 to 1. As of April 5, 2024, 1 US Dollar equals approximately 177.78 Djiboutian Francs.

Here are some financial considerations for travelers in Djibouti:

  1. Cash Economy: Djibouti operates largely on a cash economy. Credit cards are not widely accepted, so it’s advisable to carry enough cash for your expenses.
  2. ATMs: There are a limited number of ATMs available, mainly in Djibouti City. It’s recommended to withdraw cash when you have access to an ATM.
  3. Currency Exchange: Changing money on the street is legal. However, be aware of possible scams and personal safety considerations if someone is observing you while you carry large amounts of cash.
  4. Stable Currency: Djibouti has a stable currency, which is freely convertible and pegged to the U.S. dollar.

What do I need to enter Djibouti?

To enter Djibouti, you will need the following:

  1. Passport: Your passport must have an expiration date at least 6 months after the date you arrive.
  2. Visa: You must have a visa to enter Djibouti. You can apply for a visa online before traveling or contact the Djibouti Embassy. You can also buy a tourist visa when you arrive in Djibouti with payment in cash in US dollars. You must have evidence of your onward journey.
  3. COVID-19 Vaccination or Negative Test: If you’re fully vaccinated, you may need to show evidence of full COVID-19 vaccination. If you’re not fully vaccinated, you may need to show a PCR test certificate or take a PCR test on arrival. People aged 24 and under do not have to show evidence of vaccination.
  4. Yellow Fever Vaccination: If you’re coming from a country listed as a transmission risk, you must have a certificate to prove you’ve had a yellow fever vaccination.
  5. Health Insurance: A valid health insurance that covers any medical expenses you have while in Djibouti is required.

Transportation Options in Djibouti

Transportation in Djibouti offers a variety of options:

1. Taxis and Car Rentals:

Green TaxiCabs are abundant in the big cities, especially in Djibouti City, Dikhile, Ali-Sabieh, Arta, and Doralé. They are mostly used for transportation between the airport and downtown, as well as for sightseeing. Renting a car is also an option if you don’t mind driving alongside local drivers. Europcar and other providers are available at the airport.

2. Water Taxis:

Daily ferry services are available to and from the towns of Obock, Tadjoura, and Djibouti City. The trip can take up to three hours, but boat transfers from the Djibouti Port to the nearby Moucha Islands only take about 30 to 45 minutes. International ferries to Yemen and main ports on Eastern Africa are also available.

3. Trains and Buses:

The best way to get between towns and cities is to ride regular buses or the local minibus system in the capital that has a flat fare. However, the train service in Djibouti used to be the main mode of transportation to and from Ethiopia, but services have ceased, leaving the country with no reliable rail system.

How safe is Djibouti for tourists?

Djibouti is generally considered relatively safe for tourists. However, like any travel destination, it’s important to take certain precautions:

  1. Crime: Crime levels in Djibouti are relatively low compared to some of its immediate neighbors. However, petty crime and theft do occur, so always be alert, particularly for pickpockets. There have also been some reports of occasional banditry outside the capital, Djibouti City. Avoid traveling alone to isolated places, particularly coastal areas like Dorale and Khor Ambado. Walking around after dark on your own is not advised.
  2. Terrorism: There is a high threat of terrorist attack globally affecting UK interests and British nationals, including from groups and individuals who view the UK and British nationals as targets. Terrorists are likely to try and carry out attacks in Djibouti. Terrorism attacks could be indiscriminate, including in crowded areas and places frequented by foreign nationals.
  3. Natural Hazards: Djibouti is renowned for its seismic activity due to the African, Somali and Arabian tectonic plates which are separating at about 2cm each year.
  4. Scams: Be aware of scammers who may try to take advantage of tourists.
  5. Female Travelers: Djibouti is relatively safe for female tourists, but still, caution is advised. Make sure you don’t wander alone at night and apply basic precautions during your entire stay.

What to wear in Djibouti?

Djibouti, located in northeastern Africa, is known for its hot weather. The current temperature is around 30 degrees Celsius. Given the climate, it’s recommended to wear lightweight, breathable clothing made from natural fibers. Light-colored clothing can help reflect the sun’s rays and keep you cooler.

The dress code in Djibouti is quite flexible, mainly due to the hot weather. However, it’s important to note that Djibouti has a predominantly Muslim population, so it’s advisable to dress and behave conservatively. Both men and women should avoid wearing revealing or tight-fitting clothing, and it’s advisable to keep your shoulders and knees covered. Women, in particular, should consider wearing a headscarf when visiting religious sites, out of respect for local customs.

