Djibouti - Post Report Question and Answers

How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

Things are expensive and not always available, but what is available is generally of good quality. We have two major French supermarkets, which stock French groceries and supplies. Fresh vegetables and fruits are hit or miss, so we use a lot of frozen alternatives, and occasionally something surprising (like sugar) will be out of stock for a couple months. You learn to buy multiples of anything you like, to tide you over until it comes back into stock. Overall, it's not bad. - May 2022

Expensive but if you go shopping without a specific meal plan in mind you'll be fine. Frustrating that sometimes you might need a particular ingredient that's been there every week for the past 6 weeks, but the time you need it it's not available. Go to the local produce markets for better selection and prices. Stock up when you find something you like. Seriously miss several food items we found and there - dijon mustard, snacks, a particular cheese, etc. - Sep 2020

Lots of French foods are available and most items are not processed (like the inexpensive food at camp). Food in town is expensive. - Apr 2018

Djibouti has a handful of supermarkets, including Casino (a French-owned chain) which is expensive. A basket of goods (e.g., cheese, bread, pasta, lunch meat, milk, eggs) can run more than $30 or $40USD. It is easy to leave Casino having spent $200 with only 3-4 shopping bags. Luckily, there is an Ethiopian supermarket called Bambi's, which sells some fresh meats, dry goods, household supplies, beer/wine/liquor and it's more reasonable. Nougaprix is a local supermarket downtown with a broader selection of fruits/veggies and household goods. Cash Centre, located near the Kempinski hotel, has a decent (and expensive) selection of household supplies/decorative items, dry goods, and some frozen products. They now have a bakery on site, so don't go hungry! Djibouti also has Camp Lemonnier, the U.S. military base. They have a small Navy Exchange (NEX) and many mission personnel shop there for American snack brands, household items (cleaning supplies, toothpaste, beauty products, etc), DVDs, work out clothes, and electronics - all tax-free. The NEX is a nice supplement to the local market. - Jun 2016

The French store Casino has nearly everything but it's expensive. There are alternatives and local produce stands that are good if you don't store it long. - Aug 2015

Most things are on the pricey side, since nearly everything is imported, but some things are surprisingly affordable. Diplomats and those working for NGOs can use a company called Seven Seas to order frozen and canned foods in bulk. - Feb 2013

EXPENSIVE! Everything is imported. Do not be surprised if you spend $300 at the grocery store in one visit - with only 2 bags of groceries to show for it. Food comes into Djibouti at the end of the week, and that is when everyone goes (and you'll go too). Take advantage of your consumables allowance. Why pay $3 for a can of tomato paste when you can get it for $0.50 at Giant? A small example, but when you're using 30 cans of tomato paste... - Apr 2010

Plan for things to be expensive. That's what the COLA was for. But while things are expensive, I found most things I would need were available. You could eat pretty normally and equip your house pretty normally. There were five decent grocery stores, nothing like Safeway, but they had what you would need. If your favorite brand of boxed milk ran out of stock, it might be a few weeks before the next shipment came in. But there was always another brand or another option. One of the grocery stores even carried block cheddar cheese, and the best grocery store had an amazing selection of French cheese. One thing not available: really good bread. You could get small, expensive loaves of Pain Complet, and the ubiquitous, cheap, baguette. And very expensive commercial brioche. But not much else. - Aug 2008

It's limited availability and extremely expensive. Djibouti is one of the most expensive places to live overseas. - Apr 2008

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