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Geography of Djibouti

Related subjects: African Geography

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Map of Djibouti
Satellite image of Djibouti

Djibouti is a country in Eastern Africa, bordering the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea, between Eritrea and Somalia. Its coordinates are 11°30′N 43°00′E.


Djibouti shares 113 kilometres (70 mi) of border with Eritrea, 337 kilometres (209 mi) with Ethiopia and 58 kilometres (36 mi) with Somalia (total 506 km or 314 mi). It also has 314 kilometres (195 mi) of coastline.

It has a strategic location near the world's busiest shipping lanes and close to Arabian oilfields. Djibouti is also terminus of rail traffic into Ethiopia.


Its climate is mostly warm, dry desert.


Mountains in the centre of the country separate a coastal plain and a plateau. The lowest point is Lac Assal (−155 m or −509 ft) and the highest is Moussa Ali (2,028 m or 6,654 ft). There is no arable land, irrigation, permanent crops, and negligible forest cover. (What little forest, is in the Goda Mountains, especially in the Day Forest National Park.) 9% of the country is permanent pastureland (1993 est). Therefore most of Djibouti has been described as part of the Ethiopian xeric grasslands and shrublands ecoregion except for a strip along the Red Sea coast is part of the Eritrean coastal desert, noted as an important migration route for birds of prey.


Natural hazards include earthquakes, droughts, and occasional cyclonic disturbances from the Indian Ocean, which bring heavy rains and flash floods. Natural resources include geothermal energy. Inadequate supplies of potable water and desertification are current issues. Djibouti is a party to international agreements on Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution.


total: 23,000 km2 (8,880 sq mi)
land: 22,980 km2 (8,873 sq mi)
water: 20 km2 (8 sq mi)

Maritime claims

contiguous zone: 24 nautical miles (44.4 km; 27.6 mi)
exclusive economic zone: 200 nautical miles (370.4 km; 230.2 mi)
territorial sea: 12 nautical miles (22.2 km; 13.8 mi)
Topography of Djibouti.
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