Eco-friendly travel guide to Eritrea advises how to be a responsible tourist. Learn how to travel in a sustainable way and how to respect the local people and culture. Make your trip green by supporting locally owned hotels, organic restaurants and other businesses. Read more on how to protect the environment by making conscientious choices and how to travel green in Eritrea, Africa.
- Air quality: 3 / 5
- Bus connections: 3 / 5
- Train connections: 3 / 5
- Hitchhiking: 2 / 5
- National parks: 2 / 5
- Outdoor activities: 3 / 5
- Locals' English level: 3 / 5
- Safety: 3 / 5
- Accommodation: US$10 - $40
- Budget per day: US$40 - $90
- 1 Responsible Travel
- 2 Air Quality and Pollution
- 3 Respect the Culture
- 4 Top 10 Places to Visit
- 5 Explore
- 6 Eat
- 7 Drink
- 8 Activities
- 9 Accommodation
- 10 Regions
- 11 Cities
- 12 Getting There and Moving Around
- 13 Sustainable Shopping
- 14 Recycling
- 15 Work and Study Abroad
- 16 See Also
It is a country present in Eastern Africa, and the capital of this country is Asmara. This country is connected with the red sea on its north-eastern side. The total area which is covered by this country is approximately 117,600 km² with a total population of 6081196. The currency which is widely used in this country is Nakfa. The ethnic group present in this country includes Tigrinya, Tigre, Saho, Kunama, Rashida, Bilenout; out of these, 53% are Tigrinya. This country does not have any official language.
Air Quality and Pollution
Air quality in Eritrea is generally 'unsafe' as per the guidelines of World Health Organization. The country's annual mean concentration of 2.5pm is 48 micrograms per cubic meter, exceeding the recommended maximum of 10 micrograms per cubic meter. Such situations occur due to vehicle emissions and burning of waste, while other contributors of poor quality of air in Eritrea include the apparel and cement industries and food processing units. The government has adopted necessary means to reduce pollution but is still lacking in achieving the minimum given range until now. Hence, there is still a need for concerned authorities to prioritize this matter to maintain their pollution index. While traveling around Eritrea, make sure to wear face masks and carry necessary protective gear for safety purposes. You must be careful here, as poor air quality contributes to breathing problems, increased hospitalization, premature mortality, and many other respiratory problems.
Respect the Culture
Eritrea has many exciting traditions that one can observe throughout the country. Hence, developing into a layered culture, borrowing elements from different countries are among the unique things you will see here. Eritrea's people express their art through music and craft forms, creating a wide range of entertainment for their citizens, including tourists. During festivals and celebrations or when you visit a local, the traditional coffee culture ceremony is one of the Eritrean culture's most exciting aspects that you will experience here. As a responsible tourist, you must follow their traditions and customs with complete devotion to become a part of their family. Such gestures lead to creating a good tourists' image in foreign countries.
Top 10 Places to Visit
- St Mariam Cathedral: Situated in Massawa, St. Mariam Cathedral is an orthodox church that includes a lovely mural outside the building. Nearby the location, this unique monument sits across the street, luring millions of visitors. The cathedral is dedicated to the Eritrean struggle for independence. The monument you see here is made of three large tanks sitting in the exact location they stopped in the last battle on Massawa in 1990. Such great history and beauty of the place is truly a fantastic experience.
- The Imperial Palace: The Imperial Palace is a must-visit tourist spot who wants to see what Massawa looked like just after the war. It was built by a Turkish artist, Osdemir Pasha; however, it was reconstructed in the 19th century by Werner Munzinger for Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie. You are most likely to see damaged buildings and palaces along with the spectacular view of the surrounding. There's a broad history behind this palace; hence for historians and wanderers, the Imperial Palace is one such place you must visit.
- Massawa: Massawa is the port city of Eritrea and a natural deep-water port of the Red Sea housing some of Africa's best beaches. This town is almost 1,500-year-old that relives the past colonial era's terrible history, damaged roofs and buildings, and many other fascinating sites. It's a perfect destination for history lovers and those who want to get the feel of the past. Massawa has this top-rated beach as the Gurgusum Beach, which is always livelier towards the end of the day; do not forget water sport activities and boating, which is a favorite time pass for the most of the public here.
