The Leading Global Portal for Diplomats!    
    Keep in touch with the community Prepare for your new career Take care of personal affairs Chat with diplomats online      
Home > New Posting > Post Reports
The Host Country

Area, Geography, and Climate Last Updated: 7/19/2005 11:11 AM

The Republic of Djibouti is situated in the Horn of Africa on Africa’s east coast, bordered to the north by Eritrea, to the west by Ethiopia, to the south by Somalia, and to the east by the Gulf of Aden. Djibouti covers 8,400 square miles (21,883 square kilometers) and is about the size of Massachusetts. The country is shaped like a “C” surrounding the Gulf of Tadjoura, an inlet off the Gulf of Aden. Along with Eritrea and Yemen, Djibouti shares direct access to the strategic Bab el Mandeb, the “Gate of Tears,” which controls southern access to the Red Sea.

Djibouti’s capital, also called Djibouti, is a relative oasis in an area of dry watersheds composed of harsh, stony desert and low, barren hills. The capital is at sea level and mostly surrounded by water, affording sea views from much of the city. In addition to Djibouti City, Djibouti has five provincial capitals: Ali Sabieh and Dikhil in the interior to the south and west, and Arta, Tadjoura and Obock on the west and north coasts of the Gulf of Tadjoura.

The landscape beyond the capital, though largely barren, is quite strange and impressive. Beyond the Gulf of Tadjoura via a narrow strait is the Ghoubet, a deep body of blue water with two striking volcanic islands. The coastline north of the Gulf of Tadjoura juxtaposes palm-lined beaches with jagged hills. In the north a large high desert region rises to Mount Moussa Ali, the highest point in Djibouti (3,600 feet). Also to the north is the Forêt du Day, a national park on Mount Goda. In this last vestige of a forest that once covered the area are several rare plants and animals, including monkeys and antelope. Lake Assal, a unique natural phenomenon over 500 feet below sea level, is 80 miles west of Djibouti City. A lake ten times saltier than the ocean, Lake Assal is an ethereal blue and surrounded by picturesque volcanic hills. It is the lowest body of water in Africa and the second lowest on Earth. Farther into the countryside to the southwest lies Lake Abbe, a large salt lake bisected by the Djibouti-Ethiopia border.

Djibouti’s location astride the East Africa, Red Sea, and Gulf of Aden rift systems provides a unique environment for studying volcanic, geothermal, and earthquake activity arising from the meeting of three tectonic plates. Over 600 tremors occur every year, virtually none of which are felt.

Djibouti has two seasons. During the May-to-September hot season, daytime temperatures average over 100 ºF and often exceed 120 ºF. The high temperatures are sometimes accompanied by hot, sandy winds called “the Khamsin.” The beginning and ending months of the hot season are also marked by high humidity, similar to that of a Washington, D.C., summer. The cooler season, from October through April, has clear skies, refreshingly cool breezes, somewhat lower humidity, and temperatures in the 80s.

Because of its geographic location between the Ethiopian and Yemeni escarpments, Djibouti gets little precipitation. Occasional rains occur mostly in the hills in the interior, but the average annual rainfall is only 5 to 10 inches. Rains most often come to Djibouti City in the fall and spring; some years are rainless. Because of a high water table and lack of drainage, the rare heavy rain can cause flooding in and around the capital.

Population Last Updated: 7/19/2005 11:12 AM

The majority of Djibouti’s 650,000 inhabitants live in the city of Djibouti. Djibouti is inhabited predominantly by two cultural groups — the Somali Issas and the Afars. Arabs make up about five percent of the population. Of some 7,000 foreign residents, about 5,000 are French. In addition, Djibouti hosts about 20,000 refugees and displaced persons from Ethiopia and Somalia.

Djibouti is a moderate Islamic society, and some 95 percent of Djiboutians are Muslim. The remaining five percent are Christian. Although often devout in their own religious practices, Djiboutians are notable for the tolerance they show toward the religious and social customs of others.

Despite their coastal location, Djiboutians are not historically a seafaring people. Many Djiboutians are descended from a nomadic pastoralist tradition, and goat and camel herds are still found in the interior. The history of Djibouti’s nomadic peoples goes back thousands of years. Archeological investigation in the west and north confirm settlement of this zone by Oromo and other Cushitic peoples now dwelling in Ethiopia. The Oromo are thought to have been known to early Greek and Egyptian visitors to the Red Sea area about the time of Christ. Because of their proximity to the Arabian peninsula, the region’s Somali and Afar tribes became the first Africans to adopt Islam. Islamic communities developed in the lowlands of the Horn, and this area probably provided troops to the many conflicts between the Islamic lowlands and the Christian highlands of Ethiopia. Nearly all of the geographic names in Djibouti are of Afar origin, suggesting a longtime Afar presence here. Somali ethnic expansion into the Horn has been the subject of many studies, but little is known about the confrontation between the Afars and the Somali groups spreading north into Djibouti. The arrival of foreigners — Turks, Egyptians, British, French, and Italians — caused greater population movement into the interior.

Djiboutians are heir to a tradition of individuality, independence, and hospitality. They are friendly toward Americans and Europeans. Djibouti is one of the least crime-prone capitals of Africa.

Public Institutions Last Updated: 7/19/2005 11:13 AM

On May 12, 1977, the people of the French Territory of the Afars and the Issas overwhelmingly voted for independence. On June 27, 1977, the Republic of Djibouti became an independent state.

Power sharing between the Issas and the Afars, Djibouti’s two major ethnic groups, has been formalized with a Somali Issa as President and an Afar as Prime Minister. The National Assembly has 65 elected members, and ministers are often chosen from these elected representatives. The Peoples’ Progress Assembly (RPP) rules the country, but the government does not prohibit the creation of registered political parties.

Because of a defense agreement made at the time of independence, Djibouti hosts 3,200 French military personnel, including the Foreign Legion. Djibouti has a national army as well as a small navy and air force.

Djibouti uses the French-style legal system, with family and civil codes, influenced by Shari’a (Islamic) law, and traditional Somali and Afar customs. Crimes committed in the capital are dealt with in accordance with French inspired law and judicial practice in the regular courts. Civil actions may be brought in these courts or in the traditional courts. In the rare cases when a U.S. citizen has run afoul of the law, local law enforcement officials have been quick to contact the Embassy.

Arts, Science, and Education Last Updated: 7/19/2005 11:13 AM

The arts are somewhat limited although the French Cultural Center, the community group IRIS, and other cultural groups sponsor lectures, concerts, films and dramatic performances. One way of getting a flavor of the local music and theater scene is to switch on the local television station.

