Formerly known as Obock, then French Somaliland, and finally the
French Territory of the Afars and the Issas, the name Djibouti is
positively tame by comparison. With the comforting presence of the
military might of the US in mind, we highly recommend a Djibouti
holiday for several reasons - the extraordinary scenery of the
inland salt pans; the incredible marine life and, most importantly
of all, because you'll never again lose the 'where I've been'
This tiny country has more than enough to warrant a trip, either
in its own right, or more likely in combination with Ethiopia. A series of salt lakes dot the landscape,
with Las Assal in the Afar Triangle a mere 509ft below sea level,
making it the lowest point on land in Africa and the third lowest
land depression on Earth after the Dead Sea and Sea of Galilee. The
whole area is extremely bright and glitters with crystallised salt,
so sunglasses are a must, and what little water there is is the
most wonderful turquoise.
Another Lake, Lac Abbe, makes for a perfect overnight adventure
destination with the sunsets here some of the best on the planet,
and so little light pollution that at night a dome of stars
stretches down to the horizon in all directions. This is where
three tectonic plates meet and this subterranean activity has
created bizarre terracotta-coloured chimneys that rise like termite
mounds from the flat white ground.