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Djibouti: salt lakes and volcanic activity

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Djibouti (Jumhuriya Jibuti/République de Djibouti/Republic of Djibouti) is a republic of East Africa. To the east it is washed by the Indian Ocean (Gulf of Aden) and bordered to the north by Eritrea, to the west and south by Ethiopia and to the south-east by Somalia. Having been a French colony, the country is an independent state since 1977. Its capital is Djibouti, a strategically located port on the Gulf of Tadjoura, a bay of the Gulf of Aden and railway terminus for the trains coming from Addis Ababa/Ethiopia.


The small country of Djibouti is composed mostly of an arid plateau of volcanic origin alternating with a series of depressions, including the Afar Depression. It is one of the most inhospitable regions of Africa, where the lowest point of Africa is located: Lake Assal lying 155 m below sea level.

In the far north are the mountains of Danakil reaching the maximum height of the country by Mount Moussa Ali with 2,028 meters. Djibouti has no permanent rivers, but there are numerous salt lakes.

Due to the inhospitable climate and the scarcity of water there is only agriculture confined to a few oases, where date palms, fruits and vegetables are grown and modest breeding of goats, sheep, camels and cattle is practised. Copper ore, gypsum, salt, iron ore and geothermal resources exist.

Thanks to the railway coming from Ethiopia Djibouti is an important sea port for Ethiopian foreign trade. On the basis of an improved instructure Djiboutian tourism could offer through the interesting geological and natural phenomena and the impressive landscape of salty depressions a source of income.

The climate of Djibouti.

English text correction by Dietrich Köster. 

  • Area: 23,200 sq km: arable land 0%, pastures 56%, forests and bushland 1%, uncultivated and unproductive land 43%
  • Population: 900,000 (as of 2019): Somali (Issa, Issak, Gadaboursi) 60%, Afar 30%, Europeans (French), Arabs and Ethiopians.
  • State Capital: Djibouti.
  • Official Languages: The official languages are Arabic and French. Other languages spoken are Afar and Somali.
  • Religion: Muslims 94%, Christians 6%.
  • Currency: Djibouti Franc (DJF)
  • Time Zone: UTC+3 hours.

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