The circuit "Beaches and Camps" will allow you in one week, to have an excellent overview of the "representative" sites of Djibouti.
You will stay for a day near the village of Ardo, in the charming camp of Bankoualé nestled in the green Goda mountains.
You will have a picnic at the Goubet opposite Devil's Island.
You will be amazed by the underwater flora and fauna at the Ras Ali camp and at Arta beach.
You can swim in Lake Assal, one of the saltiest lakes in the world, whose beauty inspired the writer-adventurer J Kessel...
And you will spend a night at Lake Abbé to enjoy its legendary sunset and sunrise in the middle of a lunar landscape...
DAY 1 : Visit of the DECAN refuge
Ttransfer from airport to Africorne Travel accommodation
Africorne Travel provides you with a comfortable and air-conditioned apartment where you can spend the night and where breakfast will be prepared for you. Of course, hotel accommodation will be booked if you prefer.
Lunch at the restaurant on the port of Djibouti
Afternoon visit to the DECAN shelter. It is an animal park near Djibouti, where animals from the country and also from other parts of Africa have been collected.
Evening meal in Djibouti
Night: Africorne Travel apartment
DAY 2 - From Djibouti to Tadjourah via Lake Assal - 230 kms
Morning: Departure by 4×4 vehicle for the Ras Ali camp near Tadjourah
On the way we will stop at the canyon de Dimbiyanicknamed "the Grand Canyon"...
A few hundred meters further on, another stop at the stele of B. Borrel, a French magistrate whose charred body was found one morning in 1995 at the bottom of the cliff; "The Borrel Affair" poisoned relations between the Djiboutian and French states for a few years.
Then we will leave the road to take the "access ramp" to Lake Assal. Located 153 meters below sea level, Lake Assal is one of the saltiest in the world (more than 300 grams of salt per liter of water). This fact, added to the very high evaporation due to the intense heat that reigns there, explains why salt has been mined here for hundreds of years. No living organism can survive in the waters of Lake Assal. We will be able to swim in it, because we take on board the fresh water essential for the shower after the bath; plastic shoes are required to avoid injury from the sharp salt crystals.
Lunch : picnic at Goubet. We will picnic on the beach in the shade of a hard site with a view of Devil's Island, and near the shark pit in which Commander Cousteau lowered an iron cage (another rumor…)
After lunch, we will walk on the lava field, between the lake Assal and the Goubet, where we will observe on a few meters the rift, which at this place is only a few centimeters wide.
Afternoon: end of the journey to Ras Ali camp
After crossing Tadjourah then at the end of a track of about ten kilometers, you will be welcomed at the Ras Ali camp located on the beach. The sanitary facilities are simple for Europeans but clean and very suitable. The kitchen is excellent. The Ras Ali drop off is a remarkable site for snorkeling. You can even go canoeing.
The place is heavenly, the family of JF Deniau (former minister, academician and French sailor), still owns a house there.
Evening meal and night at Ras Ali camp
DAY 3 From Ras Ali to Bankoualé in the Goda Mountains 45 kms
Morning: Swimming, snorkeling, kayaking on Ras Ali beach
The underwater fauna and flora here are of exceptional variety and beauty. The camp is equipped with kayaks which you can take advantage of to go to a recent mangrove.
Lunch at Ras Ali camp
Afternoon Departure for the Bankoualé camp
The Bankoualé camp is located in lush greenery, on the hillside. It is a charming place, where a pleasant freshness reigns; it is renowned for its gardens bordering the wadi. A tiny village of a few houses is opposite the camp on the other side of the wadi.
On the way we will make a detour to the town of Randa to admire an imposing strangler fig tree.
Evening meal and night at the camp of Bankoualé-
DAY 4 Bankoualé in the Goda Mountains and return to Djibouti - 200 kms
Morning : excursion in the gardens of Bankoualé which border the wadi; in one of them, we saw a bird of paradise.
Lunch in Bankoualé
Afternoon: Visit of the Ardo village with its school and craft cooperative, before taking the road back to Djibouti.
A variant in the program consists of having lunch in Tadjourah on the pleasant shaded terrace of the Gulf hotel, to take the ferry from Tadjourah for the return to Djibouti.
Evening meal at the restaurant in Djibouti
Night in the apartment of Africorne Travel
DAY 5 On the planet of Lac Abbé – 200 kms
Morning: trip from Djibouti to Dikhil on an asphalt road of 120 kms; this is the route taken by Ethiopian truckers from the port of Djibouti to Addis Ababa, for the import of goods necessary for the economy of the country.
We will cross the semi-desert expanses of the Petit Bara and the Grand Bara where we will observe mirages, whirlpools and gazelles with a little luck.
Lunch at La Palmeraie restaurant in Dikhil
Afternoon : after Dikhil, we leave the road, to travel 80 km of sometimes sandy tracks. We will cross the villages of As Eyla and Koutabouya- On these tracks we will be able to see the gazelles of Pelzen and at the end of the course warthogs.
Border site between Ethiopia and Djibouti, Lake Abbé presents a unique panorama. Its limestone chimneys offer a lunar landscape, very popular with photographers from all over the world, especially at sunrise and sunset. Rumor has it that the first version of the film “Planet of the Apes” was filmed at Lac Abbé…it is not so, but the landscape is incomparable.
The sulfur scents that escape from the numerous fumaroles gave the lake its name. Indeed, Abbé means “rotten”!
The unique landscapes of the chimneys, which can reach 50 metres in height, would almost make us forget the presence of the lake, on whose shores pink flamingos can be observed!
Arrive at the Lac Abbé camp in the evening to watch the sunset.
Night and meal at the Lac Abbé camp
DAY 6 Abbé Lake – Arta Beach – Djibouti – 220 kms
Morning: you will have to get up very early to watch the spectacle of the sunrise in the middle of the chimneys! Then we will approach the pink flamingos by the lake. We will also observe some sources of boiling water.
Then we will take the road to Arta where we will have lunch. Arta is a charming locality, "perched" at 600 meters of altitude, where the notables of Djibouti have a secondary residence to take advantage of its mild temperature, 4 or 5 degrees lower than that of Djibouti.
Lunch at Sunny Hill, which is the hotel and catering school in the country!
Afternoon : we will descend by a superb track to the pebble beach of Arta which is a remarkable site for the observation of underwater fauna and flora.
From mid-November to the end of January: the whale shark outing option is possible; although being sociable animals, it is not possible to fix an appointment with the whale sharks; therefore the meeting with them, more than likely in the season, is never certain.
Arrival in Djibouti in the evening.
Evening meal: Restaurant in Djibouti
Night: Africorne Travel apartment
DAY 7 - Relaxing in Korambado before departure
Day trip to Korambado beach - 15 kms
Snorkeling and idleness on the program for this day
Lunch in a straw hut on the beach
A good 4×4 vehicle is needed to go down to Korambado. Not far from Djibouti, the site is interesting for snorkeling (east side). Some "local color" straw huts, installed on the seafront, provide the shade and the meal necessary to spend a very pleasant day.
Evening meal at the restaurant in Djibouti. On the menu Yemeni fish; the fish that you choose yourself, is cut into two slices placed at the bottom of a circular oven….
Transfer to Djibouti airport in the evening.
Variant: the day at Korambado can be replaced by a day at Maskali Island for an additional fee.
Note: unpredictable events can lead us to modify the program (ex: flooded wadi on the way).