Map of Eritrea
Location and geography
Border conflict with Ethiopia
Economy & currency
News, links, books and more
Mendefera (Adi Ugri)
Semenawi Bahri (Filfil)
Frequently asked questions
- I will go to Asmara. Can you give me some personal advice?
- Do not:
- believe every sad story.
- accept services (taxi's) before you know the price.
- change money on the streets (use the exchange offices).
- picture any military or military object (including the airport)
- - travel outside Asmara without explicit
permission from the Ministry of Tourism or Information.
- drink unboiled water or suwa.
- - Make some kind of planning including "plan B" for
every day of your visit.
- - Collect local telephone numbers of people you trust.
- - Buy the book "The
Bradt Travel Guide to Eritrea".
- - Buy your handkerchiefs, chewing gum, from the children in
- "Mastika! Mastika!" - Asmara children working for
a better family income.
- Is it like everywhere in Africa that without money (bribes, tips)
- NO, please do not try to bribe. Eritrea is quite different from
most African countries. Bribery will be regarded as an insult / crime.
- What currency shall I take with me?
- Any of the currencies mentioned on our page about the Nakfa
will be ok to change at the Himbol exchange offices and Commercial Bank of
Eritrea. Euros and US dollars are accepted by major banks, hotels and travel
- What to drink? Shall I take some water disinfectants?
- It is best to drink mineral water (mai or mai gaz). Beer, Coca Cola, tea, or coffee are available in all cities.
If you are invited to a coffee ceremony, please accept the invitation. The local
alcoholic is "araki", it tastes like ouzo. Do not forget to take a large bottle
of mineral water with you when traveling to Massawa or the Dahlak Islands.
Mineral water is widely available. I cannot think
of any reason to take water disinfectants.
- Drinking warm Coca Cola without fizz is a perfect solution when your
stomach is infected by bacteria (diarrhea) in combination with Loperamide.
- I'm about to go out there myself to work for ..... months. What you do you think I
shall be taking with me - essentials.
- Most of the more common goods like clothing are available in Eritrea, so I should not buy to much of them but take some extra
dollars to Eritrea to do some shopping. Don't forget your prescribed medicine.
You may not find your favorite brand of toothpaste or chewing gum. I never
found my favorite brand of filter coffee, but who cares if a cup of cappuccino
will only cost you a few Nakfas? A luggage
checklist is listed on our luggage page.
- Can you tell us something of your own experiences in Eritrea?
- please read the notes on my
journeys through Eritrea. The highlights are:
2006 Festival Eritrea in the Asmara Expo
2006 The hike to Mai Habar
The hike to Muscha
2016 Independence Day celebrations
- What do I bring as a gift?
- Eritrea is a very
poor country. So the most accepted gift in Eritrea is just money. If you are invited to
have diner (with friends) or to join a coffee ceremony, or a wedding, just give
100 - 200 Nakfa (12,5 euro's / 13,33 dollars). I also use to take a lot of low weight business gifts
(pencils) with me, and balloons or beach balls for the children. Like all
children the Eritrean kids like sweets. Buy a few postcards from your
home town to give to the dearest friends you make, or give / send them a copy of the
pictures you make of them in Eritrea. When
you visit friends, some pastry, a small cake, coffee beans, sugar, tea,
hembesha, or fruits will be a nice gift. The women are very happy with "chocolata"
and / or perfume. The men are happy with whisky. I would advise to take plenty of Paracetamol or aspirins. You can use it as a gift as well, when your holidays
- NOTE: Do you have friends or colleagues that play tennis? Ask them to collect
the balls that do not bounce as they should do for a tennis player. For children
who do not have any toys they are a perfect gift.
If invited for a party or coffee ceremony, some pastry will be a nice gift.
"Congratulations - 12th anniversary of liberation - May 24th 2003"
The Eritrean kids are happy with sweets, a pen,
or a ball.
Or plush animals for the babies in Asmara orphanage.
- I would like to have a 'personal guide' for two weeks. How much will that
- The salary of a school teacher is 1000 -1500 Nakfa
a month, so I
think 200 - 500 Nakfa
per day is enough for a driver or a guide (and you will pay for his meals,
drinks and bus tickets). Please negotiate the price in advance! And be very
careful because there are thousands of people who would like to earn some money
as a guide. Those who want a professional guide (with or without a car) should
contact one of the
travel agentsl in Asmara, or contact Dawit Berhane at 07 254230 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dawit is a professional guide for guided
tours in the Asmara area.
- Can you send us some information about . . . . .
- Our web pages are just a hobby and we do not have any budget to send you
any printed materials. We only offer pdf files of the major hotels. If your destination is Eritrea, the
tourism office of the
Eritrean Ministry of Tourism is on Harnet Avenue, next to the Sweet Asmara
Caffee. It is worth visiting for up-to-date information.
- Can you tell me anything about the price level in Eritrea?
- Budgeting is very personal, depending on how much time you
are spending in Eritrea, the required luxury and your program in
I have given some examples of prices in our pages about Asmara
and on our page about transport we give some prices for
car rental. The prices quoted are
of February 2017, when the exchange rate was 15 Nakfa per US dollar. The
prices in US dollars tend to be stable.
- What will it cost to rent a house?
- These prices vary with the quality of the house, if it is furnished
or not and the rental period. Prices range from 150-1000 US dollars per
- Is it safe to walk on your own in Eritrea?
- I have visited the country myself since 1998 and every year
since. I have never experienced
any harassment, theft, or other threats, even at night and when I was hiking
in the countryside.
If there is any danger, a travel
permit to the area will not be issued.
- This unmitigated feel of safety is also one of my best memories of
Eritrea, and a good reason to come back every year. The Eritrean people have a lot of the few things in life that are
free, and they generously
hand it out to visitors. The Eritreans are honest, helpful, hospitable and friendly.
- What places should I visit in Eritrea?
- Itineraries are subjective, dependent on how must time
you have to explore Eritrea, your style of travel, and your interests. Asmara, Massawa and Keren are the absolute musts on
any visit to Eritrea. Below I have listed my personal opinion on the most
likely destinations in Eritrea. Allocate your time realistically and
efficiently, visiting Nacfa, Agordat and Barentu from Keren instead of Asmara.
For a more detailed Itinerary, please buy or borrow the The
Bradt Travel Guide to Eritrea to select places of interest.
- Be sure to get updated information from an Eritrean Embassy if you are planning to travel to Eritrea. You are kindly advised to visit the office of the Eritrean Ministry of Tourism (Harnet Avenue, Asmara) to inquire for necessary documents to travel through Eritrea (Foreigners Permit to Travel).
*) Ratings are based on the best hotel(s)
available in town.
**) Travel permits to these destinations will not be issued to individuals.
Please contact a travel
agent in Asmara.
***) To visit archeological sites, a permit is needed from the National Museum
(150 Nakfa). Please contact a travel
agent in Asmara.
February 2017 data. Source: Ministry of Tourism -
Tourism Service Center Asmara.