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Djibouti Expedition: Footsteps of the Afar


Djibouti Expedition: Footsteps of the Afar

Start: Djibouti City
End: Djibouti City

With its mix of hiking and snorkelling, this trip is not for the faint hearted

Duration11 days
Start / EndDjibouti City / Djibouti City
Tour operatorIntrepid Travel


Djibouti Expedition: Footsteps of the Afar

11 days·Intrepid Travel
Start: Djibouti City
End: Djibouti City


With its mix of hiking and snorkelling, this trip is not for the faint hearted. However, if you want to experience life like a nomad as we traverse the Djibouti landscape, float in one of the world’s saltiest lakes and go in search of whale sharks then this expedition is right up your alley. The scenery is diverse and spectacular, passing everything from volcanoes, hot springs and salt flats to...

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Day 1Djibouti 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 2Djibouti City
Today we’ll head to Arta Beach for a potential thrilling whale shark encounter in the Bay of Ghoubbet. This is one of the world’s most reliable spots for seeing these giant, gentle creatures in the wild. Between November and January whale shark sightings are common although not guaranteed. They are wild animals after all! Then it’s time to head back to the city where we spend the night.
Day 3Lac Abbe
Take a 4x4 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, antelopes and gazelle. After enjoying a traditional dance during dinner, you’ll sleep in a traditional 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 4Lac Assal
Wake early to catch 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 hike to the lake, where you may be able to spot flamingos. The morning hike should take around 3 hours, before jumping back in the 4WDs and heading to Lake Assal. You will pass by 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! Tonight we camp under the stars on military beds with no tents.
Day 5Bay of Ghoubbet
Early morning departure for our hike to Ardoukoba Volcano, which erupted in 1978 after lying dormant for around 3000 years. Take a 4x4 across extremely rugged terrain and then hike (moderately strenuous) to the top of the volcano (approximately 5 hours hiking). Continue to the scenic bay of Ghoubbet at the Gulf of Tadjoura and the entrance of the Red Sea. The afternoon is free to relax on the beach. The camp tonight is a basic standard and can often be windy. 
Day 6Foret du Day National Park
Rise early and leave for Foret du Day National Park after breakfast. The dead forest here creates a stunning landscape. Take a short (4km) hike through the forest towards our camp, then visit the Day Village. Here we witness village life and visit a traditional local house for tea/coffee.
Day 7Obock
This morning we depart after breakfast to stop for lunch in Tadjoura. After lunch we head to the Red Sea Village Camp in Obock; a historic town of colonial times. Here we visit the market and the lighthouse at Ras Bire. Tonight's accommodation consists of huts on the beach.
Day 8Plage des Sables Blancs
This morning we drive to visit the Godoria Mangroves. Here we take a scenic boat ride around the mangroves. After lunch back in Obock, head towards Plage des Sables Blancs, considered to be one of the best beaches in Djibouti. Your afternoon is free to splash around and enjoy the beach before spending the night in comfortable rooms. While the rooms do have air-conditioning they are not connected at this time of year as it is one of the countries coolest months.
Day 9Plage des Sables Blancs
Today is another free day beachside. You can take part in kite flying with locals, swim, snorkel or simply catch up on some sleep after all that hiking!
Day 10Djibouti City
After breakfast we start our journey back to Djibouti City. Hop on the 11am ferry back to Djibouti City and arrive by around 2pm this afternoon. The rest of the afternoon is free before a final group dinner tonight.
Day 11Djibouti City
This trip comes to an end after breakfast. There is no accommodation included for tonight, but speak to us if you’d like to extend your stay.

More info

Trip title

Djibouti's Footsteps of the Afar

Trip code



Validity: 01 Jan 2019 to 31 Dec 2019


With its mix of hiking and snorkelling, this trip is not for the faint hearted. However, if you want to experience life like a nomad as we traverse the Djibouti landscape, float on one of the world’s saltiest lakes and go in search of whale sharks then this trip is right up your alley. The scenery is diverse and spectacular, passing everything from volcanoes, hot springs and salt flats to beaches ... Read more




Walking & Trekking


4x4 Safari Vehicle,Ferry

Physical Rating


Physical preparation

This trip requires a reasonable level of fitness. There are a number of active elements included in the itinerary including a 12km trek and a snorkelling excursion. All overnight camps used on this itinerary are open air huts or bungalows with only military cot and mosquito net. Facilities are basic & limited, and conditions can be trying.

