Djibouti is mainly a stony desert, with scattered plateaus and highlands. There are a few small towns to the west and south of the capital; the village of Ouhea (or Oue'a), with a little over 6,000 people, lies just to the west on the way to the small town of Arta. A road branches off south towards the town of Ali Sabieh, on the border with Ethiopia. Further to the south west, across the desert at Grand Bara is Dikhil, a town of 30,000 people in the country's south.
The Afar people, essentially nomadic pastoralists, live, apart from in Djibouti, also in Eritrea and Ethiopia. The name "Danakil" refers to the northern Afars, while the southern group can be called "Adel". They call themselves "Qafár" and their language belongs to the Cushitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family. The men, many of whom seem to be armed, wear the "sanafil" (waist cloth) and a shawl around their torso while married women wear a coloured "sanafil" and a black head scarf.
The Issa are a clan of "Soomaaliyeed", Somali people, the same type of people as in Somalia, but also in northern Kenya, western Ethiopia (the Ogaden) and in Djibouti. They also speak a Cushitic language and have a long and illustrious history, with several powerful Somali empires in existence in the Middle Ages. Because the Somali lands were divided up by Great Britain, Italy, France and Ethiopia, resulting in the present national boundaries, many Somalis have argued for a united Pan-Somali state.