November 22nd, 2009 – by: sarahsan
Tadjoura means â€śwellâ€ť in Afar. It is a picturesque little place and one of the oldest towns on the East African Coast. Its commercial history dates back to the 12th century, when it was the departure point for the caravanes making the dangerous journey to the empire of Abyssinia (Ethiopia). Tadjoura itself has a rather Arab feel to it, with its palm trees, whitewashed houses and seven mosques. The market was interesting, specially the meat counter. Goats were slaughtered across the street and vultures were cleaning up the leftovers.
After a stroll through the town we set of in 4WD to the FĂ´ret du Day. It was about a 2 hour drive, first on good paved roads then on a gravel road clinging to the mountain. Rising above the Gulf of Tadjoura, the masif Mt Goda (1750 m) shelters this tiny pocket of vegetation, which has been declared the countries only National Park.
When we arrived at the campsite at FĂ´ret du Day, we were ready for lunch. It took a while to get it ready, since the goat was slaughtered as we arrived. In the meantime we checked out the area and found that they had rescued an eagle with a broken wing. Since the nearest vet is in Djibouti Town there was no way for them to have its wing fixed. Maybe they should just have left it in the bush. Sitting in a cage with a broken wing is no life for an eagle. After lunch we went for a walk in the National Park, which consists mainly of juniper trees, box wood, wild olives and various types of figs. This primeval forest is now changing. A combination of drought and parasites is killing the trees. It was a sad sight to see how the "skeleton" trees looked a bit spooky. A long time ago this forest covered all of this volcanic country.
While we had been on the excursion the others had sailed on, through DevilÂ´s Cauldron and into the Bay of Ghoubbet, where we caught up with them. In the middle of the Bay lies Guinni Koma or "DevilÂ´s Island", an ancient underwater crater, at the top of which fossilised oysters have been found. Back on the boat the sun was setting. It gave a magical light to the Bay of Ghoubbet and the Tortoise and DevilÂ´s Island.