Djibouti – the Republic of Djibouti state in East Africa

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Djibouti ( Djibouti ), officially the Republic of Djibouti is a small African state in East Africa, located near the troubled Somalia. From the end of the XIX to the mid-20th century, Djibouti was a colony of France, and only in 1977, the country gained its independence. Djibouti – one of the most arid countries in the world, the typical scenery of which is a mountain range, extinct volcanoes and lava plateaus, there are hot springs and unique salt lakes, because of the white coating of salt at times it seems that they resemble the North Pole. Here you will not see the bright, colorful jungle and rich fauna, on the contrary – the desert Martian landscape, the strangeness of which takes the breath away even from the most experienced travelers. Djibouti’s coastline has wonderful long beaches, a huge number of coral coastal reefs and lush laurel fields

Djibouti – the land of “space” landscapes

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Djibouti City - capital of the Republic of Djibouti

The capital of the Republic of Djibouti is the port city of Djibouti, located on the southern shore of the Gulf of Tajoura on the Indian Ocean. It was founded in 1888 by the French as an outpost of their colonial expansion into East Africa. In 1892, it was the administrative center of the French Somali Coast colony, and it was not until 1981 that Djibouti became a free port. More than half of Djibouti’s population lives in the capital, and its economy is built around the international port and Djibouti Free Zone. Djibouti has had the largest French military base in Africa since colonial times, with a large part of the French Foreign Legion stationed there as well as a large American military base.

The urban space of the capital is divided into European and African neighborhoods. The European neighborhoods near the port and the central square of Menelik are built up with buildings in Ottoman and Neo-Mauritanian style and contrast strongly with the poor “people’s” district of Balbala. The symbol of the capital and its main attraction is the Presidential Palace, which houses the President of the Republic and the Council of Ministers. Djibouti’s magnificent beaches attract diving enthusiasts and allow you to dive into the wonderful world of the Indian Ocean.

Flag of the Republic of Djibouti

Djibouti’s flag is a tri-color rectangular cloth with a side ratio of 2:3. The flag consists of two equal horizontal stripes: blue on the top and green on the bottom. At the flag’s stem is a white isosceles triangle with a red five-pointed red star on it.


  • The color blue symbolizes the sky and water, namely the Indian Ocean that washes the shores of Djibouti , as well as the Issa people
  • Green symbolizes the nature of Africa and the Afar people
  • White symbolizes peace and harmony
  • The red star symbolizes the unity of the nation
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Coat of Arms of the Republic of Djibouti

The Djibouti coat of arms is a symbol of the confrontation between two clans: the Afars (Danakils) and the Issas (Somalis). These clans have long fought against each other. When Djibouti was colonized by France, the Danakil clan ruled the political life of the country. But when the republic gained its independence and was no longer a colony, the Somalis took over. These events in the early eighties led to clashes and discontent among the clans. Ten years later they escalated into a civil war that only ended in this millennium. The Djibouti coat of arms depicts two intertwined laurel branches, glorifying their state. At the apex of the coat of arms is a bright red five-pointed star with a spear covered by a shield beneath it. On either side of the spear are hands holding two naked swords


  • laurel branches symbolize the glory of the young state
  • The spear and shield are the traditional weapons of the local people
  • The hands symbolize the two main clans of the Republic – the Afars (Danakils) and the Issa (Somalis)
  • The red star symbolizes the unity of the nation
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Djibouti’s national anthem was adopted in 1977 after the country gained independence from France. The words of the Djibouti anthem were written by Aden Elmi and the music by Abdi Robleh. The anthem is written in the Somali language. Read the text of the Djibouti anthem…


The national currency of the Republic of Djibouti is the Djibouti franc (international designation: DJF ), equal to 100 centimes. The currency currently in circulation includes coins in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 500 francs and banknotes in denominations of 1000, 2000, 5000 and 10,000 francs. According to the local Central Bank, there are also centimes, small coins of Djibouti (100 centimes = 1 franc). But because of the rapid inflation almost no one uses them.

Djibouti coins

Djibouti currency - coins

Djibouti banknotes (bills)

Djibouti currency - banknotes

Djibouti on the world map

Djibouti is a small country in north-eastern Africa, bordered by Somalia to the southeast, Ethiopia to the south and west, Eritrea to the north, and the waters of the Bab-El-Mandeb strait and the Gulf of Aden to the east. The Republic of Djibouti has an area of 23,200 km².

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Djibouti on the map

The country has a mountainous terrain and is made up of a succession of massifs and lava plateaux, with the cones of extinct volcanoes. The central part of the country is occupied by rocky, sandy and clayey plains, the most depressions of which are occupied by salt lakes. The largest lake is Assal . All the rivers are drying. The vegetation of the Republic is desert or semi-desert, and the grass cover is very sparse. There are sparse forests of junipers, olive trees and acacia trees on some mountain tops and slopes, and palm trees in the oases.

