6 Ultimate Djibouti Day Trips You Need to Take

Although traveling to Djibouti in 2021 wasn’t my best experience, it does offer tremendous opportunity to those willing to try it out.

Djibouti, Djibouti is the city so nice they named it twice. But to be frank, the city has little to see. It’s what you do from the city that allows you to really see Djibouti for what it is – a beautiful country in the Horn of Africa.

So let’s get out there and make the country shine. Nobody will have to ask themselves: “what is there to do in Djibouti?”

Diving Djibouti’s Red Sea

Djibouti day trip idea: diving with whale sharks!
From the Dolphin Excursions website, you can see why Djibouti is a popular dive and snorkeling spot!

Sporting colorful reefs, bountiful fish, beautiful shipwrecks, dolphins, and even whale sharks, the Red Sea is a diver’s paradise.

Dolphin Excursions Djibouti is a great place for everyone from novices to pro divers. They have been offering liveaboards, PADI approved diving lessons, and excursions for over 20 years.

The Djibouti crack in the bay of Ghoubet al Kharab is an especially incredible dive site, with an incredible abundance of life.

Snorkeler’s rejoice; you too can participate in swimming with whale sharks and dolphins in Djibouti.

Get to Digging in Djibouti’s Lac Assal and the Grand Canyon of Dimbiya

Lac (Lake) Assal is an awesome, easy day trip to take from Djibouti.
We met these truly sweet local salt collectors on our trip to Lac Assal. They welcomed us and even invited us to help with the digging!

A phenomenal day trip to take from the capital of Djibouti is visiting Lac Assal and making friends with local salt miners.

These salt miners dig up all morning in the scorching sun, no sunscreen or sunglasses, for what adds up to a couple dollars per kilo of salt.

On the way, enjoy spectacular views on the “Grand Canyon of Djibouti” at Dimbiya, conveniently right off the side of the road. You may encounter local artists selling precious gems, but they won’t bother you too much.

Make sure to bring sunglasses!

Whale Shark Watching in Djibouti

Whale shark sightings are extremely common in Djibouti, especially around the bay of Ghoubet.
Whale shark sightings are extremely common in the safe shelter of Djibouti waters. [Photo CC4.0: Abe Khao Lak]

For those who wish to stay dry, there’s an incredible whale shark viewing point only a couple hour’s drive from Djibouti.

Djibouti is amongst the few places where these gentle giants are known to visit every year.

Though it helps to be in the water, spotters can occasionally catch whale sharks rising close to the surface from above.

There isn’t a lack of tours heading to Ras Korali or further along in Ghoubbet-el-Kharab, perhaps one of the most epic whale shark viewing spots in the world.

And I can’t recommend Trip2Djib as a tour agency more highly. More on that later.

Day Forest National Park

Day Forest National Park might be the most beautiful place to see in a day trip from Djibouti.
Forêt du Day, or Day Forest, is one of the more interesting places to visit in Djibouti. [Photo CC4.0: Plantsman]

The only truly mountainous area of Djibouti, possibly the only respite from the hot desert heat, is about a 3 hour drive from the center of town.

It’s nice enough for the President of Djibouti to have a home in.

The rough and varied terrain combined with wildlife such as baboons makes for an interesting visit. You’ll find 1000 foot canyons and a beautiful contrast between green mountain tops and red soil below.

For those looking to explore deeper within, there are some ancient cave paintings estimated to be around 10,000 years old. It’s a tough 2 hour trip by 4×4 to get there.

Djibouti’s Moucha Islands

The Moucha Islands are a great place to relax for a day.
The beautiful beaches of Moucha are a great respite from the busy streets of Djibouti. [Photo CC2.0: Ryan Kilpatrick]

Situated only a few hours offshore from the center of Djibouti, Moucha Islands is a stretch of spectacular, brilliant white-sand islands more reminiscent of the Caribbean than East Africa.

Moucha is surrounding by gorgeous coral reefs making for excellent snorkeling, fishing, and even diving.

You can visit Moucha on a private tour or simply take a public ferry over – these run quite frequently.

There are hotels and restaurants on the islands in case you decide a day trip just isn’t enough.

Decan Wildlife Refuge

Decan is an interesting, less visited place to see on a day trip from Djibouti.

An easy 2-3 hour excursion from Djibouti, at only 10km south of the city, the privately run Decan Wildlife Reserve makes for a great way to escape the hustle and bustle of Djibouti.

Run by a French vet, Decan serves as a refuge for endangered animals. Here, you’ll find cheetahs, lions, ostriches, turtles, Somali donkeys, caracals, squirrels, antelopes, kudus, zebras and porcupines. The big cats are fed everyday at 5PM.

Birdwatchers can enjoy a birdwatching zone filled with flamingos, ibises, herons and spoonbills.

Bonus: Camping in Lake Abbé

Lake Abbé is Djibouti’s most wonderful sight.
Camping at Lake Abbé in the Danakil desert is a fascinating way to enjoy Djibouti. [Photo CC3.0: Rolf Cosar]

Probably the coolest thing you can do in Djibouti is camping at Lake Abbé, a volcanic paradise deep in the Danakil desert.

It’s filled with volcanic furnaces and mind-blowing formations, and there are several well-run campsites varying from simple to luxurious.

It is possible to visit on a day trip, but the drive is 6-7 hours each way and requires a 4×4 and some local knowledge to get there. Why not spend more time?

The Best Tour Agency in Djibouti

Standing with Mohamed, founder of Trip2Djib. He was truly a lifesaver for us.

On our trip to Djibouti, we got in a somewhat precarious situation: my girlfriend was not allowed into the country.

Luckily, she managed to find someone kind enough to share their internet hotspot so she could search for a tour agency to help her out.

When she contacted Trip2Djib, not only did she get an immediate reply, but Mohamed (the owner) got out of a meeting to immediately get to work.

Having worked for years in airport management, Mohamed has built quite the rapport with many high ranking officials in Djibouti. His local knowledge and relationships were paramount to getting my girlfriend into the country.

And of course, that led us to choice Trip2Djib for our tours in Djibouti – and we loved them.

Our experience with Trip2Djib

I don’t normally write so highly about a tour agency and I am not affiliated or compensated in any way for this, but Trip2Djib deserves all the recognition I’m giving.

Every detail was taken care of from beginning to finish. Every tour guide was punctual and caring. And we learned so much throughout our excursions around Djibouti.

The level of catering and service is what inspires me to aspire to those levels.

You can check out Trip2Djib here.

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