Djibouti is out of this world. It’s a claim no travel writer should ever make, but it really is as if a great chunk of Mars has been carved out and jigsawed on to the Horn of Africa.

Seated on the Afar Triple Junction, –, the meeting-point for three of the Earth’s tectonic plates, which are pulling slowly away from one another – Djibouti is a jostle of black volcanic rock, flat plains haunted by dust devils and a brilliant-blue coastline, bulging out into the Gulf of Aden. These are the raw lands that 20-year-old Wilfred Thesiger travelled through in the 1930s and later featured in his&nbsp;<i>Danakil Diaries</i>&nbsp;travelogue.

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Lake Assal in Djibouti