We are attempting to cross Africa south to north, but with the current crisis in Sudan, we fear to be stuck in Ethiopia.

Any chance to catch a boat in, say, Djibouti to cross the Red Sea to Saudi Arabia?


We can of course fly out, but if anyhow possible, we want to tackle the route overland, i.e., without flying. (Original plan was to go from Port Sudan to Jeddah)

We'll definitely want to avoid areas with civic unrest let alone civil war, so ferries from Djibouti to Yemen are - unfortunately - no option for us.

As far as I have read, land borders between Ethiopia/Djibouti and Eritrea are still closed (and even if, getting a visa for Eritrea at a land border would be next to impossible), so going to Eritrea first and hoping to catch a ferry there is not an option, either.

Looking at a map, the only viable option therefore looks like a sea crossing from Djibouti to Saudi Arabia. Does anybody know, if ferries/boats operate on this route?

Would be great, if you prove me wrong and there are other options as well!

  • 1
    Are there any relevant details missing in the question. If the concern is getting stuck in Ethiopia, the probably most obvious solutions would be to get a plane ticket from there to anywhere else in the world. Are there any constraints in your plans requiring you to go by boat to Saudia Arabia? If there are ferries from Djibouti across the Red Sea, I would also assume they are going to Yemen and not Saudi Arabia. Commented Apr 23, 2023 at 20:40
  • The Wikivoyage articles for Djibouti and Yemen state there are ferry services between them, but provide no details.
    – MastaBaba
    Commented Apr 24, 2023 at 4:35
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    @MastaBaba if one is seeking to avoid civil wars, Yemen is probably not the place to go, even assuming the ferries are still running.
    – mlc
    Commented Apr 24, 2023 at 4:57
  • @Tor-EinarJarnbjo hopefully clarified my question Commented Apr 24, 2023 at 7:50
  • That's obvious, @mlc. Though as far as I can see, there are no other ferries from Djibouti to the Arabian peninsula.
    – MastaBaba
    Commented Apr 25, 2023 at 3:12

2 Answers 2


Maybe by now, you already know this, but this is impossible. There aren't even any good alternatives. I mapped these regions with ferry routes two years ago and many of the normal routes even stopped existing after COVID-19. let alone strange routes from Djibouti to Saudi Arabia (way too long and cities are not big enough, etc., etc.)

We'll definitely want to avoid areas with civic unrest, let alone civil war

Then don't do travel challenges in these parts of the world. ;) Or fly from South Africa to Cairo!

  • 2
    Downvote because of the patronizing comment about flying from SA to Cairo. Commented Oct 26, 2023 at 4:28
  • 3
    You may not like the answer but "no" is sometimes the only right answer.
    – Willeke
    Commented Oct 26, 2023 at 4:48
  • 3
    Not worried about the „no“, but really annoyed about „don’t travel in these parts„ and „fly across the whole continent“. This is not helpful but insulting Commented Oct 27, 2023 at 18:57
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    You are also talking very lightly about it, if you for instance, look at the travel advice for Ethiopia it's already on the edge: gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/ethiopia. But you have a point though, I could have written it without that.
    – Jochem
    Commented Oct 30, 2023 at 8:16

The Ethiopia - Eritrea and Djibouti - Eritrea borders seem to be reopened again. Also, you could take a cargo ship; CMA-CGM seems to have a service from Djibouti - Berbera - Massawa - Jeddah. Or, you could go all the way around through Uganda, DRC, Nigeria, Mauritania, Western Sahara, and Morocco and then up through Europe (to avoid Libya), taking a ferry across the Caspian (avoiding Russia and Iran), through Xinjiang, down through Pakistan to India (saving the hassle of a Tibet permit), taking a dhow or cargo ship to UAE (or the now non-existent Karachi - Dubai ferry, or in the future the planned Kochi - Dubai ferry) (avoiding Syria, Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan), then overlanding it to Jeddah where you can take the Jeddah-Suez ferry or just go overland to Egypt. Or just go through Iran and then to the Bandar Abbas - Dubai ferry. Or fly.

  • None of the options given here seem feasible, tbh. And some route suggestions even don’t make much sense. Commented Feb 28 at 18:32

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