- Asmara: The beautiful city of Eritrea, Asmara, has two sides, one where you will see the lovely walking neighborhoods, street cafes, dozens of pastry shops and a slow pace about the town. On the other hand, you can find the most concentrated collection of Modernist architecture along with loads of historical buildings and sightings. Apart from these attractions, Asmara is one of the most friendly cities than other major cities in Africa. The city's history, friendly locals, and eight months of sunshine each year is a deadly combination you will ever come across in the world.
- Senafe: Situated on the edge of the highlands in the south of Eritrea is Senafe, a popular tourist destination in Africa. The town is well-known for the Metera (or Balaw Kalaw) ruins and is inhabited primarily by the Tigrinya and Saho people. People worldwide come here to see many historical remains that include a 3rd-century obelisk, Enda-Tradqan (a monolithic church), and the vast stone outcropping. You can see stunning views of the surroundings and have a wonderful adventurous trip while touring Senafe.
- Fil Fil: Lying north of Asmara, Fil Fil is a small town in Eritrea famous for its surrounding rainforest and wildlife. The plantation lures millions of tourists/visitors to this part of the country and home to a lovely variety of mammals and bird species. Together with the forest, Fil Fil is a part of a protected national park that links to the lowlands and highlands.
- Dankalia: Located within Eritrea, the portion of Dankalia is a narrow strip of land about 50km wide that stretches south of Massawa down to Djibouti, about 600km along the Red Sea coastline. Danakil Depression, an inland area, is considered the hottest place on Earth, whereas the whole site is one of the lowest points on Earth's surface, sunk over the years to about 400 feet below sea level. Along with other significant attractions points, the journey to Dankalia is an excellent opportunity for all adventure lovers to experience this incredible tour once in a lifetime.
- Keren: Being the third-largest city and capital of the Anseba province, Keren is a pretty town famous for being a quiet and laidback place housing colorful markets and plenty of ethnic diversities. The city is located in a valley formed by some of Eritrea's highest peaks and a perfect tourist destination. From Tigu Egyptian Fort, dating to the 19th century, to some amazing historical buildings and museums, the town gives you ample attraction points to explore and get to know about the city's traditions and cultures.
- Dahlak Islands: Dahlak Island is the largest island in the country and an archipelago hosting many places for a pleasurable vacation. Dahlak Islands lies on the Red Sea and is home to most of Eritrea's population. Usually crowded with people, this place is a perfect and ideal spot for water sports and activities including, scuba diving and swimming. Pearl fishing is a popular activity on this island; also, you can see lush green mangroves and coral reefs submerged in the deep waters of the Dahlak Islands, making it one of the most beautiful parts of the country.
- Asmara Zoo: Situated in Biet-Ghiorgis, Asmara Zoo is a tiny zoo that houses lions, hyenas, ostriches, snakes, baboons, and a wide variety of prey birds. You can visit the zoo while traveling to Massawa. It attracts many locals and tourists because it is usually crowded most of the time. You have to pay an entrance fee to get to Asmara Zoo. There are few eateries and resting places where you can relax and have brunches with families and friends.
Eritrea is one of the most secretive countries in Africa; it offers challenges and excitement alike others, with a unique blend of natural and cultural landscapes. From the Abyssinian landscapes (plateaus, soaring peaks, and escarpments) to the deserted beaches and locations of the Red Sea coast, Eritrea is just the right place for an explorer. The country offers you a superb array of archaeological sites that tell volumes of history in addition to places like city parks, national parks, and beaches in abundance. The country's delightful capital, Asmara, is also a charming and beautiful city to visit while traveling in Eritrea.
