Sandwiched between Somalia, Eritrea, Ethiopia and the Gulf of Aden lies a less known territory in the Horn of Africa called Djibouti. The desert country is geographically divided into three regions, the coastal plains, the volcanic plateaus in the central and southern areas of the country and the mountain ranges in the north.

A beach on Moucha Island, Djibouti
A beach on Moucha Island, Djibouti

The country has no arable land and therefore, most of its territory is a wilderness. Djibouti has got plenty of potentials in sight to make it the region’s top travel destination, following in the footsteps of Dubai. Here are a few indicators:

Despite being neighbored by the war-torn Somalia, a repressive Eritrean regime, and the abounding piracy in the Gulf of Aden, Djibouti has always prevailed in peace without any facing any major political instability. This has attracted real estate investors who have embarked on different infrastructural projects in the country and the existence of Africa’s two largest foreign army bases in Djibouti by both France and the USA.

The country’s strategic position in the Gulf of Aden which has become a major waterway for hundreds of cargo ships bears promise towards economic improvement that will turn the country into the region’s logistics hub. The Gulf of Aden is currently the world’s busiest maritime waterway with French and American navies providing protection against notorious Somali pirates.

So far more than a dozen of infrastructure projects costing billions of dollars have been launched and these will focus on turning the country into a major transport hub. Part of these projects include constructing a mega-airport that will have the capacity to handle millions of travelers per year. In addition, a new high-speed railway line is being laid to connect Djibouti city to Ethiopia’s Addis Ababa and this will shorten the travel time between the two cities from two days to just 10 hours.

Unlike some regional counterparts, Djibouti is well endowed with plenty of natural resources that can spur its economic growth. Its beautiful coastline that can attract very many beachgoers, wreck divers, whale/shark lovers, etc. Combined with its mild tropical climate, only investments are needed to bring in more revenue to the country.

Many cultural/historical sites dot the country as surviving reminders of its early Arabic connections. There are stunningly beautiful islands off its coast that are underdeveloped such as Maskali and Moucha islands. They have plenty of coral reefs for exploration, suitable for mangrove kayaking, snorkeling, and scuba diving. Currently, there is an ongoing construction project to build a world-class luxury resort on Moucha island.

Such facilities are poised to attract many travelers seeking comfort that lacks in their home countries such as the nearby Ethiopia, Sudan, and Somalia. Other attractions include Lake Assal which is the world’s second lowest altitude lake at 155 meters below the sea level. Only the Dead sea is lower than that.

At 155m below the sea, Lake Assal is Africa's lowest point
At 155m below the sea, Lake Assal is Africa’s lowest point

The country is composed of several nomadic tribes similar to the Saharan desert’s Berbers. The most known are the Afar tribesmen who move from region to region looking for greener pastures for their livestock. Their survival skills in this desert country is a wonderful culture to learn about.

In Djibouti city, a lot indicates the country’s past under both French and Arab colonialism. You can visit some historical settlements indicative of the past major influences on the country like the African and the European quarters. In the European quarters, both French and Arabic are mostly spoken and the buildings’ architecture tells more you about the prevailing foreign influence in this tiny country. On the other hand, tarpaulin tents dominate the African quarters with lively market scenes, children playing in the open also roaming goats and sheep dominate the quarters.

The country’s location at the world’s busiest waterway, the ongoing mega infrastructure projects and the upgrading of the existing transport means are all indicators that Djibouti is an African giant in the making. The travelers are already waiting for the green light to explore and adventure the country’s hidden treasures.