Joining point

Menelik Hotel

Joining point description

Menelik Hotel is located right in the centre of Djibouti City. Perfect for exploring the old city. The rooms are simple but spacious and clean. All rooms have ensuites with hot water, and Air-conditioning. Hotel facilities include a restaurant.

Joining point instructions

If you have pre-booked a transfer please look out for our representative holding an Intrepid board with your name at the arrival terminal. For transfers and accommodation issues, Intrepid's Kenya Office can be reached on their 24 hour number +254 733 523 813

Finish point

Menelik Hotel

Finish point description

Menelik Hotel is located right in the centre of Djibouti City. Perfect for exploring the old city. The rooms are simple but spacious and clean. All rooms have ensuites with hot water, and Air-conditioning. Hotel facilities include a restaurant.

Finish point instructions

If you have pre-booked a departure transfer, please inform your leader and they will notify you of your departure transfer time.

Important information

The standard of health facilities in Djibouti's capital is limited and very basic to non-existent in outlying regions. Medicines are sometimes unavailable in rural areas and can be expensive. In the event of a serious illness or accident, medical evacuation (at considerable expense) to a destination with appropriate facilities would be necessary. A thermarest mattress is required to make the camp... Read more

Group leader

All group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. We endeavour to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders. Your leader... Read more


Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and upd... Read more


PASSPORT As a general rule most countries expect that your passport has a minimum of 6 months validity remaining. Please ensure the name on your passport matches the name on your booking and airline tickets. Your passport details are required to complete your booking. Your consultant will contact you when this is required. Take a copy of the main passport pages and other important documents with... Read more

Why we love it

Discover an emerging tourism hotpot before the crowds do

Is this trip right for you

This trip requires a good level of fitness. You’ll be getting out and about on several hikes (noted in the itinerary), which range from 4 kilometres to 12 kilometres. They’re not necessary overly technical, but the conditions will be testing. Some nights will be spent sleeping 'belle etoile', which means “under the stars”. Despite the elegant name, this is camping at its most basic. You’ll be on ... Read more


All travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/o... Read more

Food and dietary requirements

Your group leader will endeavour to cater for specific dietary requirements where possible, and vegetarianism and gluten intolerance will be catered for in most instances. Please notify your group leader of any dietary requirements in your group meeting at the start of the trip. For those suffering from particular food allergies, your group leader will endeavour to disclose to their fullest knowl... Read more

Money matters

As a guide we recommend you allow approximately US$15 per day for additional meals, snacks and drinks (non-alcoholic) not included in your itinerary. Use a higher figure particularly if you are travelling during the hot season when you will require more fluids. Each and every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others whil... Read more

What to take

What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking, we recommend you pack as lightly as possible and make sure that you are able to carry and lift your own luggage, and walk with it for short distances. Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoul... Read more

Climate and seasonal

The Djibouti climate is typically hot year round especially May to September when the average daily temperature is around 40 degrees and sometimes peaking at 45 degrees. November to January are the coolest months and average temperatures of around 25 degrees making it perfect for outdoor activities. This also coincides with the annual Whale sharks visit.

A couple of rules

Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for our travellers. Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who... Read more


Emergency contact

ISSUES ON YOUR TRIP: While we always endeavor to provide you the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader/specialist guide or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to recti... Read more

Responsible travel

Travelling responsibly is all about making good choices. It's about ensuring you have an incredible trip while also having a positive impact on the local environment, community and economy you're travelling in. How can you be a Responsible Traveller? See our tips below: - Choose to travel with a responsible travel company like us! We've already offset the main carbon emissions of your trip, so yo... Read more

The Intrepid Foundation

The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit foundation set up to enable our travellers to help make a difference by supporting local communities, projects and non-government organisations in the places we travel. The smallest contribution can make an enormous difference and all donations to The Intrepid Foundation are matched dollar for dollar (yes, we’ll double your donation!). We support a range... Read more

Accommodation notes

The twin share price for this trip is based on 2 people travelling together and sharing a twin room. If you’d prefer not to share a room with your travel companion a single supplement is available. Please ask your booking agent for more information.

Travel insurance

Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and th... Read more

Itinerary disclaimer

ITINERARY CHANGES: Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you print and review a final copy prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weat... Read more


Bungalow (3 nts),Bush camp (no facilities) (1 nt),Camping (with basic facilities) (3 nts),Hotel (3 nts)
€2,970per person
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Dec 8
Djibouti City
Dec 18
Djibouti City
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Dec 29
Djibouti City
Jan 8
Djibouti City
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Jan 19
Djibouti City
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Djibouti City
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Djibouti City
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