Djibouti is located
in Eastern Africa, bordering the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea on the east, Ethiopia to the north,
Eritrea to the north and northwest and Somalia to the
Approximately two-thirds of its population of 650,000 reside in the capital,
also called Djibouti (or Djibouti City).
Modern tourist facilities and communications
links are limited in Djibouti and are non-existent outside the capital.
Although there is no formal dress code, travelers should dress modestly in deference
to local custom and culture, especially when visiting remote areas.
Djibouti is divided into three regions - the coastal
plain and volcanic plateaus in the central and southern parts of the country
and the mountain ranges in the north.
Much of the country is vast
wastelands with no arable
The climate is extremely hot and dry, particular between June and
August, with the cooler season being from November to April.
VISAS & IMMIGRATION
Visas are required by all nationals except those of France.
Transit visas are
valid for 10 days and are available on arrival to nationals of the European
Union, Scandinavian countries and the USA. Visas can be obtained from
neighbouring countries and where there is no Djibouti embassy they can be
obtained from the French embassy.
When you enter the country you are required to show an onward ticket, if you do
not have one you may be forced to purchase one at the airport before entering
the country - this requirement is generally not applicable if you arrive
overland from Ethiopia.
Official Currency is Djiboutian franc 1 DJF =100 centimes
Travellers cheques are best taken in US Dollars or French Franc.
Some of the
hotels and airlines accept major credit cards.
BANKING & BUSINESS HOURS
Banks: Saturday to Thursday 07:15 -11:45
Shops: Saturday to Thursday 07:30 -12:00; 16:00 -19:00
Djibouti local time is GMT+3 - three hours ahead of GMT
TRANSPORT & GETTING
Domestic flights are available between Ali Sabieh, Tadjoura and Obock.
Buses serve the western and southern regions.
Self Drive / Hire Cars:
Traffic drives on the right hand side and an International Driving Licence is
recommended. Car hire is available but is expensive. Roads link all the major
villages with the capital and a 4 wheel drive vehicle is necessary to get
|and variable Muslim
A passport, visa, and evidence of yellow fever vaccination are required. U.S.
citizens are encouraged to carry a copy of their U.S. passports with them at
all times so that proof of identity and U.S. citizenship are readily available
if questioned by local officials. Police occasionally stop travelers on the
main roads leading out of the capital to check identity documents.
Travelers may obtain the
latest information on entry requirements from the Embassy of the Republic of
Djibouti, 1156 15th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20005, telephone (202) 331-0270,
or at the Djibouti Mission to the United Nations, 866 United Nations Plaza,
Suite 4011, New York, N.Y. 10017, telephone (212) 753-3163. Overseas, inquiries
may be made at the nearest Djiboutian embassy or consulate. In countries where
there is no Djiboutian diplomatic representation, travelers may sometimes obtain
visas at the French Embassy.
In an effort to prevent
international child abduction, many governments have initiated procedures at
entry/exit points. These often include requiring documentary evidence of relationship
and permission for the childs travel from the parent(s) or legal guardian not
present. Having such documentation on hand, even if not required, may facilitate
AREAS OF INSTABILITY:
Djibouti enjoys a stable political climate, thanks in part to the large French
military presence based in country. However, Djiboutis international borders
are very porous and lightly patrolled. In particular, Somalia, Djiboutis neighbor
to the south, is believed to be a haven for terrorists and other insurgent elements.
Continuing instability in Somalia and Yemen present the potential for internal
unrest in Djibouti, which has large ethnic Somali and Yemeni populations. In
addition, neighboring Ethiopia and Eritrea recently concluded a settlement to
a long-running border dispute, and nearby Yemen is pursuing a struggle against
potential terrorists. Civil unrest or armed conflict in neighboring countries
could disrupt air travel to and from Djibouti or otherwise negatively affect
its security situation.
SAFETY AND SECURITY:
On November 28, 2002, there was a car bomb attack on a hotel in Mombasa, Kenya,
in which 16 people were killed, and an unsuccessful attempt to shoot down an
Israeli charter plane departing Mombasa. These incidents have highlighted the
continuing threat posed by terrorism in East Africa and the capacity of terrorist
groups to carry out attacks. U.S. citizens should be aware of the risk of indiscriminate
attacks on civilian targets in public places, including tourist sites and other
sites where Westerners are known to congregate.
Travelers should exercise
caution when traveling to any remote area of the country, including the borders
with Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Somalia. Djiboutian security forces do not have
a widespread presence in those regions. U.S. citizens are advised to keep themselves
informed of regional developments and to register with the U.S. Embassy in Djibouti
upon arrival. Although large public demonstrations are uncommon, U.S. citizens
should avoid large crowds, political rallies, and street demonstrations and
maintain security awareness at all times.
Several hundred U.S. military
personnel are stationed in Djibouti. The presence of U.S. armed forces may increase
the likelihood of threats or attacks against American civilians.
Petty crime and pick pocketing is on the rise in the capital and elsewhere in
The loss or theft abroad
of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the
nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas,
in addition to reporting to local police, contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or
Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist
you to find appropriate medical care, to contact family members or friends,
and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution
of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers
can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an
attorney if needed.
U.S. citizens may refer
to the Department of States pamphlet, A
Safe Trip Abroad, for ways to promote a trouble-free journey. The pamphlet
is available by mail from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing
Office, Washington, D.C. 20402, via the Internet at http://www.gpoaccess.gov,
or via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov.
Medical facilities are limited and medicines are often unavailable.
