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


Eritrean Airlines logo

Egyptair logo

Yemenia logo

Sudan Airways logo

Ethiopian Airlinrs logo



Transport in / to Eritrea


Visas and travel permits

Visa's are required for all visitors and should be obtained in advance from an Eritrean Embassy or Consulate before entering Asmara. To obtain your visa, you need to bring your passport, valid for at least six months from your date of visa application and one recent passport-size photo. For visa extensions you will need a photo. A fee must be paid in euro's or dollars. The original visa can be renewed twice. Extension of your visa should be arranged before your visa for Eritrea expires. Immigration Department tel. 118380, visas tel. 162154.

On arrival at Asmara International Airport you will have to complete an immigration card, and any major electronic devices may be registered at the customs desk. You will describe the details of these items on a passengers declaration form. The serial number of this form will be registered in your visa. This form must be returned to the customs officer when leaving Eritrea. The traveler may have to fill a currency declaration form, declaring the foreign exchange in his or her possession at the time of arrival in Eritrea. A similar form has to be filled upon departure. The two forms and the amount exchanged have to be consistent. This is to deter black-market business. 

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, which can be obtained from the Tourism Service Center. Harnet Avenue Asmara or from any regional administration).

The tense situation between Ethiopia and Eritrea resulted in a lot of check-points and travel restrictions (Temporary Security Zone). The checks are aimed at Eritrean deserters and Ethiopian infiltrators and not emphasize especially on tourists. The Eritrean military police will politely ask you to enter small "immigration offices" where they will log the movements of anyone of foreign origin for security reasons.

To visit monasteries of the Eritrean Orthodox Church (e.g. Debre Bizen and Debre Sina), the visitor needs a permit issued by the Patriarchate of the Eritrean Orthodox Church (Warsai Street, Tiravolo Asmara, telephone 182098 or 182199) for 150 Nakfa (2007). To visit Eritrea's archeological sites, the visitor needs a permit issued by the National Museum (close to the Selam Hotel, telephone 1122389) for 150 Nakfa (2007). A permit to visit the Dahlak Islands can by obtained from the Ministry of Tourism in Massawa (Taulud Island, telephone 552797) for 300 Nakfa (2007). 

When leaving Eritrea, you are charged a departure tax (embarkation fee) of 20 US dollar/euro. Please check the exact amount upon arrival on Asmara International Airport, since the fee may be subject to change. You also will have to complete an exit form. All electronic items and video camera’s should be declared on arrival and are signed of on departure.


Air transport

There are a growing number of airlines that offer services to Asmara:

  • Eritrean Airlines (from Frankfurt, Rome, Cairo, Jeddah, Dubai, Karachi, Lahore, Khartoum, Nairobi, and Lagos)
  • Nasair operates domestic passenger routes in Eritrea and regional passenger flights to Jeddah, Nairobi, Khartoum, Jeddah, Dubai and Doha.
  • Sudan Airways (via Khartoum)
  • Egyptair (via Cairo)
  • Yemenia (via San’a)
  • Massawa Airways serving domestic flights 

Since the Ethiopian invasion in Eritrea, Ethiopian Airlines had to cancel its stopovers in Asmara.


Asmara International Airport

Asmara International Airport.

Eritrean Airlines & Sudan Airways - Asmara International Airport.



Eritrean Railways successfully rehabilitated part of its historic railway service. The 117 kilometer line between Massawa and Asmara was completed in February 2003. There are currently at least eight locomotives in working order.

The railway is a proud symbol of unity, perseverance and a triumph of engineering for all the people of Eritrea, and one of the world's most spectacular journeys for railway enthusiasts, looking for new adventure. The sharp decrease in altitude within a short distance is one of the unique characteristics of the railroad. The scenery also changes with the rise of altitude. The vegetation changes from scrub bush and sand near Massawa, to pine trees near Asmara, with prickly pear cactus covering many of the cliff sides between.

Since the train is not competitive to bus transport, there is regular service. The trains can be chartered by groups. Apart from its chartered services, Eritrean Railways has began to provide round trip services from Asmara to Nefasit and Arberebu on Sundays.

