From a little settlement founded by the French in a previously uninhabited shore of the Gulf of Tadjoura in 1888, Djibouti City was made capital of French Somaliland in 1896. Referred to as the Pearl of the Gulf of Tadjoura, the port city remained both administrative and commercial capital of Djibouti following her independence in 1977.
Gradually evolving into a fast-paced hub with a vibrant cultural life which has evolved from the influence of several cultures, Djibouti City is home to 60% of the country’s population. The city also has a sizeable collection of mosques, being largely a Muslim country. The capital city like the rest of the country has a rather hot climate with day temperature exceeding 40°C during summer – even along the coast.
If you plan on visiting, the best time naturally would be between November and March when average day time temperature drops to a bearable 25°C. While the city may not offer much captivation for the eyes beyond historic buildings and public parks, its beaches are major attraction where tourists visit to engage in various water sports and activities such as scuba diving, snorkeling, swimming, etc.
Djibouti city has a couple of ‘Must Sees’ that are well worth your visit. Some of these include: Palais Présidentiel, La Place du 27 Juin 1977, Hamoudi Mosquée, Foret Du Day Nature Reserve, L’Escale Marine, Lac Assal, and Moucha Islands.
Afar, Ethiopian, French, Somali, Yemeni and Asian influence, particularly Indian, all are prominent in the cuisine of Djibouti. Their main breakfast meal is called lahoh, a smaller and thinner version of injera, eaten with soup. Garobey is a national staple and it is a porridge of oats soaked in milk and flavored with cumin and other spices. Rice or pasta with camel meat is very common. Middle-Eastern spices are used a lot in seasoning food. Popular snacks include sambousa (Somali version of samosa) and halva is another. The city is sort of sectioned into two, with the African quarters and the European quarters. While most local menus are available on the African side, the intercontinental restaurants are all on the European side.
Being a predominantly Muslim country, the locals do not consume alcohol. However, shaa (tea) is taken a lot, as well as fruit juice. Moreover, wines and spirits are all available in the European quarters.