Lac Assal the lake of salt in Djibouti Paradise
I lived in what I call Djibouti paradise for two years, and every time I went home for my R&R and I would speak with a new friend it would always be the same initial conversation.
Friend – So Alan what are you up to?
me – I’m living and working in Djibouti
Friend – your living in Giiiiii…… what is that? Where is Djibouti.
me – Djibouti is a small country in the horn of Africa, it is right between Somalia and Ethiopia.
Friend – isn’t it dangerous?
me – no, not at all, Djibouti is paradise, it is a true a diamond in the rough.
Now don’t get me wrong. Djibouti ranks almost last in whatever country statistic you look at, be it agriculture, GDP, country size or even FIFA (Nation Master). Living there for two years lets you see that almost everything needs to be improved. I was there for the construction of the new port terminal, the major driver for the economy. During these two years we employed and trained over 1000 local workers, did many social projects to support the local communities, and made some good local friends.
Djibouti paradise, as a group of us that worked there calls it, is really a diamond in the rough, and if looked at a little more carefully could really be a beautiful place to travel to. You may say, how can a country that borders Somalia, one of the most dangerous countries to live in the world, be such a paradise?
The first reason is there is no incentive to go into Djibouti, there is no oil, gas, metal or any other natural resource to take. And more than half of the population are Somali that have taken refugee in Djibouti. The second reason is, which some might consider the first, Djibouti is base to the US military, the French military, and the Foreign Legion. So you take a country with no natural resources and a whole lot of military, and you end up getting on of the safest places in the world. The two years I was there, with many late night outs and many camping trips in the middle of the desert, and not once did anything unsafe happen.
Now you may ask me, but what is there to do in Djibouti. Well let me tell you. Today will take a look at one of the natural beauties it has to offer.
One of the most famous places is Lac Assal, or Lake of Salt, it is the lowest point in Africa at 156 meters below sea level. As you can see from the pictures the shore line is covered in salt crystals. There are also hot springs around the lake that are heated from geothermal activities. It is an amazing experience to swim in the lake and anyone can do it, even if you don’t know how to swim, because the water is so dense from all of the salt that your body floats. The water is so filled with energy you can feel your body being rejuvenated as you float in the lake and enjoy the natural beauty and the sun. After your rejuvenation, you walk over to your local vendor to buy some salt crystals to take home.
Visiting lac assal is an unforgettable experience and a must for those visiting Djibouti paradise. In later posts we will explorer sables blanc, crabs, and my experience chewing khat.