City parks are necessary concerning the beauty of the place and a perfect spot to relax and have a good walk. The government provides such city/public parks for the country's citizens, including foreigners, to take some time out of their busy lives and stay among the natural beauty. City parks are the cleanest and most beautiful places in the country, no matter where you go. Eritrea too boasts several city parks in the best locations; some of them are given below:
- City Park
- Mai jah jah
- Hawakil Park
- City Park Dekemhare
- Anseba Park
- Sahel Park
Eritrea boasts few protected areas for conserving wild animals and bird species. The first things that lure most visitors are the national parks and protected areas for wildlife species. In these places, tourists/visitors can enjoy various other adventurous activities other than sightseeing. You can hike or camp in most regions after taking permission from the respective authorities. Here are some national parks in this region:
- Semenawi Bahri National Park
- Hawatsu Reservoir and Copse
- The Dahlak Marine National Park
The following list highlights some of the best beaches in Eritrea. So, if you are in Eritrea, must-visit the recommending beaches for an adventurous and fantastic trip. These beaches serve various purposes such as swimming, snorkeling, parasailing, diving, and enjoying other water sport activities. Nearby the locations, you can find several eateries and food stalls, providing you with the best local traditional foods. For complete relaxation and a stress-free evening, beaches are the best places to hop in and explore.
- Du Rig-Rig Beach
- Madote Island
- Dissei Beach
- Dahlak Kebir Beach
You can find a few important landmarks in Eritrea as the desert is almost everywhere in the country. Still, there are some places that you can visit while traveling in and around Eritrea. Such landmarks tell you about Eritrean cities' ancient history, giving you an excellent opportunity to indulge in the country's history and cultures. Here are some places you must visit while exploring Eritrea:
- Fiat Tagliero
- Synagogue of Asmara
- Medebar Market
- Khulafa al-Rashidun Mosque
- Dubbi Volcano
Museums in Eritrea have a vast collection of archaeological remains, taxidermy, ethnography exhibits, medieval artifacts, and national artwork. Such historical belongings attract millions of tourists/visitors to see and learn about its ancient remains and legacies. There are around three museums you will find in Eritrea. Most importantly, there are several other archaeological sites where you can learn more about the details of the city's histories to the closest. Here is a list of museums in Eritrea:
- National Museum of Eritrea
- Northern Red Sea Regional Museum
- Southern Red Sea Regional Museum
The traditional Eritrean cuisine comes from Eritrea's native culinary traditions and cuisine from international nations. The local cuisine shares similarities with those among Ethiopia and other neighboring African countries in the region. It also features unique interpretations of classic Italian dishes, mainly including pasta sauces spiced with berbere. Most restaurants serving traditional local food are located in Asmara, the capital city. Due to its Italian influence, you can find ample opportunities to have perfect dining in the city. Some of the famous and popular restaurants, both vegan and traditional, in Eritrea are as follows:
- La Trattoria
- New Fork
- Blue Bird
- Casa Degli Italiani
- Hotel Dahlak
Eritrea's national dish – Zigni, is prevalent in most countries, including Ethiopia. It is a beef stew often served with pasta that locals eat during dinner times. There are plenty of traditional dishes and street food you can find in Eritrea. Some typical foods you will find here in abundance are:
- Pasta al Sugo e Berbere
- Lasagna- Eritrean styled lasagna
- Cotoletta alla Milanese (Milano cutlet)
- Spaghetti Bolognese
Eritrea has a tradition of coffee drinking for centuries; local people usually follow this tradition when they have guests or during festivals or celebrations. If not coffee, then the tea is served as you must respect the local tradition. Apart from the traditional coffee ceremony, there are several other regional drinks you are most likely to find in restaurants, bars, or even in street shops. Most common alcoholic drinks among all are 'suwa', 'mess', 'daga', 'caticala', and 'abake'. These come under the traditional drinks of Eritrea. Apart from these, other drinks you can consume are:
- Tej (an alcoholic honey beverage)
- Bun (Coffee)
- Shahi (plain tea)
While traveling to Eritrea, make sure to experience the country's incredible regional drinks to make your trip worth remembering.