What to see in Djibouti

Sights of the Republic of Djibouti

Here’s a small list of places to see when making your Djibouti sightseeing plan:

  • Ardoukoba Volcano
  • Mount Garbi
  • Mount Hemed
  • Mabla Mountains
  • Goda Mountains
  • Arrei Mountains
  • Arta Mountains mountain range
  • Boura Mountains mountain range
  • Day Forest National Park
  • Mangrove swamp of Djibouti
  • Hamoudi mosque
  • Lake Abbe
  • Lake Assal
  • Dumeira Islands
  • Moucha Island
  • Khor Ambado beach
  • Djibouti port
  • Djibouti presidential palace
  • Bab el Mandeb strait
  • Tropical Aquarium of Djibouti
  • Boina fumarole field
  • Garbes fumarole field
  • Djibouti Central Market

Largest cities

The 10 largest cities of the Republic of Djibouti:

  1. Djibouti, the capital of the Republic of Djibouti
  2. Ali Sabie
  3. Dikhil
  4. Arta
  5. Tadjoura
  6. Obok
  7. Ali Adde
  8. Holhol
  9. Yoboki
  10. Veja


Djibouti’s climate is tropical, extremely hot and arid. The average temperatures throughout the year range from +26 °C to +30 °C, and during the hot season (June to September) it is +36 °C to +40 °C. The annual precipitation is very low – 50 to 130 mm, 95% of the days a year pass without precipitation. The water temperature in most reservoirs is 30 ° C … 35 ° C and does not contribute to cooling.


Djiboutian people

Djibouti has a population of 931,115 (data as of February 2019). The majority (62%) are the Somali peoples of the Issa, Abgal, and Dalol. 34% are Afar (or Danakil) and 4% are other peoples: French, Italians, Greeks and Arabs (mostly from Yemen). The standard of living in Djibouti is quite low, and more than 45% of its inhabitants are below the poverty line. One tenth of Djiboutians are nomadic or semi-nomadic. The average life expectancy for women is 44 to 46 years and for men 42 to 44 years.

French and Arabic are the official languages of the Republic of Djibouti. French is spoken in educational and administrative institutions, and Arabic is spoken by Yemenis and other immigrants from Arab countries. The majority of the population speaks Somali and Afar, which are part of the Kushite language group.

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The predominant religion in Djibouti is Sunni Islam, practiced by 94% of the population, with a small number of Shiites. 5% of the inhabitants of the Republic are Christian, and 1% of Djiboutians are Buddhists and Hindus. Some ethnic groups have a parallel attachment to traditional beliefs.


  • 1 January – New Year
  • movable date in December-February – Eid el-Kebir (Muslim Eid al-Adha – Eid al-Fitr)
  • December-February – 1st day of Muharram (Muslim New Year)
  • May 1 – Labour holiday
  • Spring-Summer – Moulud (Maulid-an-Nabi, Birth of the Prophet Muhammad)
  • June 27 – Independence Day
  • October – Al-Isra al-Miraj (Rajab Bayram, Muslim feast commemorating the Prophet’s overnight journey from Mecca to Jerusalem and back).
  • The moving date in October-November is Ramadan (Eid al-fitr, Uraza Bayram), a Muslim holiday marking the end of fasting

Souvenirs and gifts

souvenirs from Djibouti

Below is a small list of the most common and popular souvenirs and gifts that tourists often bring from Djibouti:

  • arafatki
  • pearl
  • coral products
  • shells
  • Embossed leather products (knife covers, bags, flasks, paintings)
  • silverware
  • leather jewelry (bracelets, necklaces, beads)
  • rosaries
  • silver jewelry

“No nail and no rod” or customs regulations

Djibouti customs regulations do not limit the amount of national and foreign currency imported/exported.


Up to 200 pieces of cigarettes, up to 1 liter of spirits (with alcohol content over 22%), up to 2 liters of liquors and fortified wines (strength less than 22%), up to 2 liters of dry wines, up to 50 g of perfume, 1kg of meat, 2kg of fish are allowed duty-free imports. Food products must necessarily have a marking of the expiration date.


Importation of narcotic substances in any form, weapons and ammunition, printed and video materials of pornographic nature is prohibited. The export of historical treasures, coral, sea turtle shells, other species of marine life, and skins of wild animals is prohibited.

Voltage in the electric network

Electricity supply in the Republic of Djibouti: 220 volts, 50 Hz. The plugs are of the following types: Type C , Type E .

