Djibouti Driving Guide

Djibouti is a unique beautiful country. Explore all of it by driving when you get your International Driving Permit

2021-07-23 · 9 mins

To make your African tour experience worthwhile, Djibouti must be on your itinerary. The country is strategically situated in the Horn of Africa, where it is found on the eastern edge of the continent that is adjacent to the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea. Djibouti offers highly diversified landscapes that range from sand and pebble beaches to dark sand typical of coastal wetlands. As a regional port, the country’s economy is influenced by refueling and shipping industries.

To make your stay in this country more manageable, an International Driver’s Permit (IDP) is a must for you to easily rent a car, thus making the activity of driving in Djibouti and exploring its amazing locations easier. The aforementioned permit can also offer you a flexible schedule, which is ideal for those who want to follow their own time. Further, it allows you to access specific locations that cannot be explored when utilizing the country’s public transportation.

How Can This Guide Help You?

It is safe to say that to make the most out of your future travels; it is imperative to plan in advance. In this regard, one can prepare ahead by getting useful information about the country you are about to visit. This guide can provide you with details that will certainly make your travel to Djibouti a pleasant experience. These details will include how to explore the country, beautiful places for you to visit, and dos and don'ts as a tourist in Djibouti.

This comprehensive guide can also impart valuable knowledge on how you can safely and effectively explore all sites while driving in Djibouti today as a tourist. Read further if you want to know more about the country, its people, culture, and traffic situation before traveling there. Reading about this guide is an excellent way for you to learn about these details.

General Information

Djibouti is without a doubt a beautiful country, and like other African nations that are known for their beautiful scenery, it is best to explore it on an open road. The country’s culture is influenced by Arabic, African, and Oceanic descents. Attractions in this country are highly varied: beaches for surfing and swimming; deserts for windsurfing and driving; and salt lakes for sightseeing are just some of the activities that you can do while you are in this country.

Geographic Location

Djibouti is squeezed within the countries of Somalia, Eritrea, and Ethiopia and found adjacent to the Red Sea. The eastern half of the country is bifurcated by the Gulf of Aden, which supplies most of its coastline. The country’s geography is extremely varied, ranging from plateau separated plains from the east and west to rugged mountains in the north. The highest peak of the country is manifested by Mount Moussa, and its lowest point is found in the saline lake of Assal, which is reported to be the lowest surface in the African continent.

Languages Spoken

As mentioned above, the two major ethnic groups in Djibouti speak the language called Cushitic. The country’s republic also recognizes French and Arab as their two official languages. Interestingly, Somali is the most widely spoken language in the country, but it is not taught in schools and rarely written by the country’s locals.

A large percentage of the people in this country are reported to be multilingual. Although Arabic is taught as a first language, French is considered as the means of instruction for students in primary and secondary schools.

Land Area

The country’s total land area is reported to be 23,200 km2. Often alluded to by many nations as Africa’s geographic treasure trove, Djibouti hosts some of the world’s most significant geothermal and seismic activity. A large portion of its terrain is covered by basalt, which is a product of the volcanic eruptions that happened in the past. The volcanic activities are also the reason for the expansion of the nation’s plates between the Arabian Peninsula and Africa.


The British, Italians, and French were the known active colonizers of numerous African nations in the 1800s. Djibouti is one of the worldwide countries that was colonized by them and it is the French people that made a huge impact on the nation’s current state. It was only in the year 1900s, that Djibouti’s locals became aggressive with the demand for independence from French control. Finally, on June 27, 1977 the country attained official independence from the French.

The country’s first President was Hassan Gouled Aptidon and the nation was under his administration until the year 1987. The Afar and Somali tribes who are closely associated to the Arabian Peninsula were the first communities in Africa to adopt Islam. In the year 1990, The Gulf War commenced and Gouled allowed the presence of the French Military to be felt once more in the country.

At present, much to the locals dismay, the Government of Djibouti still plays an ambivalent role to maintain a good strong relationship with two countries, the American and French nations, respectively. The country has partnered with Dubai in a plan called the Doraleh project, which aims to expedite Djibouti‚Äôs progress for it to be eventually alluded to as the ‚Äú Dubai of East Africa‚ÄĚ.


Djibouti has a Republic type of Government with a very unstable economic and political outlook.

Its constitution confers the presidential power to the government that provides for a semi-presidential regime. Moreover, the parliament and the government share the legislative power. The country’s Chief of State is the President while the Head of Government is the Prime Minister.

The Government of Djibouti has three distinct branches, namely the executive, legislative, and judiciary. In the executive branch, the President is known as the Head of the State who appoints the Prime Minister, and is given five years for one term. The judicial branch is represented by the Supreme Court and is independent of the legislature and executive branch. The legislative branch is headed by the Council of Ministers and the Parliament.


Djibouti’s tourism plays a significant role in the country’s economic development strategy. The nation is aiming to attain a target of attracting half a million tourists every year by the year 2030. This vision of the country seeks to leverage foreign exchange earnings and job creations that will significantly help its people and growing economy. Experts are claiming that the country will easily attain this because of the many niche attractions that are present in the country.

