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Djibouti - Exercise a high degree of caution
There is no nationwide advisory in effect for Djibouti. However, you should exercise a high degree of caution due to crime.
Safety and security
Safety and security
Regional terror groups, including those associated with al Qaeda and al-Shabaab, continue to threaten Western interests and other potential targets in Djibouti. The September 21, 2013 attack on an upscale Nairobi mall illustrates the threat of attacks on civilians in East Africa. On May 24, 2014, an explosion in a restaurant frequented by foreigners killed three people and injured dozens. Further attacks cannot be ruled out. Be vigilant in crowded places and monitor local media.
Street crime is on the rise. Be vigilant in public places frequented by foreigners, such as hotels, restaurants, nightclubs and shopping areas. Do not show signs of affluence. Ensure that personal belongings, including passport and other travel documents, are secure at all times.
Political demonstrations occur frequently. Avoid all gatherings and demonstrations as they can turn violent without warning. Monitor local news reports and follow the advice of local authorities.
Drivers and pedestrians should exercise caution in the capital. Do not travel after dark. Streets are narrow, poorly maintained and lack adequate lighting. Local driving habits, pedestrians, roaming livestock and excessive speeds pose additional risks. Major roads are paved, but often lack guardrails. Police may set up roadblocks of wire coils, which may be difficult to see at night. Railway crossings are not well indicated. In the event of an accident, the driver should wait until the police arrive on the scene. You should contact the Embassy of Canada in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the Consulate of Canada in Djibouti, or local authorities for the latest security information prior to overland travel.
Since the operating gas stations are located at a considerable distance from one another (mostly in the cities of Djibouti, Ali Sabieh, Dikhil, Tadjourah and Obock), you should ensure you have sufficient fuel provisions in reserve before undertaking long drives.
While Djibouti has been declared a “mine-safe” country, you should stay on paved roads, particularly in the northern districts of Tadjourah and Obock as well as the Ali Sabieh district in the south, where mines have been found in the past.
Intercity public travel is limited to bus and ferry services between Djibouti and the towns of Tadjourah and Obock. Buses are poorly maintained and driven erratically. Avoid travel by road or rail to Djibouti. There have been acts of sabotage and derailment on the Djibouti-Ethiopia railway.
The Government of Canada does not assess foreign domestic airlines’ compliance with international aviation safety standards. See Foreign domestic airlines for more information.
Pirate attacks occur in Djiboutian coastal waters, and in some cases, farther out at sea. Mariners should take appropriate precautions. Whenever possible, transit in trafficked sea-lanes. When sailing in and around the Horn of Africa, in the southern part of the Red Sea near the coasts of Yemen and in the Gulf of Aden, vessels should convoy in groups and maintain good communications at all times. The Yemeni Coast Guard 24-hour Operations Centre can be contacted in case of emergency at 967-1562-402. For additional information, consult the Live Piracy Report published by the International Maritime Bureau.
General safety information
You should always carry identification, preferably a certified copy of your passport’s identification page. Avoid walking alone after dark. Because of their isolation, avoid visiting the beaches of Dorale and Khor Ambado late in the afternoon.
Modern tourist facilities and communications networks are limited in the city of Djibouti and scarce in many outlying areas. Outside the capital, cell phone coverage is often unavailable.
It is the sole prerogative of every country or territory to determine who is allowed to enter or exit. Canadian consular officials cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet entry or exit requirements. The following information has been obtained from the Djiboutian authorities and is subject to change at any time. The country- or territory-specific entry/exit requirements are provided on this page for information purposes only. While every effort is made to provide accurate information, information contained here is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, express or implied. The Government of Canada assumes no responsibility, and shall not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided. It is your responsibility to check with the Embassy of the Republic of Djibouti, based in Washington, DC (USA) for up-to-date information.
Official (special and diplomatic) passport holders must consult the Official Travel page, as they may be subject to different entry requirements.
Canadians must present a passport to visit Djibouti, which must be valid for at least six months beyond the date of expected departure from that country. Prior to travelling, ask your transportation company about its requirements related to passport validity, which may be more stringent than the country's entry rules.
Temporary passport holders may be subject to different entry requirements. Check with diplomatic representatives for up-to-date information.
Canadians must be in possession of a visa to visit Djibouti.
Tourist visa: Required
Business visa: Required
Student visa: Required (A tourist visa is issued to students)
Children and travel
Children need special documentation to visit certain countries. See Children for more information.
See Health to obtain information on this country’s vaccination requirements.
Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.
Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread through contaminated food and water or contact with an infected person. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease and is common in most parts of the world. Be sure your measles vaccination is up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Rabies is a deadly illness spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from an infected animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (i.e., close contact with animals, occupational risk, and children).
Yellow Fever - Country Entry Requirements
Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
- There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
- Proof of vaccination is required if you are coming from or have transited through an airport of a country where yellow fever occurs.
- Vaccination is not recommended.
- Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care provider.
- There is currently a shortage of the yellow fever vaccine in Canada. It is important for travellers to contact a designated Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre well in advance of their trip to ensure that the vaccine is available.
About Yellow Fever
Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada
* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
Food and Water-borne Diseases
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
In some areas in East Africa, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in East Africa. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
Cholera is a bacterial disease that is most often spread by drinking water or eating food that has been contaminated. It causes diarrhea and in severe cases it can lead to dehydration and even death.
