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Djibouti Guide

Driving

It may be one of the smallest nations in Africa, but Djibouti should not be overlooked. With the vast salt lake of Lac Assal, the lunar-like landscape of Lac Abbe lake and plenty of opportunity for sports including water-based activities, this tiny nation packs a lot in. Those looking to relax can hit the white sands of the Gulf of Tadjoura shoreline.

Driving Tips for Djibouti

The road network is fairly extensive, linking all major villages with the capital. A number of roads, such as Route de l’Unite, offer beautiful scenery and are reasonably well maintained. Most other roads, however, are mostly gravel so a four-wheel drive is advisable.

Driving licences: a temporary driving licence needs to be obtained on presentation of a valid UK driving licence.

Which side does Djibouti drive on: the right.

Speed limits:
Rural areas: 37mph (60kph)
Built-up areas: 25mph (40kph)

Alcohol limits: 0.08 per cent; in line with the UK limit. Fines for exceeding the limit are rare.

Driving age: 18 years.

Seatbelts: currently not compulsory, but it is advisable to use them if fitted. Child booster seats for children under 12 years are available for a fee through most car rental agencies.

Mobile phones and GPS: using a mobile phone while driving is not currently prohibited, but it is recommended drivers refrain from this dangerous practice. GPS is not reliable, but as the country is small, it isn’t needed.

Cost of fuel in Djibouti: marginally cheaper than in the UK.

Car hire and fuel payment: credit card payment is accepted for car rentals. However, it is rare to find a petrol station that will accept credit cards.

Insurance: is not always included, so car renters need to check and if necessary, purchase it as an extra.

Traffic and parking: there is minimal traffic. However, farmer vehicles and cattle can cause hold ups. Parking is easy to find across the country.


Transport

Taxis
Taxis tend to only be available in the big towns, such as Ali-Sabieh, Dikhil, Dorale and Arta. They are reasonably cheap, but as they do not run on a meter, tourists should agree a price with the driver before starting a journey. The ride to the capital from the airport should cost around £3. Prices increase by at least 50 percent at night.

Buses
The bus service runs from the capital to many towns and villages. There are no timetables; services tend to leave when they are full. Drivers are often willing to add in extra stops or deviate from the stipulated route. Prices are set and vary from town to town. There’s also the option of shared minibuses. These buses charge a flat rate of £0.20 and take passengers to their chosen destination.

Ferries
Getting around the country by ferry is not really an option, although a private speedboat service runs between Obock, Tadjoura, and the capital, and costs around £5. However, the capital is one of the biggest ports in east Africa. This means that it is well served by local companies that have sporadic timetables to other countries. One of the most common routes is between Djibouti and Yemen, with a daily service available.

Airports
Djibouti-Ambouli International Airport is the only airport in the country and has scheduled flights to a number of other countries in Africa. Flights to Ethiopia, Eritrea Somaliland and Tanzania run weekly. There are also scheduled flights to the United Arab Emirates and Paris, France. The airport is only three miles to the south of the capital, and flights typically costs between £500 and £600 from Paris depending on the season and carrier.

Explore

Exploring Djibouti

Lac Assal lake is a must-visit for anyone heading to Djibouti. At 150 metres below sea level, it is in fact one of the lowest points on earth. Although no buses go there, it is easy to access via car. The drive itself is stunning, with an amazing view out to Devil’s Island and across the coast.

Lake Abhe, found right on the Ethiopian border, is another must-visit spot. Limestone chimneys with steaming hot water and lunar-esque landscapes surround this deserted lake. This spot was used to film parts of the Planet of the Apes specifically because of its unusual landscape.

The Goda Mountains are another perfect spot for a drive. With lush scenery and breathtaking views, this region is one place where tourists will not want to forget their cameras.

If all of this sightseeing sounds like too much exertion, then visitors can head to the Gulf of Tadjoura or the Bay of Ghoubbet. Here, the pale sands are ideal to simply stretch out and relax. Thanks to these shorelines being relatively unknown holiday destinations, there is no battling for towel space.

Weather

The climate is sweltering from May through September, with average temperatures hovering around 40ºC, although they can sometimes jump to 45ºC. The cooler season is much more comfortable, with occasional rain. Temperatures drop to 25ºC, meaning it is the ideal time to visit in comfort.

Frequently asked questions

Is Carrentals.co.uk the cheapest? Yes, we offer a guarantee of the lowest price - because we compare various retailers, we can always offer you the best price in town. What do I need to do when picking up a car? To pick up your car, you will need your voucher, passport, driver's license and a credit card. It is very important that your driver's license and credit card are in the same name as the main driver. Keep in mind that the local rental company will reserve a certain amount on your credit card as a deposit. This requires the PIN code for your credit card. If your driver's license is foreign (for example, in Chinese), you must bring a translation with you. Only your original passport and driver's license will be accepted - a copy is not sufficient. Are there any additional costs? In general, our rates are all-inclusive. Should there be any additional costs, our booking department will get in touch with you before issuing the invoice. Should you object, you can always cancel your reservation with no obligations attached (at least 48 hours in advance). What kind of insurance is applicable to my car rental? In general, Liability Insurance, Fire Insurance, All-Risks Insurance and Theft Insurance are included in the cost of your rental car. What is a worry-free label? This label indicates that a rental car satisfies the following requirements: Unlimited kilometers, no excess liability (and no excess cover available), sustainable energy policy, and that the car rental company has a good reputation. Availability of cars satisfying these four requirements will speed up the selection of a suitable vehicle for you. How can I change or cancel my reservation? You can cancel your reservation through "My Account". We recommend contacting us by phone if your changes to your booking or cancellation takes place at short notice (48 hours or less). When will I get a confirmation of my booking? Most reservations will receive confirmation within minutes after payment takes place. We recommend contacting our Booking Department for last minute reservations (pick-up within 48 hours).

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