From a linguistic standpoint, Afar and Somali are the two largest ethnic groups in Djibouti. Both ethnic groups are known to speak the intelligible language called Cushitic. The Afar community lives in the north and west of the Gulf of Tadjoura, which is sparsely populated. Interestingly, the distribution of the Afar populations in this country follows a somewhat triangular and elongated pattern, which is often dubbed as the ‚ÄúAfar triangle.‚ÄĚ

Two conspicuous seasons are manifested in Djibouti. The often torrid climate influences a cold season that usually lasts from October to April and Mediterranean-like climate with low humidity that lasts from May to September. An increase in the country’s temperature is mainly influenced by the hot khamsin wind that blows off in the inland desert and contributes to the amount of precipitation. The gentle climate in the country attracts people from all over the world.

Special Visas

Some of the documents needed to enter Djibouti include a passport that is supposed to be valid for the entirety of your stay as a tourist. This time limit is only valid until December 31, 2020. A visa that is conferred by the Djibouti embassy is also another document should you plan to visit the country as a tourist. A medical certificate that shows vaccination from yellow fever is also a prerequisite when entering this African country.

A medical certificate showing that you have tested from the COVID-19 virus is also required upon entry. The document must be valid for at least 72 hours. Upon arriving in this country, another swab test must be conducted, and you are requested to wait for your results before authorities allow you to travel and use public transportation. When exploring the country, minimum health standards are expected to be practiced by both residents and tourists.


Traveling around a foreign nation at the convenience of your own schedule can elevate the joy of the journey, transforming what could be a hassle into a delightful experience. Driving your own car can be an optimal strategy to achieve this. In this context, a critical question you should ask yourself before embarking on driving in a foreign country is whether its government requires you to obtain an International Driver’s Permit (IDP). Particularly when considering Djibouti, obtaining a Djibouti International Driver's Permit is a mandatory requirement. This permit is an essential prerequisite for individuals who are considering the option of driving in Djibouti, especially for those visiting as tourists.

To ensure a safe excursion to Djibouti, the IDP is a necessary travel document to carry. The permit allows driving in Djibouti cities and regions smoothly. Getting this permit is simple and bother free as it should effortlessly be possible online with the International Drivers Association’s assistance. To find out about the prerequisites of how you can get your hands on this critical grant, keep reading to guarantee a relaxing vacation in the country of Djibouti.

Who Needs an IDP?

Getting an IDP is something that a person who frequently travels abroad should think about. The permit is something that will allow you to drive your own car at your own convenience as a tourist. With this permit, your regular license can be translated into 12 other languages, which is helpful in case you want to drive in a nation whose residents don’t speak the English language. In Djibouti’s case, the IDP is recommended as a travel document for most foreigners who are driving.

It can be considered as an important driving in Djibouti requirement for those who are busy and cannot take the hassle of patronizing a nation’s public transport system for the purpose of business or travel. The same convenience can be applied to those who are having plans of being a resident in a country. With your valid IDP and regular license, you are still allowed to drive on the nation’s roads while you are getting the local driver’s license of the country.

Is a Local Driver’s License Valid in Djibouti?

Your driving license on Djiboutian roads is not enough to allow you to drive on this nation. Aside from your native driving license, when in Djibouti, you must also possess the International Driver’s License or IDP as a supporting document. This is one of those driving in Djibouti requirements that you should keep in mind before entering the country. Nevertheless, the IDP is not a replacement for your regular driver’s license, and as such, that two must always be carried together.

Aside from driving on the country’s roads, the IDP is also a helpful document should you decide to stay permanently and try to grab a driving job in Djibouti. With your native license and the IDP, you can apply for driving jobs in Djibouti and operate a car while you are getting your Djibouti driver’s license. It will also allow you to practice driving in Djibouti at distances that are far off, such as driving into a neighboring country.

Do I Need an IDP in Cities and Districts of Djibouti?

An IDP is an important travel document for foreigners who plan to drive in a foreign country. Whether you are a tourist, businessman, or a future resident who plans on driving in Djibouti and get a job, the IDP will help you with all of these activities. As mentioned above, this permit will not replace your local or the country’s regular driver’s license. The regular license and IDP are inseparable documents to carry should you decide to drive on a foreign country’s roads.

When Will I Use My IDP?

The IDP must be used when driving in a far off nation that expects you to get the license. For instance, if you are driving in Djibouti with your local license, you also need the permit as it's anything but a substitute for your local license. If you don’t want to experience any traffic-related issues when driving in a foreign nation, then your IDP and regular license are important documents to carry while operating a car.

With the IDP, your regular license can be interpreted into twelve languages. In this way, you can just show the pertinent travel documents to the local authorities in case you are called out by them. The IDP gives these enforcers the ability to understand what is written on your driver’s license, especially when they can’t speak the English language. So as you can see, driving in Djibouti today is hassle-free as long as you have the IDP.

Who Can Apply for an IDP?

Drivers with a valid driver’s license are qualified to apply for the IDP. The IDP essentially grants you the ability to drive on a foreign nation’s road. An important reminder, though, is that the IDP is never recognized as a substitute for a driver’s license. The permit is a convenient document so that when you are driving in Djibouti, and English is not the language spoken by authorities, you basically show the permit to them as it can translate your license.

In case you're prepared to apply for an IDP, visit the International Drivers Association's application page and pick an IDP bundle that will relate to the legitimacy of your IDP. Here are the prerequisites for your application:

  • Passport Copy (if needed)
  • Valid Government Issued Driver‚Äôs License
  • Passport size photo of yourself

When Can I Apply for an IDP?

