The Republic of Djibouti and Ethiopia are not necessarily the travel destinations you think of for your holidays!
People who have never been there, often see these 2 countries as unsafe places and characterized by the great poverty of their population.
However, travelling to Ethiopia or Djibouti does not put you at any greater risk than in most of the more popular tourist destinations, but it does have the advantage of taking you to places off the beaten track.
1. Security and geopolitical situation in Ethiopia and Djibouti
In fact, Djibouti has long been a "haven of peace" in a troubled region where only the border areas with Somalia and Eritrea are to be avoided, and relations with the latter country are calmed at the time of writing.
Ethiopia very occasionally experiences localized clashes, sometimes violent, between the major ethnic groups; of course it is advisable not to be around when they occur, but foreigners are in no way the target.
More generally, tourists passing through these 2 countries are never in danger because of their nationality, the colour of their skin or their religion, and are very well received by the local populations.
Even if a middle class is developing, the majority of the inhabitants of these two countries are in a situation of great poverty, which only makes the sense of hospitality and joy of life that is omnipresent all the more remarkable.
So there is no reason to deprive yourself of a trip to Djibouti or a trip to Ethiopia, which will be an unforgettable experience for you.
2. An adventurous journey, far from our daily lives!
First of all, traveling in these two regions of the Horn of Africa remains an "adventure". In Western nations, daily life is organized and thought out a long time in advance, nothing is left to chance; here we live in the present and in Djibouti, the expression "inchallah" usually concludes conversations about what to do tomorrow or in the days that follow...
Here in the material realm, in many cases the "best" is still clearly the enemy of the "good", but the "D" system eventually overcomes all problems.
3. A trip out of the country
In many places where you pass or stay, Europeans are rare. Sometimes even you will be alone with the beautiful nature that surrounds you... This impression is sometimes misleading, because nomads in apparently desert regions are never very far away.
Whether in Djibouti or Ethiopia, discovery and the unexpected are daily occurrences. Lifestyles, habits, modes of transport, way of eating... Sometimes the way we dress, everything is different from what we know.
Whether you choose to travel to Ethiopia, or to Djibouti, total change of scenery is the common point of both destinations, but the similarity ends there. Apart from the common geography of their border area and the cultural identity of the Afar ethnic group present in both countries, Djibouti and Ethiopia are 2 worlds apart.
Travelling in Djibouti: between sea and desert
Djibouti is a young and tiny state of 23000 km2 with a million inhabitants divided between 2 ethnic groups (65 % Issas and 35 % Afars), of Muslim religion. Djibouti has been independent since 1977, four languages are spoken there (Arabic, French, Somali and Afar). Its economy, which has no agriculture, is based mainly on the activity of its port, which is an essential gateway for imports from neighbouring Ethiopia.
Its position at the entrance to the Red Sea, and at the crossroads of the African, Asian and European continents, gives it a geostrategic importance that explains the permanent military presence on its soil of the Chinese, American and French armies, to name only the most important.
Travelling in Ethiopia: Cradle of Civilization
Ethiopia is a huge territory of nearly 1,100,000 km2, with a population of over 100 million people, composed of 9 major ethnic groups (Oromo, Amhara, Tigrayans, Somali, Sidama, Gurage, Afar, Harari and Falashas). The majority Christian community (44 %), peacefully cohabits with the Muslim community (34 %); animists also have an important presence (11 %).
More than 80 languages are spoken in Ethiopia; there has been no official language since 1995; Oromo and Amharic are spoken by the largest number of inhabitants.
Ethiopia's roots are thousands of years old and the kingdom of Aksum was one of the most powerful of its time.
Ethiopia is the only country on the African continent to have escaped colonization, except for the period of Italian occupation from 1936 to 1941.
Ethiopia's economy is largely dominated by agriculture, which employs most of the population. The country no longer has a seafront since Eritrea's independence: most of the products it imports go through the port of Djibouti.
If you don't know which country to choose between Ethiopia and Djibouti
You will have understood it, whether you decide to travel to Ethiopia or Djibouti, the welcome of the inhabitants will be friendly and warm!
If you have about 8 days at your disposal, a trip to Djibouti will be the perfect way to enjoy a total change of scenery during a 4×4 adventure trip, discovering the country's typical landscapes and campsites! Here are a few examples of tours that I propose, from 8 days, between discovery of beaches, seabed and hiking:
Discovery tour of the beaches and campsites over 8 days
Hiking trails and sites in Djibouti over 12 days
If you have more time, and according to your desires to discover the regions of lakes, monasteries, volcanic areas, trips to Ethiopia are longer given the size of the country, twice the size of France:
Discover the great lakes over 12 days
Monolithic churches and extraordinary landscapes of the north over 16 days
It is also possible to plan a trip to Djibouti, and Ethiopia, during the same stay!
Of course, we are here to guide you in your choices according to your desires and constraints in order to concoct your tailor-made stay! Do not hesitate to leave us your comments, to consult more information about the Horn of Africaor to us contact straight away!