Back in 1995, a French judge' s body was found half burned in the middle of nowhere about 80 kms from Djibouti town. His murder was part of a complicated state/military scandal/conspiracy between France and Djibouti and to this day nobody knows for sure the details of what happened and who wanted him dead.
If you speak French, look at: http://www.ladepeche.fr/article/2011/12/22/1245763-meurtre-du-juge-borrel-a-djibouti-l-armee-francaise-savait.html
Your tour bus to Lake Assal might stop near the memorial marking the spot where the poor guy's body was found as it is on the way.
DJIBOUTI IS HOT! And it's dry as well. It is recommended that men drink about 3.0 litres (about 13 cups) of liquids a day and women 2.2 litres (about 9 cups). That would be great in say, North America. This is Africa and Djibouti is near the Equator. It gets really hot and it’s dry. You need to keep your liquids up.
Before our first trip to find and swim with the Whale Sharks we were given a briefing and told not to get too close - not because the Whale Sharks are dangerous, but so as not to disturb them. You are not supposed to go within 3 feet of the side or front and not crowd them if there are a few of you. They are really only interested in feeding on the plankton bloom close to the surface of the water and have no teeth so could not bite if they wanted to. However they DO NOT give way to swimmers or snorkelers. If you get in their way they just keep on swimming where they want to go and they can swim faster than people wearing fins so if you are in their path you have to try and flip to the side.
At first we were very worried when we had one coming towards us but they just bump into you and swim on past. We soon got used to it. Often we were just snorkelling and a Whale Shark would bump us, appearing from nowhere. They don’t hurt at all and feel quite soft for such a big creature. It’s a bit like being jostled in a market!
The roads, once outside of Djibouti City are very bad and quite dangerous. Our day trip to Lac Assal took us along the main route for the trucks coming from the Port to Ethiopia and not only is the road crowded with lines of trucks, often you have to take a detour off road onto a temporary surface which is tarred and full of boulders and stones.
We passed many bashed up crashed vehicles at the side of the road and were very glad we had a driver and 4WD.
Added to this there are many military convoys passing which everybody seems to give way to.
THESE MEN ARE THIEVES. Do not trust them or buy from the pictured shop.
This is living and photographic proof criminals are stupid. Unfortunately these idiots will probably reproduce. Let’s just say you should never steal money from someone AFTER they have taken their picture and AT YOUR PLACE OF WORK! These friend are thick as, well thieves, and only got about $1.50 from me. But they did steal from me. Bastards. The guy on the left a runs souvenir shop and his large friend on the right hangs out around the Tourist Office and claims he works there. He doesn’t. Djibouti Ville is too small to need a guide. I offered to buy these guys a drink and the guy pictured on the left grabbed my money out of my hand and ran off to ‘make change’. I didn’t ask him too. Then both guys try to tell me the cokes were 1000 France each ($5.69). I am not stupid and the kiosk man was honest and charged me 100 Francs (57 cents US). And I was missing some of my ‘change’.
So here they are – do not go to this guy's shop or trust either of them.
I'm getting ready to leave Djibouti soon after 4 months here. I never saw any violence and it would be hard to imagine even late at night; they're too stoned on Khat all the time to worry about attacking anyone. The beggars are pretty irritating. They usually go away after a few blocks if you keep walking and ignore them, though.
Driving here has no rules, except that people in traffic circles have the right away. People here drive very erratically, but usually very slow. It's not at all unusual to have to stop suddenly because a goat or innattentive pedestrian walked out in front of you, though.
You will see lot of male population here chewiing some green leafy plant. This khat has amphetamine like effects on people who consumes so you will see lot of the guys that has a glossy eyed look on them. Be careful not to aggravate this guys because you never know what kind of reaction they will have.
Some facts about Khat:
Khat(pronounced "cot") is a natural stimulant from the Catha edulis plant, found in the flowering evergreen tree or large shrub which grows in East Africa and Southern Arabia to tree size.
Khat leaves contain psychoactive ingredients known as cathinone, which is structurally and chemically similar to d-amphetamine, and cathine, a milder form of cathinone.
OTHER NAMES FOR KHAT :-
Qat, Kat, Chat, Kus-es-Salahin, Mirra, Tohai, Tschat, Catha, Quat, Abyssinian Tea, African Tea, and African Salad
It stimulates brain and spinal cord through synapses resulting in :
- Alleviation of fatigue and reduction of depression .
- Euphoria , excitation , high activity and mood .
- Increasing levels of alertness and ability to concentrate .
- Increasing of confidence, friendliness, contentment and flow of ideas .
- Increases motor activity .
- Positive sexual effects ( regarding the desire and duration of sexual intercourse according to the type and source of Khat ).
- Dispel feeling of hunger .
- Grandiose delusions .
- Insomnia (loss of sleep ( alertness )).
- Anorexia ( loss of appetite ) and loss of weight .
- Breathing difficulties .
- Increase blood pressure .
- Increase heart rate .
- Stomach irritation .
- Constipation which may precipitate hernias .
- Khat plant may be treated chemically which may affect the liver (chemical hepatitis) .
- It interferes with absorption of iron and other minerals if taken internally .
- Opponents claim that Khat damages health by suppression of appetite and prevention of sleep .
- when its effects wear off, generates mild lapses of depression similar to those observed among cocaine users.
The rules of the road here in Djibouti can be summarized in two words, NO RULES!!. Be careful when you are riding or even driving around here because there seems to be no traffic rules. You see oncoming traffic on your side of the roads like busses, taxies and even wildlife. So be pay extra attention when you are out driving around here.
Djibouti City is generally safe and you shouldn't feel threatened. Roudiness, if any, will probably be due to drunk French soldiers out on the town!
If you need medical attention - don't got to the government hospital. Head straight to Bouffard, the French Military Hospital.
djibouti is safe because there is 2000 french soldiers...but beware when you drive outside the town : the roads tend to be dangerous...many antic trucks from Ethiopia , full of gas!
Last time i came, in february 2001,it was really difficult to take pictures in Djibouti town.People were rather angry when they saw my camera...
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Satisfaction: Very Good
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