Knowing whether the nation you will visit requires an IDP is a primary thing you should do prior to applying for the license. If you are driving in Djibouti with your local license, the IDP is essential. Applying for this grant has no particular time. Individuals who travel abroad are usually the ones applying for an IDP.

The International Drivers Association gives a quick preparation of this license. In a range of two hours, they would already be able to grant it, which you can download and print to drive a vehicle.

How Long Is an IDP Valid?

The validity of an IDP can affect your application cost. The most limited validity if you get yours from the International Drivers Association is one year. There are two-year and three-year bundles, too. Do remember that when using the IDP, your regular driving license should also be legitimate for at least one year. The IDP is pointless if your customary permit has a legitimacy period under one year.

For a short excursion in Djibouti, a one-year IDP is enough, especially if you won't travel to another country for the following three years. Should you wish to go abroad twice every year for the following three years, a three-year IDP is the best bundle to acquire. An IDP with a longer validity is something that you should consider if you will stay in a nation for a while for you to drive while getting the nation’s local driver’s license.

Does an IDP Replace Your Native Driver’s License?

The IDP has validity, and if you decide to stay in the country permanently, you are required to apply for your driver’s license. Suppose you are driving in Djibouti cities, the IDP is a document that will enable traffic enforcers to evaluate your competence in driving. It is also a convenient permit if you decide on driving in Djibouti’s far off distances, such as going into neighboring countries that have border checkpoints. The IDP is a document that you can show to them.

When you get your IDP from the International Drivers’ Association, you're presently permitted to travel to 200 other nations in a vehicle aside from Djibouti. The IDP translates your local permit into 12 languages. So, when you are driving in Djibouti, and English is not the language of the local authorities, the IDP essentially works by translating everything that's written on your standard license.

What Do I Do If I Lost My IDP?

If you lose your IDP in a foreign country, you should get your hands on a new permit for you to still have the capacity to drive. Luckily, we can quickly provide a solution by quickly changing your lost IDP. Shipping of the new IDP into your exact location. Simply give us your exact address and your new permit will be delivered in your home.

Renting a Car in Djibouti

Many travelers are looking for some ways to enjoy their vacation in a foreign country. Driving your own car can be a contributing factor to an exciting and more manageable trip. This won't just make your excursion more exciting; it will also give you more time to enjoy the country’s many attractions. Renting a car can be an affordable and hassle-free way of doing this. Read below if some of the important details you have to remember when renting a car in Djibouti.

Car Rental Companies

The process of car rental in Djibouti can be done in several ways. With the convenience of a home computer, you can rent a car with the help of an online car rental service. Another is by visiting car rental organizations that are situated in the area you are about to drive onto. Between the two, booking a car online is a more convenient and popular choice for tourists. It is convenient, easy, and doesn’t require that much effort in leasing a vehicle for your trip.

Among the online services available on the internet, Kayak has made its mark as one of the best providers for leasing vehicles in African nations. This reputable rental company has been around for many years and is often considered an innovator in the foreign vehicle rental market, offering their customers the lowest prices in the business. This company has cordial staff which you can contact and convey your questions concerning your visits to this lovely nation.

Documents Required

Car rental organizations do not really check whether their clients possess an IDP. However, failure to acquire the permit will pose serious problems if you are caught by local traffic enforcers without the IDP as a driver. Thus, checking the standards and prerequisites of the rental company is imperative before leasing one of their vehicles. There are explicit driving permit prerequisites for vehicle rentals in the nation.

By and large, the IDP and a regular driver’s license are the most important travel documents to carry in a foreign nation. Likewise, remember that not every person is permitted to rent vehicles in Djibouti. Your records must be all together, and you should be at a specific age as the country requires an age limit. You will regularly be requested the following before you're qualified for vehicle rental:

  • An official Identity Card and valid passport
  • Payment of rental fees with a valid credit card
  • A valid driver‚Äôs (driving) license
  • A minimum age limit where the drivers should at least be 21 years old and above. Many agencies set an age limit for car rentals at ages 70 to 75 years old.

Vehicle Types

Choosing the right vehicle for your out of the country trip can be an enjoyable experience when you search for cars online. The perfect vehicle type for your preference should always be your main point of consideration when leasing one. In case you're used to driving a conservative car, don't rent an SUV. Then again, in case you're accustomed to driving an automatic car, try to stay away from vehicles with a manual transmission.

Different car types are fortunately available for you to rent. You can choose from various categories like economic, luxury, mini, SUV, van, or compact. The most mainstream rental vehicle is a sedan for a single person's travel or a van for long drives with the company of loved ones or friends. Luxury vehicles can also be leased in Djibouti at a higher price and more qualifications prior to leasing.

Age Requirements

Like most African nations, 18 years old is the minimum age requirement for drivers. The same cannot be said for tourists as the country requires a driving age of 21 years old before you are permitted to drive in the nation of Djibouti roads. The lowest age requirement for vehicle rental in Djibouti varies from one rental company to another. Most vehicle rental organizations in the nation expect you to be at least 21 years of age before you can rent one of their vehicles.

The highest age for vehicle rental in the nation likewise shifts, yet more often than not, they permit the time off until 70 to 75 to rent a vehicle from them. A subtle requirement by some of their car rental organizations is that their clients at least have their driver’s license for one year. Additional charges are also being offered by some rental companies who have drivers for you to hire in case you are not a driver yourself.

