Djibouti-Somaliland – 9 days
An exceptional tour to one of the places least popular with tourists on the map of Africa. In the course of our journey, we will try to get to know better the exceptional cultural mosaic that has formed in the Horn of Africa that has been a crossing point of trade routes since the beginnings of time. Our expedition will allow us to understand better the complex history of this patch of the African continent.
During our trip, we will visit the Assal and Abbe lakes, where – we will see there some unusual landscapes where the African continent is now breaking apart. We will be able to admire the rocky and desert scenery in the Seikh Mountains and we will see some of the earliest known rock paintings in Laas Geel in Somaliland.
Depending on the place and time of departure of the flight, arrival in Djibouti in the morning or evening. If time allows, short visit to the town of Djibouti, the capital of the country. In the evening, an organisational meeting and dinner.
We will set off in the morning. We will leave the town and go to the mountainous and desert regions of Djibouti. We will cross the Dikhil mountain range, and then we will drive to the extraordinary region of the rift between two tectonic plates of Africa. We will spend the night at a camping site on Lake Abbe.
B. L. D.
Optional early waking call to see the sunrise at the lake, and then return to the camping site for breakfast. After breakfast and a short rest we will leave the Lake Abbe area. En route to Lake Assal we will stop in a Nomad camp, and then we will visit the vantage points in Adaleh and Goubet canyons. After lunch, we will set off to Lake Assal – one of hotter places in Africa. We will stay for the night near the town of Tadjoura.
B. L. D.
In the morning relaxation and rest, after which we will leave for the Sables Blancs vantage point. In the afternoon, return to the Djibouti town. In the evening, brief sightseeing, purchase of souvenirs and dinner.
B. L. D.
Flight to Hargeisa in Somaliland, a country that theoretically does not exist because it has not been internationally recognised. After we check in, we will set off to visit the city. We will see from up close how its inhabitant live. We start from a visit at the market, then we will see the Civil War Memorial – a shot-down MiG-17 fighter jet, we will also take a walk in the centre. Night rest at the hotel.
After breakfast, we will set off to Laas Geel. These are cave formations with rock paintings that are more than 5000 years old, one of the most important archaeological sites in this part of Africa, discovered in 2002. Next we will drive to the harbour town of Berbera which we will visit. It will be possible to take a swim or do some snorkelling in the sea. Night rest in Berbera.
After breakfast, a walk to see the historical sites of Berbera, dating back to the Ottoman and British times. Next we will drive to the mountainous regions of Somaliland – into the Sheikh mountains. We will see picturesque landscapes with lush green vegetation, contrasting with the desert areas of the remaining parts of Somaliland. In the evening, arrival in Hargeisa. Dinner in one of restaurants near our hotel.
In the morning, a drive to Dhagax-Kuure where one of the oldest rock paintings in the world, which are more than 7000 years old, are found in an enchanting entourage of stones and dry savannah. Return to Hargeisa, short visits to a few souvenir shops, and then lunch and drive to the airport. Afternoon flight to Djibouti, transfer to the hotel and the last dinner.
After breakfast, transfer to the airport and outbound flight to Europe from Djibouti (or flight to Mogadishu).
- the length of the tour : 9 days;
- start of the trip: Town of Djibouti;
- end of the trip: Town of Djibouti;
- the highlights of this expedition: Lake Abbe, Lake Assal as well as Adaleh and Goubet canyons. Apart from the geological and natural values, a very important and interesting element of the tour will be the close encounter with the culture and traditions of inhabitants of the hot Horn of Africa.
Because of the special nature of the visited places and of the expedition features, the travellers should be able to participate in walking tours of towns as well as geological and natural sites as well as in short hikes to vantage points. Accommodation is planned in hotels of different standards, depending on availability. During the tour, we will take domestic flights and we will travel in 4WD vehicles. No long hikes or activities that require strenuous physical effort are envisaged. The itinerary was designed to enable best possible viewing of the places away from mass tourism routes, while meeting basic safety standards and ensuring comfort to the travellers. Bear in mind that the visited region of Africa is mostly inhabited by Sunni Muslims, which means the need to respect cultural differences and to adhere to the appropriate dress code.
Depending on the political situation, the length of the tour and the order of visited places may change. In a situation of a serious threat to travellers’ safety, the tour may be cancelled. We will keep you updated as to whether the expedition is possible.
- Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months after the planned end of the tour.
- Before the trip, it is necessary to obtain the multiple entry visa or two visas for a single entry for the Republic of Djibouti. The visa can be bought via the Internet. It is necessary to submit to the office of BTP Adventure a copy of confirmation that you have obtained the visa.
- The Somaliland visas are in the trip price, you must only send to the office address a scan of your passport and a scan of your colour photograph.
