Geography of Djibouti

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Djibouti is a country in the Horn of Africa. It is bordered by Eritrea in the north, Ethiopia in the west and south, and Somalia in the southeast. To the east is its coastline on the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. Rainfall is sparse, and most of the territory has a semi-arid or arid environment. Djibouti's major settlements include the capital Djibouti City, the port towns of Tadjoura and Obock, and the southern cities of Ali Sabieh and Dikhil. It is the 151st largest country in the world by land area, covering a total of 23,200 km2, of which 23,180 km2 is land and 20 km2 is water.

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Djibouti shares 125 kilometres (78 mi) of border with Eritrea, 342 kilometres (213 mi) with Ethiopia, and 61 kilometres (38 mi) with Somalia (total 528 km or 328 mi). It has a strategic location on the Horn of Africa and the Bab el Mandeb, along a route through the Red Sea and Suez Canal. Djibouti's coastline serves as a commercial gateway between the Arabian Peninsula and the Horn region's interior. The country is also the terminus of rail traffic into Ethiopia.

Physiographic regions

Djibouti can be divided into three physiographic regions

The Northern Mountains
Danakil Depression
Grand Bara


A great arc of mountains, consisting of the Mousa Ali, Goda Mountains, and Arrei Mountains surrounds Djibouti.

Djibouti has eight mountain ranges with peaks of over 1,000 m (3,281 ft).

The Mousa Ali range is considered the country's highest mountain range, with the tallest peak on the border with Ethiopia and Eritrea. It has an elevation of 2,028 m.

The Goda Mountains lie northwest of the Gulf of Tadjoura in Tadjoura Region. They rise to 1,750 m (5,740 ft) above sea level and are the nation's largest heavily vegetated area.

Garbi is a mountain in the west of Tadjourah Region. It has an elevation of 1680 metres (5,512 ft).

The Arrei Mountains are in the southern Ali Sabieh Region. The mountain range has an elevation of 1,301 metres (4,268 ft) above sea level, and is situated near the border with Ethiopia.

The Mabla Mountains are located in Obock Region. At 1780 m (5850 ft) above sea level, the mountains are situated behind the coastal plain where the Red Sea meets the Gulf of Aden, on the northern side of the Gulf of Tadjoura.

The Dagouein Mountain sit at an elevation of 1,124 m (3,688 ft) above sea level.
Hemed is a mountain in the western part of the Arta Region in south-central Djibouti. The summit is 1,103 metres (3,619 ft) above sea level.

The Boura Mountains' highest peak has an elevation of 1037 m (3,402 ft. The ecology of this landform is semi-desert. The altitude and size of the range affects its weather, with precipitation levels varying greatly and climatic conditions consisting of distinct zones.

Grand Bara

The Grand Bara Desert covers parts of South Djibouti in Arta Region, Ali Sabieh Region and Dikhil Region. The majority of the Grand Bara Desert lies at a relatively low elevation, below 1,700 feet (560 m). Home of the popular Grand Bara footrace.


Most of Djibouti has been described as part of the Ethiopian xeric grasslands and shrublands ecoregion. The exception is a strip along the Red Sea coast, which is part of the Eritrean coastal desert; it is noted as an important migration route for birds of prey.