Security at Addis Ababa Airport
Our flights to Djibouti were with Ethiopian Airlines via Addis Ababa.
Addis Ababa airport has a strange security system which can leave you stuck without water on your flight. And I don't feel that the airline provide enough water for the flights.
I think this just applies to flights to Europe and USA but I'm not sure.
As well as the original security scan there is an extra scanner at the entrance to the gate. Once in the gate there are no shops to buy water or anything else as all the shops are, obviously before the gates. They try to make you give up your water and other liquids at this extra scanner. My husband gave up his but I decided to try to hang on to mine as I wasn't happy about being without water. Luckily I had bought the water and a huge 1.5 litre body lotion in the shops at the airport and the security lady noticed they were in the original bag. I just had to produce the receipt and I was allowed to keep all the liquids.
Unique Suggestions: Buy your water in the airport shop and keep the receipt. Don't offer to hand it over when they ask you to, just take it through and show the receipt.
Visas on Arrival at the Airport
We were advised to obtain our visa on arrival at the airport in Djibouti. Normally I always get the visa before travel but this time decided to take the advice of the travel company and get them on arrival. Big mistake! Maybe because the flight arrived at an odd time I don't know but it was not an easy process. First we had to queue at immigration where our passports were taken from us. Then we had to wait outside a glass door like naughty schoolkids waiting to see the headteacher. There was nowhere to queue so nobody knew who was next and tempers got a little frayed. Initially we were all told to come back later (and in the meantime go ........where?!?) Eventually after some complaining they got an official to come and process the visas. Each person or couple entered the room in turn and were greeted with a stony faced official who reluctantly asked a few questions, took the cash and stamped the passport. Conveniently for him of course he had no change whatever size note you gave him!
The visa is valid for 30 days stay.
Fun Alternatives: Get a visa before travel.
If you really can't do this make sure you know the cost and have the exact change ready.Related to:
- Diving and Snorkeling
Water – Scarce and Very Expensive!
Fresh water is very scarce in Djibouti and many people outside of Djibouti town have trouble obtaining fresh drinking water. This was particularly noticeable on the trip to Lac Assal, the salt lake. We were asked for drinking water by a group of young men at the lake and also at the canyon. They were very thirsty and it is extremely hot at the lake, the lowest point in Africa. I gave them a bottle of water but if I had known the situation before the trip I would have stopped at a stall along the way to buy more to give away.
Bottled water is also very expensive. At The Kempinski we paid €4 for a 2 litre bottle. Obviously this is top price as it is a 5 star hotel, but it is not cheap anywhere.
Unique Suggestions: Try to take spare bottles of water to give away to local people, particularly in the Lac Assal area.
Fun Alternatives: Drink beer - it's cheaper!Related to:
- Diving and Snorkeling
KNOW THE TAXI RATES !
Taxi drivers are filthy bastards worldwide, but the taxis at the Djibouti airport are really bad. I had several hassle me as I came out of the airport and they distracted me so I did not see the sign (pictured) with the taxi fares. I wanted to go to a hotel that is before the town centre (centre ville) and I was asked for 2500 francs. ($14) to go about 4 miles. Had I seen the sign I would have known the highest price I would have had to pay would have been 800 francs ($4.55). I agreed $7 or 1200 francs. Do not trust these guys! Please see my Transportation Tip for returning to the airport
You will probably need a taxi, so save my tip on your ‘Custom Travel Guide’ before you go! Or, just read the sign. Maybe even take a picture of it!
Unique Suggestions: You will probably need a taxi, so save my tip on your ‘Custom Travel Guide’ before you go! Or, just read the sign. Maybe even take a picture of it!Related to:
- Work Abroad
- Budget Travel
- Business Travel
The price of the taxis is about 3 € to go from side to side of the city. Taxi drivers will try to trap you.
Unique Suggestions: ask the price before go in the taxi. If it so much, you have to say to him that you pay less. About 3 € not more. If he doesn't want, the rest of the taxi drivers will come to you for this price.
Fun Alternatives: ever you can pay a little money more. Other alternative is to take the cellular phone number of a friend taxi driver and always call him. They work all the day.
The country as a whole could called as a tourist trap par excellence, with Djibouti City being the jewel of the crown when it comes to offering a filthy experience at 5 star rates!
Unique Suggestions: If you must stick around Djibouti for some reason, do try and get out of the city - the countryside is a bit better.
don't call your country from...
don't call your country from the hotel!!!
it costs 10 dollars per minute...buy some pre paid cards..not cheap too!
the taxis tend to make you pay twice the price.So ask the price always before getting into a taxi.
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