This is the twenty-first in a series which introduces and describes the various dive services and sites for worldwide liveaboard dive safaris. The focus in this one is on Djibouti liveaboards.
In addition to this series on liveaboards, the best worldwide dive resort locations and services are reviewed in their own series. To check them out, or other liveaboards, click on Liveaboards/Resorts on the menu at the top and choose a title.
Scuba Diving Djibouti
Located on the Horn of Africa at the southern tip of the Red Sea, Djibouti is a desert nation with less than a million in population. Today it is a democracy that was a French colony from 1894-1977 and still has French military presence along with an American one. The region has a reputation for Somali piracy, but actually is a safe, peaceful, nonviolent place on land and at sea around Djibouti, in part due to the foreign bases there. Most foreign nationals receive a visa on entry and the capital airport provides access by air.
Traditional culture is predominant, so alcohol, scanty clothing, and raucous behavior are not welcome in public, but on a liveaboard all is possible. There is not much land-based tourism, but there are many beautiful landscapes and local life that is wonderful to see and photograph. A camera would be useful at sea, as well, with many noteworthy subjects. For a review of a range of cameras suitable for diving, click here:
Djibouti is not famous for fabulous coral reefs, but there are in fact more than 200 species of coral and a long list of fish life attractions that include beaked and pilot whales, many species of dolphins, grey reef and nurse sharks, manta and eagle rays and the biggest attraction of all, whale sharks. The plankton enriched waters from October through December attract large numbers of adults and juveniles that can frequently be seen during dives and on the surface, providing good snorkeling opportunities.
There are wrecks and caves to explore, in addition to coral reefs, and significant drift on occasion. Many of the dives would be most appropriate for experienced divers, so it is important to coordinate with the dive crew to arrange sites and conditions matching your skill level.
The land-based dive operations visit many of the sites, but liveaboards go beyond the limits of the shore boats and are much more convenient, covering a greater area in less time and with a higher level of service and comfort. The 3 liveaboard boats have significantly different itineraries covering a great number of sites. Take a look at each below and you can scope out on the maps the areas covered.
It is always warm in Djibouti and water temperatures during the primary dive season of October through January are from 79-86°F (26-30°C). Visibility oftentimes is less than 15m (50ft) during this season mainly due to the plankton bloom. That’s the downside. The upside is the large number of whale sharks and other pelagics that come around to feed. Also during this bloom, there is a greater likelihood of stinging hydroids that you can be avoided by using a lycra suit or a 3mm wetsuit.
Djibouti Liveaboard Dive Boats
There are only three vessels for liveaboard diving in Djibouti. Each has its own special features, services, and characteristics, and their itineraries place emphasis on differing territories and sites. What they have in common is that they are all set up to provide comfortable and professionally run dive safaris.
|MY Deli||MY Lucy||MSY Elegante
|Length||26 m||37 m||25 m|
|Equipment||Pricing To Be Arranged||€160/week (full equipment, |
|€120/week (full equipment)|
Land Touring and Shore Based Scuba Diving
Perhaps you would like to take in some touring and participation in land-based life before, after or instead of a liveaboard. There are several accredited dive operations in Djibouti City, as well as quality accommodations. If you would like to investigate or book a hotel there, here is where I go to make such arrangements.
A cushion for emergencies provides peace of mind when on vacation. I recommend this diving insurance as they have worldwide coverage and provide scuba divers a quality insurance and medical assistance service.
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