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A map of DjiboutiA map of Djibouti The tiny country of Djibouti lies on the Gulf of Aden at the mouth of the Red Sea. This position on some of the busiest shipping lanes in the world makes it strategically important: Djibouti controls access to the Red Sea. Outside the city, most of Djibouti’s land is hilly and rugged, a landscape of dry scrubland. Volcanic mountains rise in the middle of the country, while in the north a narrow strip of desert runs along the coast. The climate here is very hot and dry. In the hottest months, between May and October, a dry wind called the khamsin blows across Djibouti from the northeast carrying dust and sand.

A map of DjiboutiA map of Djibouti
Schoolroom in DjiboutiSchoolroom in Djibouti


Two main ethnic groups make up the people of Djibouti: the Issas, a people originally from Somalia, and the Afars, an Ethiopian people. Nearly all its people are Muslim. More than half of the population live in the city of Djibouti. Nearly all the rest are nomadic farmers, herding sheep and goats from place to place in search of new pastures. Although Djibouti suffered from civil war in the early 1990s, today it is a mostly peaceful country.

Djibouti is one of the hottest cities on Earth. In summer, temperatures often soar above 40°C (104°F).

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