Filming in Djibouti

Filming in Djibouti.

Are you a media company, brand, ad agency or production company looking for film / photography production support or shooting crew in Djibouti? Contact us for trusted fixers, producers, directors, DoPs, videographers, photographers, and full shooting crews tailored for the specific needs of your project.


For an introduction to Filming  in Djibouti, See below notes on film locations, permits, when to shoot, unique local stories, costs, tax incentives, crews, talent, equipment, communications, art department, studios, post facilities, visas and work permits for filming, transport, film-friendly accommodation, and safety advice.

Djibouti Film Locations.

Djibouti is located in the Horn of Africa on the Gulf of Aden, at the entrance of the Red Sea. It is one of the smallest and least-filmed nations in Africa. The landscape primarily consists of rocky desert, volcanic plateaus and arid mountain ranges. It has virtually no arable land. 

Agricultural is limited to a few wadis, which produce small yields of mostly tomatoes and dates. Nomads herd sheep, goats, and camels. Fishing boats are available for filming. Djibouti mines salt. Energy locations include thermal power plants.

Beau Travail (1999) was set in Djibouti.

Film locations can be divided into the following regions: Djibouti, Ali Sabieh, Arta, Dikhil, Tadjourah, Obock.

Djibouti City is the capital and the largest city. Much of the city is in disrepair. In the European Quarter, Place Menelik has whitewashed French colonial buildings and Moorish arcades lined with cafes and shops. In the African Quarter, the central market sells fruit, vegetables and spices. Other film locations of note include Djibouti National Assembly, People’s Palace, Mosquée Al-Hamoudi, Djibouti Cathedral, Khor Ambado Beach, El Hadj Hassan Gouled Aptidon Stadium, Nagad Railway Station, Port of Djibouti, and Djibouti–Ambouli International Airport. A train runs from Addis Ababa to the Port of Doraleh in Djibouti City. Much of Ethiopia’s international trade passes through Djibouti City.

Djibouti offers easily accessible Red Sea underwater photography looks. The Gulf of Tadjoura and Gulf of Aden have beaches and turquoise waters. Of note are Maskali Island and Moucha Island.

Lake Ghoubbet is a cove separated from the Gulf of Tadjoura by a strong current.

Lake Assal is a crater lake in the Danakil Desert of central Djibouti. It is one of the saltiest bodies of water in the world. Salt is mined by the locals.

Lake Abbe is a salt lake located in the southwest of the country.

The Grand Bara Desert, known for its sand flats, sparse desert grasses and scrub vegetation, crosses southern Djibouti. 

Mousa Ali volcano, located in the north of the country, is Djibouti’s highest point. 

Ardoukôba is an active volcano.

Day Forest National Park is located in the heavily vegetated Goda Mountains. The park is home to a diversity of birdlife including the Djibouti spurfowl.

The nearby Mabla Mountains are another protected forest area.

The country hosts US, French, Chinese, and Japanese military bases.

Djibouti Film Location Permits

Most locations are possible given time, money and the right approach. Unauthorised photography of government buildings, military installations, and other infrastructure such as air and sea ports, bridges, and public buildings, as well as of religious sites, such as mosques, is illegal in Djibouti. You could be fined, arrested and have your photographic equipment confiscated. Filming regular street locations without permission will also attract the unwanted attention of locals. You need to hire a Djiboutian fixer to help you navigate the process. Otherwise, film at your own peril. Please contact us for location specific information.

Best time to film in Djibouti?

Djibouti is very hot and dry between June and August. Dust storms blow in from the desert. October to April is the damp windy season. The best months for underwater photography visibility are from September to May. For monthly weather statistics please see here.

Fest’Horn festival celebrates music from the Horn of Africa in December.

Djibouti is a predominately Muslim country. Ramadan is widely observed with many services closed during this period.

Public holidays may affect timing, availability and costs. See here for public holiday dates in Djibouti.

Unique Local Stories

Brands are looking for local stories that match their brand narrative. Our local teams are a great lead for sourcing those unique stories and characters.

If you are looking for stories for your next shoot, send us your brief and we will pitch you ideas.