The tap water of this country is not safe for drinking. Therefore you cannot consume it sterically from that tap and not even after boiling or performing additional filtration steps. According to surveys, it is found that this country has a scarcity of water because this country does not experience much rainfall. Other reasons for the shortage of water include the un-updated technology or absence of good quality water purifier plants that can clean the water available. As the technology remains updated and the water purification plants, I'm not qualified enough. The availability of clean and potable water remains at a lower rate. Also, this country's literacy rate is not good enough, which also impacts conserving water. If the people of this country have a good education, they can easily practice rainwater harvesting and efficiently recycle the wastewater. Illiteracy also affects water pollution's growth rate as many people dump their waste in the water body. This country faces unavailability or scarcity of drinking water. The average water will stop there are very few waters supplying plants there, for many people are forced to visit the nearby rivers or streams to collect their water. Again, this country's water pollution is very high, which is an alarming issue for the country because the water available in this country is minor. The locals of this country are constantly polluting it. Drinking polluted or contaminated water can be very harmful to the body. It can cause diarrhoea and other digestive problems, and if the consumption is large, it can also cause some life-threatening issues. As a tourist, please should not create pollution and you should not use even wastewater because already this you try is facing a lot of hardships related to water. Therefore, please should not increase that. There is plastic bottled water available in this country.
There are many different activities to perform in this country that can give you memories and a wonderful experience. Therefore, various tours include snorkeling for the ones who love to explore marine life. This water activity involves diving into deep water, enjoying and discovering water's marine life. There is other sports activity which is also present in this country which includes kayaking or watèr surfing which is a fun and good activity. There is also a cycle tour available in this country where you will get a guide to help you visit the important parts of the city and get a cycle on which you will be moving around. It can help you to remain fit and away from diseases. Besides this, you can even visit the local market presence in many cities where many handicraft items are sold, entirely made by hand. There are different types of things which are available in this market. There ar even handmade jewelry, which is also available. Other than this, there are a lot of different activities which you can perform in this country. The majority of the total activities belong to land activities. These land activities involve visiting a museum to learn many interesting facts about this city's art, literature, history, architecture, etc. Even there are few city parks and national parks to explore various species of plants and animals. You can even visit a nearby tribal village to understand the traditions and practices in that particular tribe. Other than this, there are a lot of places which you can explore in this country. However, you must be very careful because some robbers and crimes often happen with tourists.
This country holds a vast area of land. The tourism rate of this country is not reasonable but on a moderate scale. A lot of people visit to experience African tribal culture. There is a lot of accommodation option present in this country, especially in well-developed cities. However, some hotels have their restaurant within the hotel premises. The smaller hotels and pensions do not offer meals because they do not have their cafe to cook various dishes. You do not need to worry about meals while staying in a standard hotel or even smaller hotels because there are often cafes and restaurants near these small hotels. The most common and widely available accommodation option in this country is hotels. There are five-star hotels also available where you can find premium facilities along with large rooms. One more problem with smaller hotels is that they do not have their backup water resources or generators because, in this country, water and electricity can go off anytime. The upper range of hotels always has a backup source of electricity and water available. There are pension hotels available in this country that can be used for accommodation if you do not want to spend much on housing. These are actual. The hotels that do not have many facilities to provide for these hotels' rent are usually low. Even the rooms do not have a television or an air conditioner which can cool the room also there are often windows in each room which acts as ventilation and a cooling unit. Few of the rooms have fans installed, and the rest do not even have fans in their rooms.
As the rate of pollution in this country is rapidly growing, few people established their green hotel. The tourists who visit this country annually can accommodate these hotels who can provide them with various facilities without disturbing nature or creating pollution. Some of these hotels' unique features include that these hotels' rooms do not have air conditioners. There are two main reasons that air conditioner is a well-known cause of global warming, which is a severe threat to nature. The second is that these air conditioners consume a lot of electricity. Therefore there are science and low power consumption coolers installed in these rooms. Some of the hotels provide gaming facilities that include airport transportation, which means that they will pick you up from the airport or even drop you. Some of the hotels can even provide your fitness interests like a workout room or a gym well you can work on your fitness. Many hotel rooms have accessible Wi-Fi facilities and free parking, which can be used to have a vehicle. There is a hotel in this country which is called the hotel Asmara Palace. It is one of the best hotels to get all the above facilities and premium facilities such as complimentary breakfast, the restaurant in the hotel, tennis court, clean rooms, and room service.
