The tiny African nation of Djibouti packs a punch when it comes to history, scenery and remarkable natural features. The population is made up of only two tribes: the Afar And Issa, and both are represented in the national flag. Home to one of the world’s saltiest lakes and steam-belching limestone stacks, there is a lot to discover when you visit. Curious to know more? Here are some of the most interesting facts about Djibouti.
7 Interesting Facts about Djibouti
1. Djibouti is located in the Horn of Africa
The Republic of Djibouti is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the southernmost country on the Arabian Plate. Eritrea borders Djibouti to the north, Somalia borders it to the south, and Ethiopia borders it to the southwest. The Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden border the country in the east. The country of Yemen lies across the Gulf of Aden.
2. Djibouti is the third smallest country in continental Africa
At 23,200 sq km (8,958 sq mi), Djibouti is the third smallest country in continental Africa, after Swaziland (second smallest) and Gambia (smallest). As of 2022, the population of Djibouti is 1,016,288. This is equivalent to 0.01 per cent of the total world population. Out of 235 countries (and dependencies) by population, it ranks at 160.
3. Djibouti gained full independence in 1977
Along with Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somaliland, Djibouti was part of an ancient kingdom called the Land of Punt. Then, from 1888 to 1977, Djibouti was part of the French colony of Somaliland and was its capital from 1894. In 1967, officials renamed Djibouti the ‘French Territory of the Afars and the Issas’. The country finally gained full independence in 1977 and officials renamed it the ‘Republic of Djibouti’.
4. Djibouti is 90 per cent desert
The country is made up of 90 per cent of desert land which belongs to the Danakil Desert. The Danakil Desert is one of the lowest and hottest places on Earth. Consequently, the country has a hot and dry climate. Temperatures regularly climb above 40 degrees celsius during the summer months and the land is arid and inhospitable.
5. Djibouti is home to Lac Assal
Lac Assal is a crater lake in the centre of Djibouti in the Afar Depression. The Afar Triple Junction caused this geological depression. The Afar Triple Junction is where three divergent segments of the Earth’s crust – the African, Somalian, and Arabian plates – are tearing away from each other. A section of the lake contains very salty water fed by hot springs. Consequently, the lake is saltier than the Dead Sea. In fact, it’s 10 times saltier than the sea and the second saltiest body of water in the world after Don Juan Pond in Antarctica. But that isn’t the only remarkable fact about this body of water. Lac Assal is also the lowest point in Africa and the third-lowest point in the world after the Dead Sea and the Sea of Galilee. It is located 155 metres below sea level.
6. Djibouti has stunning natural monuments
Djibouti is home to the otherworldly landscape of Lac Abbé, a salt lake located on the Ethiopia-Djibouti border. Here, hundreds of limestone chimneys dot the plateau. Some of these limestone stacks stand 50 metres (160 feet) tall and belch out puffs of steam. The lake is the final destination of the Awash River, and the dry land absorbs the water, consequently, leaving a vast landscape of salt flats.
7. The national flag of Djibouti is full of meaning
The national flag of Djibouti has a horizontal bi-colour design with equal bands of light blue and light green with a white, equilateral triangle at the hoist. Djibouti is a multiethnic state and the flag represents both ethnic groups. The colour green represents the Afar people and is a symbol of prosperity. The light blue colour represents the Issa people and symbolises the sea and sky. The flag was officially hoisted on June 27, 1977, when Djibouti achieved independence.