Positioned for dramatic effect on the Horn of Africa, this petite nation is in the process of being ripped in three by diverging tectonic plates. Magma seethes beneath ever-thinning crust; Martian-like deserts spew steam from fumaroles; and sunken lakeshores glisten with huge salt crystals. In geological terms, this is a sprint finish. But in human terms, this is spectacularly slow motion – a reason to make travel plans to this extreme desert landscape, not cancel them! Add intoxicating culture (visit Djibouti City’s African and European quarters), beckoning beaches and incredible whale shark diving, and you have even more reasons to hop on a plane, or ride the brand-new train, to witness Mother Nature at her brutal best in 2018.