What to pack for Djibouti

  • Snorkelling with Whale Sharks
    Snorkelling with Whale Sharks
    by janiebaxter
  • What to Pack
    by DAO
  • What to Pack
    by DAO

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    Staying on a Dive Boat - but only snorkelling

    by janiebaxter Written Feb 20, 2010

    Luggage and bags: A soft, easy to carry bag that can be squashed into small spaces is useful. It doesn't need to be very big - you don't need many clothes.
    We left big bags at the hotel while we were on the boat.

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: You don't need much. We were told we needed 3mm wetsuits for snorkelling and would have hired them on the boat but found we didn't need them at all as the sea is very warm - about 28C. I take my own snorkel and mask and it can be a good idea to take an old T Shirt to protect your back from the sun while snorkelling.

    Photo Equipment: It can be difficult to charge your camera battery on a dive boat as some have limited power and sockets and they are in much demand.
    An underwater camera is great if you have one, particularly if you see Whale Sharks, and the coral and fish are stunning. I take my Panasonic Lumix which has a waterproof case so I can use it on land and in the water.

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    FLASHLIGHT (ELECTRIC TORCH)

    by DAO Updated Jun 6, 2009

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    Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear:
    One of my photos is of a dark street in Djibouti. Like many places in Africa there are areas where there are no street lights and the electricity can go off at anytime. The flashlight pictured here is powered by winding it up, so no need for batteries. They are available at any good camping store and could very well keep you from breaking a leg.

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    B.Y.O.B. (BRING YOUR OWN BEER)

    by DAO Updated Apr 1, 2008

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    Miscellaneous:

    Beer is shockingly expensive in Djibouti. The CHEAPEST I could find was a full $2 for a small can of Amstel (pictured in my hotel room) – and that was bought at the Super-Marché or Grocery Store!!!! Needless to say, yes a small glass of beer at the bar was between $5-7. If you have even the remotest possibility to get beer in from Ethiopia you will save money. A bottle of beer in Ethiopia is about 20 cents US.

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    MALARIA TABLETS

    by DAO Updated Dec 26, 2007

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    Toiletries and Medical Supplies:

    Is your holiday or job worth dying for? No? Good. Djibouti has MALARIA The most effective way to avoid it is not to get bitten. Then there are malaria tablets. They must be taken BEFORE you go here. They have malaria, serious illness and death available for the unprepared all year round. Don’t take chances – go get a prescription from the doctor before you fly. There are several pharmacies in Djibouti Ville to get refills.

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    A PEN AND WRITING PAD

    by DAO Updated Dec 26, 2007

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    Miscellaneous:
    If you don’t speak fluent French, you will find carrying around a pen and small note pad very helpful. I used mine a lot here, especially in trying to haggle. My command of French does not include large numbers! Also good for VT’ers writing done information about hotels, restaurants and trading email addresses.

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    ENGLISH BOOKS

    by DAO Updated Dec 26, 2007

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    Miscellaneous:
    The LINGUA FRANCA here is, well, French. There are at least 2 books stores in Djibouti Ville who do sell some books in English, but its very limited. So BYOB – Bring Your Own Books. If you are working here I suggest bringing a lot and trading with your colleagues.

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    TOILET PAPER

    by DAO Updated Dec 26, 2007

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    Toiletries and Medical Supplies:
    A lot of budget hotels and even restaurants do not offer toilet paper. Even the toilets at the airport are ‘sans papier’. You need to carry around your own. Absolutely priceless when you really need it. Sure to ruin your day if you don’t have it!

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    SUN SCREEN

    by DAO Updated Dec 22, 2007

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    Toiletries and Medical Supplies:
    Want to look older? Well keep getting too much sun and your skin will. Burn too many times and get cancer. Yep, Sun Screen is a modern medical miracle. It’s a pain, but you need it. Europeans and North Americans may think they don’t, but just look at a map. You will be closer to the Equator than probably any other time in your life. Look on a map. The Equator is very far away. You can burn in a few minutes. I would suggest you buy before you fly. It is available here, but expensive.

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    WET WIPES

    by DAO Updated Dec 22, 2007

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    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: I won’t travel anywhere without these now, even when I am working back home. Many toilets, even in restaurants, have no soap to clean your hands. Some cheap accommodations will not have soap either. Hot water is a luxury and if you go off-road to do some camping these are worth their weight in gold. A certain must have for those small wounds. Also good for cleaning toilets before you use them as well.

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    PROPER SUNGLASSES

    by DAO Updated Dec 22, 2007

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    Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: The sun is really strong here. You are not far from the Equator and many months (like December) get no rain and really no clouds either. Your eyes are getting battered! UVA rays will literally fry your eyes. I know. I have a damaged retina. Buying cheapo imitation glasses will only make you look better to other people. They actually cause your pupils to dilate and let even more UVA rays in to do more damage. Buy some proper UVA protection glasses. I recommend Ray Bans (those pictured are for prescription eyeglasses). Be aware that there are a lot of very good fakes here, so buy before you travel to ensure you get the real ones.

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    RECHARGEABLE BATTERIES

    by DAO Updated Dec 22, 2007

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    Photo Equipment:
    We are now in the digital camera age and they absolutely eat batteries. Rechargeables will save you a lot of money and aggravation. I always keep a full set charged and just swap them when they run out. Rechargeables also have a much higher capacity than the batteries you can buy in shops here and you know they are charged. Batteries are also expensive, like everything else, in Djibouti.

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    TRAVEL TOWEL

    by DAO Updated Dec 22, 2007

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    Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: This is one of the wonders of the New World! Its lightweight and dries you completely in 2 seconds. Then it dries itself quickly even on a cloudy day. Many cheap lodgings do not provide towels. Carrying ordinary ones just invites problems with drying and weight if its still wet. These are available from good camping stores. A must have in your luggage!

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    Currencies: take euros!

    by adelinemmc Written Nov 10, 2006

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    Miscellaneous: When visiting Djibouti, take euros, not dollars. You will get a crap rate on your dollars.

    Because Djibouti is a former French colony with very strong links to France still, the euro is King here when it comes to foreign exchange.

    Most banks will only exchange from dollars or euros so any other currency is pretty much useless.

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  • Packing List

    by palin Written Aug 25, 2002

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    Luggage and bags: If you go to Lac Abbé, a mosquito net is a must!

    in lac Assal, don't go in the sea with brand new shoes: they will be eaten by the salt...

    in the desert, remember that the people are muslim, so trousers are better to wear.

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Adventure Travel

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    Lonely Planet: Africa on a Shoestring

    by hunwagner Written Apr 30, 2005

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    Miscellaneous: I don't know of any guidebook devoted to Djibouti alone.
    Most people use Lonely Planet's general Africa guide there, which devotes just a few pages to the country.

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