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Djibouti lies in Northwestern Africa on the Red Sea. Neighboring countries include Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Somalia. Djibouti is a gateway to northern Africa. Landlocked countries, such as Ethiopia, must pay to ship their goods out of Djibouti’s ports. The country was a French territory until 1977. Even today, thousands of French troops remain there keeping the peace. The U.S. also has troops in Djibouti to help curb terrorism in this part of the world.

Djibouti is a hot, dry, barren country. Most of the land is desert. One of the main exports is salt. The intense heat here causes water in lakes to evaporate, leaving behind salt and other minerals. Nomads raise sheep and goats.

Fun Geography for Kids on Djibouti – Flag of a Djibouti

Fun Facts

  • 923,000 people live here.
  • The country has 8,950 square miles of land.
  • The main languages include French, Arabic, Somali and Afar.
  • The life expectancy is 59 years.


  1. Gateway: providing entry
  2. Landlock: surrounded by land; without access to the sea
  3. Goods: food, clothing, equipment and other items for trade and sale
  4. Curb: discourage, stop, restrain
  5. Barren: empty, desolate, with few trees, plants or water
  6. Evaporate: when water becomes a vapor

Learn More

Visit National Geographic to see photos of salt fields in Djibouti.

Extra Credit

Question: What do people do to earn a living here?

Answer: People work in the salt mines or raise livestock. Many people work around the ports or provide services for French and U.S. troops. Half of the country’s income comes from the troops. Djibouti gets money from other countries.