Those who want to delve a little deeper into the local languages, the flora and fauna, the history, or the geology of the area will want to look up CERD, a research institute. Within the city, educational opportunities are limited, although it is possible to attend Arabic, Somali, and French classes. Djibouti has one university, Pole University, established in October 2000 offering two-year degrees in literature, math, history, English, Arabic, business administration, communications, computer science and marketing.

Djiboutian handicrafts are mostly limited to woven baskets and mats. Art and artifacts from neighboring countries, particularly Ethiopia and Yemen, are available in Djiboutian markets and stores.

Commerce and Industry Last Updated: 7/19/2005 11:13 AM

Most of Djibouti’s commercial activity centers around the Port of Djibouti, the airport, and the Djibouti-Addis Ababa railroad. The railroad is the only line serving central and southeastern Ethiopia and handles a small portion of Ethiopia’s import and export trade. A newly improved road from Djibouti to Addis Ababa also facilitates Ethiopian trade through the Port of Djibouti. Services and commerce, bolstered by the substantial French presence in Djibouti, account for most of the gross domestic product.

The new deepwater port offers new opportunities as a hub for regional trade. New roads have been built to accommodate the transport of increased goods. The related duty free zone also offers new opportunities for employment and other economic boosts to the country.

Aside from its service industries, Djibouti has a small economic base. Livestock, hides and skins are leading exports. The country is mostly desert with little arable land, and agricultural production is limited to several hundred acres. Fishing in the Gulf of Tadjoura is at the artisanal level, although the government is building a fishing port that is intended to greatly expand the fishing industry. Djibouti imports most of its food from France, Kenya, and Ethiopia. Djibouti has few industries and limited mineral deposits, although some geothermal energy potential exists.


Automobiles Last Updated: 7/19/2005 11:14 AM

Embassy personnel rely on their personal cars for transportation in Djibouti. Djibouti allows Embassy employees to import one vehicle duty free and imposes no restrictions on the make, color or age of cars that may be imported. Right-hand drive cars are no longer allowed to be imported into the country.

The Embassy handles the vehicle registration process. A U.S. driver's license and diplomatic ID card are all that are needed by official Americans to operate a vehicle. Local third party insurance must be purchased. Comprehensive insurance, which is recommended, is available locally but can be purchased less expensively through U.S. insurers.

Cars are occasionally available from departing Embassy employees or other diplomatic personnel. Otherwise, locally purchased vehicles are expensive and the selection is limited.

A majority of Embassy personnel own four-wheel drive vehicles, although regular sedans are adequate for driving on Djibouti City’s mostly paved roads. High ground clearance and four-wheel drive are necessary for trips to beaches or into the interior. Four-wheel drive is also useful for in-town driving after rains, which generally cause some flooding of roads. Light colored vehicles are recommended to deflect Djibouti’s intense sunlight.

Unleaded gasoline is available in Djibouti. Diesel fuel is less expensive than gasoline; both are available in the capital, but only diesel is available in the interior. Gasoline is not high octane, so the performance of engines designed for premium gasoline may suffer. Since 2004 there has been no importation of leaded gasoline into the country. Unleaded is 91 octane. American embassy employees are discouraged from shipping highly sophisticated vehicles that require premium unleaded gasoline or have complicated U.S. electronic and emission systems.

Djibouti’s salty and often humid air is highly corrosive, making rustproofing and undercoating highly recommended. Off-road packages or heavy-duty suspensions are also practical options. Traffic in Djibouti moves on the right (American) side of the road.

Many Japanese makes (Toyota, Isuzu, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Daihatsu, and Suzuki), as well as Peugeot, have representatives in Djibouti. No American manufacturers are represented. Competent mechanics can be found, although quality of service varies and spare parts for even the most common makes and models are not readily available. Labor and parts are expensive. Embassy mechanics are available for after-hours maintenance of personal vehicles at the vehicle owner’s expense. Embassy mechanics are most familiar with Japanese and American makes. Depending on the vehicle make, parts may have to be provided by the vehicle’s owner.

Send in household effects shipments supplies such as belts, filters, gaskets, hoses, windshield wipers, fuses, power-steering and brake fluids, spark plugs, and a foot or electric tire pump. Emergency equipment, such as spare tires, jacks, repair kits, and tow ropes, is recommended for out-of-town trips. Jerry cans and racks are useful for bringing gasoline and water on trips into the interior.

With the Ambassador’s approval, Embassy personnel may sell their vehicles at the end of their tours. Those who wish to do so generally succeed in selling at a fair price. The purchaser pays all customs duties, although the seller shares in the responsibility for ensuring that duties are paid. Diesel vehicles are particularly sought after on the resale market.

Local Transportation Last Updated: 7/19/2005 11:15 AM

Inexpensive taxi service is available in Djibouti, but the vehicles are often in poor repair and driven erratically. Embassy personnel may use local taxis but should be aware that taxi drivers, besides being careless, rarely carry vehicle insurance. The RSO does not endorse their use. Use of local buses or minivans by official Americans is prohibited by order of the Regional Security Officer.

Regional Transportation Last Updated: 7/19/2005 11:15 AM

Djibouti is linked to Europe by one Air France flight per week to Paris and one Daallo flight per week to Paris. Flights are also available to Addis Ababa, Dire Dawa (Ethiopia), Asmara, Nairobi, and Dubai.

Slow but inexpensive rail travel is available between Djibouti and Addis Ababa. Rail travel suffers from over-crowding, lack of travel support infrastructure en route, the potential for banditry, and more recently, the discovery and detonation of improvised explosive devices. The Regional Security Officer strictly prohibits use of the Djibouti/Ethiopia train by American personnel.

Paved roads in fair condition lead to the provincial capitals of Tadjoura, Ali Sabieh, and Dikhil. Otherwise, most overt land travel within the interior requires four-wheel drive. Road travel into Ethiopia is sometimes possible with advance planning and preparation. Driving into Somalia is greatly restricted.


Telephones and Telecommunications Last Updated: 7/19/2005 11:16 AM

Telephone service in Djibouti is generally reliable, and the sound quality is good. Telephone service is available to all Embassy housing. Service fees vary, depending on options such as multiple extensions, restrictions on access to international lines, and itemized billing. There have been some billing issues, and a few Americans have opted to rely only on cell phones.

Upon their arrival in Djibouti, many Americans arrange with a U.S. company to provide “callback” phone service to their homes. This service provides access to U.S. phone lines for international calls, reducing the cost of a call to the U.S. from about $0.50-$2.00 per minute.

Telegraphic service is available and is generally reliable. The Embassy does not have a telex.