Traditional cultural dressing practices can also be observed in Djibouti. Women often wear long dresses or skirts layered with a colorful shalma, while men may wear a loincloth called Izar instead of trousers. These traditional garments reflect the rich cultural heritage of Djibouti and are often worn during special ceremonies and celebrations.

Health and Safety Precautions

When traveling to Djibouti, it’s important to take the following health and safety precautions:

  1. Vaccinations: Make sure you are up-to-date on all routine vaccines before your trip. This includes vaccines for diseases like Chickenpox, Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis, Flu, Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR), Polio, and shingles. All eligible travelers should be up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines. Hepatitis A and B vaccines are also recommended for unvaccinated travelers of all ages traveling to Djibouti.
  2. Malaria Prevention: CDC recommends that travelers going to Djibouti take prescription medicine to prevent malaria. Talk to your doctor about which malaria medication you should take.
  3. Food and Water Safety: Be cautious about the food and water you consume. Food and water standards around the world vary based on the destination. Avoid drinking tap water and opt for bottled water instead.
  4. Prevent Bug Bites: Bugs like mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas can spread a number of diseases in Djibouti. Use insect repellent and ensure your accommodation is insect-proof.
  5. Personal Safety: Crime levels in Djibouti are relatively low, but you should always use your common sense and be particularly alert for pickpockets and theft. Avoid traveling alone to isolated places, particularly coastal areas like Dorale and Khor Ambado. Walking around after dark on your own is not safe.
  6. Natural Hazards: Djibouti is renowned for its seismic activity due to the African, Somali and Arabian tectonic plates which are separating at about 2cm each year. Be aware of this when visiting areas near these plates.
  7. Health Insurance: Make sure you have adequate travel insurance including coverage for a medivac if required.

What should I buy in Djibouti?

Djibouti offers a variety of unique items that you can buy as souvenirs or gifts. Here are some suggestions:

  • African Garments: Djibouti is known for its colorful African garments, known as bou-bous. These are of good quality and can be bought at reasonable prices.
  • Woodcarvings: While most of the woodcarvings are imported from neighboring countries, they are widely available and make for a great souvenir.
  • Ethiopian Coffee: Djibouti is a good place to buy Ethiopian coffee, which is renowned for its quality.
  • Wooden Vases and Bead Wallets: These are also popular items that you can consider buying.

You can find these items in the local markets, which are vibrant and full of stalls selling a variety of products. One of the popular shopping destinations is the Grande Pecherie, a flea market. Another place to check out is L’ÉLIXIR Parfumerie, a specialty gift shop



1. What language is spoken in Djibouti?

In Djibouti, French and Arabic are the official languages, with Somali and Afar also widely spoken.

2. Is Djibouti a safe destination for travelers?

Djibouti is considered relatively safe for tourists, but it’s essential to remain vigilant, especially in crowded areas and tourist spots.

3. What are the must-visit attractions in Djibouti?

Some of the top attractions in Djibouti include Lake Assal, Lake Abbe, Tadjoura, and the Moucha Island.

4. Can I drink tap water in Djibouti?

It’s advisable to stick to bottled or filtered water in Djibouti to avoid the risk of waterborne illnesses.

5. What is the best time to visit Djibouti?

The best time to visit Djibouti is during the cooler months from November to February, when temperatures are more comfortable for outdoor activities.

6. Are there any cultural festivals or events in Djibouti worth experiencing?

Yes, Djibouti hosts various cultural festivals and events throughout the year, showcasing the country’s vibrant traditions and heritage.

7. How much is the visa fee for Djibouti?

The standard visa fee for most nationalities is 60 USD. This fee is for a visa that’s valid for up to three months. Please note that the fees may vary depending on your nationality, the purpose of your visit, and the length of your stay.

8. How long can you stay in Djibouti?

With a standard visa, you can stay in Djibouti for up to 3 months at a time. It’s possible to extend your visa once you arrive in Djibouti.

9. Can I get a visa on arrival in Djibouti?

It’s important to note that it is strictly impossible to apply for a visa on arrival in Djibouti. You need to apply for a visa before your travel.

10. How long does it take to get a visa to Djibouti?

The processing time for a Djibouti visa is typically around three to five business days. However, it’s recommended that you apply for your visa at least two weeks before your planned travel date to allow for any unexpected delays or issues that may arise.

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