Published on February 6th, 2013 | by Charu Suri
2 Off the Beaten Path: Djibouti, an Unlikely Luxury Destination
It’s not a destination that is typically mentioned in cocktail party conversations, but if you’re in the market for an affordable luxury “off the beaten path” experience, consider Djibouti, the tiny country on the coast of the Horn of Africa. Although the republic has a chequered history, the culture you’ll discover here make it a must-see for ambitious travelers, and with a huge range of luxury hotels like the Kempinski Djibouti Palace , which is deliciously situated between the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean. As the saying goes, location is everything, and the proximity to the ocean can be alluring.
Divers would thrive here, and naturalists will feel at home. This is a location where you can swim with parrot fish and watch a score of pink and white flamingos dotting the ocean like a pointillistic painting.
When to go
Djibouti’s climate is warm throughout the year compared to the UK, although its proximity to the Indian Ocean means that heavy rain and storms are usually expected in spring and autumn. From May to October is the best time to go, when the weather is hot and dry, with temperatures peaking at around 41C in July.
Originally founded by France in 1888 and having only claimed independence in 1977, Djibouti City has had its fair share of troubles and instability. Its reputation as a hub of tourism is only increasing though, thanks to the attractions and landmarks around the center celebrating its own development and growth, as well as structures that bear testament to the artists who once lived and worked here. Djibouti is a Muslim country, and as such it’s important to remember that, as well as the fascinating culture you’re likely to discover, you’ll also be expected to respect local custom. Most residents in the city are used to tourists, but you should avoid wearing revealing clothes, as well as public displays of affection.
Djibouti is well-known for its beautiful beaches, promising wide, sandy shores and fantastic blue waters for paddling and water sports. The warm climate means that this is a sun-worshiper’s paradise; whether you want to party in the beach side hotels or simply relax on the shore with a book, there’s a beach along the coastline to suit you. The beaches are also one of the few places where you’re not expected to cover up, although do check in advance. Khor Ambado is a popular option for many, offering excellent snorkeling opportunities and a collection of charming seafood restaurants.
To really discover the everyday culture of Djibouti, head to the chaotic central market, where most of the city’s inhabitants head to shop, gossip and trade. It’s the hub of the community and should definitely be experienced at least once! If you’d rather take it easy, visit one of the many cafes in and around the town center, where you can enjoy lunch and a cup of tea, and watch the world go by in peace.
This post made possible by Kempinski Hotels