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Embark on an active adventure along the Horn of Africa on this 11-day Lonely Planet Experience powered by Intrepid. Experience life like an Afar nomad, float on one of the world's saltiest lakes, snorkel in search of whale sharks and travel in a country with incredible cultures but very little tourism. Explore diverse and sometimes surreal scenery. Hike to Lac Assal, summit Ardoukoba Volcano, trek through Foret du Day National Park, relax on the beach at Plage des Sables Blancs and drift to sleep 'belles etoiles' (under the stars) at Allouli. Be the first person you know to come home raving about dreamy Djibouti.
Day 1: Djibouti City
Salaam aleikum! Welcome to Djibouti! Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 3 pm, followed by a walking tour of the city. See the European Quarter (home to Moorish and European architecture), L'Escale harbour walk and Hamoudi Mosque in the African Quarter. Tonight’s dinner will feature traditional Djiboutian and Ethiopian food.
Day 2: Djibouti City
Today we’ll head to Arta Beach, one of the most reliable spots in the world for encounters with whale sharks. Jump in a small boat and head out in search of these gentle giants. Sightings of these huge creatures are most likely from November to January. Later, head back to the city where we spend the night.
Day 3: Lac Abbe
Take a 4WD journey through the Grand Bara Desert to the otherworldly Lake Abbe, which lies on the border between Ethiopia and Djibouti. Keep your eyes peeled for mirages, as well as animals like antelopes and gazelles. After enjoying a traditional dance during dinner, you’ll sleep in an Afar hut at Campement Touristique d’Asboley. The cluster of permanent nomad-style tents is perched on a hill with views of the spectacular and surreal desert landscape.
Day 4: Lac Assal
Wake early to catch the sunrise over the shores of Lake Abbe, which featured in the 1968 movie Planet Of The Apes. Marvel at the famous chimneys, salt flats and hot springs. Then embark on a roughly 3-hour hike to the lake, where you may be able to spot flamingos. Return and jump in a 4WD to Lake Assal, passing Dikhil, Yoboki and Gagade on the way. Lac Assal, also known as the honey lake, is a crater-lake that sits atop the Great Rift Valley. It’s one of the world’s saltiest lakes and also the lowest point on land in Africa. Take a float in the lake if you’d like, but remember you've got a night of camping ahead and no hot shower to clean off!
Day 5: Foret du Day National Park
Rise and shine for an early morning departure for our hike to Ardoukoba Volcano, which erupted in 1978 after lying dormant for around 3000 years. Take a 4WD across extremely rugged terrain and then hike a moderately strenuous trail to the top of the volcano. Continue walking to the scenic bay of Ghoubbet at the Gulf of Tadjoura and the entrance of the Red Sea for lunch (approximately 5 hours hiking total). In the afternoon drive to Foret du Day National Park (approximately 2.5 hours) where tonight’s camp is within a dead forest.
Day 6: Foret du Day National Park
Shake off the sleep this morning with a four-kilometre hike through the peaceful forest surrounding camp. Afterwards, pay a visit to a nearby village to get a feel for local life and grab some refreshment in a teahouse.
Day 7: Obock
Depart for Obock after breakfast, stopping en route in Tadjoura. Arrive in Obock, a colonial port town and visit the market and the lighthouse at Ras Bire. Spend the evening in a beach hut.
Day 8: Plage des Sables Blancs
This morning, take a scenic boat ride around the Godoria Mangroves. After lunch back in Obock, head to Plage des Sables Blancs, considered one of the best beaches in Djibouti. Your afternoon is free for you to splash around and enjoy the beach at your leisure.
Day 9: Plage des Sables Blancs
Today is another free day for you to spend relaxing by the beach. You can take part in kite flying with locals, swim, snorkel or simply catch up on some sleep after an active week!
Day 10: Djibouti City
Journey back to Djibouti City after breakfast. Hop on the 11 am ferry back to Djibouti City and arrive by around 2 pm this afternoon. The rest of your afternoon is free. Tonight, enjoy a dinner with your leader and group.
Day 11: Djibouti City
This trip comes to an end after breakfast. There is no accommodation included for tonight, but speak to an Intrepid representative if you would like to extend your stay.
- Djibouti City - Leader Led Walking Tour
- Arta Beach - Whale Sharks Tour
- Lac Abbe - Cultural Dance
- Lac Abbe - Guided sunset walk to Chimneys
- Lac Abbe - Morning Hike to the lake
- Ardoukoba - Volcano Hike
- Foret du Day - Hike
- Ras Bire - Lighthouse & Maket Visit
- Obock - Godoria Mangrove boat trip
10 Breakfast(s) Included
8 Lunch(es) Included
9 Dinner(s) Included
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The trip was both both educational and exciting. I very much enjoyed the sights and culture.
The itinerary was just as I expected! The guide was very good as were the accomodations
Intrepid did such a great job. I never had to worry about where I was supposed to be and it felt so good not to worry about a thing but just to enjoy myself. Our guide was extremely knowledgeable about culture and history.
Taiwan people very friendly. Accommodation were centrally located and easily accessible. Did extra activities then in brochure which was greatly.
Larus our tour guide did an excellent job and was very attentive to our needs. He is very knowledgeable and has a great sense of humor.
Our guide Tarang chandola was exceptional. Courteous, knowledgeable, organized, polite, professional and went above and beyond taking care of our needs and requests offen anticipating what that might be. He made sure we all had the best possible time and offered suggestions to meet the needs of everyone on the tour. This made the trip even more enjoyable.
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