Car Rental Cost

Driving in Djibouti now will require you to obtain a car that is reliable, and at the same time, affordable. Even though you are looking for an affordable rate, the driving experience that the car gives you shouldn’t be compromised. The rate of rentals in Djibouti is usually 148 USD per day. When renting a car, try to inquire about the company's services and make sure that you specify your needs so that they will offer the best option in accordance with your preference.

With a rented vehicle in Djibouti, you can tour its well-known tourist locations and enjoy the regular magnificence and its rich, memorable foundation. To set aside cash from making this, attempt to reduce your fuel expense altogether by renting a vehicle that demands Euro diesel. In contrast with petroleum, the previously mentioned variant is fit for higher eco-friendliness, in this way empowering you to head out to significant distances at a lesser fuel utilization.

Car Insurance Policy

An important detail to remember is that your travel insurance does not cover potential car damage and theft on your leased vehicle. A comprehensive insurance is therefore necessary to avoid being introduced to these kinds of trouble. Third-party liability and fire insurance services are luckily provided by most rental organizations. Rental companies usually have their websites installed with an insurance calculator for their clients to have an idea of the insurance’s cost.

Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) and robbery protection are just some additional provisions that you can include in your rental insurance. The payment for these insurances differs from one rental organization to another, but companies can provide quotations by using their website insurance calculator. This way, their clients can have an idea of how much their insurance will cost for the vehicle that they will rent.

Lake Abbe Photo by Eva Mtalii

Road Rules in Djibouti

Driving laws and regulations should be reviewed by everyone who plans to drive on the roads of a foreign nation. This prevents the potential imposition of fines and penalties that local enforcers can give to tourists. Taking the time and effort to review these laws can undoubtedly help you in attaining a smooth and manageable driving. This guide can help you learn some of the important driving rules that are being implemented in the country of Djibouti.

Important Regulations

When driving in Djibouti, a map is not only the important document to carry with you while operating a vehicle. It is common sense that you should also possess a driver’s license. For tourists, a license is not enough to allow you to drive on Djiboutian roads. The IDP is another travel document that must accompany your license when driving in this country. The two documents are inseparable, and failure to bring one of them can introduce potential problems.

Driving age limits is another detail to take into account when driving in Djibouti. The country is very particular about the age of its drivers. An age cap of 18 years old is required for local drivers. In the case of a tourist, a driving age of 21 years old is implemented in the country. Drinking is also another activity that is extremely discouraged while driving. Respecting all of these driving rules is crucial if you want to spare yourself from troubles with the local authorities.


Djibouti imposes very strict driving regulations when it comes to drinking. The country only permits 0.08% per liter alcohol level in the circulatory system of a driver. This standard applies if you are driving alone. If you are driving with a companion, your system should be free of any alcohol. If you are caught going beyond the aforementioned blood levels, you are going to be called out by the local authorities, and they will enforce punishments accordingly.

Punishments in the country of Djibouti can be severe if you are caught with a high blood alcohol level in your system. The same can be said if you are by any chance involved in an accident with alcohol still present in your body. Sentencing and prosecution are just some of the severe sanctions that the nation can inflict on you when caught in the act of drunk driving.

Before Driving

Before you start driving in Djibouti with your map of the area, you should try to demonstrate the best driving standards that are acceptable in the country. What is permitted and disallowed out and about differs from nation by nation, and it's essential to understand the things you can do and can't do before getting in the driver's seat. It is necessary to know the driving principles in the country to guarantee safe driving in Djibouti.

Turning Signals at an Intersection

Slowing down or stopping is also a common courtesy at intersections and roundabouts, especially when a vehicle is already entering or is ahead of you. Priority is always given to the car that arrives first. In the event that you reach the intersection or roundabout at the same time, priority is given to the vehicle that is on the right side. If you are at a four-way intersection, the right of way is conferred to the vehicle on the left.


Upon arriving at your destination, leave your vehicle just on the allowable spots of the territory. Park your car in bright areas if the area is dim. Be aware of the nation’s parking rates, so you'll not get shocked with possible expenses. Remember always to lock the entryways of your vehicle and never leave your assets inside your vehicle.

Ensure You and Your Vehicle are in Good Condition Before Driving

As a mindful driver, you are relied upon to be watchful and not be affected by liquor prior to driving. Individuals with eye issues are limited from driving, except if they have the appropriate gear, for example, prescription eyewear, to help them while driving. Continuously ensure that your vehicle is in acceptable condition by checking its battery, brakes, tires, and motor. Moreover, have an adequate gas volume for your whole outing.

General Standards of Driving

When driving, be careful, and consider the street and the driving signs in Djibouti. Evade whatever that may divert your focus, for example, sounds from your cell phone. In this light, don't read messages or get calls while driving a vehicle. If this is unavoidable, leave your vehicle in an allowable parking space before checking your phone.

Also, remember to attach your safety belt and follow the speed limit enforced on the street. When driving in Djibouti, having the zip code of the area you're going to visit can help you easily navigate the area.

Speed Limits

Speed limits in the country you are going to visit are important details that you should take into account when driving. Djibouti follows a speed unit of kilometers per hour, and it is of utmost importance not to go beyond excessive speed caps. Speed limits change around various territories in Djibouti. A speed cap of 50 km/hr is evident in towns and cities, 30 km/hr heavily populated areas; and an 80 km/hr restriction in rural areas.