Internet Last Updated: 7/20/2005 5:18 AM

Users of personal computers in Djibouti are able to gain access to the Internet for email and other purposes. DjibNet has a monopoly on all internet access, and offers only dial-up. Connections are usually slow and the per minute cost is expensive.

Mail and Pouch Last Updated: 7/19/2005 11:17 AM

Mail service is provided to the Embassy via the diplomatic pouch and international mail. Djibouti is not an APO post. Embassy personnel rely on the pouch for most of their correspondence. Embassy Djibouti’s pouch address (for personal mail) is:

Name 2150 Djibouti Place Dulles, VA 20189–2150

for official mail:

Name Department of State 2150 Djibouti Place Washington, DC 20521–2150

Letters and packages may be sent from the U.S. via the diplomatic pouch. Packages up to 50 pounds in weight and 17 inches x 18 inches x 32 inches in size are acceptable.

Only letter mail and limited categories of package mail — video or audio cassettes, prescriptions, and mail-order returns — may be sent from Djibouti through the pouch.

Pouch mail must have appropriate U.S. postage and generally takes two to three weeks to reach its destination. U.S. postage stamps are not available from the embassy so bring a supply of stamps to post or order on-line. The Embassy’s mail clerk can assist in determining correct U.S. postage for outgoing mail.

International mail service is generally reliable for letter mail, less so for package mail. Letters sent between Djibouti and either Europe or the U. S. generally take one to two weeks to reach their destinations. As most residences in Djibouti do not have complete street addresses, international mail should be sent to the Embassy’s mailing address:

Name Ambassade Americaine B.P. 185 Djibouti, Republique de Djibouti

Radio and TV Last Updated: 7/19/2005 11:18 AM

Djiboutian television broadcasts several hours nightly. Broadcasts vary among four languages: French, Arabic, Somali, and Afar. Programming typically consists of the news followed by a film, televised play, or nature program. Television is broadcast on the MESECAM (not the French SECAM) system, so a compatible or multi-system television is needed. An external antenna, available locally, may be needed for better reception.

GSO provides an Armed Forces Network (AFN) box and satellite dish free of charge to official Americans which allows them to receive CNN International, sports and other cable programming. A local cable company, Djibnet, provides French, Arabic and English programming for a fee (box rental and monthly billing).

Djiboutian radio broadcasts on AM and FM in French, Arabic, Afar, and Somali. Programming is a mix of Western, Arabic, and African music, as well as news and information. Shortwave radio reception of BBC, VOA, and other programming is possible but is greatly enhanced by using an external antenna. These are available locally or can be purchased from Radio Shack or similar stores in the U.S.

Televisions, radios, and shortwave radios can be purchased locally, but selection is limited and costs far exceed U.S. prices.

The Community Liaison Officer (CLO) runs a small DVD/video lending library at the embassy. American televisions and DVD/video players are compatible.

Newspapers, Magazines, and Technical Journals Last Updated: 7/19/2005 11:20 AM

French-language newspapers, books, and magazines are readily available, though prices are high. The International Herald Tribune and international editions of Time and Newsweek are generally available, although they may be a week or more old. Most personnel receive reading material through the pouch, making it two or more weeks out of date. Some specialty magazies are also sold at the PX at the camp.

The CLO operates a small lending library of paperback books. The U.S. Liaison Office makes its occasional shipments of books available to the Embassy.

Health and Medicine

Medical Facilities Last Updated: 7/19/2005 11:22 AM

The Embassy health unit provides routine medical care and immunizations for American personnel and dependents. By agreement with the Embassy, a French military hospital makes its facilities available to mission members in need of emergency medical care. It does not have sophisticated emergency or cardiac care facilities, but patients with cardiac problems may be stabilized at the hospital before medevac. The French hospital maintains a blood supply, and the Embassy health unit keeps records for a walking blood bank among mission members. There are a number of local doctors who are used by Americans in Djibouti, among whom are a pediatrician and the post medical advisor who both speak English. Adequate prenatal care, including sonograms, is available, but expectant mothers normally go by Medevac to the U.S. to give birth. The local government hospital is not used by Americans as it lacks adequate equipment, supplies, medicine, nursing care, and sanitation. Emergency medical care for the mission's employees can be obtained at Camp Lemonier, the U.S. military camp located next to the international airport.

The regional medical officer, based in Sanaa, Yemen, visits occasionally. Medevacs are generally directed to the Medevac Center at the U.S. Embassy London.

Basic dental care is available but expensive and most personnel defer nonemergency dental treatment while in Djibouti. Significant dental problems may require dentavacs. Have dental checkups and cleanings performed before arriving at post.

A private ophthalmologist provides basic eye exams. Eyeglasses are available but very expensive and the choice is limited.

Djibouti’s pharmacies are adequately stocked with European versions of medicines and supplies, although the drugs may be past the marked expiration date.

Community Health Last Updated: 7/19/2005 11:24 AM

Djiboutian public health controls are limited. Tap water is treated but is not drunk because it is brackish. Garbage control is not equal to the amount of trash generated. Sewage is dumped untreated into the waters surrounding Djibouti City. There are few public restrooms.

Malaria, diarrhea, polio, tuberculosis, measles, mumps, AIDS, other venereal diseases, dengue fever, and cholera are persistent health problems among the local Djiboutian population. With proper immunizations, commonsense precautions, and good hygiene, Americans are at minimal risk from these maladies. Poisonous snakes and scorpions exist. These are rarely seen in the capital but may be encountered in the interior, especially to the north. Normal precautions should be exercised while swimming, snorkeling, or diving, as some of Djibouti’s marine animals are venomous. Special care also needs to be taken to prevent obvious dangers from the strong sun and the heat.

Djibouti has many stray dogs and cats but is rabies free. Pets are required to have current rabies shots, health records and tattoos on permanent departure from post.

Preventive Measures Last Updated: 7/19/2005 11:24 AM

Malaria suppressants should be taken while at post. Depending on the kind of prophylaxis taken (daily malarin, weekly mefloquin, daily doxycyclin, etc.) begin taking one week (mefloquine) or two days (doxy or malarone) before arrival and up to four weeks after departing post. Malarone is taken only for one week after leaving post. Check with your physician before departing for post. Mosquitoes are rarely a problem during the hot summer months; during the rest of the year, long clothing and/or insect repellant should be worn in the evenings.

Tap water is safe for bathing, washing vegetables, and brushing teeth, but should not be consumed. Housing for embassy officers and their families is equipped with a water distiller in the kitchen, which provides water for drinking and cooking. Soak unpeelable local produce in a chlorine bleach solution. Meat should not be consumed raw or rare. Domestic workers should have preemployment physicals and should be instructed and monitored to ensure good hygiene practices.