Hostels and Guest Houses
The hostel is a type of accommodation through which you can spend less money on housing. These are rooms available on rent offering fewer facilities and even the room which another person will share. Therefore you must not expect privacy from these hostel rooms. There are very few who still spaces present in this country. There are two main reasons for not having much For me room facilities: there are not many tourists who visit this country and those who visit accommodate other options. The second main reason is that there are many hotels, guest house, and apartment available for rent and the rent of these types of accommodation where is so that different people who had the shrinking budget can afford. However, there are guest houses which are present in this country. These guest houses do not charge much and are easily affordable. Guesthouses at best if you travel with a large group. There is a large which is also present offering different facilities. In this lodge, you can get an accessible Wi-Fi facility, a restaurant where you can have food of your choice, a bar where you can enjoy various mocktails, cocktail drinks. The price of this lodge per night is 68 dollars. In which you will get two rooms where breakfast is complimentary. Some of the additional services include massage or hiking, and these other services require additional charges. You can opt for are double or twin room with a garden view and a Mountain View along with a private entrance, or you can even choose a bungalow with a garden view which may cost up to 90 U.S. dollars. Three people can accommodate in this bungalow, and each of the rooms has a private bathroom.
There are apartments which are present in this country are available for rent. Bright and airy studio apartment current in this country offers different facilities that include the games with windows and proper ventilation. Also, there is a balcony attached to the room where more people can sit, there is a semi-modular kitchen in the flat itself and a well-maintained and clean bathroom, and you will also find showers in this apartment. If you book this studio apartment online, they will charge you additional fees. They will offer you other services, which include that they will pick you up from the airport and will help you to reach here without spending on transportation along with this laundry services will also be given to you. The meals will be ready before you arrive at this apartment. There is another good apartment which is present in the capital of this country. The facilities provided by this apartment include a bathroom where you can even get hot water. If you are visiting this country during winter, for entertainment purpose there is a television in the Hall, a kitchen where you can cook your own meals bathroom have essential items includes a towel, soap, toilet paper, and other necessary items, the bedrooms are clean and well maintained. It is a two bhk apartment where three people can accommodate. You can even stay in this apartment for a long time, like more than 28 days.
Couch surfing is possible in this country as many hosts are present in this country who are ready to welcome tourists. There are around 900 to 1000 hosts currently in this country, and even the crime rates are not high, which means that any of the tourists can couch surf in this country. Out of all the cities in this country, the safest city is Asmara, also its capital. In Asmara, you can get a host very quickly because the people living in this city are very friendly towards the tourist. Therefore, they will help you out. There are specific merits and demerits of couch surfing post-off. Some of the prices include saving a lot of money with this method's help as you do not have to spend anything while you are couch surfing. Another benefit is that as you will be able to experience culture and traditions and the lifestyle of people living in this country. Some of the demerits include that Couchsurfing can disturb your sleeping routines. You cannot expect anything such as a room to sleep, and it's up to the host whatever he provides.
Camping is a good activity that involves your understanding of nature and its concept in detail as it consists of sleeping in the tent under the clear night sky away from city pollution. As you can joy the freshness away from city pollution, you can get a night of better sleep in the night as the environment will be very fresh. There are beaches where you can camp without much problem. Even the fresh sea breeze will help you in getting proper sleep. Camping on the mountain is what a lot of tourists do here. Camping on a hill involves trekking which can be a good exercise also. However, it would help if you always asked the local authorities before camping at any park or beach because some wild animals can attack you at night.
|Central Eritrea |
The inland northwest of the country, home to the capital, the central highlands, and the western lowlands.
|Coastal Eritrea |
Eritrea's long Red Sea coast.
Getting There and Moving Around
To reach this country you only have a single way which is Airways. There are a total of 5 airports present in this country, and out of these four, there are three international airports. You can even use these airports to travel from one city to another as these airports also handle domestic flights. It is a vast country, and this country is divided into 20 towns which lie in different regions. There are other moving methods in this country, but walking or cycling to move around and cover the whole city can be complex as the area is vast.