Remaining below the aforementioned speed limits will not only prevent you from getting into trouble but will also help you become alert and be aware of what is happening in your surroundings while driving. This is an ideal way to avoid potential road accidents, especially when driving in heavily populated territories where streets are usually tighter. Further, a slower speed is a good way to enjoy the scenery you are going to visit while driving a car.

Seatbelt Laws

Before you start driving in Djibouti from the airport, your safety is first and foremost the most important part of your trip. As a safety measure, wearing a seatbelt is necessary in the country. If an ailment keeps you from wearing a safety belt, you should get a medical certificate from a medical doctor. Besides the seatbelt, a warning triangle, a medical aid pack, and a fire extinguisher are necessary materials to keep in the car to ensure safe driving.

Stricter rules are being implemented in the case of a child as a passenger in your vehicle. A child who is under 1.35 meters, or 3 to 11 years old are required to wear the appropriate restriction to ensure their safety. Moreover, children that are below the age of 13 are restricted to position on the front passenger seat. Furthermore, a child who is one year old or lower and has a weight of 9 kg and below should be positioned in an appropriate security seat.

Driving Directions

When driving in Djibouti, a zip code of the area you want to visit can help you easily navigate the location. In addition, you have to realize how to enter the best roads while driving in order to easily locate your destination. Local residents of the country are the best to ask for such information. Transport drivers are also ideal individuals to ask, as they are the most solid individuals to request such data.

Traffic Road Signs

Like most nations, regular traffic road signs are usually present on Djiboutian roads to keep drivers safe. During your travel, you are most likely to encounter these signs, and you will notice that some of them are exclusive to the country’s roads. To prevent yourself from getting into trouble and being shocked with what they mean as you drive, you should put forth an effort to learn about them in advance, via reading about them online, to ensure a smooth and safe drive.

The list below are the general road sign categories that you should know before driving in Djibouti:

  • Mandatory road signs- are not suggestions but are mainly used when required to carry out a specific task. They are sometimes called information or advisory signs, and they must be strictly followed and, as such, are possibly the most important road signs in Djibouti that you should know
  • Prohibitory road signs- are generally used on all road types of the country. They are designed to restrict certain types of vehicles and certain maneuvers, such as setting speed limits or prohibiting u-turns
  • Warning signs- are often red or yellow to advise drivers of possible danger. They are mainly designed to alert drivers of potential hazards ahead
  • Information signs- are the most frequently used road signs in Djibouti and generally provide general information about the road a traveler is driving on
  • Priority Road Signs- are designed to clarify who has priority on the road or junction ahead

Right of Way

Many African countries follow the same traffic guidelines as EU countries. In the case of Djibouti, like many European nations, Djiboutian drivers follow right-hand traffic. It is not only the vehicle that should practice this, but civilians and other forms of vehicle as well. At the point when individuals are crossing a passerby, priority is with them. Never insist on claiming the right of way whenever you approach pedestrians.

The legal driving age in the country of Djibouti is 18 years old. However, rental companies require their clients to at least be 21 years old before they will lend their vehicles. Aside from a higher age requirement, many rental providers also would like to check if their client is in possession of their driver’s license for at least one year. Furthermore, an even higher age requirement is imposed by these organizations should you want to rent a luxury car.

To meet all requirements for a driver's permit, the nation’s residents have to pass the theoretical and practical driving test of the country. Enrolling in a driving school in the country can help you pass the exam, but driving in Djibouti videos are already available if you want to learn more about driving in the country. If you are a tourist who wants to stay or apply for residency, driving activity is only permitted once you have passed both the theoretical and practical driving exams.

Laws on Overtaking

Besides the recently mentioned driving laws in Djibouti, overtaking on the nation’s roads has rules to be followed by both foreign and native drivers. To explore more about them, read the information about overtaking in the country:

  • It is disallowed to overtake at street humps, on twists, bottlenecks, at intersections, and passerby intersections
  • When driving in Djibouti, check the left and right lanes of the road prior to overtaking
  • Overtaking in dreary zones where there is deficient visibility on the road is highly discouraged
  • Moving to another lane and overtaking at a bus stop is additionally restricted in the nation
  • It is critical to be alert when overtaking in interurban and metropolitan territories. If possible, do so when turnpikes are available

Driving Side

Like most nations around the globe, Djibouti follows a traffic rule that prioritizes the right-hand side of the road. In regard to this, you should expect that the driver’s seat is positioned on the left side of the vehicle. You will undoubtedly struggle if you are from a nation that follows left-hand traffic like Australia and plans to utilize a Djiboutian vehicle.

To avoid encountering problems should you decide to drive in this country, you can practice one of the cars first and make yourself adjust to their traffic.

Driving Etiquette in Djibouti

If you frequently travel and decide to drive on the roads of the country you are about to visit, it is customary to follow all of their traffic rules and to always show your best possible attitude when driving. With the correct driving attitude on a foreign road, there will be less possibility of being called-out by traffic enforcers.

Always try to adhere to the driving standards of the country and be mindful of the traffic rules to always ensure your safety. If you have time, try to watch driving in Djibouti videos to learn more about the traffic-related activities in the country.

