Les Gravures Rupestre d'Abourma
Les Gravures Rupestre d'Abourma is part of the Tentative list of Djibouti in order to qualify for inclusion in the World Heritage List.
The rock carvings of Abourma comprise thousands of engravings from various periods, the earliest dating back to prehistory. Basalt walls hold images of humans and animals in hunting and war scenes. This remote site was rediscovered in 2008.
Map of Les Gravures Rupestre d'AbourmaLoad map
The coordinates shown for all tentative sites were produced as a community effort. They are not official and may change on inscription.
In my quest to visit every country and having Djibouti on my radar since childhood (no clue why, I have this with a few countries) I had no choice to book it when KLM Air France had great mileage redemption tickets. I visited all TWHS as I had a week due to just one flight a week.
The Abourma Rock Art was in the top 3 places I wanted to see in Djibouti. It's also said it will be the first inscription for Djibouti within the next few years. UNESCO is putting in place already a conservation plan and helping Djibouti with the submission files. This will be a nice remote site to tick off in the future. It's "impossible" to do as a day trip from Djibouti city. You must stay overnight at Foret Du Day (another TWHS). From there it's a 2-hour rocky off-road drive + a 5-hour total hike to see ALL the art. If you just want to see a few on the 3km stretch, then 3.5 hours works. I opted to see all or most of the art. Keep in mind the hike is rocky for the most part and no shade, 35-40 degrees C and dry as hell. I finished 5 litres of water. Getting there is a lot of fun! Note: you do NOT go there from Randa as that involves a much longer hike.
The site was discovered in 2008 by a French Archeologist. Actually, we must say discovered by the west as local people knew about the site. I was told that the archeologist was doing research at some (minor) rock art in northern Djibouti. He always went in the weekend and had lunch in Randa. One day, the restaurant owner there was curious why he always had lunch there. He then showed the rock art from the northern Djibouti. The restaurant owner said, “Oh we have that as well!”. The next day they made the 6-hour one way hike from Randa (thank you French army for making a “road” that saves 4 hours). He was amazed. A month later he came back and stayed 3 months archiving all the rock art at Abourma.
The site: It is indeed amazing. I have seen some rock art, but this really is just great. There is plenty of animals, some hunters on the scenes. Antelopes, gazelles, ostriches, giraffes, and the guide even made on a dinosaur. I let him believe that. It is indeed about a 3-kilometer stretch on a rocky basalt hill. All bigger flatter stones are covered in rock art. Some have a lot (see photo) but some just a pair of ostriches with babies. I had a great time, and yes, this deserves WHS status!
Practical tips in general:
Getting to Djibouti: This is already not easy as there is not that many flight options.
Getting around: Public transport is not possible to the TWHS sites. There is none for most of the part. You need a strong 4x4 (especially to Abourma which is rough and technically for some parts). Djibouti is expensive. Car plus driver plus guide is easy 250 usd a day. I did drive parts myself including Abourma as I love driving off road.
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2015 Added to Tentative List
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