Most travellers are at very low risk. Travellers at higher risk include those visiting, working or living in areas with limited access to safe food, water and proper sanitation, or to areas where outbreaks are occurring. Travellers at higher risk should discuss with a health care provider the benefits of getting vaccinated.
- Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
- Risk of developing travellers' diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor standards of hygiene and sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
- The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.
Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher for children, travellers going to rural areas, visiting friends and relatives or travelling for a long period of time. Travellers visiting regions with typhoid risk, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should speak to a health care provider about vaccination.
Insects and Illness
In some areas in East Africa, certain insects carry and spread diseases like African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), chikungunya, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, dengue fever, leishmaniasis, lymphatic filariasis, malaria, onchocerciasis (river blindness), Rift Valley fever, West Nile virus and yellow fever.
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
Zika virus infection
Zika virus infection is a risk in this country. The mosquito that spreads the virus is found here.
All travellers should protect themselves from mosquito bites and other diseases spread by insects.
- There is a risk of malaria throughout the year in the whole country.
- Malaria is a serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no vaccine against malaria.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. This includes covering up, using insect repellent and staying in enclosed air-conditioned accommodations. You may also consider pre-treating clothing and travel gear with insecticides and sleeping under an insecticide-treated bednet.
- See a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before you travel to discuss the benefits of taking antimalarial medication and to determine which one to take.
Animals and Illness
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, and bats. Certain infections found in some areas in East Africa, like avian influenza and rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
There have been human cases of avian influenza in this country.
Avian influenza is a viral infection that can spread quickly and easily among birds. In rare cases, it can infect people.
- avoid high risk areas such as poultry farms and live animal markets
- avoid areas where poultry may be slaughtered
- avoid contact with birds (alive or dead)
- avoid surfaces that may have bird droppings or secretions on them
- ensure all poultry dishes, including eggs, are well cooked
HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that attacks and impairs the immune system, resulting in a chronic, progressive illness known as AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome).
High risk activities include anything which puts you in contact with blood or body fluids, such as unprotected sex and exposure to unsterilized needles for medications or other substances (for example, steroids and drugs), tattooing, body-piercing or acupuncture.
Tuberculosis is an infection caused by bacteria and usually affects the lungs.
For most travellers the risk of tuberculosis is low.
Travellers who may be at high risk while travelling in regions with risk of tuberculosis should discuss pre- and post-travel options with a health care provider.
High-risk travellers include those visiting or working in prisons, refugee camps, homeless shelters, or hospitals, or travellers visiting friends and relatives.
Medical services and facilities
Medical facilities are limited in the capital and practically nonexistent in many outlying areas. Medicines can be extremely expensive and are often unavailable. Medical evacuation is necessary for serious illness cases or accidents.
Keep in Mind...
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
Laws and culture
Laws & culture
You are subject to local laws. See Arrest and detention for more information.
Homosexuality is illegal.
Strict regulations may be enforced on the temporary import or export of firearms. Contact the Embassy of the Republic of Djibouti in Washington for specific information regarding customs requirements.
Hunting is forbidden by law.
Photography of military installations is prohibited. Ask permission before photographing individuals, especially women wearing the veil.
An International Driving Permit is recommended.
During the lunar month of Ramadan (the ninth month of the Muslim calendar), refrain from drinking, eating, and smoking in public between sunrise and sunset. In 2017, Ramadan is expected to begin on or around May 27.
Islamic practices and beliefs are part of the country’s customs, laws and regulations. Common sense and discretion should be exercised in dress and behaviour. Visitors should dress conservatively and respect religious and social traditions to avoid offending local sensitivities. It is forbidden to produce, display publicly or sell any object, image, film or audio-visual recording considered contrary to accepted standards of behaviour. The prohibition on the use of drugs must be respected. Consumption of alcohol is authorized, but public displays of drunkenness could result in a two-year prison term.
Dual citizenship is legally recognized in Djibouti. However, Canadian officials may be limited in their ability to provide you with consular services if local authorities consider you a Djiboutian citizen. You should always travel using your valid Canadian passport and present yourself as Canadian to foreign authorities at all times to minimize this risk. You may also need to carry and present a Djiboutian passport for legal reasons, for example to enter and exit the country (see Entry/exit requirements to determine passport requirements). Citizenship is determined solely by national laws, and the decision to recognize dual citizenship rests completely with the country in which you are located when seeking consular assistance. See Travelling as a dual citizen for more information.
The currency is the Djiboutian franc (DJF). Credit cards are accepted only by airline companies and some major hotels. Traveller’s cheques in U.S. dollars can be cashed at banks. There are only a few automated banking machines (ABMs). They are frequently broken and should not be depended upon as the sole means for obtaining currency.
Natural disasters and climate
Natural disasters & climate
The climate is very dry and hot from May to October. Due to below-average rainfall over the last four years, many regions of eastern Africa are currently afflicted by severe drought, including Djibouti. Expect difficulties travelling overland.
Dial 18 for emergency assistance.
Djibouti - Consulate of Canada
Addis Ababa - Embassy of Canada
For emergency consular assistance, call the Embassy of Canada in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.
The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. The Government of Canada takes the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provides credible and timely information in its Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad. In the event of a large-scale emergency, every effort will be made to provide assistance. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
See Large-scale emergencies abroad for more information.
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