Car Breakdown

Extreme conditions during car-related mishaps can be prevented but sometimes are unavoidable due to certain circumstances. When introduced in this kind of predicament, always remember to not panic as traffic enforcers will come your way. Traffic-related incidents, if not handled properly, can ruin your excursion. So, to avoid being introduced in this kind of unpleasant situation, below is an informative list of the things you should do when your car breaks down on Djiboutian roads:

  1. Make your vehicle as noticeable as possible. To do this, you can turn on your emergency lights to tell individuals that you are encountering a driving issue. When left in a protected and suitable spot, use obvious warning signals, such as notice lights, flares, or a caution triangle to alarm anybody of your vehicle's presence. It is more common sense to situate your notice device a long distance away behind your car to get the consideration of drivers or nearby traffic enforcers.
  2. Get off the street. Attempt to pull your vehicle away from the road with an alert. If you are trapped in rush hour gridlock, escape your vehicle and cautiously stroll to another area. If you are driving on a bustling road or your car is left on the shoulder, exit on the traveler side. If you own the car, lock it and leave a note containing your telephone number on the windshield if traffic enforcers stop by your car. Otherwise, if you are renting, try to contact your car rental supplier before leaving and resting in a protected spot.
  3. Keep the entryways locked. If you are in a protected area where individuals can see you, attempt to stand by inside your vehicle. Never open your doors and keep your safety belt attached and attempt to contact somebody you know or your vehicle rental supplier.
  4. Exercise alertness. It is necessary to be cautious and exercise decision-making ability before asking for help from outsiders. If you doubt nearby inhabitants who are attempting to help, remain inside the vehicle and lower your window enough so they could hear your voice. If help is on the way, you can politely decline assistance from others and thank them.

Police Stops

When you are in for a foreign trip, and you have a plan of driving on its roads, prepare for the possibility of being stopped by the local traffic enforcers or police. Always remember to stay calm and not feel intimidated by their presence to prevent any problems. Attempt to exercise your rights as a driver, especially if you are aware that you did not commit any traffic violation. Nevertheless, caution in exercising these rights is still very important.

Immediately turn on your hazard lights when you are stopped by the nation’s enforcers. The traffic authorities will surely check your travel documents and will immediately inform you if you have committed any form of traffic violations. In this situation, be polite enough to greet them, and immediately show them your records such as your license, passport, and IDP. Lastly, obey all of the instructions that will be given to you.

Asking Directions

Being a traveler who is attempting to take a look at the excellence of Djibouti, you have to realize that exploring a foreign country can be challenging. Luckily for you, residents of the nation are known to be exceptionally kind-hearted and inviting to tourists. For English speakers, exploring Djibouti can be challenging as most of the nation's populace can't communicate in English at a conversational level.


When operating a car in a foreign nation, it is sometimes inevitable to pass checkpoints, particularly when passing through borders. This is particularly evident in a landlocked country such as Djibouti, where it is surrounded by other nations that are protected by land borders. Local authorities are normally stationed on these border checkpoints, and it is normal for them to check your travel documents or ask for your purpose of entering the border.

You need to be polite to them and quickly show you pertinent travel documents such as your license, passport, and IDP. When they ask questions, you are supposed to answer them honestly. If they cannot speak your language, try to communicate with them through the English language or install a translating application on your phone. Further, when they ask permission to inspect your vehicle, be obliging enough to let them do so.

Other Tips

Exploring a nation in a car is known to be more comfortable than utilizing transport vehicles. However, if you are the only driver, there will be a tendency for you to get lost while driving. As such, trying to ask directions is a great way to avoid this possibility. The internet can also be a good tool for you to use to find driving directions and locate the best driving roads. This will ensure a manageable and exciting trip.

Driving Conditions in Djibouti

‚ÄúIs driving safe in Djibouti‚ÄĚ is one important question to ponder as a traveler. Driving in this country is reported to be hazardous by many travelers. Road shoulders and pedestrians are usually absent in Djibouti. Many livestock are also present on its roads, and they can be a reason for you to get into an accident. Taxi drivers are reported to be reckless, and they should always be avoided when encountered. Driving at night is also extremely dangerous as roads are often poorly lit in most of its regions.

Although a good sealed road is a given in Djibouti, it is a no-brainer that you should exercise caution when driving in Djibouti. Local drivers often ignore driving signs, and they always go beyond the speed limits that are set on their roads. Needless to say, it is imperative to demonstrate protective driving strategies on the off chance that you decide to drive in Djibouti.

Accident Statistics

According to a published data of the World Health Organization, road traffic accident deaths in Djibouti have reached 245 in 2018, which is 3.74 % of the traffic-related accidents that were recorded in the country. Djibouti ranks 38th in the world, with a death rate of 30.19 per 100000 population.

Common Vehicles

Private vehicles in the form of sedans, vans, and motorcycles are the most common means of transportation in the country of Djibouti. However, not everyone has the luxury of buying their own car. As such, people patronize other means of transportation to go around. Some of the public transport vehicles that are common in the country are taxis and buses.

Road Situation

Road conditions in the country of Djibouti are reported to always be good as they are frequently maintained by the National Government. Nevertheless, the country has a bad reputation for its drivers, who often ignore the traffic rules and often go beyond the road speed limits. The country also is often being called out for the lack of traffic signs and the presence of domesticated bovines, which could be the cause of traffic-related mishaps in the country.