If you have a unique story you would like to pitch to a brand anywhere in the world, pitch us your idea. We have well-established processes to ensure that your ideas are properly seen and protected.

Costs & Tax Incentives

Costs. Locations, local talent and support crew are inexpensive but since little to no filming infrastructure exists all key crew and equipment must be brought in from abroad. Our Djiboutian fixer will negotiate local deals and provide the appropriate level of production support to match every budget.

Tax Incentives. At present there are no tax incentives for foreign commercials or films shooting in Djibouti.

Film Crew & Talent

Crews. Djibouti has a very small local pool of directors, videographers and stills photographers. Key crew should be brought in from abroad. Djibouti’s close proximity to Dubai and major European production centers allows easy access to those crews.

Contact us if you are looking for a director, DP, photographer, videographer (cameraman / camera operator), camera assistant (focus puller), sound operator, grip, gaffer, stylist, hair and makeup, PA / runner, production driver, or any other film crew for your shoot in Djibouti.

Talent day rates and buyouts are negotiable.

French and Arabic are the official languages.

The Somalis and Afar are the largest ethnic groups. All other talent needs to be brought in from abroad.

Djibouti Film Equipment.

Equipment. Only the most basic camera, grip and lighting equipment is available locally. You will need to bring in most equipment from abroad.

Communications. Internet slow and access unreliable. Communication is key. Our agility and global experience allows us to customise the right communications systems for every shoot.Web posted casting, scouting, and videoconferencing.

For clients that are unable to attend set we offer a virtual video village solution. This dedicated and secure high-resolution video streaming platform allows clients from one or multiple time zones to view setups without compromise and to participate in real-time with the team on set. Separate systems can be set up for the discrete conversations that are required to make a job run right. Working remotely with our local teams reduces your content production costs, turn around times, carbon footprint, and risks associated with unpredictable global events.

Art Department, Studios, Backlots, & Post Production

Art department and set construction is very basic.

Studios and backlots. None exist at present.

Post Production. Post abroad.

Visas & Work Permits

Crew of all nationalities travelling to Djibouti can obtain a visa on arrival. The visa must be applied for at your closest Djiboutian embassy prior to travelling. The visa is valid for up to 30 days. US passport holders see here for more information. Proof of yellow fever vaccination is required with the application.

Journalists require a letter of accreditation approved in advance by the Ministry of Communication and Culture. U.S. journalists and other journalists working for U.S.-based media institutions should contact the U.S. Embassy’s Public Affairs section at least two weeks prior to travel to facilitate this accreditation process. Journalists who fail to receive an accreditation letter risk arrest, seizure of equipment, and/or expulsion.

Transport & Accommodation

Transportation Infrastructure. Roads outside of Djibouti City are poorly maintained and slow going. It is recommended to avoid driving at night. Our Djiboutian fixer organises safe and reliable 4WD transportation. Several international airlines service flights to Djibouti-Ambouli International Airport.

Accommodation. Recommended film friendly hotels in Djibouti include:

Djibouti Palace Kempinski
Sheraton Djibouti Hotel

Please contact us for corporate rates.

For longer stays we can also organize serviced apartments.

Final Notes

Safety. See here for up to date travel advice.

Down Time. Bathe in the salt waters of Lake Assal. Local cuisine of note include fah-fah, Djiboutian banana fritters, laxoox, cambaboor, mukbaza, skudahkharis, xalwo, sabayaad, and bariis iyo kaluun.

Projects. For an example of TV commercials, stills campaigns, online content, corporate videos, virtual reality 360 content, feature films, TV series and documentaries shot shot in Djibouti .

Hire Djibouti Production Support & Filming Crew

If you are looking for a film or photographic production service company, line producer or fixer for your shoot in Djibouti, please contact us.

If you are looking for a shooting crew for your shoot in Djibouti, such as a director, DoP, photographer, videographer (cameraman / camera operator), camera assistant (focus puller), sound operator, grip, gaffer, stylist, hair and makeup, PA / runner, production driver, please contact us.

We are able to provide you with answers, references and bids quickly.