Djibouti is without a doubt 'the country of landscapes' and Lac Abbe is one of the best. Located close to the Djibouti-Ethiopia border is the stunning landscape of Lac Abbe. Barely a lake at all these days, as it's completely drained away, but what's left behind is a picturesque backdrop of limestone chimneys with the odd camel roaming in the distance. A solid 5 hour drive from Djibouti City, so I would spend the night camping and admire the stunning sunset on offer!
Lac Assal is a crater lake in the centre of Djibouti in the Danakil Desert area. What makes the lake extra special is that it's the lowest point on the African Continent, located 150 metres below sea level. The lake is a body of extremely salty water that's also fed by natural springs. There are some areas that are completely dry with the salt forming a crystal like formation. An absolute 'must see', especially if you can time it when local camel herders are crossing the lake.
Djibouti City Tour
Okay, so the capital doesn't offer a huge amount to see, but with Djibouti City being your entry point when arriving via air, you may as well have a stroll around anyway. The first thing I noticed is how quiet the city is in comparison to other African capitals. There's The People's Palace, Hamoudi Mosque, and the Welcome to Djibouti Sign. Also as you head into the city from the airport, you'll see the war memorial plane monument.
Great Valley Rift Viewpoint
The Great Valley Rift is a series of geographic trenches spanning over 6,000km. En route to Lac Assal, there's a superb viewpoint of The Rift. You'll see this mountainous landscape on the right around 25km before you reach Lac Assal. Although not signposted, it's very difficult to miss. There's no barriers at this viewpoint and a monstrously steep drop, so do take caution!
Djibouti offers some great spots when it comes to snorkelling and diving. There's minimal tourists and perhaps not very well highlighted online, which makes it all the more worthwhile to check out. The spot I chose to visit was Moucha Island, which is a small coral island just off the coast. Easily reachable via boat from Djibouti Port in around 30 minutes. The island is small with around 20 permanent inhabitants and offers very basic facilities. There's a small dive centre and a very basic restaurant offering lunch. The reefs around the island are very beautiful. The water visibility is extremely clear and there's a huge array of marine life. Also a popular spot for whale shark spotting (season dependent).
Around 1km before reaching Lac Assal, you will notice some beautiful wadis on the left hand side. You can take a walk around and admire the landscape of fresh water and small cliff tops. There's even some small fish here, that would obviously struggle to survive in the neighbouring Lac Assal.
There are beaches via a very short taxi ride from the city centre. They're clean with minimal people so would offer a chilled spot, but just don't expect white sandy beaches with crystal clear water. If you're willing to travelling slightly further along the coast, then Khor Ambado Beach is a great option, albeit a 30 minute drive.
Capital Hotel is located in the centre of the city and was the stand out pick for me. This hotel wasn't initially highlighted on the usual booking sites, but was by far the most competitively priced in a surprisingly expensive city. The rooms are spacious offering great views across the rooftops of the city, and there's a small cafe in the lobby. The front desk workers can also assist with arranging a trip to Moucha Island.
Based on my itinerary, there's no food recommendations I can make. I was camping, so was surviving on snacks from a local store.
I used a local tour company operated by Ken Gradall, who you can reach via Whatsapp on +253 77794958. Ken is very responsive via Whatsapp, is available to discuss itineraries and routes via phone, and is reasonable with costings. If you want a guide/driver solely for Djibouti City and local surroundings, then you can contact Mohammed on +253 77085757.