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Country Guides for Africa

Djibouti

Djibouti Smaller than Massachusetts, Djibouti has become strategically important as a storage and refueling station. The majority of the country is desert plain but it does offer excellent white sand beaches on the Red Sea, and the Gulf of Tadjoura offers scuba diving, spear fishing and wonderful underwater photography opportunities in coral reefs teeming with tropical fish.

Language: French (official), Arabic (official), Somali, Afar

Major International Airports:

City

Airport
Airport
Code
Distance
From City
DjiboutiDjibouti-Ambouli Int'lJIB2 miles N

Food and waterborne diseases are the number one cause of illness in travelers. Travelers’ diarrhea can be caused by viruses, bacteria, or parasites, which are found throughout the region and can contaminate food or water. Infections may cause diarrhea and vomiting (E. coli, Salmonella, cholera, and parasites), fever (Typhoid fever and toxoplasmosis), or liver damage (hepatitis). Make sure your food and drinking water are safe.

Malaria is a serious, but preventable infection that can be fatal. Your risk of malaria may be high in these countries, including cities. Prevent this deadly disease by seeing your health care provider for a prescription antimalarial drug and by protecting yourself against mosquito bites. Most travelers to East Africa, including infants, children, and former residents of East Africa, are at risk for malaria. All travelers at risk for malaria should take one of the following drugs (listed alphabetically): atovaquone/proguanil, doxycycline, mefloquine, or primaquine (in special circumstances).

A certificate of yellow fever vaccine may be required for entry into certain of these countries. For detailed information, see Comprehensive Yellow Fever Vaccination Requirements. Also, find the nearest authorized U.S. yellow fever vaccine center.

Dengue, filariasis, leishmaniasis, onchocerciasis, trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), and Rift Valley fever are diseases carried by insects that also occur in this region. Protecting yourself against insect bites will help to prevent these diseases.

Schistosomiasis, a parasitic infection, is found in fresh water in the region, including Lake Malawi. Do not swim in fresh water (except in well-chlorinated swimming pools) in these countries.

Because motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of injury among travelers, walk and drive defensively. Avoid nighttime travel if possible and always use seat belts.

CDC recommends the following vaccines (as appropriate for age):

See your doctor at least 4–6 weeks before your trip to allow time for shots to take effect.

  • Hepatitis A or immune globulin (IG).
  • Hepatitis B, if you might be exposed to blood (for example, health-care workers), have sexual contact with the local population, stay longer than 6 months, or be exposed through medical treatment.
  • Meningococcal (meningitis) vaccine, if you plan to visit the western half of Ethiopia from December through June.
  • Rabies, if you might be exposed to wild or domestic animals through your work or recreation.
  • Typhoid, particularly if you are visiting developing countries in this region.
  • Yellow fever, if you travel anywhere outside urban areas.
  • As needed, booster doses for tetanus-diphtheria, measles, and a one-time dose of polio vaccine for adults. Hepatitis B vaccine is now recommended for all infants and for children ages 11–12 years who did not receive the series as infants.

To stay healthy, do...

  • Wash hands often with soap and water.
  • Drink only bottled or boiled water, or carbonated (bubbly) drinks in cans or bottles. Avoid tap water, fountain drinks, and ice cubes. If this is not possible, make water safer by BOTH filtering through an “absolute 1-micron or less” filter AND adding iodine tablets to the filtered water. “Absolute 1-micron filter” are found in camping/outdoor supply stores.
  • Eat only thoroughly cooked food or fruits and vegetables you have peeled yourself. Remember: boil it, cook it, peel it, or forget it.
  • If you travel to an area where there is risk for malaria, take your malaria prevention medication before, during, and after travel, as directed. (See your doctor for a prescription.)
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites:
    • Pay special attention to mosquito protection between dusk and dawn. This is when the type of mosquito whose bite transmits malaria is active.
    • Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and hats.
    • Use insect repellents that contain DEET (diethylmethyltoluamide).
    • Read and follow the directions and precautions on the product label.
    • Apply insect repellent to exposed skin.
    • Do not put repellent on wounds or broken skin.
    • Do not breathe in, swallow, or get into the eyes (DEET is toxic if swallowed). If using a spray product, apply DEET to your face by spraying your hands and rubbing the product carefully over the face, avoiding eyes and mouth.
    • Unless you are staying in air-conditioned or well-screened housing, purchase a bed net impregnated with the insecticide permethrin or deltamethrin. Or, spray the bed net with one of these insecticides if you are unable to find a pretreated bed net.
    • DEET may be used on adults, children, and infants older than 2 months of age. Protect infants by using a carrier draped with mosquito netting with an elastic edge for a tight fit.
    • Children under 10 years old should not apply insect repellent themselves. Do not apply to young children’s hands or around eyes and mouth.
  • To prevent fungal and parasitic infections, keep feet clean and dry, and do not go barefoot.
  • Always use latex condoms to reduce the risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.


  • Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

    Download Magellan's Chart of Insect Protection and Water Purification Needs by CountryDownload Magellan's Chart of Insect Protection and Water Purification Needs by Country

Those traveling to Djibouti are at risk from malaria, and other diseases transmitted mosquito bites. Travelers should use topical insect repellent and wear insecticide-treated clothing.

The water supply in Djibouti is grossly contaminated with viruses, bacteria and protozoa. Travelers should treat water before drinking to avoid potentially serious health problems.

AREAS OF INSTABILITY: Djibouti enjoys a stable political climate, thanks in part to the large French military presence based in country. However, Djibouti 's international borders are very porous and lightly patrolled. In particular, Somalia, Djibouti 's neighbor to the south, is believed to be a haven for terrorists and other insurgent elements. Continuing instability in Somalia and Yemen present the potential for internal unrest in Djibouti, which has large ethnic Somali and Yemeni populations. In addition, neighboring Ethiopia and Eritrea recently concluded a settlement to a long-running border dispute, and nearby Yemen is pursuing a struggle against potential terrorists. Civil unrest or armed conflict in neighboring countries could disrupt air travel to and from Djibouti or otherwise negatively affect its security situation.

SAFETY AND SECURITY: Terrorism continues to pose a threat in East Africa. U.S. citizens should be aware of the risk of indiscriminate attacks on civilian targets in public places, including tourist sites and other sites where Westerners are known to congregate.

Travelers should exercise caution when traveling to any remote area of the country, including the borders with Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Somalia. Djiboutian security forces do not have a widespread presence in those regions. Recently, there were several attacks on the Djibouti-Ethiopia railway. Although Americans did not appear to be targeted in these attacks, U.S. citizens should exercise caution nonetheless.

U.S. citizens are advised to keep themselves informed of regional developments and to register with the U.S. Embassy in Djibouti upon arrival. Although large public demonstrations are uncommon, U.S. citizens should avoid large crowds, political rallies, and street demonstrations and maintain security awareness at all times.

Several hundred U.S. military personnel are stationed in Djibouti. The presence of U.S. armed forces may increase the likelihood of threats or attacks against American civilians.

CRIME: Petty crime and pick pocketing is on the rise in the capital and elsewhere in the country.

The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, to contact family members or friends, and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.

U.S. citizens may refer to the Department of State's pamphlet, A Safe Trip Abroad, for ways to promote a trouble-free journey. The pamphlet is available by mail from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402, via the Internet at http://www.gpoaccess.gov, or via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov.



Source: U.S. Department of State

The climate of Djibouti is arid to semi arid, and among the hottest in the world, with torrid, dry summers and hot, dry winters. While humidity is high year-round, rainfall is sparse and unreliable. In the summer the hot, high velocity kasmin winds blow across the region, often carrying large quantities of desert sand.


City
Annual
Precip. Days
Annual
Precip. Totals
Djibouti166"

Djibouti's electrical current is 220/50 (volts/hz) and uses the plug adaptors listed to the right under Related Items. Many North American appliances are designed to operate only within the 100-125 volt range. These appliances will suffer damage if plugged into 220-250 volts without the proper transformer or converter.

To determine which plug adaptors you'll need and if you'll require a transformer or converter, use our Electrical Connection Wizard.

For a detailed discussion of international electrical standards, see our related article on Electrical and Phone Adaptation.

Download Magellan's Guide to World Electrical ConnectionsDownload Magellan's Guide to World Electrical Connections

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: A passport, visa, and evidence of yellow fever vaccination are required. U.S. citizens are encouraged to carry a copy of their U.S. passports with them at all times so that proof of identity and U.S. citizenship are readily available if questioned by local officials. Police occasionally stop travelers on the main roads leading out of the capital to check identity documents.

Travelers may obtain the latest information on entry requirements from the Embassy of the Republic of Djibouti, 1156 15th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20005, telephone (202) 331-0270, or at the Djibouti Mission to the United Nations, 866 United Nations Plaza, Suite 4011, New York, N.Y. 10017, telephone (212) 753-3163. Overseas, inquiries may be made at the nearest Djiboutian embassy or consulate. In countries where there is no Djiboutian diplomatic representation, travelers may sometimes obtain visas at the French Embassy.

In an effort to prevent international child abduction, many governments have initiated procedures at entry/exit points. These often include requiring documentary evidence of relationship and permission for the child's travel from the parent(s) or legal guardian not present. Having such documentation on hand, even if not required, may facilitate entry/departure.



Source: U.S. Department of State

The time zone for Djibouti is 3 hours offset from GMT, which means that if it is 12:00 noon in New York, the time in Djibouti would be 8:00 pm

The unit of currency in Djibouti is the Djiboutian franc (DJF).

Look up the current exchange rate using XE.com's Universal Currency Converter

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