a flag on a pole
herd of goat near mountains during day
brown bird standing on barbwire

Is Djibouti Safe?

Djibouti's safety is a concern due to terrorism threats, particularly near the Somali border, and civil unrest stemming from ethnic tensions. Petty crime like bag-snatching is common in cities. Regarding health, vaccines for hepatitis A/B, typhoid, and malaria prophylaxis are recommended. Extreme heat poses risks, and medical facilities are limited. Exercising cultural sensitivity by respecting Islamic customs and avoiding public displays of affection is crucial.

Download Vigilios

Your Pocket-Sized Travel Safety Guide

A phone displaying the Vigilios app and it's safety features.
App Store

Safety & Security

Djibouti is generally considered safe for travelers, but it's important to exercise caution and be aware of potential risks.

  • Petty Crime: Petty crimes like pickpocketing and bag snatching can occur, especially in crowded areas. Remain vigilant and keep valuables secure.

  • Civil Unrest: Occasional civil unrest and protests can disrupt travel plans. Monitor local news and avoid demonstrations.

  • Terrorism: While the risk is low, terrorist attacks cannot be ruled out. Exercise caution in crowded public areas.

  • Disputes: Disputes between locals and foreigners can sometimes escalate. Respect local customs and avoid confrontations.

  • Scams: Be wary of common scams like overcharging for goods or services, especially in tourist areas.

  • Border Areas: Avoid travel near the borders with Eritrea, Somalia, and Ethiopia due to potential instability and security risks.

  • Remote Areas: Exercise increased caution when traveling to remote areas, as emergency services may be limited.

While Djibouti is generally safe, it's crucial to remain vigilant, follow local advice, and take necessary precautions to ensure a secure and enjoyable trip.

Health & Medical

Travelers to Djibouti should be aware of potential health risks and take necessary precautions. Here are some important considerations:

  • Vaccinations: Ensure routine vaccinations are up-to-date, and consider additional vaccines like hepatitis A, typhoid, and yellow fever, depending on your travel plans.

  • Malaria: Malaria is a risk in Djibouti, especially in the northern regions. Antimalarial medication and insect repellent are recommended.

  • Water and Food Safety: Drink only bottled or purified water and avoid raw or undercooked food to prevent waterborne and foodborne illnesses.

  • Heat-Related Illnesses: Djibouti has an arid, hot climate. Stay hydrated, limit outdoor activities during peak heat hours, and wear protective clothing.

  • Medical Facilities: Medical facilities in Djibouti City are limited, with better options available in the capital. Remote areas may lack adequate healthcare services, so travel with a comprehensive medical kit.

  • Insect-Borne Diseases: Diseases like dengue fever and chikungunya are present. Use insect repellent and wear protective clothing to prevent mosquito bites.

  • Air Pollution: Air quality in urban areas can be poor, potentially exacerbating respiratory conditions. Those with respiratory issues should take necessary precautions.

Natural Disasters

Djibouti is located in the Horn of Africa, a region prone to natural disasters such as droughts, floods, and earthquakes. However, the risk of major natural disasters in Djibouti is relatively low compared to some neighboring countries.

  • Droughts: Djibouti experiences periodic droughts due to its arid climate. These can lead to water shortages and impact agriculture, but are generally not a significant risk for travelers.

  • Floods: While rare, heavy rainfall can cause flash floods, particularly in urban areas with poor drainage systems. Travelers should exercise caution during the rainy season (October to April).

  • Earthquakes: Djibouti lies in a seismically active region, and minor earthquakes are not uncommon. However, the risk of a major, destructive earthquake is relatively low. Travelers should familiarize themselves with safety procedures in case of an earthquake.

  • Volcanic Activity: There are no active volcanoes in Djibouti, so the risk of volcanic eruptions is negligible.

  • Cyclones: Djibouti is not located in a cyclone-prone region, so the risk of cyclones or hurricanes is very low.

While natural disasters cannot be ruled out entirely, the overall risk for travelers in Djibouti is relatively low. However, it is always advisable to stay updated on weather conditions and follow any advisories issued by local authorities during your visit.


Transportation in Djibouti can be a challenge for travelers. While the capital city, Djibouti City, has a relatively well-developed transportation system, the rest of the country lacks reliable infrastructure.

  • Road Safety: Roads outside of the capital are often in poor condition, with potholes and lack of proper signage. Driving can be hazardous, especially at night. Hiring a local driver is recommended for long-distance travel.

  • Public Transportation: In Djibouti City, there are shared taxis (petits taxis) and buses, but services can be irregular and overcrowded. Outside the capital, public transportation options are limited.