More information: Eritrean Railways (phone 00291 123365 fax 201785) or one of the official tour operators in Asmara. 


One of the many bridges of the Eritrean railway

More about the Eritrean Railway >>>


Public bus

Buses are reasonably comfortable and certainly affordable. But there is no set timetable. You pay your fair and just wait until the bus is full, when it will depart. For some of the long distance buses advance reservations are recommended.

For comprehensive information on public buses in Eritrea and taxi's please visit our pages on the Asmara buses.


Map of Eritrea - Intercity transport in Eritrea by public bus - main routes. 

Intercity transport in Eritrea by public bus - main routes.


By sea

Eritrea has two major ports on the Red Sea, Massawa and Assab. A car/passenger ferry floats once a week between Massawa and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

You can hire a boat in Massawa for a trip to the islands or for diving in the Red Sea. However, you need permission to visit the islands by the Eritrean Shipping Lines representative in Massawa. If you are on an organized tour through an official tour operator, the permits should be arranged for you.


Motoring and Car rentals

Eritrea has a good network of roads. Asphalt all-weather roads connect the capital city Asmara with one of the principal Eritrean ports, Massawa, and several other provincial towns. In addition, there are hundreds of kilometers of all-weather dirt roads linking other villages of Eritrea. Over long distances in Eritrea, cars can be twice as quick as buses.

Africa Rent Car and Fontana Rent A Car have the largest fleet of cars available for hire starting with $30 per day for a saloon car (only adequate for traveling from Asmara to the coast, to Keren or to the south) up to $120 for a Land Cruiser. Driving is on the right-hand side of the road and a valid international driving license is required. In some areas driving at night is prohibited. Fuel is easily obtainable everywhere.


Africa Rent Car Nakfa p/day Free kms Over kms
1 Toyota Land Cruiser 2002-2005 diesel 1,800 100 km 3 Nakfa
2 Toyota Land Cruiser 1997-1998 diesel 1,700 100 km 3 Nakfa
3 Toyota Land Cruiser 1992-1995 diesel 1,500 100 km 3 Nakfa
4 Toyota Hilux Pick up 2005-2006 diesel 1,600 100 km 3 Nakfa
5 Toyota Hilux Pick up 2004 diesel 1,500 100 km 3 Nakfa
6 Toyota Corolla 2005-2006 petrol    650   50 km 2 Nakfa
7 Toyota Corolla 2001 petrol    550   50 km 2 Nakfa
8 Toyota Corolla 1994-1996 petrol    450   50 km 2 Nakfa
Zighe and her brother Sammy in their Africa Garage

Zighe and her brother Sammy - Africa Car Rental

Africa Rent Car
Tel +2911 121755, 202597 (office)
Tel +2911 161825 (residential)
Fax +2911 202597
Mobile (07) 138483 or 113417


  • 5000 Nakfa or 400 US dollar should be deposited.

  • The hirer or authorized driver must hold a full and valid driving license and  identification card or valid passport.

  • daily charges are calculated on 24 hour basis, starting from the hiring time as full day.

  • If the hirer returns the car late from the hiring time, he/she is requested to pay as one full day.

  • The hirer shall refill the tank to correspond the initial page of fuel indicator reading.

  • 10% sales tax will be added to the final invoice.

  • Insurance is included and service free


P.O. Box 6660 - Asmara Eritrea
176 Nora Street 29 - Asmara
(Near the Red Sea Trade Building)
All prices quoted in June 2011 when 1 US$ = 15 Nakfa
Prices and exchange rates may be subject to change
Fontana Car Rental Nakfa p/day Free kms Over kms
1 Toyota Land Cruiser 1999 - 2005 diesel 2,200 100 km 3 Nakfa
2 Toyota Land Cruiser 1994 - 1997 diesel 1,950 100 km 3 Nakfa
3 Toyota Hilux Pick up double cab 2004 1,850 100 km 3 Nakfa
4 Nissan Sedan or Honda 2003    500   50 km 2 Nakfa
5 Toyota Corolla and Corona 1994 - 1997    400   50 km 2 Nakfa
Entrance of Fontana Rent A Car - Asmara Eritrea
  • Toyota Land Cruisers are always rented with our driver and driver fee is included.

