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Asmara (Asmera)
Agordat (Akordat)
Assab (Asseb)
Barentu
Dahlak islands
Dekemhare (Decemhare)
Ghinda (Ginda)
Keren (Cheren)
Massawa (Massauwa)
Mendefera (Adi Ugri)
Nakfa (Nacfa)
Semenawi Bahri (Filfil)
Tessenei (Teseney)

   

 

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.
 
Do:
- 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 Asmara.
 

 
"Mastika! Mastika!" - Asmara children working for a better family income.
 
 
Is it like everywhere in Africa that without money (bribes, tips) nothing works?
 
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 agencies .
 
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
- 2007 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 are over.
 
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.

 
I would like to have a 'personal guide' for two weeks. How much will that cost?
 
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 dawitray1@gmail.com. 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 Eritrea. 
I have given some examples of prices in our pages about Asmara (hotels, restaurants, bars, buses and taxi, 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 month.
 
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 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).
 
 
Town Hotels *) Atractivity Climate Accessible Distance
from Asmara
Adi Keih o - ++ - 110 km
Adi Quala o o ++ - ( - - **) 85 km
Agordat - - ++ - - o ( - - **) 150 km
Asmara ++ ++ ++    
Assab + o - - - ( - - **) 710 km
Barentu ++ + + - ( - - **) 225 km
Dahlak - + - - - - 160 km
Dekemhare ++ o ++ + 40 km
Ghinda - - o + o 45 km
Keren ++ ++ o ++ 90 km
Massawa ++ ++ - - ++ 110 km
Mendefera ++ + o + 60 km
Nacfa o + ++ - - ( - - **) 220 km
Nefasit - - - + o 25 km
Senafe o + ++ - 135 km
Tessenei o o - - - - ( - - **) 585 km
 
Kohaito - - ( - - ***)
Adulis - - ( - - ***)
Metera - - ( - - ***)
 

*) 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.

 

Map of Eritrea showing the positions of the most relevant Eritrean towns and villages.

 

 
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