Djibouti is a country located in, what many call, the Horn of Africa in East Africa, with the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden in the northeast of the country. It is also one of the safest countries in Africa, and certainly the safest in the region.
Djibouti, the capital city of Djibouti (yes, it is true), has many cultural sites like the Hamoudi Mosque. Lac' Assal is a desert with salt beds and black lava, which looks impressive.
The Day Forest National Park is something you have to visit, and the Khor Ambado Beach is a popular beach. You will have a good time in Djibouti.
What may ruin your good time is dealing with an expensive roaming bill you may get from roaming with your provider in Djibouti. Roaming can be expensive in many cases, which is why many travelers prefer to buy local SIM cards to enjoy domestic rates, including Djiboutian ones, and why you searched for buy SIM card Djibouti.
In this article, I will go over everything you need to know about buying a SIM card in Djibouti. Let's get started.
Telecom Operator in Djibouti
Djibouti has only 1 telecom operator, and that is Djibouti Telecom with their mobile brand called Evatis. It has 2G and 3G networks, and 4G/LTE has been tested for a long time right now.
What SIM card should you buy when visiting Djibouti? If you want to buy a SIM card in Djibouti, Djibouti Telecom would be your only choice.
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Like most countries in Africa, you have to show your passport when buying a Djiboutian SIM card.
Because Djibouti Telecom has a monopoly on mobile internet, mobile data in Djibouti is one of the most expensive in East Africa. However, it can still be seen as affordable, depending on the prices back at home.
There is not much more to say about Djibouti, so let’s see what Djibouti Telecom has to offer to us.
Video Guide for Buying a SIM Card in Djibouti
Evatis by Djibouti Telecom
Evatis by Djibouti Telecom is the sole operator in Djibouti. Their 3G network reaches most parts of the country, and you can expect decent 3G speeds at around 10 Mbps.
You can buy an Evatis SIM card for 1000 DJF ($5.60) in Djibouti Telecom stores or various electronics shops. You can buy top-up vouchers ranging from 500 DJF to 10 000 DJF in multiple stores. To check your Evatis credit balance, you have to dial *168#. Additionally, dial *165# to see your data balance.
Evatis has various data and combo packs available, which can be purchased by dialing *164#:
- 100 DJF: 50 MB for 1 day
- 300 DJF: 250 MB for 2 days
- 500 DJF: 1 GB for 3 days
- 500 DJF: 20 MB, 30 minutes, and 20 SMS, for 30 days
- 2000 DJF: 100 MB, 120 minutes, and 50 SMS for 30 days
- 5000 DJF: 500 MB, 180 minutes, and 100 SMS for 30 days
Other Ways to Stay Connected When Traveling in Djibouti
Now you know everything about buying a SIM card in Djibouti, but what are your other options? Although buying a local SIM card is almost always the cheapest option, the cheapest option would be using free WIFI connections in Djibouti, but you can also roam with your provider in Djibouti, use an international SIM card in Djibouti, or use a mobile hotspot in Djibouti. Let’s see what our options are.
Using Free WIFI hotspots in Djibouti
Using something free is always better than paying for something. However, sometimes, free stuff may be of bad quality. Sure, you do not have to pay anything for using a free hotspot (unless you are required to purchase a beverage or meal at an establishment), but it may be a challenge to find a free hotspot. Moreover, the connection may be so slow that it is practically useless.
In the case of Djibouti, you can find many hotspots in or near hotels. Besides that, it may be hard to find an open hotspot.
Do note that public hotspots are unsecure. Hackers love to steal sensitive information on unprotected connections because it is apparently easy to do so. That is why I use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) when using a public hotspot, and I would encourage you to do so too.
What a VPN does is creating an encrypted tunnel between your device and the hotspot so that your data will stay private. I use NordVPN, and you can get up to 70% off when you get a NordVPN subscription. Get your NordVPN subscription now!
Roaming with Your Provider in Djibouti
Roaming is a term used in wireless telecommunication that indicates a mobile device is outside the range of its home network and has connected to a different, available cell network. Let’s say your provider is UTS Bonaire then you would be roaming with UTS Bonaire in Djibouti.
Roaming may be the most convenient way of using your phone abroad. You do not have to buy a new SIM card, which, in turn, means you do not have to swap SIM cards. As a result, your friends and family from home can easily reach you on your cell. With many providers, the only thing you need to do is to turn on the data roaming setting on your phone, and you are good to go.
No idea how roaming works? I made this comprehensive guide about what roaming is and how it works. It is worth the read – promised!
Although roaming with your provider may be the most convenient way of staying connected in Djibouti, it can also be the most expensive option. There have been many horror stories where people have racked up roaming bills up in the thousands and even more than ten thousand.
Luckily, many providers have affordable roaming plans, allow you to roam for free in some destinations like Djibouti, or allow you to use your plan’s allowance in Djibouti. For example, with Virgin Mobile Canada, you can use your plan’s allowance for 12 Canadian dollars per day. This may be affordable in some destinations for a small number of days, but it will be expensive for prolonged periods.
If you are unsure about the roaming options of your provider, I have written many articles about roaming with various operators around the world. I analyze them in-depth and give you my advice on whether you should roam with your provider or not. If yes, I also state for how long you should roam to take the most advantage of the offer.
One thing that should be avoided at all costs is to Pay As You Go roaming where you pay per minute, SMS, or MB. This is how many people get expensive roaming bills because the roaming prices for data are usually extremely high.