  • If the Toyota Land Cruisers are needed for the Southern Red Sea Trip, 500 Nakfa per day is added.

  • If the Toyota Corolla / Corona and Honda / Nissan are ordered with driver, 150 Nakfa per day is added.

  • Diesel: we deliver with a full tank, and when you return it, you will pay to refuel it to full.

  • Petrol: we deliver with a full tank, and when you return it, you will return it with a full tank.

  • 10% service tax is not included in the prices listed.

Fontana Rent A Car
Tel  +2911 120052
Fax +2911 127905

66 Ras Beyene Beraki Street, Asmara
P.O. Box 6050 - Asmara Eritrea

Entrance of Fontana Rent A Car - Asmara Eritrea All prices quoted in June 2011 when 1 US$ = 15 Nakfa
Prices and exchange rates may be subject to change

Total fuel station and motel
Asmara Eritrea.

Diesel 25 Nakfa  and petrol 38-40 Nakfa per liter.

All prices quoted in June 2011 when 1 US$ = 15 Nakfa
Prices and exchange rates may be subject to change
Other agencies renting vehicles E-mail Tel. +2911 Fax +2911
Leo Car Rent 125859 202306
Travel House International 201881/201882 120751
Travel House International offers the following trip by comfortable mini bus:
Nakfa p/day US$/day
Asmara - Filfil - Gahtelai - Ghinda - Asmara 3,400 NFA 226.67
Asmara - Dekemhare - Ala - Nefasit - Asmara 2,550 NFA 170.00
Asmara - Dekemhare - Segheneti (Sycomore Valley) - Asmara 2,500 NFA 166,67
All prices quoted in June 2011 when 1 US$ = 15 Nakfa
Prices and exchange rates may be subject to change


Traveling through rough Eritrea with a Toyota Land Cruiser

Traveling through rough Eritrea with a Toyota Land Cruiser.



Although the bicycle is popular in Eritrea it is not usual to rent them to tourists. The main streets in the center of Asmara are closed for bicycles. Entering them is prohibited and trespassers may be fined. The bicycle will be confiscated. These rules date from the time when the Eritrean resistance harassed Ethiopian targets and collaborators using their bicycles. The Ethiopian authorities then banned these bicycles from the center of Asmara. The rules survived more then ten years of liberation.

If you decide to rent a bike, be prepared to pay the equivalent of one dollar per day (long term rent) or two dollars for one day. Test the bike before renting it. Brakes are important if you are planning the bike in mountainous areas!


The Asmara-Massawa cableway

The Italians also built a cable-car line. This was the longest cableway in the world and was used to transport supplies direct from the port in Massawa to Asmara city center (75km). It had 1,620 trolleys, each 100m apart and able to carry 300kg and moved at 9km per hour. It could carry 720 ton of goods per day. It did take passengers as well. It suffered extensive damage during World War II and was looted of materials by the British 'caretaker' administration of 1941-52, which sold the metal as scrap to Sudan and Pakistan.


The Asmara-Massawa cableway

More about the Eritrean Ropeway > > >



Horse-drawn gharis and camels are also plentiful although they tend to be used functionally rather than as transport for tourists.



Public telephones are easy to find in Eritrea's major city's. Although coin phones are available, it is more convenient to use telephone cards, which are available from the telecommunications offices in service values of 14, 27, 34, 62 or 121 Nakfa. At the telecommunications building in Harnet Avenue, you can make international calls.

Mobile phones have been introduced in Eritrea in 2003 and are now widely used. Prepaid cards are available from the telecommunications offices in service values of 100, or 300 Nakfa (plus 10 Nakfa per card)

For more information please call Eritel customers office Asmara Eritrea +2911 202128 / 127800

Information operator (local) 97 

Eritrea Telecommunication Services Corporation - Eritel

E-mail & Internet

There is a rapidly expanding number of places offering Internet access in Asmara, Keren and Massawa. the charge is 10 Nakfa per hour (June 2011). Connections are slow. TSE Cyber Cafe (Telecomunications Office) and TFanus Enterprises offer the best internet connections in Asmara.


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