Medicines that are available are extremely expensive. Medical services in outlying
areas may be completely nonexistent.
The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their
medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their
policy applies overseas and if it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical
evacuation. U.S. medical insurance plans seldom cover health costs incurred
outside the United States unless supplemental coverage is purchased. Further,
U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not provide payment for medical services
outside the United States. However, many travel agents and private companies
offer insurance plans that will cover health care expenses incurred overseas,
including emergency services such as medical evacuations.
When making a decision regarding
health insurance, Americans should consider that many foreign doctors and hospitals
require payment in cash prior to providing service and that a medical evacuation
to the United States may cost well in excess of $50,000. Uninsured travelers
who require medical care overseas often face extreme difficulties. When consulting
with your insurer prior to your trip, please ascertain whether payment will
be made to the overseas healthcare provider or if you will be reimbursed later
for expenses that you incur. Some insurance policies also include coverage for
psychiatric treatment and for disposition of remains in the event of death.
Useful information on medical
emergencies abroad, including overseas insurance programs, is provided in the
Department of States Bureau of Consular Affairs brochure, Medical
Information for Americans Traveling Abroad, available via the Bureau
of Consular Affairs’ home page at http://travel.state.gov or via autofax
OTHER HEALTH INFORMATION:
Malaria is prevalent in Djibouti. Travelers are advised to begin malaria prophylaxis
prior to arrival, as directed by a health professional.
on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions
and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention’s hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP
(1-877-394-8747); fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299), or via the CDC’s
Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel. For
information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World
Health Organization’s website at http://www.who.int/en. Further
health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/iht.
While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that
differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below
concerning Djibouti is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally
accurate in a particular location or circumstance:
Safety of Public Transportation:
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Availability of Roadside/Ambulance Assistance: None
The Djiboutian Ministry
of Defense and the national police force share responsibility for road safety
in Djibouti. Landmines are known to be present in the northern districts of
Tadjoureh and Obock. In addition, there are reports that there may be mines
in the Ali Sabieh district in the south. Travelers should stay on paved roads
and should check with local authorities before using unpaved roads.
The two main international
routes to Djibouti City via Dire Dawa, Ethiopia, and Yoboki, Djibouti, are in
poor condition due to heavy truck traffic on both roads. The presence of many
heavy trucks on those routes demands that drivers remain vigilant. Major roads
outside the capital are paved but lack guardrails in some areas, and railroad
crossings are not clearly marked.
Roads in Djibouti City and
elsewhere in the country are narrow, poorly maintained, and poorly lit. Drivers
and pedestrians should exercise extreme caution. Excessive speed, unpredictable
local driving habits, pedestrians and livestock in the roadway, and the lack
of basic safety equipment on many vehicles are daily hazards. Speed limits are
posted occasionally but are not enforced. The stimulant drug khat is widely
used, particularly in the afternoons, creating another traffic hazard. Travelers
should be aware that police set up wire coils as roadblocks on some of the major
roads, and these may be difficult to see at night.
The only two means of public
inter-city travel are by bus and by ferry operating between Djibouti City and
the towns of Tadjoureh and Obock. Buses are poorly maintained and their operators
often drive erratically with little regard for passenger safety.
additional general information about road safety, including links to foreign
government sites, see the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs home
page at http://travel.state.gov/road_safety.html. For specific information
concerning Djibouti driving permits, vehicle inspection, road tax, and mandatory
insurance, contact the Djibouti Embassy in Washington, DC.
OVERSIGHT: As there is no direct commercial service at present between
the United States and Djibouti, nor economic authority to operate such service,
the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Djibouti’s
civil aviation authority for compliance with international aviation safety standards
for oversight of Djibouti’s air carrier operations.
For further information,
travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the U.S. at 1-800-322-7873,
or visit the FAA International website
at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa. The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately
assesses some foreign air carriers for suitability as official providers of
air services. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers,
travelers may contact the DOD at 618-229-4801.
While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country’s
laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the
United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual
under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the
United States for similar offenses. Persons violating the laws of Djibouti,
even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Penalties for use,
possession, or trafficking in illegal drugs are strict, and convicted offenders
can expect jail sentences and fines. Although the mild stimulant khat is legal
and widely used in Djibouti, it is considered an illegal substance in many countries,
including the United States.
Djiboutian customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary
importation into or export from Djibouti of firearms. It is advisable to contact
the Embassy of Djibouti in Washington, DC for specific information regarding
Credit cards are not widely accepted in Djibouti. There are several automatic
teller machines (ATMs) in Djibouti City and one each in Ali Sabieh, Tadjourah,
and Plateau du Marabout, but they only accept Visa cards. The ATMs are frequently
out of service, and travelers should not depend on them as the sole means for
ISSUES: For information on international adoption of children, and
international parental child abduction, please refer to our Internet site at
http://travel.state.gov/children’s_issues.html or telephone (202) 736-7000.
LOCATION: U.S. citizens are encouraged to register at the U.S. Embassy
at http://usembassy.state.gov/posts/dj1/wwwhindex.html and to obtain updated
information on travel and security within Djibouti. The U.S. Embassy is located
at Plateau du Serpent, Boulevard Marechal Joffre, Djibouti City. The mailing
address is Ambassade Americaine, B.P. 185, Djibouti, Republique de Djibouti.
The telephone number is (253) 35-39-95. Normal working hours are Sunday through
Thursday, 7:00 A.M. to 3:30 P.M. The after-hours number is (253) 35-13-43, and
the fax number is (253) 35-39-40.