Lac Abbe Flamingos and Rock Formation, Djibouti
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Lac Abbe Flamingos and Rock Formation, Djibouti

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Djibouti Travel Guide

Key Facts

23,200 sq km (8,958 sq miles).


792,198 (2013).

Population density

34.1 per sq km.




Republic. Gained independence from France in 1977.

Head of state

President Ismail Omar Guelleh since 1999.

Head of government

Prime Minister Abdoulkader Kamil Mohamed since 2013.


220 volts AC, 50Hz. Rounded two-pin plugs are used.

Djibouti was originally inhabited by nomadic tribes, the main ones being the Afars and the Issas, who are strongly linked to Ethiopia and Somalia respectively. In 1862, the French signed a treaty with the Afar leaders, giving them land on the north coast. During the rest of the 19th century, Djibouti gradually became more firmly associated with France.

In 1945, French Somaliland (as the area was called) was declared an 'overseas territory' and in 1967, it became the French territory of the 'Afars and Issas'. In 1977, the French agreed to withdraw and the country achieved independence.

Controlling access to the Red Sea, Djibouti is of major strategic importance. During the Gulf War it was the base of operations for the French military, who continue to maintain a significant presence, contributing directly and indirectly to more than half the country's income.

Travel Advice

Last updated: 24 January 2015

The travel advice summary below is provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. 'We' refers to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For their full travel advice, visit

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to the border with Eritrea.

There is a general threat from terrorism. Attacks can’t be ruled out and could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers.

A suicide bombing at La Chaumiere restaurant in Djibouti city on 24 May resulted in a number of fatalities and serious casualties, including western nationals. Exercise extreme vigilance in public places frequented by foreigners.

There is no British Embassy in Djibouti. The British Honorary Consul in Djibouti can offer limited help. If you need consular assistance outside office hours you should contact the British Embassy in Addis Ababa.

Be aware of the risk of banditry if you travel outside the capital city.

Piracy is a significant threat in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean. See Sea travel