- You should take with you for the trip a photocopy of your passport (the photo page) and an additional ID document.
- Before departure, we recommend a consultation with a family physician and a tropical medicine specialist.
- You must take the yellow vaccination booklet with you for the tour.
- Malaria prophylaxis is recommended but an infection is unlikely because of the climate, the trip dates and the itinerary of the planned tour.
- Vaccination against tetanus, diphtheria, viral hepatitis A and B and typhus is recommended.
- There is a risk of tuberculosis.
- During our expedition, we will drink only bottled water. You should avoid ice in your beverages and eating raw or undercooked foods.
- At the visited places, only private healthcare exists (a visit cost is approximately USD 100).
- Because of difficult travelling and accommodation conditions and particularities of the country, good general health and physical fitness are necessary.
- Please take with you a first aid kit and a sufficient supply of your regular (prescription) medicines, if any. Some useful contents of the first aid kit:
o high sun protection cream (recommended SPF 50)
o disinfectants, wound dressing materials
o analgesics and antipyretics
o anti-diarrhoeals, electrolytes and vitamins
The visited region enjoys relative political stability, and the level of common criminality is low. If a serious threat appears, the tour may be cancelled or shortened to a version that enables its safe conduct. Somaliland, which has been in existence since 1991, is not recognised as an independent country by most countries of the world, although it meets all the necessary criteria.
- Despite the difficult situation, expeditions to southern Djibouti and Somaliland are possible and conducted with the adequate precautions.
- Owing to the good relations we have with local contractors, we keep following the news to be aware of any potential threats and safety risks. We also recommend you to read the latest news on the Foreign & Commonwealth Office website:
- We recommend visiting https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries.
- During the tour, please take seriously the instructions of our contractors, guides and tour leader.
- It is very important to respect local customs and abide by local laws and regulations. You will receive the necessary information on an on-going-basis from your local guides and the tour leader.
- It is strictly prohibited to take photos and make video recordings at military and police installations and at airports. You are also not allowed to take photos where people in military/police uniforms are present!!!
- Photographing people is possible only when they expressly agree to it. Taking pictures when the subjects have not allowed it often ends up with escalating aggressive behaviours.
The legal tender in Djibouti is the Djibouti franc. Currency exchange is possible only at the airport and in street bureaux de change in Djibouti town. Using payment cards is not always possible. The best foreign exchange rate is for US dollars and euros. Please note that dollars should be printed after 2006. For current foreign exchange rates see xe.com or install xe.com on your phone.
In Somaliland, you can pay with Somaliland shillings or US dollars. Using payment cards and ATMs is impossible. Please note that dollars should be printed after 2006. For current foreign exchange rates see xe.com or install xe.com on your phone.
In Djibouti and Somaliland, the most popular languages are Somali, Afar and Arabic. The commonly known official languages are Arabic, English and French (Djibouti). In the case of a group tour, the tour leader will speak English. For self-guided tours, you must speak English or hire a local guide with a command of English.
Djibouti and Somaliland are multi-ethnic countries with a high predominance of Sunni Muslims. Because of cultural considerations and for safety reasons, it is advisable to learn about the recommended dress code. In Somaliland, women must wear headscarves at all public places. There is no such requirement in Djibouti. Clothes that reveal too much flesh are frowned upon – both in men and women. Men are not allowed to wear shorts and T-shirts.
During official encounters, women do not give their hand to a man, and men do not give their hand to a woman. Discussions about political subjects should be avoided.
During the stay in Sables Blancs in Djibouti, swimming and sunbathing on the beach in Western-style swimwear is possible.
It is very important to respect local customs and abide by local laws. You will receive the relevant information from your local guide or the tour leader.
The tour dates are proposed in periods of the best possible weather conditions at the sites included in the itinerary. The best time for expeditions to Djibouti and Somaliland is the period between March and the end of November. Temperatures exceed +30°C during the day and +25°C at night. Occasional rainfalls are possible. High density of dust particles is a major issue, and also sandstorms may appear. For detailed information about the weather, see https://www.meteoblue.com/en.
Mobile network coverage is available in most towns and villages. Purchase of a local SIM-card is possible but complicated. Before the trip, please enquire with your mobile network operator whether they have a contract signed with operators in Djibouti and what the prices of call and SMS roaming are. To avoid a nasty surprise, we recommend disabling mobile data usage. There is no mobile phone roaming in Somaliland.
- Wi-Fi is available at most hotels and restaurants.
- In Djibouti and Somaliland, power sockets of type C, E and F. Voltage 220 V, frequency 50 Hz.
- Additionally, we recommend taking a capacious power bank.