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Djiboutí (Arabic: جيبوتي ), officially the Republic of Djiboutí́ ( جمهورية جيبوتي ) is a state in East Africa, in the Horn of Africa. In the east is washed by the waters of the Gulf of Aden. It borders Eritrea to the north, Ethiopia to the west and south, and unrecognized Somaliland to the southeast, whose territory the international community considers part of Somalia.




In the first centuries A.D. the territory of today’s Djibouti was settled by nomadic tribes who spoke Cushitic languages: Afar and Issa. In the 5th to 6th centuries it was part of the state of Aksum. In the 7th century it came under the authority of the Arab sultans. Islam and the Arabic language spread among the local population.

In the 16th century, when wars were fought between the Portuguese and Ethiopians against the Turks and Somalis in the peninsula of Somalia, the territory of today’s Djibouti was conquered by the Portuguese. In the 17th century, Arab domination was re-established. The indigenous population remained nomadic and the Arabs constituted the ruling and trading strata of the population.

In 1862, the French formalized their possession of present Djibouti with a treaty with the Sultan of Adal, which gave France a territory inhabited by the Afar and an anchorage at Obock. In 1881, French joint stock companies were established to develop the territory in the Obock area. The construction of the modern city of Djibouti was begun. The territory, named as Obok, in 1896 was officially named the French Somali Coast (since 1967 – the French Territory of the Afars and Issas). In 1889, Russian subject settlers attempted to colonize part of the French Somali Coast (Sagallo). After the credentials of the colony’s founder and Russian plans were not confirmed, the French navy expelled the colonists.

In 1946, the colony of French Somalia received the status of an “overseas territory” of France.

In 1977, after a referendum was granted independence, the country became known as the Republic of Djibouti. In 1981, a one-party system (the People’s Alliance for Progress) was introduced.

The political life of Djibouti, both under the colonial protectorate and after independence in 1977, was largely determined by the struggle between the largest ethnic groups in the country, the Afar and the Issa. The Afar dominated the administration during the colonial mandate, and the Issa dominated after independence. In 1979 there was an upsurge of discontent among the Afars and the outbreak of guerrilla warfare. From 1992 to 2000 there was a civil war in Djibouti, which ended with a power-sharing agreement.

There was a short-lived war between Djibouti and Eritrea in 2008.

Political structure

Djibouti is a republic. From 1896 to 1946 – the Colony of French Somalia. Since 1946 – an overseas territory of France. In 1967, the territory received internal self-government and became known as the French Territory of the Afars and the Issas (FTAI). On May 8, 1977, a referendum was held, in which the majority of the population supported the proclamation of independence.

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On June 27, 1977, independence was declared. The state was named the Republic of Djibouti. The country has a constitution approved by referendum on September 4 and entered into force on September 15, 1992.

The head of state is the president. The president is elected by popular vote for a term of six years, and can be re-elected for another term. The President has a strong influence on the government and is the Commander-in-Chief of the Djibouti Armed Forces.

Legislative power is vested in a unicameral parliament, the National Assembly, which consists of 65 deputies. Deputies are elected by popular vote for a five-year term. The right to vote is from 18 years old and to be elected from 23 years old.

Executive power is realized by president and government (Council of Ministers). The government is headed by the prime minister. However, the country is dominated by the clan social hierarchy, as a result of which these groups of representatives try to seize key positions in the executive sphere and put a key person of a particular clan in the position of prime minister.

The judicial system. Based on modern law, Muslim and traditional (customary) law. The judiciary is represented by the Supreme Court, founded in 1979. There are also the Supreme Court of Appeals and the Court of First Instance. Security Tribunal, Sharia courts, district criminal courts, and labor courts.

Djibouti has a multi-party system (there are more than 20 political parties). The most influential of these are: “The Rassemblement populaire pour le progrès (RPP), led by Ismael Omar Gelleh, general sec. – Mohamed Ali Mohamed (Mohamed Ali Mohamed). The ruling party, the only legal party in 1981-1992; Parti du renouveau démocratique (PRD) Chairman – Abdillahi Hamareiteh, Sec. – Maki Houmed Gaba. Advocates for a democratic government formed on the basis of a parliamentary majority; the Alliance républicaine pour la démocratie (ARD), chaired by Ahmed Dini Ahmed. The main opposition party; Front pour la restauration de l’unité et de la démocratie (FRUD), headed by Ali Mohamed Daoud, general sec. – Ougoureh Kifleh Ahmed. Founded in 1991 as an Afar military grouping, after a split (1994) one of its factions was legalized as a party in March 1996.

Administrative division

The country is divided into 11 districts. Districts are governed by republican commissioners (prefects) who are also mayors of district centers.

Alaili Dadda, Ali Sabieh District, As Eyla District, Balha District, Dikhil District, Djibouti District, Dorra District, Obock District, Randa District, Tadjourah District and Yoboki District;

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