All immunizations should be up to date before arrival in Djibouti. This is especially true of the yellow fever vaccine, which is difficult to obtain in Djibouti.

During the summer heat, strenuous outdoor activities should be avoided. Newcomers, especially those arriving in the summer, may find the climate enervating and should plan on additional rest. Water intake should be increased to avoid dehydration. Cuts and insect bites should be treated and kept clean to avoid infections.

Adequate amounts of prescription medicines and medical supplies should be brought to post or ordered via the internet, especially by those uncomfortable with substituting European brands for American ones. Sunblock and ultraviolet ray-filtering sunglasses are important precautions. Bring extra eyeglasses and prescription sunglasses. Contact lens wearers should bring eyeglasses to wear when the sandy summer winds blow.

Be sure that private medical insurance will cover outpatient treatment abroad, as this is not covered by the U.S. Government.

Employment for Spouses and Dependents Last Updated: 7/19/2005 11:25 AM

Other than a part-time CLO, the Embassy does not have established positions for eligible family members. Very few jobs are available on the local economy, especially for those without specialized skills and strong French or Somali language abilities. Some opportunities exist to provide private English-language tutoring on a volunteer or paid basis. A work permit issued by the Djibouti Department of Labor is required for most employment by non-Djiboutians outside the U.S. Embassy.

American Embassy - Djibouti

Post City Last Updated: 7/20/2005 2:39 AM

Djibouti, capital of and largest city in the Republic of Djibouti, is situated on the Gulf of Tadjourah. It is built upon coral islands joined by landfill and causeways, and the sea is visible from much of the city. The population of Djibouti City is estimated at 375,000.

Because of its location as a crossroad on the Horn of Africa, Djibouti offers an interesting blend of Arabic, Somali, Ethiopian, Indian, and European cultures. Much of the architecture in Djibouti City is French colonial with a strong Arab influence. In comparison with the rest of the country, Djibouti City has a large number of shade trees and flowering shrubs, especially in the older areas of the city. Local markets are colorful, though neither large nor clean. Because Djibouti is a port city, a range of foods and products from Europe, Africa, and Asia are available. Prices, however, are very high.

The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 7/20/2005 2:39 AM

A Consulate General was established in Djibouti on April 30, 1977, and was elevated to Embassy status upon Djibouti’s independence on June 27, 1977. The U.S. Government-owned Embassy compound underwent two major renovations in 1993 and 1995. It encompasses the Chancery, USLO administrative annex, consular building, health unit, Ambassador’s residence, public diplomacy/protocol/economic annex, and USAID building. The compound is located on the Gulf of Tadjoura about five minutes from downtown Djibouti. The Embassy also leases a warehouse compound located about 15 minutes from the Chancery. The Embassy is open from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm, Sunday through Thursday. The Embassy’s street address and telephone numbers are:

Ambassade Américaine Plateau du Serpent Blvd. Maréchal Joffre Djibouti, République de Djibouti Telephone: (253) 35-39-95 Fax: (253) 35-39-40

Djibouti is a small embassy. The mission staff includes the Ambassador, DCM, Front Office OMS, DCM OMS, Management Officer, RSO, ARSO, Political/Economic Officer, Consular Officer, Public Diplomacy Officer, GSO, Information Programs Officer, Information Management Specialist, U.S. Military Liaison Officer, and USAID.


Temporary Quarters Last Updated: 7/20/2005 2:40 AM

Employees and their families may be placed in one of several hotels if their housing is not ready on arrival.

Permanent Housing Last Updated: 7/20/2005 2:40 AM

The Ambassador’s residence is located on the government-owned Embassy compound. The compound is one of the lushest spots in Djibouti, with grassy areas, hibiscus, bougainvillea, and many large shade trees. The compound also includes a lighted tennis court and a swimming pool renovated in 1996, both of which are open to the Embassy community.

The Ambassador’s residence is a one-story, colonial-style structure that was enlarged and modernized in 1984 and partially renovated in 2004. It has a large entrance hall; a moderately sized living room; a dining room that can seat up to 16; a large modern kitchen; an enclosed sunroom; a master suite with bedroom, bathroom, and study; and two additional bedrooms and bathrooms. The house has a wrap-around covered terrace, a tiled patio, a large yard, and a paved drive.

All other personnel are housed in leased, single-family and duplex houses located near each other in residential areas five to 15 minutes from the Embassy. Housing is comfortable, with living/dining areas, European style kitchens, two to five bedrooms, two or more baths, and a patio or balcony, and often a rooftop deck. Houses are enclosed by walls and some have small gardens. Specific housing information is sent in the TMTWO once quarters are assigned by the housing board.

Furnishings Last Updated: 7/20/2005 2:41 AM

All housing is provided with adequate furnishings.

The Ambassador’s residence was recently renovated and is furnished in 18th-century style in representational areas. The private areas are less formally furnished. The residence is supplied with complete sets of silver and silver-plated flatware; official dinnerware and glassware; silver coffee service, candelabra, trays, and other serving pieces; kitchenware and a range of appliances; and table linens.

The DCM’s house is large and spacious for entertaining. The DCM’s house is not supplied with representational items.

All other housing is equipped with furniture for the living room, dining room, master bedroom, den, spare bedroom, and patio (table and chairs). Master bedrooms have queen-size beds; guest rooms have twin or queen-size beds. Lamps, some area rugs, curtains, and consumables storage shelves are provided as needed. Houses are fully air-conditioned and contain a washer, dryer, vacuum, refrigerator, freezer, gas range, microwave, water distiller, and a small number of transformers. No houses have separate quarters for domestic employees.

Houses have space for smaller items of personal furniture, but large or bulky items should be placed in storage. Continual use of air conditioners and dehumidifiers can help reduce the impact of Djibouti’s hot climate on personal effects, but caution is advised before sending climate-sensitive items such as delicate rugs, overstuffed furniture, expensive artwork, and sensitive musical instruments. HHE shipments could suffer humidity damage while in transit and while in temporary storage, especially during the hot summer months.

Employees should bring irons, hair dryers, wastebaskets, clothes hampers, mops, brooms, buckets, linens, battery-powered clocks, outdoor lounge chairs, televisions, DVDs/VCRs, and stereo equipment. Those with personal computers may wish to bring a computer table. Suggestions on bringing kitchen appliances and electrical adaptors are included in the next section. Housing has cement walls and tile floors, so employees may wish to bring small area rugs, throw pillows, pictures, and other decorative items to personalize their homes.

