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Understand that almost any time you go to Djibouti, it’s going to be hot.

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The country on the horn of Africa lies in the Afar Triangle, one of the lowest-lying and hottest places on Earth. Much of the country is desert and sits below sea level, and you can take it to extremes at Lake Assal, an eerie turquoise lake 500 feet below sea level surrounded by black lava fields where you can windsurf both on the water and, if you have wheels, on land.

Its position between the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden also makes Djibouti a fantastic place for scuba diving, as some beaches even offer shore dives to the reefs of the Red Sea. The best diving in Djibouti, however, is in the Gulf of Tadjoura, where from about September to May you’ll find crystal-clear water and not many people to share it with. If you want to see all those colorful fish but lack a scuba certification, you can also visit the Tropical Aquarium in Djibouti City, which has large exhibits on Red Sea marine life.

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