Abourma Rock Art Site

Top choice archaeological site

in Djibouti

This superb archaeological site features well-preserved rock engravings dating back to Neolithic times, which are striking both for their rich complexity and their incredible variety. Many of the engravings depict animals that are no longer found in the area – giraffes, cows, antelopes, kudus, oryxes and ostriches. Human figures are also represented. The rock art works were uncovered by a team of French archaeologists in 2008. Some 30km northeast of Randa, the site is only accessible on foot.

The usual starting point for the hike is the tiny Afar settlement of Giba Gebiley, about 22km north of Randa. You’ll need a rented 4WD with driver to get here. From Giba Gebiley, allow eight hours there and back. Following the completion in 2014 of a dirt road from Giba Gebiley, it's now possible to drive nearer to the site (provided the dirt road is well maintained) and reduce the duration of the walk to a much more manageable two hours return. You’ll be rewarded with spectacular landscapes consisting of undulating rocky hills, small gorges, barren ridges and vast expanses of chaotic boulders.

A knowledgeable guide (usually somebody from Randa who has worked with the archaeologists) is mandatory and can be arranged through Agence Safar in Djibouti City for around DFr5000.

There are no facilities at all and no shade, so bring several litres of water, as well as a hat and plenty of sunscreen.