Utilities and Equipment Last Updated: 7/20/2005 2:41 AM

All houses have hot and cold running water, although washing machines are not hooked up to water heaters. Water service is reliable during the cooler months, although water pressure can be low during hours of peak use. City water is sometimes unreliable during the hot summer months. All houses are equipped with water distillers which provide potable water.

Electrical service is generally reliable, although outages are more frequent during the hot summer months. Electrical current in Djibouti is 220v, 50 cycles. Outlets are in the French style, with two round holes and a round grounding prong. A limited supply of stepdown transformers is available from the Embassy. Surge protectors are highly recommended for computers and other sensitive equipment. Plug adaptors are available on the local economy.

Cooking gas is provided by the Embassy. Corkscrews are difficult to find on the economy so pack one or two in air freight. Bring your own toaster/toaster oven, salad spinner, blender, bread machine, mixer, food processor, ice cream maker, and other small appliances. Dual-voltage or 220v appliances work best and are the most convenient.

A small supply of US 110V light bulbs can be handy for using lamps when the plug is already being used by a transformer for another 110V accessory.

Food Last Updated: 7/20/2005 2:42 AM

Employees assigned to Djibouti are authorized a consumables allowance. Consider sending the following items, which are either locally not available or of poor quality: uniquely American items (peanut butter, grape jelly, chocolate chips, cake and brownie mixes, cranberries, pumpkin pie mix, other holiday foods, pancake mix and syrup, chocolate syrup), canned soups, crackers, cookies, snacks, napkins, paper towels, Kleenex, toilet paper, aluminum foil, plastic wrap, trash bags, wheat or rye flour, yeast, Mexican foods, toiletries, cosmetics, cleaning supplies, pet foods and supplies, baby supplies (diapers, cereals, formula, jarred food), kosher foods, and dietary items. Not available at all locally are brown sugar, shortening, corn meal, food storage containers, sealing storage bags, koolaide or other drink mixes. Available but expensive are nuts and cereal. Also bring hair products and coloring kits if partial to particular American brands. Ship items used for at-home entertaining, as this is a major pastime in Djibouti. Consider reserving some of the consumables allowance and placing a supplemental order after arrival. There is no commissary at post but there is a small PX at the U.S. military camp with limited choices of snack foods, drinks, health and beauty aids, and electronics.

Djibouti produces almost no food, and virtually everything but seafood and small amounts of produce is imported. As a result, food prices are very high. Djibouti has several supermarkets that, while not comparable to U.S. supermarkets, nonetheless carry selections of packaged goods, meat, produce, personal hygiene products, paper goods, baby supplies, and cleaning products. Choices are limited, quality varies, prices are high, and items are not always in stock. Most brands are French. Items that are easily available in the local grocery stores include rice, pasta, canned vegetables, and European cookies and candies.

Long-life and powdered milk are generally available, as are a broad selection of cheeses and butter from France. A limited selection of frozen foods — ice cream, convenience foods, meats, vegetables and fruit — is available. Fresh fruits and vegetables are imported from Kenya, Ethiopia, France, and South Africa. Depending upon the season, fresh mangoes, papayas, pineapples, apples, citrus fruits, grapes, watermelon, carrots, leaf lettuce, tomatoes, potatoes, green beans, zucchini, onions, beets, cabbage, mushrooms, cucumbers, broccoli and cauliflower, legumes, garlic and spices are available. Several varieties of fruits and vegetables are generally available at any time. Fruits and vegetables are available from the supermarkets and from produce stands located throughout the city.

In addition to the supermarkets, Djibouti has a small number of reputable butchers. Various cuts of beef and pork are available. Lamb and veal cuts are often available. Frozen whole chickens are available, although fresh chickens and chicken parts are hard to find. Fresh and frozen seafood is available, and local seafood (fish, crab, lobster, shrimp) is delicious and relatively inexpensive. Djibouti has several bakeries that produce breads and pastries. Local baguettes are widely available and inexpensive. Many of the markets sell rotisserie chickens that are both delicious and inexpensive.

Imported alcohol, beer, wine, soft drinks, and bottled water are available from supermarkets and from one store that sells to diplomatic personnel at duty free prices. Locally bottled tonic, Coke, Sprite, and several flavors of Fanta are good and inexpensive.

Clothing Last Updated: 7/20/2005 2:42 AM

Bring washable, lightweight clothes. Summer clothing is appropriate year-round, and cotton or cotton blends are the most practical. Informality is the rule in Djibouti. Dry-cleaning is available, but quality varies and prices are high. Although it is an Islamic society, Djibouti is tolerant of Western styles of dress. Clothes fade and wear out quickly in Djibouti due to frequent washings, strong sunlight, and the salinity of the water. Bring an adequate supply of frequently worn items and have catalogs sent to post to help in supplementing your wardrobe. Because of Djibouti’s rocky terrain, shoes also wear out quickly. Bring plenty of swimsuits, beachwear, beach shoes, and sun hats.

Availability of ready-made clothing is limited, and good-quality clothing is hard to find and expensive. Djibouti has reasonably priced tailors and fabrics. The quality of both varies and rapid service is not always available. Those who sew should bring a machine and the necessary supplies.

Bring some cooler weather clothing — jackets, sweaters, long-sleeved shirts, and pants — for vacation or business travel in Europe, Kenya, or Ethiopia.

Men Last Updated: 7/20/2005 2:42 AM

Cotton or dress slacks and short sleeve open-neck shirts are standard business attire. Open toe shoes are not appropriate. Bring one or two suits for the occasional meeting or semiformal event when a suit is required. Formal wear is useful but not required for formal occasions (French-hosted soirees, Lions Club and Rotary Club annual balls and the Marine Corps Ball in Addis Ababa). Cotton shorts, pants, and shirts are appropriate for casual wear at restaurants, shopping in town and recreational activities, as are sneakers, boat shoes, and sandals. Most social functions and internal Embassy events are informal.

Women Last Updated: 7/20/2005 2:43 AM

Cotton dresses, skirts, or pants are standard business attire. Djiboutians do not expect Western women to conform to Islamic customs regarding women’s dress. Djiboutian women combine an Arab sense of modesty with an African flair for bright colors. Sandals and flat shoes are common in both business and social settings; stockings are seldom worn. Bring a small number of cocktail dresses for occasional semiformal events. Formal wear is useful but not required for formal occasions (see advice above). Most social functions and internal Embassy events are informal. Shorts and tank tops are acceptable for beach and certain outdoor athletic activities.