If you want to roam, make sure to get a roaming plan. Unless your provider offers extremely low Pay As You Go roaming rates, which is only a handful of providers, then you can consider doing so. Furthermore, if your provider lets you roam for free in Djibouti, then you should go for it. Just note that your speeds will be lower as a roamer than if you were to buy a Djiboutian SIM card.
Using an International SIM Card in Djibouti
International SIM cards are SIM cards that work internationally. Most SIM cards do work abroad, but then you have to roam with your provider. International SIM cards, however, let’s you use one SIM card in many destinations around the world for, often, the same price. This way, your friends and families can still reach out to you while traveling.
International SIM cards are, however, much more expensive than buying a local SIM card in many cases, but they are often cheaper than to roam with your provider. There are many international SIM card providers out there, but a few providers I can recommend are OneSimCard, SimOptions, Surfroam, BNESIM, and SimCorner.
International SIM cards are useful for those who frequently travel for leisure or for business. That way, everyone can reach you on one number instead of a handful of local numbers scattered around the world.
Moreover, many destinations in the world require you to register yourself before you can buy a local SIM card. In some countries, the process is quick, while others require much more of your time. Furthermore, the registration process may be cumbersome in countries.
Finally, the language barrier may be off-putting to some. It can be a challenge dealing with a salesperson who does not understand you. They may try and sell you the most expensive option out there. Luckily, you know the prices of SIM cards and packs in Djibouti, so you cannot be taken advantage of.
My recommendation, however, is to get a local SIM card if you are only visiting one destination. If you are visiting multiple destinations in one trip, an international SIM card could be handy. If you want to learn more about international SIM cards, check out my international SIM card comparison article, where I analyze 10 international SIM card providers so that you do not have to.
Using a Mobile Hotspot in Djibouti
A mobile hotspot is a portable, battery-powered wireless router that allows you to connect your phone, laptop, or tablet without needing multiple SIM cards for those devices to be connected to the internet. They are compact and lightweight so that you take them along with you whenever you need internet access on the go.
Many companies have created mobile hotspots (just have a quick search on Amazon, for example, you will find many). Skyroam, Vision Global Wireless, and Travelwifi are reputable pocket WIFI providers I know. You can get a discount if you rent a router through Skyroam by using coupon code PHONETRAVELWIZ. Cellular access with Skyroam starts at $8 a day while using a Vision Global device starts at $2 a day. Travelwifi offers Teppy, the name of the pocket WIFI, starting from $7 per day. All these services cover more than 130 destinations around the world.
I often recommend mobile hotspots to those who are traveling in groups or with families. They can save groups a lot of money if they are visiting destinations where buying multiple SIM cards would become an expensive endeavor.
I recently wrote an article analyzing the 7 Best Mobile Hotspots for Travelers like yourself, which should be an interesting read if pocket WIFI is something you are considering. I do reviews of individual devices every now and then, so check out my mobile hotspot category to stay up to date.
The Best Way to Stay Connected When Traveling in Djibouti
Getting a SIM card from Evatis by Djibouti Telecom would be your only option when considering a Djiboutian SIM card. Be sure to explore the roaming options your provider offers you, as they may offer free or cheap roaming bundles.
You could also consider getting an international SIM card or using a portable hotspot. International SIM cards like OneSimCard, SimOptions, Surfroam, BNESIM, and SimCorner are attractive for those visiting multiple destinations at once or within a year. Portable hotspots like Skyroam, Vision Global Wireless, and Travelwifi will be useful when traveling with multiple people so that not each individual has to get a SIM card but can use the hotspot.
Going to other countries in East Africa and Southeast Africa? Check out my East Africa SIM card buying guide, covering other East African nations, such as Botswana, Burundi, Comoros, Eswatini (Swaziland) Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mayotte, Mozambique, Réunion, Rwanda, Seychelles, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
What about other places in Africa? My Africa SIM card buying guide covers all African destinations, such as Algeria, Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Egypt, Ghana, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Sudan, and Tunisia.
Going to other places around the world? Then you should also check out my sim card buying guides for other destinations around the world.
What is next?
Looking for the best companies and gadgets to enhance your travel experience? Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel! Save money on plane tickets, bus rides, cruises, and accommodation. Besides that, I also list services and items I use to make my life easier – and I believe they will help you too!
Book Your Flight for Djibouti
It is time to book your flight. Find cheap flights with AirWander so that you can add free or cheap stopovers in destinations you have not considered yet before going to Djibouti. If you are not ready to take off yet, set up flight alerts with Airfarewatchdog, and they will notify you once ticket prices to Djibouti drop.
Book Your Accommodation for Djibouti
I am a huge fan of Airbnb because it allows me to live with a local or get a local place for myself. Staying in someone’s house or apartment feels much different than being in a ho(s)tel, especially in Djibouti. At least, that is how I see it. Moreover, Airbnb can often be much cheaper than staying in a Djiboutian hotel.
Get Your Travel Insurance for Djibouti
You will regret not having travel insurance once you actually need it and “forgot” to get it. Nowadays, travel insurance is cheap and comprehensive unlike back in the days. World Nomads is by far the best travel insurance for adventurous travelers like yourself. You can even get insured WHILE already traveling in Djibouti, which is not something many insurance companies allow you to do.
Get a Travel Debit Card
Travel Cheques are outdated. Paying with your credit card or debit card can be expensive because of all the exchange commissions banks charge you. TransferWise allows you to convert your main currency to the local currency for a small fee (up to 8 times less than with your bank!) Getting a Transferwise Borderless account is FREE, so you will get an instant return on your investment.
Enjoy your trip!