There is a total By the airport present in this country and out of these five airports there are three international airports. In Agordat There is or domestic airport which does not handle international flights but successfully handles domestic flight. This airport's elevation is 205 four feet and as a single runway whose length is 3870 feet. In Asmara, the capital of this country, there is an International Airport with an elevation of 7661 feet and handles international flights. It is the largest airport in this country, with a single runway of 9842 feet. In Assab, There is an International Airport that has an elevation of only 46 feet. This city is the capital of the southern Red Sea region of this country, and this airport has a single runway whose length is 11531 feet. In Massawa, an International Airport has an elevation of 206 feet will stop this is a public and military airport. This airport has a single runway of 11483 feet. The last airport present in Teseney, which is the domestic airport.
Buses are one of the most common modes of transport available in this country, and most of the public also prefers them. It is why this country has an extensive bus network that connects different cities. A law or rule stated that international tourists could not travel on buses, but it is impossible. These buses can be used to move around the city as local buses are present or travel from one city to another. The ticket prices of these buses are easily affordable.
There are trains which are present in this country it just spread over 13 stations. The history of the Eritrean railway network includes that this railway network was opened between 1887 and 1932. However, due to some issues, it was closed in 1975 and was later reopened in 2003. This railway line covers 118 kilometers, but the total length is 337 kilometers. This railway network was constructed during the colonization of this country by the Italian army. At that time, it was constructed to connect the main cities of this country.
It taking in this country is very much possible, especially in this country's capital where the people are very friendly and helpful towards tourists. However, you will require a Permit to move around the country. English is also the country's official language between that there are high chances that you might not have any difficulty while interacting with the locals. You must be in decent attire so that the local or the passer can feel that you are a genuine traveler. With the help of this method, you can save a lot of money.
Other options of moving around the city include taxi, cycling or walking. Walking and cycling can help you to spend less on transportation and also it supports nature. There are taxis present in this country which are yellow in color, but they are present only in main cities. These are shared taxis, or if you do not want to share, you can hire a private taxi. You can even get a car on rent, but that will cost a lot.
There are local markets present in this country from there you can, but it is essential. Other than this there are farmers market from there you can purchase fruits and vegetables. Other than this, there are few stores where recycled items are sold. If you want to shop for clothes that are sustainable in nature, you must visit the local market where there are clothes made by hand. Sustainable products do not cost much, but it supports health and environment.
There are recycling shops available in this country, especially in this city's capital; metals like Iran, aluminum, steel, and other such metals recycle them by backcasting them into different shapes. However, this market lacks resources and support from this country's government; therefore, many of them were not having proper protective gear. Many workers have to make their protective gear such as sunglasses, iron masks, sunglasses, and other protective gear.
The waste management of this country is not good enough to keep this country clean. It is the reason why there are a lot of people who are unsatisfied with the garbage disposal. It is because the government of this country is not paying proper attention to this country's cleanliness. Even the country's literacy rate is down; therefore, a lot of people throw here garbage anywhere. There are different garbage collecting vans, one for the industry and the other is for a residential area.
Work and Study Abroad
There are not many job opportunities present in this country; therefore, getting a job here is very difficult. The education provided in this country is compulsory for children whose age is betwen6 to 14 years of age. Primary education and middle education are compulsory. When the student reaches secondary education, he is given either commerce or science and which one to select is dependent on the student. After secondary education, the student reaches Vocational Education, and the last is tertiary education.
There is a university present in this country whose name is the University of Bristol. This university has access to this program and faces international students sent to this university every year. It is a well-developed program specially built for those who love to explore while building their culture. You must be excellent in your studies to be a part of this program. This university even offers a scholarship program.
An au pair is a person who stays with the local, and its family and has the work of taking care of their child. This type of work is scarcely available in this country. However, the crime rate of this country is not bad. The females here are housewives who take care of the child. With this method's help, you can stay in any city for as long as you want.
There are few organizations present in this country that are constantly helping the country become neat and clean. The majority of the organizations are focusing on improving the cleanliness of this country. More to this, an organization makes people of this country aware of the harmful effects of creating pollution. Few other organizations are also present in this country that focus on other issues such as illiteracy, poverty, etc. Every organization clears its motive, or if the organization does not tell you its aim or motive, you can enquire about it before joining.