Children Last Updated: 7/20/2005 2:44 AM

Children’s clothing should be cotton and informal. Allow for heavy wear and tear and frequent changes due to Djibouti’s heat and dust. Boys commonly wear shorts or cotton pants and short-sleeved shirts. Girls wear sleeveless dresses, short-sleeved or sleeveless shirts, shorts, and cotton pants. Bring plenty of children's socks. Children’s shoes are sometimes available locally but are quite expensive. Order additional clothes and shoes from mail-order catalogs or on-line.

Supplies and Services

Supplies Last Updated: 7/20/2005 2:44 AM

Most toiletries, cosmetics, feminine personal supplies, U.S. tobacco products, sun block, batteries, film, over-the-counter medicines, and home medical supplies should be brought or sent to post. Many items are available, but U.S. brands are rare, selection is limited, prices are high, and supplies are not always reliable. Some personnel prefer not to substitute European products with non-English packaging for the American products they are familiar with.

Common household items, such as tools, clothes hangers, desk supplies, and shower curtains, should be shipped to post. Local availability and quality vary, and prices are high. Paper products should be shipped to post as well, including party and seasonal decorations, wrapping paper, cards, paper towels, napkins, toilet paper, Kleenex, food wraps, paper plates, storage bags and serving size storage boxes, ice cube trays, and a Kool-aid jug. Recreational items such as sports equipment, barbeque grills, beach chairs, sun umbrellas, and coolers should also be brought to post. Charcoal is generally available locally, but locally produced charcoal is a product of burning the dieing Djiboutian rainforest, and ecologically minded people might prefer to bring charcoal from the U.S.

A limited selection of dog and cat foods is generally available, although prices are high and periodic shortages do occur. Basic cat litter is generally available and, depending on brand, expensive. Pet food and cat litter can also be ordered on the internet.

Basic Services Last Updated: 7/20/2005 2:45 AM

Many community services are available at varying quality and prices. Most shops and services are closed all day on Fridays and from noon to 4:30 p.m. other days. Tailors are competent and reasonably priced. Drycleaning is available but expensive and quality can vary. Barbers and beauty shops are competent, and prices are comparable to those in the U.S. Repair services for vehicles or equipment are less reliable. Technicians are not highly skilled or reliable and are unfamiliar with American products. Ship simple, durable items and, if possible, bring spare parts. Parts can be hard to find, and those for American products are generally not available.

Domestic Help Last Updated: 7/20/2005 2:45 AM

Domestic help is available but not highly trained. Domestic employees are usually found by recommendation of other Americans, and many domestic employees find employment from one American family to the next. Most Djiboutians speak French but little or no English. Domestic employees often require training and close supervision.

Many Embassy employees hire a maid or a maid/nanny. Trained cooks are scarce, but maids can often be trained to prepare meals. Gardeners are often hired to take care of small garden areas, wash cars and remove trash. Embassy personnel pay full-time maids from $200 to $250 per month, gardeners from $100 to $200 per month, and cooks from $350 to $400 per month. Salaries are negotiable, and many French and Djiboutian employers pay their domestic employees less. Embassy personnel do not normally hire drivers.

Domestic employees rarely live in. Those who work full-time may be provided one or more meals by their employers, but this is negotiable. A pre-employment medical evaluation of domestic employees is recommended, and good hygiene should be stressed. Domestic employees will also need to have a background clearance from the RSO.

Religious Activities Last Updated: 7/20/2005 2:45 AM

Djibouti is a Moslem society. In accordance with Islamic custom, the Embassy weekend falls on Friday and Saturday. The following denominations maintain places of worship in Djibouti: Roman Catholic (French and, occasionally, English and Italian), Protestant (French and, once a month, English), Greek Orthodox (Greek), Ethiopian Orthodox (Amharic), and Moslem (Arabic and Somali). No Jewish services are held.

Embassy employees and their families can also attend worship services at Camp Lemonier.

Education Last Updated: 7/20/2005 2:47 AM

French-speaking education is available in French- or Djiboutian-run schools from kindergarten through high school. All curricula follow the French system, and no English-language schools exist. Children who speak French may enroll in the French Government-supported schools. A local Catholic school provides intensive French training in addition to regular classwork. Djiboutian public schools are crowded and underfunded and have not been used by Embassy children. Because adequate English-language schools are not available, the away-from-post education allowance is sufficient to cover the costs of boarding school and periodic school to post travel. Post families have the option to home-school their children. Calvert and other home-school materials and supplies can be sent through pouch mail. French language and other French school subject instructors can be hired with help from the CLO.

Special Educational Opportunities

The Embassy offers a French-language program for employees and adult dependents, with classes given at three levels through the local Alliance Francaise. Private tutoring in French can be arranged at personal expense. Private classes or tutoring in other local languages — Arabic, Somali, Amharic, Afar — are also available. Tennis, golf, scuba diving, swimming, karate, judo, and boat-piloting classes are available, primarily in French at private clubs. Courses in watercolors and oil painting, sewing, crafts, and aerobics are frequently organized by French spouses. Djibouti has only one two-year university.

Private day-care is available in French-language facilities, but most Embassy families prefer to hire nannies and care for their children at home.

Dependent Education Last Updated: 7/20/2005 2:47 AM

Special Needs Education Last Updated: 7/20/2005 2:47 AM

None available.

Higher Education Opportunities Last Updated: 7/20/2005 2:58 AM

Pole University, Djibouti's sole institution of higher education, was established in October 2000. The university offers higher education in two 2-year degrees -- General (majoring in literature, math, history, English, and Arabic) and Specialized (focusing on national job market needs in areas such as business administration, communications, computer science, and marketing.) About 2,000 students attend the university.

Recreation and Social Life

Sports Last Updated: 7/20/2005 2:59 AM

A lighted tennis court and a small swimming pool suitable for relaxing or recreational lap swimming are both located on the Embassy compound. The USAID building contains a weight room.

Djibouti’s beautiful, clear waters provide excellent opportunities for water sports. Bring beach chairs and umbrellas. Djibouti has several beaches, reachable by four-wheel drive, that offer good swimming and snorkeling. The closest beach is 45 minutes from Djibouti City and has several rustic beachfront restaurants. Several islands offshore also have good beaches and swimming. The Embassy has private use of one sandy beach on an offshore island with shallow water and a shelter for shade and storage. The coral reefs off Djibouti’s coast offer outstanding diving. Diver certification classes are available in French and English. Bring snorkeling and diving equipment. Equipment may also be rented locally. Djibouti’s waters also offer excellent deep-sea fishing. Bring your own rods, reels, and tackle.