For climatic and cultural reasons, loose garments will be most appropriate: long trousers, long skirts, long-sleeved shirts, which can be easily washed and will quickly dry. The most comfortable footwear for the tour will be lightweight boots. Palladium brand boots are recommended. Wearing open sandals is possible. Hiking boots are not necessary. The following are worth taking:
- sachet for documents and money
- wet wipes for body cleaning and antibacterial gels
- polar fleece jacket or warmer blouse which may prove useful at evening and night times
- head cover and sunglasses – mandatory, the sun is no joke!
- comfortable summer clothes, useful during practically the whole trip
- light T-shirts/shirts
- useful odds and ends: torch, Swiss Army knife, sewing kit (usually is not needed but is not heavy and does not take much place), chargers, mug (for special occasions); inflatable neck pillow, useful on the plane and during car rides; small wallet for the local currency; books to pass the time on flights and car rides
Price depends on number of participants. Please refer to list below:
- £ 5250 p/p – group of 2
- £ 4250 p/p – group of 3
- £ 3890 p/p – group of 4
- £ 3690 p/p – group of 5
- £ 3550 p/p – group of 6
- £ 3390 p/p – group of 7 – 8
- £ 3290 p/p – group of 9 -10
Domestic flight Djobouti – Hargejsa -Djobouti
During the expedition, we will travel by passenger cars or minibuses, and also by 4WD vehicles, depending on the itinerary and on the current situation affecting the safety of our travellers. The speed and transfer times depend on the road surface conditions, terrain characteristics and number and length of stops.
We are not able to guarantee a uniform accommodation standard at each of the planned sites during the stay in Djibouti and Somaliland. Our priorities are your comfort, safety and appropriate location. We always place emphasis on the support of local community when selecting the sites for our accommodation. In general, rooms will be assigned on the assumption of two people sharing a twin room (rooms with individual bathrooms). The surcharges for single rooms are quoted in the “Price” section.
- Two overnight stays in hotels approximately corresponding to the 3 or 4 -star standard are planned during the tour.
- In the vicinity of Lake Abbe, the overnight stay will be in traditional tents
Cost of Somaliland visa
Meals according to the schedule B – breakfast, L – lunch, D – dinner and mineral water.
Breakfasts will usually be offered in hotels. We will go for lunches and dinners to local restaurants. The cuisine of Djibouti and Somaliland is varied, similarly as the culture and history of this part of Africa. For information about the local costs of living see https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/.
Services of a local guide throughout the tour.
Armed security guard services – where necessary
Entrance fees and permit charges.
The price includes the cost of tips and porters’ fees.
Trip preparation, visa mediation, the invitation necessary to obtain a visa
International flight .
Costs of flight tickets are not covered by the tour price. BTP Adventure does not directly arrange and buy tickets for international flights. However, we may suggest the best connections and airlines. For this purpose, contact us by e-mail or call us.
Cost of two single visa entries of Djibouti.
Insurance is not covered by the tour price. Having valid insurance is a condition for taking part in the trip. We recommend taking out insurance that will be appropriate for the planned itinerary and for your individual state of health and needs. Please send us the proof of your insurance contract.
You can purchase insurance on your own on the website of Axa or any other insurance company: https://www.axa.co.uk/travel-insurance.
BTP Adventure may help you obtain adequate insurance cover. If you want our help, please contact us.
Meals other than those listed in the final itinerary.
Surcharge for a single room: 170 £
supplementary payment for the additional accommodation In the case of arrival or departure on a different date,
Personal expenses and souvenirs.
Because of the particularities of the country and its political instability, the price and itinerary of the tour may change.
In view of the nature of this tour, its optimum time is the period from November to February.
This trip may have the form of a self-guided tour at any selected period. The itinerary can be modified for the purpose of the specific trip. The price will depend on the number of travellers, the length of the trip and the individual itinerary prepared for those interested
The tour may be combined with trips to Somalia, Eritrea and Chad. Niger Sudan and South Sudan
We will keep updating the detailed information on the safety and final itinerary of the tour. Before you decide to submit the booking form, please learn about the current political and sanitary situation in Djibouti and Somaliland.
The planned expedition is an exclusive proposal prepared on the basis of our experience and knowledge of the local peculiarities and major sightseeing attractions of Djibouti and Somaliland.
We are committed to ensure the best possible and safe and, as far as feasible, comfortable travelling through these little-frequented and extremely interesting countries with a fascinating history.
3290 £ Per Person for 9-10 person group
We can arrange a self-guided tour – if you are interested, please contact the office.
For those interested and willing, it is possible to combine tour may be combined with trips to South Sudan, Eritrea, Chad, Djibouti and Sudan, Somalia, for this purpose, please contact BTP Adventure