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Around Djibouti

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999 Days Around Africa: The Road Chose Me

Truth be told, the primary reason I was excited to come to Djibouti was the prospect of swimming with Whale Sharks, which are said to practically invade the bay here during this time of year. I organize an outing, and soon we load into a boat and scan up and down for the monsters.

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Searching

The local guide explains to me things have changed in recent years, and they are not nearly as predictable in their movements as they used to be. The Chinese have just finished building a MASSIVE sea port near the city, and now the ocean has a lot more silt, which might explain the lack of whale sharks.

We scan up and down for hours, though unfortunately don’t spot a single shark. I’m a little disappointed, but of course realize if I had really wanted to see one, I would have just gone to a zoo, which holds zero interest for me. These are wild animals, and the possibility of seeing them is what makes it so exciting.

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Colorful fish galore

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Tons of reef

After lunch I go snorkeling right off the shore and I’m staggered by the reef and marine life. It’s easily as good as anything I have seen on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia or in Panama and Colombia, and it’s right off the shore. There is a huge amount of colorful coral and fish, and out in the deep water I see schools of larger fish lurking. The water is bath water warm and quite clear, so the whole experience feels tropical.

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Canyons like this are roads down to the beach

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These beach shacks are for rent

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Another beach

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Another great beach close to the city

Knowing I’m driving right back into huge gas shortages in Ethiopia, I fill to the brim with gas before leaving the city for the last time – an expensive affair.
I buy a total of 120liters (31.5galons) for a total of 35,400 Djibouti Francs, or $202 USD!
That’s right, I just filled up at an official station for $USD 6.40/gal ($1.68/l) – easily the most expensive pump gas in all of Africa for me.
Djibouti really is an expensive place!

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A working gas station is something I have not seen since Kenya

I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in Djibouti, and I highly recommend a visit. It’s a fascinating and simply beautiful little country in a unique corner of the world.

I recommend whale shark spotting with Ken from Rushing Water Adventures. Ken has lived in the area for many years, speaks the local language and is a wealth of information on all things Djibouti, Somalia and Ethiopia. He’s also outdoor-crazy, and goes paddling, snorkelling, swimming with whale sharks and turtles and about everything else you can imagine at every opportunity.

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Fish Yemeni style – tons of spices cooked on coals

-Dan


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