A number of private sporting clubs exist, although prices are high and some facilities are marginal. The Sheraton Hotel offers memberships to its attractive waterfront swimming pool and also has a tennis court that can be used for a fee. Intrepid golfers should bring their clubs, as a golf course on the outskirts of Djibouti City offers nine holes with oiled-sand greens, golf instruction, beautiful vistas, and the occasional camel hazard.

There is a commercial bowling alley with eight lanes. During the cooler months, sandsurfing (windsurfing on flat expanses of desert) is a unique and enjoyable form of recreation. Djibouti City’s mostly flat terrain lends itself to bicycling, although caution must be used on roads with potholes or heavy traffic which increases the possibility of accidents. Exercise caution -- incidents have occurred where children, mainly teenagers, have been known to throw rocks at bicyclists on certain roads outside of the city. This sort of behavior is generally related to delinquency and not terrorism or anti-Americanism. Bicycle rentals are not available, so bring bikes (mountain bikes are good choices) and helmets. Djiboutians enjoy soccer and basketball and are pleased to have Americans join their teams or challenge them to a game.

Touring and Outdoor Activities Last Updated: 7/20/2005 2:59 AM

Excursions into Djibouti’s interior are prudently done in four-wheel-drive convoys of at least two cars. Djibouti’s most famous natural attraction is Lake Assal. Set among hills, Lake Assal is a beautiful body of water that is ten times saltier than the ocean and over 500 feet below sea level. It is two hours from Djibouti City via a newly paved road. Farther into the interior is Lake Abbe, a large salt lake on the Ethiopian border in an area of interesting geologic formations. The trip to Lake Abbe requires an overnight stay at rustic accommodations in Dikhil or camping in the desert. There are many opportunities to explore the varied aspects of Djibouti’s desert landscape, using Djibouti City or the towns of Dikhil or Ali Sabieh as bases.

The islands of Moucha and Meskali are popular destinations for their beaches. A boat must be rented to get there. The tented camp hotel of Lagon Bleu opened in 2004. Arrangements to stay there are made through Atta Travel in Djibouti city. They offer watersports (diving, waterskiing) a sand beach, and an outdoor bar.

Across the Gulf of Tadjoura to the north of Djibouti City is the town of Tadjoura. The drive along the north coast of the Gulf is mostly paved and often beautiful — blue water and palm trees on one side of the road and craggy hills on the other. Tadjoura has a simple waterfront hotel and restaurant that offers boat trips to an unspoiled beach with excellent swimming and snorkeling. Tadjoura is also a good base from which to explore the Forêt du Day and the wooded area near the village of Dittilou, both of which provide a respite from the dry, barren landscape found elsewhere in Djibouti. The Forêt du Day is what remains of an ancient forest high in the Djiboutian hills and offers twisted cypress trees, beautiful vistas, and occasional sightings of monkeys and other wildlife. The forest is reached via an arduous, twisting hillside path that requires a guide, four-wheel drive, high ground clearance, and strong nerves. The area near Dittilou is more easily reached from Tadjoura, but the trip still requires four-wheel drive. Dittilou has rustic accommodations that include meals and guided tours of the surrounding misty wooded hills and waterfalls. Outings by camel caravan can also be arranged at Dittilou.

Camping is possible in the desert, on beaches, or in the forest. Bring all camping supplies to post. Cots are recommended for camping and are essential in the desert, where scorpions emerge overnight. Mosquito netting is also prudent.

Djibouti’s natural attractions and exotic volcanic landscape offer many opportunities for hikers and photographers, especially during the cooler months. Ask for permission (it may cost a few coins) before photographing people. Bird-watchers find Djibouti’s coastline interesting, as it lies along the north-south migratory routes of many birds.

Entertainment Last Updated: 7/20/2005 3:01 AM

The French Cultural Center sponsors regular French-language film series, concerts, theater productions, and other cultural activities. A commercial movie theater shows recent films dubbed into French but the roof caved in a few years ago, and hasn't been reparied. It is not regularly patronized by the Embassy community. The CLO operates a small video/DVD library. The USLO office also has a movie collection and are usually generous with sharing them.

Social Activities

Among Americans Last Updated: 7/20/2005 3:01 AM Most socializing is private and informal, usually in the form of dinners or get-togethers.

International Contacts Last Updated: 7/20/2005 3:02 AM Djiboutians enjoy meeting Americans but not all are comfortable speaking English. French language ability is helpful for business and socializing in the community. Djiboutian social customs, including widespread khat chewing, sometimes restrict opportunities for interaction. The Lions and Rotary Clubs (Rotaract is an offshoot geared to young adults) are represented in Djibouti and provide opportunities to meet members of the international community.

English language clubs meet almost every night of the week, and are a great way to meet a cross-section of the Djiboutian population. They eagerly welcome Americans to join them so they can practice their language skills.

Official Functions

Nature of Functions Last Updated: 7/20/2005 3:02 AM

Diplomatic social events are frequent and usually attended not only by the Ambassador and DCM but also by other Embassy personnel. Diplomatic events usually take the form of cocktails or dinners and are either casual or informal. Americans are occasionally invited into Djiboutian homes.

Standards of Social Conduct Last Updated: 7/20/2005 5:16 AM

Upon arrival, diplomatic calls are made by the Chief of Mission to other Ambassadors and to ministers and officials with whom the Embassy customarily does business. The DCM also calls on his or her counterparts, and other officers are encouraged to call on appropriate Djiboutian officials and diplomatic contacts soon after their arrival. It is not unusual for relatively junior Embassy officers to engage in discussions with high-ranking Djiboutian officials. Printed business cards are useful. Cards can be printed by the Embassy Management section, on the local economy, or in the U.S. for better quality.

At smaller social functions, it is customary to greet each person individually on arrival, and also to formally say goodbye to each individual before exiting. At larger events, the host, their spouse and other dignitaries should be afforded these courtesies. Americans may be perceived as rude if they offer just a general greeting to the group or only to the host as is often acceptable in the U.S.

Special Information Last Updated: 7/20/2005 5:17 AM

Employees with personal computers should consider shipping a lightweight computer table, as Embassy-issued residential desks are not designed for computer use. Surge protectors for computers or other sensitive electronics are also strongly recommended.


Some parking is available across the street from the Embassy compound. All residences have space for at least one vehicle inside their gates, and most have carports to shield cars from the Djiboutian sun. On-street parking is available throughout Djibouti City. Most people tip locals to watch their parked vehicles while shopping and dining in the town.

The Embassy arranges home-to-work transportation for newly arrived and departing employees whose personal vehicles are in transit. Employees must reimburse the Embassy for mileage.