Driving Culture

As previously mentioned, roads are well-maintained and are often in good condition in Djibouti. This, however, does not hide the fact that most of the nation’s drivers are reckless and often set aside driving rules. Local drivers ignore driving signs, and they always go beyond the speed limits that are set on their roads. Needless to say, it is imperative to demonstrate protective driving strategies on the off chance that you decide to drive in Djibouti.

Other Tips

There are other driving-related details that you should be mindful about when driving on the roads of Djibouti. The speed unit of Djiboutian vehicles is one that you might want to know before you start driving. Read more about them with the information written below.

Kph to Display Speed Limits

Kilometers per hour is the standard speed unit used in the country of Djibouti. It is of utmost importance not to go beyond the speed caps. Speed limits change around various territories in Djibouti. A speed cap of 50 km/hr is evident in towns and cities, 30 km/hr heavily populated areas; and an 80 km/hr restriction in rural areas. Fines are enforced if you are found to be breaking the speed limits of Djibouti roads.

Things To Do in Djibouti

Djibouti is often recognized as one of the safest countries in Africa. Crime rates in this nation are very low, and people are very welcoming to tourists. The nation also has a well-established travel industry, which is why the country is often visited by foreigners from all over the world. Djibouti offers an amazing slew of attractions, and the country’s rich culture is something to look forward to when visiting the country.

With the aforementioned opportunities offered by Djibouti, it is not surprising the many people want to live permanently in the country. This guide will provide details on how you can apply for residency in Djibouti. In addition, it will also give important details on what to do should you have the plan of taking a job as a driver in the country.

Drive as a Tourist

Indeed, all vacationers of legitimate driving age can drive in Djibouti as long as you have the essential documents. In this regard, there are certain requirements you should possess for you to be able to drive on Djiboutian roads. For one, you should always carry your regular driver’s license.

In addition, the country requires you to carry your license with the IDP if you are a foreigner. Furthermore, make sure to always carry your passport as it is often checked by local authorities on the off chance you are stopped by them.

Work as a Driver

A working permit is an essential document you need should you want to work as a driver in Djibouti. You must also apply for the country’s regular driver’s license if you want to operate a vehicle for you to earn money. While applying for the native license, you can still work by always carrying your own country’s driver’s license and IDP. The two documents are always carried together for you to still work as a driver while your license application is ongoing.

Apply for Residency

Like any other nation, before you can live permanently in Djibouti, you are required to apply for a residence permit in the country’s Djibouti embassy. In conjunction with the permit, you are also expected to possess an entry visa. Should you want to work in the country to provide for your means, it is also crucial to be getting a working permit or license for you to be able to pursue a profession of your choice.

The required documents for a Djiboutian residence permit are the following:

  • Application form
  • Biometric photographs
  • Passport
  • Notarized copy of a travel document such as a passport
  • Evidence of Health Insurance

Other Things to Do

Other things can be done in the country of Djibouti should you find the penchant to stay longer or permanently in the country. Due to its undeniable beauty, many are enamored and are enticed to live and work in the country.

How to Convert Your License in Djibouti?

In the event that you decide to stay permanently in Djibouti, it is a must for you to acquire the local driver’s license. Getting the Djibouti driver’s license requires you to submit prerequisites such as your ID, application form, IDP, and driver’s license. Further, passing the country’s practical and theoretical driving tests is required for you to be qualified to get a hold of the Djibouti driver’s license.

The Top Destinations in Djibouti

Due to the safe atmosphere and established travel industry in Djibouti, many foreigners are enticed to visit this African nation. It offers a lot of attractions and activities that can satisfy the adventurous spirit within you. All of them could be within your near reach with the assistance of an IDP. You can undoubtedly secure this grant online with guidance from the International Drivers Association.

The nation is ideal to be explored by a vehicle, and we have picked the absolute best vehicle destinations you can take to make your stay in this great nation a fun and lucky encounter.

Djibouti City

An excursion to Djibouti would not be spectacular without visiting the nation’s excellent capital city. Djibouti city is an area for you to enjoy activities in the hinterland or out in the sea. The area is also a melting pot of different cultures, which is a good thing to feast your eyes on. This place houses the best restaurant, hotels, and bars for you to relax after an exhausting stroll. Driving from Djibouti Airport to the city of Djibouti will only take 8 minutes.

Driving Directions:

  1. From the Djibouti International Airport, start driving west.
  2. Turn right and drive forward until you reach your destination.

Things to Do

If you wish to make your stay in this area worthwhile, here’s a list of the most enjoyable activities to do in Djibouti City.

  1. Cultural Tour
    As the City of Djibouti is a melting pot of different cultures, the place is a perfect destination to learn more about the country’s origins and how it became the way it is today. It contains several museums to increase your knowledge about its rich history as well.
  2. Enjoy Rides in its Theme Parks
    If you visit Djibouti with your family, then the capital city is the destination for you to do group activities. Theme parks are common in the are and they are a perfect place to try different rides, food, and other recreational activities.
  3. Water Sports and Activities
    The City of Djibouti is also a place where resorts and water parks are located in the country. When you visit these places, you can play with dolphins, do snorkeling, boat tours, scuba diving, and other water sports.


