Djibouti City


Info Djibouti City


Djibouti city is the capital and largest city of Djibouti, which is named after it. It is located in the coastal Djibouti Region on the Gulf of Tadjoura.

Home to around 620,000 inhabitants, the city contains over 70% of the nation's population. The settlement was founded in 1888 by the French, on land leased from the ruling Somali and Afar Sultans.

During the ensuing period, it served as the capital of French Somaliland and its successor the French Territory of the Afars and Issas.

Known as the Pearl of the Gulf of Tadjoura due to its location, Djibouti city is strategically positioned near the world's busiest shipping lanes and acts as a refueling and transshipment center. The Port of Djibouti is the principal maritime port for imports to and exports from neighboring Ethiopia.

Additionally, the city hosts a number of foreign embassies, and is the headquarters of many international organizations, non-profit organizations and companies. Djibouti-Ambouli International Airport is the main domestic airport, connecting the capital to various major global destinations.

POPULATION :  City: 623,891 
FOUNDED :   1881
TIME ZONE :  East Africa Time (UTC+3)  
LANGUAGE :  Somali and Afar. Arabic and French
RELIGION :  Muslim 94%, Christian 6%
AREA :  630 km2 (240 sq mi)
ELEVATION :  14 m (46 ft)
COORDINATES :  11°35′18″N 43°08′42″E
SEX RATIO :  Male: 50.24% 
 Female: 49.76%
ETHNIC :  Somali 60%, Afar 35%, other 5% (includes French, Arab, Ethiopian, and Italian)
POSTAL CODE :  ISO 3166 code: DJ-DJ


Tourism in Djibouti is centered in the Djibouti region. City landmarks include historic buildings, two important public squares, and the Hall of the People. Many private companies offer organized tours of these sites. Known as the "Pearl of the Gulf of Tadjoura", the city's sandy beaches are also popular tourist attractions.

Khor Ambado lies on the outskirts of Djibouti city, around fifteen kilometers from the city center. A popular local attraction, this beach has a number of restaurant establishments overlooking the sea. Doraleh is another beach situated about ten miles from the capital, on a paved road that winds through the dunes of volcanic rocks. With its main restaurant, Doraleh is a favorite hangout on Fridays leading up to the weekend. Other prominent beaches in the city include Siesta Beach and Heron Beach.

The two small Maskali and Moucha islands are situated an hour's drive from Djibouti City. They feature madreporic mangroves, with a rich seabed and colorful algae. Various fish species can also be found in the local coral gardens, including groupers, jacks and barracuda.

Another notable city landmark is La Place du 27 Juin, a street named after Djibouti's independence day. The Place Mahamoud-Harbi (formerly Place Rimbaud) was similarly named in honor of a prominent local figure, erstwhile Vice President of the Government Council Mahmoud Harbi.


From 1862 until 1894, the land to the north of the Gulf of Tadjoura was called "Obock". It was ruled by Somali and Afar Sultans, local authorities with whom France signed various treaties between 1883 and 1887 to first gain a foothold in the region.

The French subsequently founded Djibouti City in 1888, in a previously uninhabited stretch of coast. In 1896, the settlement was made the capital of French Somaliland. The city later grew considerably in size following the construction of the Imperial Ethiopian Railway.

When Germany invaded France in 1940, Djibouti fell under the control of the Axis-allied Vichy French.

In response, the United Kingdom closed the port, but it could not prevent local French from providing information on the passing ship convoys. In December 1942, about 4,000 British troops occupied the town. Djibouti city had about 22,046 residents. By 1940 there were 26,987 residents and by 1950 the population has grown to 34,564. It then became the headquarters of the succeeding French Territory of the Afars and Issas.

Since independence in 1977, the city has served as the administrative and commercial capital of the Republic of Djibouti.


Djibouti is among the warmest and driest cities in the world.

Average high temperatures range from 29 °C (84 °F) during the months of December, January and February, to about 42 °C (108 °F) in July.

There are two seasons: a summer dry season from May to October and a cooler season with more precipitation from November to April (winter).

The rainfall on the coast usually occurs between November to March, whereas further inland it falls between April to October.

In the summer months, temperatures routinely exceed 40 °C (104 °F), with relative humidity often exceeding 50%, even during the daytime. Sunshine is abundant in the city, averaging eight to ten hours a day year-round.

There are barely any days in the year without sunshine, and even during the winter there are many clear days.


Djibouti City is the capital and largest settlement in Djibouti, situated in the Horn of Africa. The city is located in eastern Djibouti, approximately 21 km (13 mi) northwest of the Somalia border.

It is a seaport, with the only sheltered harbour on the western side of the Gulf of Aden. The landscape around the city, along with Djibouti's coastal lowlands, is desert or semi-desert.

The city's sandy beaches are popular tourist attractions and include Siesta Beach and Heron Beach. It is known as the "Pearl of the Gulf of Tadjoura" due to its location.


As the capital of and largest settlement in Djibouti, most local businesses have their headquarters in Djibouti City. Djibouti Telecom, the largest telecommunications company in the country, is based here. During its existence, Djibouti Airlines also had its head office in the city.

Djibouti city is the financial hub to many entrepreneurial industries ranging from construction, retail, import and export, Internet cafes, and companies that process remittances from relatives abroad who send money.

Port operations from the vicinity of Djibouti City are the chief economic activity of Djibouti. The city's port is the terminus for Ethiopian oil transport and export.

Djibouti - Travel guide