Post Orientation Program

All newly arrived employees call on the Ambassador and DCM shortly after their arrival. New employees also receive briefings on administrative, security, housing, cultural, political, recreational, and health matters from the appropriate Embassy sections. The CLO and sponsors play an active role in orienting new arrivals and in showing them Djibouti’s shopping, social, recreational, and cultural possibilities.

Notes For Travelers

Getting to the Post Last Updated: 7/20/2005 5:19 AM

No American carriers serve Djibouti. Personnel generally arrive via Paris on Air France. Alternate routings through Nairobi, Dubai, or Addis Ababa are possible but require overnight stays.

Refer to the TMTWO and contact the GSO via e-mail for the latest shipping information. Airfreight usually arrives and gets cleared within one week. Household effects, vehicles, and consumables are sent to Djibouti by sea and should be containerized. Surface shipments may take up to four months to arrive, partly because of consolidation delays at Baltimore. Shipments from the U.S. to Djibouti are generally sent via the European Logistical Support Office (ELSO) Antwerp. Shipments should be consigned to the American Embassy Djibouti and marked as follows:

American Ambassador (Employee’s Name) Ambassade Américaine Plateau du Serpent Blvd. Maréchal Joffre B.P. 185 Djibouti, République de Djibouti

Once shipments arrive in Djibouti, an additional one to two weeks are needed for customs clearance. Hand carry the following information: inventory or packing list for each shipment; estimated value of each shipment; and vehicle year, make, model, vehicle identification number, and value.

Customs, Duties, and Passage

Customs and Duties Last Updated: 7/20/2005 5:20 AM

Djibouti does not distinguish between categories of Embassy personnel for customs purposes. The Djiboutian Government allows each direct-hire Embassy employee duty-free entry of personal effects and one automobile. Local duty-free purchase of reasonable quantities of alcoholic and some nonalcoholic beverages is permitted.

No restrictions are placed on the age, color, or make of automobiles that may be brought into Djibouti. Right-hand drive vehicles are no longer allowed in-country. The Embassy assists in registering vehicles. A valid U.S. drivers license and the locally obtained diplomatic identity card are sufficient for driving in Djibouti. Third-party car insurance is mandatory and is available locally for approximately $250 per year. Comprehensive insurance is more cheaply purchased from a U.S. insurer.

Passage Last Updated: 7/20/2005 5:20 AM

The Embassy meets and assists arriving official personnel at the airport. A visa is required for entry into Djibouti and should be obtained prior to arrival. All travelers should have up-to-date shot cards as well. In an emergency, a holder of a diplomatic passport can usually obtain a temporary visa at the airport. The Embassy will assist in obtaining a renewable one-year visa after arrival. All personnel and family members should bring at least ten small photos for obtaining visas and diplomatic identity cards. Several local photo shops process passport photos while you wait. The embassy does not provide photo ID service except for the embassy ID card which must be worn while in the embassy.

Pets Last Updated: 7/20/2005 5:23 AM

Djibouti does not quarantine pets despite the absence of rabies. Pets must have valid inoculations against rabies and recent certificates of good health. Given Djibouti’s warm climate, it is prudent to travel with pets to ensure that they are cared for properly and removed promptly from the tarmac upon arrival. Veterinary care is available, and although there is only one vet for household pets, he is very is very caring and competent. There are no kennel facilities.

Firearms and Ammunition Last Updated: 7/20/2005 5:23 AM

Firearms and ammunition must not be sent without prior written permission from the Chief of Mission and the Government of Djibouti. Hunting is strictly prohibited in Djibouti.

Currency, Banking, and Weights and Measures Last Updated: 7/20/2005 5:24 AM

The unit of currency is the Djiboutian franc. The exchange rate is pegged to the U.S. dollar at 177 Djiboutian francs to the dollar. Djibouti does not restrict the movement of money into or out of the country, although it is often difficult to obtain or sell Djiboutian francs outside Djibouti.

Djibouti has a functioning banking system operated largely by French banks, although official American Embassy staff do not maintain local bank accounts. Limited check-cashing facilities are available at the Embassy for Embassy employees and their spouses. Long-distance banking with the State Department Federal Credit Union can be done online. Credit card acceptance is very limited in Djibouti. Hotels used by the Embassy accept MasterCard, American Express and Visa cards; some restaurants and the two French grocery stores also accept credit cards. Prices are usually converted to Euros before processing which can add considerably to the total. There are no functioning ATM machines in Djibouti.

Djibouti uses the metric system of weights and measures.

Taxes, Exchange, and Sale of Property Last Updated: 7/20/2005 5:24 AM

Vehicles and personal effects may be sold upon departure with the permission of the Ambassador and in compliance with U.S. regulations. Vehicles and property may be sold duty free to other persons with duty-free privileges. If items are sold outside the duty-free community, the seller must obtain certification that the buyer has paid the appropriate Djiboutian taxes.

Recommended Reading Last Updated: 3/21/2004 3:53 AM

Background Notes on Djibouti. Department of State Publication. U.S. Government Printing Office: Washington, DC 20402.

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2003 (Chapter on Djibouti). Committees on Foreign Relations and International Relations of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.

Schraeder, Peter J. “Ethnic Politics in Djibouti: From ‘Eye of the Hurricane’to 'Boiling Cauldron.” African Affairs 92 (1993).

Tholomier, Robert. “Djibouti, New Nation on Africa’s Horn:” National Geographic Magazine. October 1978.

Thompson, Virginia and Richard Adloff. Djibouti: Pawn of the Horn of Africa (traps.). Scarecrow Press: Metuchen, NJ, 1981.

Local Holidays Last Updated: 3/17/2004 11:53 PM

Offices and stores are closed and many services are interrupted during local holidays, although the airport remains open. Services are also reduced during Ramadan, when it is often difficult to get appointments with local officials. Since most of Djibouti’s holidays vary according to the lunar calendar, send travel plans as soon as possible so that the Embassy can advise if a planned arrival coincides with a local holiday. The Embassy is closed on U.S. Government holidays and the following local holidays:

Eid A1 Fitre*(end of Ramadan) (2 days) Eid Al Adha* (2 days) Labor Day May 1 Islamic New Year* (1 day) Independence Day June 27–28

Birthday of the Prophet Mohammed* (1 day) Ascension of the Prophet Mohammed* (1 day)

*The dates of these holidays vary according to the lunar calendar.

Adapted from material published by the U.S. Department of State. While some of the information is specific to U.S. missions abroad, the post report provides a good overview of general living conditions in the host country for diplomats from all nations.
Share |