Obock is a port town in Djibouti.
Obock is a small port town in located on the northern shore of the Gulf of Tadjoura.
During the Middle Ages, Obock was ruled by the Ifat Sultanate and the Adal Sultanate. It later formed a part of the French Somaliland protectorate in the first half of the 20th century. Obock was originally significant as the site of the first French colony in the region, established by treaty with the local Afar rulers on March 11, 1862. The French interest was in having a coaling station for steamships, which would become especially important upon the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869. (Up to that time French ships had to buy coal at the British port of Aden across the gulf, an unwise dependency in case of war.) By 1885, Obock had 800 inhabitants and a school. However, the anchorage was more exposed than the site of Djibouti on the south side of the Gulf of Tadjoura, and the colonial administration moved there in 1894. Subsequently the population of Obock declined.
Obock is a major town for the passage of migrants, headed east for Yemen and Saudi Arabia in hopes of economic opportunity; as well as refugees fleeing the violence in Yemen.
There is a ferry, twice a week, from Djibouti to Obock, making the round trip in about eight hours. On other days you can take this ferry to Tadjoura, near the western end of the Gulf of Tadjoura.
Rent a car in Djibouti City. You'll need a 4x4, as the road can be a little rough in certain parts. It's a four hour drive from Djibouti City, with scenery reminiscent of driving on the moon. Worth the trek if you have the time and resources.
Eat at the Restaurant Bonjour, which has an excellent saffron rice and fish dish.