Travel to Tadjoura – Djibouti’s Oldest Town

Tadjoura is the oldest town in Djibouti, and is the capital of the Tadjourah Region. Lying on the Gulf of Tadjoura, it is home to a population of around 25,000 people. Tadjoura is home to an airstrip and is linked by ferry with Djibouti City. It is also known for its whitewashed buildings and nearby beaches.

The Afar name Tagórri derives from the noun tágor or tógor, The name Tagórri is specifically derived from tagór-li, which means “qui a des outre à puiser” (“that which has goatskin flasks to draw water”), in effect meaning “abondante en eau” (“abundant with water”).

Tadjoura originally was the seat of the Afar Ad-Ali Abli Sultanate as well as a port. While during the 1880s the port served as a distribution point for rifles and ammunition to Shewa and Ethiopia. Tadjoura’s importance inevitably declined with the construction of the Franco-Ethiopian railway, which began service on 22 July 1901, extended to Dire Dawa 17 months later, and finally to Addis Ababa on 3 December 1929.

Tadjoura has a backdrop of the Goda Mountains and a distinctly Arab, it dates back to the 12th century and is one of the oldest towns on the East African coast. For many years numerous caravans departed from here on a tough and hostile journey into the empire of Abyssinia (now Ethiopia). Rimbaud also spent a year here in 1886 and the house in which he stayed can still be seen today. The local artisans are also of some interest: the famous curved knife of the Afar nomads, known as poignard, are made in the town. A stroll around the palm tree-lined streets to perhaps search out a couple of the seven mosques makes for a good trip.

Simply stroll around this historic African town absorbing the sights, sounds and smells. Or close to Tadjoura you will find some good beaches and places to go diving where you’ll see drop-offs to twenty meters, large schools of trevally, barracuda and batfish as well as giant reef rays and turtles.

  • Scuba dive to see an abundance of marine life.
  • Relax on beautiful beaches.
  • Sample superb seafood dishes.


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