A Trip to Tadjourah

Djibouti Travel Blog

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Baboon on the road to Tadjourah
When visiting Djibouti most people think Djibouti City, or the capital.  This is where the port is located, Camp Lemonier (US Navy base), a french military installation, and where 90% of the population of the country resides.  Yes there is a bustle of activity in the old city, but it is a city of few sights.  Most of which can be seen in a day or two.  The natural beauty of the Republic of Djibouti is not isolated to a spot within its capital.  In order to experience that requires a trip out of the capital.

The drive north takes one past a landscape that is vast and barren.  Rocks cover a large majority of this land.  Everywhere there are boulders, and stones.  The thing that will strike you as odd is to see a wall of rocks, just a small wall that someone built for no apparent purpose; perhaps boredom?  These walls are just out in the middle of no where, just there. 

In the vastness there will be a single hut out in the rocky plains.
Baboon on the road to Tadjourah
  It is amazing to think people live out there, especially to westerners who think grocery stores, malls, restaurants, and in door plumbing.

The road from Djibouti City to Tadjourah is for the most part very good.  How do the Djiboutian's do it?  In the USA a highway in this same environment needs to be constantly repaired, and yet here there are little resources for maintenance and little is needed.  There are a couple of spots where new construction is occurring so one drives on a dirt slightly rocky road for about 3-5 km.  The road goes into the mountains and up in elevation it goes.  The views open up as it gains height and one can see over the area.  On this trip there was a strong haze in the air, so the view was a bit matted.  This road goes past the Djibouti grand canyon, Lake Asal, and hot springs.

The road is not a direct route to Tadjourah, and signs are very infrequent.  A turn will need to be made at the arch way, so look for it on your right.
scenic coast line drive to Tadjourah
  This arch is white and just out there.  Then the drive becomes even more scenic with the gulf and eventually coastal drive.  The people along the route will wave and smile, the children will beckon you to stop.  I always purchase boxes of gum that cost 30 DF (10 cents) to give whenever I stop and children are around; hand out the box and they share the gum among themselves.  You can find Djiboutian weaved baskets out these areas, so if you want to make a difference in someone's life consider making your gift purchase out here.  Alone the coastal road be careful of all the goats, camels, and cattle that will transverse the road, or be sharing it with you.  There are numerous small villages along this road.

I was struck by several small small subsistence farms next to the ocean.  I realized that this was the only land that was not covered in rocks.  These small farms have their own water well, which I can not help but think must be salty from tidal influence.
friendly people
  On this trip you will want to bring along a lot of bottled water, which is valued by the locals as well.

Tadjourah is not a Caribbean paradise, and it is much smaller than Djibouti.  It brings with it a small town feel.  What the visitor needs to do is find a teenager who will act as a 'tour' guide.  There are plenty to be found on the main road.  English may not be perfect, so just use the basic words, "Tourist area, beaches" and they will take you.  Cost will be dinner or whatever money you think this service is worth to you (think 500 DF).  The best places are hidden away.  The water here is absolutely gorgeous.  I lived in Pensacola and Panama City Florida, I have spent time in Key West and the waters Tadjourah rival all of these.  In waist deep water you can snorkel and  exotic and colorful fish that compare to any national aquarium found anywhere.  The water is crystal clear, and the fish are not skittish.
Fishing in Tadjourah
  The snorkeling is easy, but water shoes are recommended, there are coral and sea urchins. 

Is the trip to Tadjourah worth the 3 hour drive?  Yes it is, and driving in my mind is preferred over a boat ride.
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Baboon on the road to Tadjourah
Baboon on the road to Tadjourah
Baboon on the road to Tadjourah
Baboon on the road to Tadjourah
scenic coast line drive to Tadjour…
scenic coast line drive to Tadjou…
friendly people
friendly people
Fishing in Tadjourah
Fishing in Tadjourah
hidden cove in Tadjourah
hidden cove in Tadjourah
hidden swimming spot in Tadjourah
hidden swimming spot in Tadjourah
no one except some french and us k…
no one except some french and us …
me and a friend
me and a friend
Food is great, and all you can eat
Food is great, and all you can eat
can you say cool
can you say cool
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