As denoted by Djibouti’s development of the new airport dedicated to tourism in Ras Siyyan, the Al Haj Ahmed Dini Ahmed International Airport, Djibouti also strives to improve its tourism sector. Indeed, the country is very conscious of the positive impact the tourism industry can have on economic growth. Visitors to Djibouti can enjoy a very wide array of activities, both on land and at sea.
"The country is very conscious of the positive impact the tourism industry can have on economic growth."
Djibouti can offer visitors some of the best diving spots in the world, thanks to its crystal-clear, warm waters. The marine ecosystem is very rich, with a very large number of fish species, and may even include whale sharks. The largest living non-mammalian vertebrate can be seen during its yearly migration starting in November. Other marine sports such as year-round deep-sea fishing, canoe, windsurfing and kitesurfing are also in vogue. Some very popular tourist destinations include the Moucha coral island and the Sept Frères (seven brothers) volcanic islands. The coast is equally popular: the Sables Blancs (white sands) beach is one of Djibouti’s most beautiful beaches. The Sables Blancs holiday resort features a high-end hotel and restaurant—where one can enjoy traditional Djiboutian food—as well as facilities dedicated to business seminars.
On land, Djibouti displays exceptional sights that have inspired prominent figures such as Arthur Rimbaud, Henry de Monfreid and Jean-Jacques Cousteau, to name a few. The country is located at the intersection between three tectonic plates that are constantly growing apart—the Nubian African, Somalian African and Arabian plates—creating a rift where an ocean is expected to appear in a few tens of millions years. As such the country presents unique, moon-like landscapes and geological features that have attracted travellers for centuries.
"On land, Djibouti displays exceptional sights that have inspired prominent figures such as Arthur Rimbaud, Henry de Monfreid and Jean-Jacques Cousteau, to name a few."
An example of this type of landscape is Lake Assal: a shallow, large salt lake 155 metres below sea level—the lowest point in Africa. Lake Assal is the second most saline body of water in the world with an average salt concentration of 34.8 percent. Nomads have been extracting salt from Lake Assal for centuries, and established the ancient caravan routes. Subsurface geothermal springs, the main source of water supply of the lake, offer an extraordinary experience for those who wish to bath in its mineral waters. It is also one of the hottest places on Earth, with temperatures reaching as high as 52 degrees Celsius.
"Along with Iceland, the Afar depression—also called Afar Triangle—where the lake is located is the only place in the world where a mid-ocean ridge can be studied on land."
Lake Abbe, on the border between Djibouti and Ethiopia, is another example of such a landscape. It is close to the dormant volcano Dama Ali, as evidenced by the sulphuric fumes coming out of limestone chimneys and the hot springs scattered in the area. Along with Iceland, the Afar depression—also called Afar Triangle—where the lake is located is the only place in the world where a mid-ocean ridge can be studied on land. Its alien landscape is where the filming of the 1968 Planet of the Apes movie took place.
Djibouti also has cultural sights to present to visitors, such as the Grand Mosque of Hamoudi in the capital, or the city’s fish market called Grande Pêcherie, where freshly caught fish can be prepared for immediate tasting. Fresh, traditionally and responsibly caught and harvested seafood is a prominent part of Djiboutian cuisine. One example is the dish called Yemenite fish, which consists of fish and other seafood with a tomato sauce and a mixture of spices.