  • Taxis: Taxis are available in Djibouti City, but it's advisable to negotiate the fare beforehand and ensure the meter is used. Avoid unmarked taxis for safety reasons.

  • Rental Cars: Renting a car can be an option, but be prepared for poor road conditions and potential breakdowns in remote areas. Ensure you have adequate insurance coverage.

  • Safety Concerns: Carjackings and robberies have been reported, particularly in remote areas and near the borders. Avoid traveling alone or at night whenever possible.

It's crucial to exercise caution, plan your transportation carefully, and consider hiring a reputable local guide or driver, especially for travel outside of Djibouti City.

Cultural Norms

Djibouti is a predominantly Muslim country, and it's essential for travelers to respect local customs and traditions. Modest dress is recommended, especially when visiting religious sites or rural areas. Women should consider covering their heads, arms, and legs. During Ramadan, avoid eating, drinking, or smoking in public areas during daylight hours.

  • Greetings: Greet people with "As-salamu alaykum" (Peace be upon you) and shake hands. Avoid physical contact between genders unless initiated by locals.
  • Photography: Ask for permission before taking photos of individuals, especially women and children.
  • Alcohol: While alcohol is available in some hotels and restaurants, public drunkenness is frowned upon and should be avoided.
  • Gestures: Avoid using your left hand for eating or gesturing, as it's considered unclean. Pointing with fingers is also impolite.
  • Mosques: Non-Muslims are generally not allowed inside mosques. Dress modestly and remove shoes when visiting the vicinity.

Emergency Services

Emergency services in Djibouti are limited, especially for tourists. The availability and reliability of emergency services can vary greatly depending on the location within the country.

  • Medical Facilities: Djibouti City has a few private clinics and hospitals that provide adequate medical care, but facilities outside the capital are generally lacking. Many travelers opt for medical evacuation to other countries for serious medical issues.

  • Police and Fire Services: Police and fire services exist but may have limited resources and response times, particularly in remote areas. Travelers should exercise caution and prioritize personal safety.

  • Tourist Assistance: There are no dedicated tourist assistance services or hotlines available in Djibouti. Travelers should contact their respective embassies or consulates in case of emergencies.

  • Language Barriers: Communication can be a challenge as English proficiency is limited among emergency service personnel. It's advisable for travelers to learn basic phrases in French or Somali to facilitate communication during emergencies.

  • Travel Insurance: Comprehensive travel insurance that covers emergency medical evacuation and repatriation is highly recommended for travelers to Djibouti, given the limited emergency services available.

Frequently Asked Questions

A colorful illustration with three people and the letters "FAQ" representing a Frequently Asked Questions section

Is Djibouti safe for tourists?

Djibouti is generally safe for tourists, but caution is advised. Petty crimes like bag snatching occur in cities. Avoid isolated areas, especially near the borders with Eritrea and Somalia. Remain vigilant and follow travel advisories.

Is Djibouti safe for solo female travelers?

Solo female travelers should exercise caution in Djibouti. Dress modestly, avoid going out alone at night, and be aware of cultural norms. Harassment can occur, so stay in well-lit areas and consider joining group tours.

Is Djibouti safe for families?

Djibouti can be safe for families with proper precautions. Avoid remote areas and stick to tourist hubs. Be mindful of heat, dehydration, and food safety. Family-friendly resorts and activities are available in major cities.

Is Djibouti LGBTQ+ friendly?

LGBTQ+ relations are illegal in Djibouti, and the community faces discrimination. Same-sex acts can lead to imprisonment. Public displays of affection should be avoided. Exercise caution and discretion.

Do you need a visa to go to Djibouti?

Most visitors require a visa to enter Djibouti. Citizens of many Western countries can obtain a visa on arrival for short stays. Check requirements based on your nationality and purpose of travel. A valid passport is mandatory.

Can you drink tap water in Djibouti?

Tap water is not safe to drink in Djibouti. Stick to bottled or purified water, even for brushing teeth. Avoid ice cubes and raw foods washed with tap water to prevent waterborne illnesses.

What is the currency in Djibouti?

The official currency in Djibouti is the Djiboutian Franc (DJF). US Dollars and Euros are widely accepted in major cities and tourist areas. Credit cards are accepted at larger establishments.

Download the App

Map, Insights & Support - Vigilios is your Personal Safety Companion

A phone displaying the Vigilios app and it's safety features.
App Store QR LinkApp Store
Google Play QR Link
Coming soon to Android
Google Play