"Djibouti: Africa's Worst Tourist Trap" Top 5 Page for this destination Djibouti by hunwagner

Djibouti Travel Guide: 230 reviews and 1,324 photos

Of the 90 or so countries I have been to, this tiny Francophone corner of Africa gets the prize for being the least attractive - to say it politely.

The country is little more than a patch of desert centred on its capital, which is a busy port at the entrance to the Red Sea. While the countryside does have some minor attractions in the form of desert scenery, salt lakes, nomad life and beaches, there is nothing you couldn't find more and better of in the neighbouring countries - at a fraction of the cost.

Most people focus their visit on the capital, Djibouti City. This overcrowded place must simply be the worst hell-hole I have ever been to! Much of the city is nothing more than a sprawling slum, with poverty-stricken residents being baked in tin shacks in the steaming, humid heat of this hottest place on Earth. It is also about the dirtiest place I have ever seen - even rivalling India! Approaching from the Somali border, miles of garbage deposits welcome you to the capital.
OK, you might say, there are many poor countries in the World where standards are not exactly up to Western expectations. That is certainly true. However what sets Djibouti well and truly apart from other poor nations is the cost of living. To be able able to endure all the above, one is hit with just about the highest prices anywhere - I found Djibouti more expensive than Japan!!!
Oh, if it is so bad, it must at least be unspoilt by tourism, and friendly - some might think. Forget it! Djibouti is an important French and American military base, and well-paid soldiers, their families and other expats are a common sight in the centre of the city, along with plenty of hustlers trying to part them with some cash either by begging or selling souvenirs. I did meet some friendly locals out in the country, but can hardly think of any in the capital!

So why come?
Other than adding another country to your collection of passport stamps, the main reason to visit Djibouti is transiting through between Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somaliland and Yemen. This is why I had to visit the place twice.
Once there, it is worth having a look around the old, crumbling European Quarter of the city, but you would have to be a strange sort of person to want to linger.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:None that I can think of ...
  • Cons:Unbearable heat, poverty, dirt, lack of sights & some of the highest prices anywhere
  • In a nutshell:The worst place I have ever been to!
  • Intro Updated Apr 1, 2007
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Reviews (20)

Comments (19)

  • Jul 23, 2013 at 3:47 PM

    I had the misfortune to work in Djibouti for about 6 months. At first it was kind of interesting because it's the first place I visited in Africa but I quickly grew to hate the place. The heat was probably the worst and it got to the point where it really drained me of all energy. The general poverty and nastiness in the street was draining too. I've heard it was worse a few years ago so it may be better now than when you visited but still pretty bad.

  • hindu1936's Profile Photo
    Jun 1, 2009 at 4:57 AM

    By gosh, Lazslo, this is likely the most honest page I have ever seen. More, you justify your opinion. I hadn't planned on going there and know now I won't. thank you Sir

  • angiebabe's Profile Photo
    Jul 7, 2008 at 7:15 AM

    Interesting reading yr page - looks like Ill keep Djibouti on the lower rungs of my to-do list!

  • craic's Profile Photo
    Apr 1, 2007 at 9:00 AM

    it must be hell to live there

  • Travmad's Profile Photo
    Apr 1, 2007 at 8:08 AM

    Sometimes you have to just say it like it is. Thanks I remember this one!

  • Hildeal's Profile Photo
    Jan 12, 2007 at 12:31 PM

    Thanks for being so honest. I really enjoyed your travel page :)

  • frankcanfly's Profile Photo
    Nov 19, 2006 at 12:42 AM

    I agree. There is no reason to return.

  • zizkov's Profile Photo
    Oct 26, 2006 at 10:37 AM

    I enjoyed reading a page about somewhere someone really didn't like.

  • Jun 21, 2006 at 12:40 PM

    Oh dear, guess I'll have to cross it off my list of places to see before I die ;)

  • kyoub's Profile Photo
    Mar 4, 2006 at 3:01 AM

    Very interesting page about your experience in Djibouti.


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