Considered as one of the oldest cities in the country of Djibouti, the city is home to many whitewashed homes that are spectacular to view. The city is a great area for you to have a stroll as it is a quieter place than Djibouti city. It is home to many magnificent mosques, which are a perfect spot to relax and have your photo-ops. The city also offers a great view of the waterfront where you can take boat rides to tour the city.

Driving Directions:

  1. From Djibouti city, turn left at the first cross street.
  2. Take RN3 to RN1 in Balbala and take the 2nd exit at the roundabout.
  3. Drive to RN9 in Région de Tadjourah.

Things to Do

Fall in love with this amazing tourist spot by doing the recommended activities below.

  1. Visit the Day Forest National Park
    Located in Tadjoura is the Day Forest National Park, which is a perfect place for nature lovers to relax. The park is surrounded by forests and gardens that you can walk on to forget the stress of work and refresh your mind and body.
  2. Visit the Gulf of Tadjoura
    The Gulf of Tadjoura is surrounded by the sea and most people visit this location to do different water-related activities. Snorkelling, diving, underwater photography, and swimming with sharks are just some of the popular must-do activities to partake when in this area.
  3. Hiking in the Green Goda Mountains
    For those who seek to perform thrilling activities when exploring a country, then the Green Goda Mountains of Tadjoura might be the perfect spot for you. This is a destination for those who love to camp, hike, and do rock climbing.

Ali Sabieh

The deserts surrounding the city of Ali Sabieh is what made this attraction popular among tourists. The town is perfect for doing your shopping activities as it contains a great number of markets, narrow alleys, and food stalls. On its deserts, you can do windsurfing and other sport adventure activities. You can also test your own fitness by trying it's challenging walking trails.

Driving Directions:

  1. Head west on RN9 and turn left to stay on RN9.
  2. Turn right onto RN1 and keep left on RN5.
  3. Turn right at the cross street and continue driving to reach your destination.

Things to Do

Ali Sabieh has a lot of amazing activities to offer to people who want to make their Djibouti experience more enjoyable. Read below some of the popular things that you could do while in this amazing attraction.

  1. Perform Outdoor Activities
    Ali Sabieh is known to be surrounded by large, wonderful deserts that people go to to do some outdoor activities. Riding a 4x4 vehicle, camping, and hiking are just some of the inexpensive activities that you can do while you are in this area.
  2. Food Trip
    The city of Ali Sabieh is also famous for the night markets and many food stalls located in the area. It is a perfect spot to try different Djiboutian cuisines and experience night life in the country.
  3. Shopping with your Friends or Family
    Aside from the numerous food stalls located in the city of Ali Sabieh, the area is also covered with numerous flea markets for you to go shopping. This is the ideal spot for you to buy your souvenirs before leaving Djibouti and going back into your country.

Goba’ad Plain

Considered by many as a unique attraction in Djibouti, Goba’ad Plain offers the opportunity to do bird watching in the country. The place is special as it is one of the few places in Africa where you can observe Ostrich breeding. Other beautiful birds that you can see in this area include the Crown Sparrows, Crombec, and San grouses.

Driving Directions:

  1. Head northwest and drive from RN1 to Djibouti City.
  2. Take RN3 to Rue de Venice.
  3. Continue moving forward until you reach your destination.

Things to Do

  1. Nature Walk
    The Goba’ad Plain is a perfect spot to visit for nature lovers who love so be surrounded by lush forests and explore amazing wildlife. If you want to free your mind and body from stress, then this area is the ideal place to be.
  2. Visit and Swim in the Nearby Waterfalls of the Area
    Located in Goba’ad plain are several waterfalls that are so majestic, people cannot resist to take a dive into their crystal clear waters. The water from these falls are so cool and fresh that aside from taking a bath, it is also safe to drink.
  3. Bird Watching
    Goba’ad Plain is most famous for the birds that are found within the area. The place is literally a bird sanctuary where many people visit them not only to spot the rare birds, but to also protect and preserve the area.

Doralé and Khor Ambado

If beaches are your thing as a tourist, then the ideal spots to visit in Djibouti are Dorale and Khor Ambado. If you want a perfect swim, then these two beaches are perfect for you. The places are also very popular for the black lava cliffs that border the beaches. They are perfect spots to do water sports, and the sunsets that can be viewed here are considered the best in the country.

Driving Directions:

  1. Head west and turn left at the 1st cross street.
  2. Drive along RN3 and at the roundabout, take the 1st exit onto Rue de Venice.
  3. Take the 1st exit onto RN3 at the first traffic circle and drive straight to reach your destination.

Things to Do

Visiting Dorale and Khor Ambado offers not only fun activities, but also beautiful attractions to see as a tourist. Here’s a list of things you can do while in the area.

  1. Swim in the Amazing Beaches of the Area
    The place is most famous for the amazing beaches that people go and visit to relax and unwind. Aside from taking a swim into the sea water, different water-related activities can alo be done when you are in this area.
  2. Hike Around the Volcanic Landscapes of the Area
    One unique activity that you can do in these destinations is to hike around the beautiful volcanic landscapes of Khor Ambado. Aside from hiking, the area also showcases one of the best sunset views in the country.
  3. Enjoy the Accommodation in the Best Hotels and Restaurants of the Area
    As a famous tourist spot in Djibouti, it is no surprise that Dorale and Khor Ambado contain the best hotels and resorts of the country. This is a perfect spot to relax with your family or friends, especially if you want to just be close to the sea and unwind.

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