Djibouti! Where? Djibouti! A very very unknown country in the horn of Africa. I first heard about this place when I was on a trip in Indonesia. There I met Mat, an American guy who had worked in a dive center down there. He told me the diving around there is something different – something unique. Especially as there are apparently many many whale sharks! Encounters with Whale Sharks are especially common from October to February, whilst year round there are sightings of dolphins, manta rays, pilot whales and many shark species.
Liveaboard options in Djibouti
There aren’t many options to dive around Djibouti easily. It is an African country and in terms of Scuba Diving it’s still quite undeveloped. That does also create a great opportunity for the adventurer who enjoys diving on unspoiled reefs and dive sites. Away from the masses. I found 4 well established liveaboards for you that might just be what you’re looking for if you want a chance to scuba dive with Whale Sharks!
Will you be snorkeling or scuba diving with Whale Sharks?
Whale sharks feed usually on the surface. This makes them the ideal animals to snorkel with, rather than diving. So in most cases, also in Djibouti, you’ll be snorkeling with them as soon as the boats spot them. But as this is Djibouti, there’s a real chance as well that you encounter them on scuba dives. It will be hard to keep up with them! They go really fast, trust me. I snorkeled once with them in Mozambique and was quickly out of breath trying to keep up!
Dive level requirements
So far what I’ve found is that Open Water certification with about 20/30 dives is enough to join these liveaboards! That means this is a perfect location for fairly new scuba divers. Not to much challenging circumstances. Sounds pretty good to me.
How to get to Djibouti and on the Liveaboard
In case of Djibouti this is super easy! You will fly into the international airport Ambouli International Airport (JIB). All four liveaboard companies listed below offer pick-ups and drop offs by their representatives at the airport. All you need to do is fly into the country. Easy!
Visa requirements for Djibouti
All visitors are required to have a visa when visiting Djibouti. Getting one is just as easy as it is in Egypt for example (you just purchase it on arrival). It will be valid for 30 days. You can even apply for one online! Mind you, this is the information currently available to me at the time of writing. It’s always wise to check up on current rules and conditions.
From USD$234,- / EUR€210,- a day
From USD$160,- / EUR€143,- a day
Join the Nemo liveaboard for a fantastic dive safari in Djibouti from December to January. Divers will be amazed at the by the diversity of marine life in this pristine area. Departing from Djibouti, the Nemo sets sail for dive sites at Moucha Island, the 7 Brothers, Obok, Tadjoura and Ras Korali. Divers can experience up-close encounters with whale sharks, as well as dolphins, nurse sharks, reef sharks, manta rays and large schools of fish.
From USD$199,- / EUR€178,- a day
The beautiful MSY Elegante is a traditional wooden schooner offering diving trips in Djibouti from November – January each year. During this special time of the year the seas are full of plankton-rich nutrients and whale sharks stop off in Djibouti as part of their annual migration to feed in these waters. Besides whale sharks, divers may also encounter manta rays, as well as diving spectacular reefs and wrecks, far from the Red Sea crowds.
From USD$190,-/EUR€170,- a day
The M/Y Deli is a beautiful Turkish schooner offering exciting dive trips in the Gulf of Tadjourah, Djibouti. Offering a relaxed environment, the MY Deli caters to 12 divers in 6 double/twin cabins. Djibouti dive liveaboard trips are available from October to February each year, when the chances of spotting whale sharks are highest. During these months Djibouti becomes one of the easiest places in the world to see whale sharks.