Djibouti travel information

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The Basics

Time: Local time is GMT +3.

Electricity: Electrical outlets in Djibouti usually supply electricity at 220 volts, and 50Hz. European two-pin plugs with round pins are standard.

Language: Arabic and French are the official languages of Djibouti, but the majority of locals speak either Somali or Afar.

Travel Health: Malaria is a problem in Djibouti and some form of prophylaxis is recommended for all travellers in all areas. A yellow fever vaccination is required to enter Djibouti for all travellers arriving from yellow fever areas. Vaccinations are recommended for hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and typhoid. Those planning to spend a lot of time outdoors who may be at risk of animal bites should consider a rabies vaccination as well. Visitors should be up to date on vaccinations for polio, MMR (measles, mumps, rubella), and tetanus-diphtheria. Travellers should not drink tap water in Djibouti unless it has been boiled, filtered, or chemically disinfected, and should avoid ice in beverages. Don't eat fruit and vegetables unless they have been cooked or peeled, and eat all cooked meals while still hot. Medical facilities are extremely limited in Djibouti, even in the capital city, and visitors should ensure that they have comprehensive travel insurance. As the availability of medicine is limited, visitors should take along any medication they may need in its original packaging and accompanied by a signed and dated letter from a doctor detailing what the medicine is and why it is needed.

Tipping: Tips are not always expected in Djibouti, but they are appreciated. Restaurants tend to add a 10 percent service charge to bills, making tipping unnecessary, but waiters, hotel service staff, and taxi drivers will appreciate small amounts for good service.

Safety Information: The UK Foreign Office advises against all travel to the border area between Eritrea and Djibouti, but otherwise the country is considered comparatively safe. There is an underlying threat of terrorism spilling over from neighbouring countries and some threats have been made by terrorist groups in the region, but no significant terrorist attacks targeting foreigners have occurred. Petty, opportunistic crimes like bag-snatching and pickpocketing are fairly common in Djibouti City and tourists should exercise caution in crowded areas and should not carry valuables. Violent crimes against foreigners are rare. Street protests in the capital are also rare but can become violent when they do occur and should be avoided by visitors. Seaborne travel along the coast of Djibouti is very dangerous as piracy is common.

Local Customs: Customs and culture in Djibouti are reserved and formal: women should maintain modest dress at all times, with their shoulders and legs covered, especially when visiting mosques. Always address seniors with respect.

Duty Free: Visitors to Djibouti must declare all currency and firearms on arrival and departure. One litre of alcoholic beverages can be imported into Djibouti without incurring customs duty. Weapons, drugs, and pornography are strictly prohibited.