- Djibouti, And My First Experience in Africa
- Being a Celebrity in Hargeisa, Somaliland
- Somaliland’s Independence Day
- Cave Paintings Of Laas Geel
- From Scorching Hot Berbera to Cool Sheikh
- In Review: 5 Days of Backpacking in Somaliland
- Taking 13 Flights in 20 Days
- Asmara, And First Impressions of Eritrea
- Churches and Cemeteries in Asmara
- Massawa, And Testing The Limits of My Patience
- Caves, Canyons, And Ruins of Qohaito
- Riding a Historic Train in Asmara
- In Review: 7 Days of Traveling in Eritrea
Why I Went There?
Recommended by my friend Phillip, Eritrea was part of our Horn of Africa trip which also included Djibouti and Somaliland. After traveling for two years in more comfortable countries, I was ready to experience the “rawness” of Africa.
Where Did I Go?
I joined a tour group so the itinerary was set up by them. We landed in the capital city of Asmara, where we visited a few churches and cemeteries. We also spent one night in Massawa before returning to Asmara again. From there we made a day trip to Qohaito, before taking a ride on the Asmara Railway train.
My Other Blog Posts on Eritrea
Asmara, And First Impressions of Eritrea
Churches and Cemeteries in Asmara
Massawa, And Testing The Limits of My Patience
Caves, Canyons, And Ruins of Qohaito
Riding a Historic Train in Asmara
Total Days: 7
Total Expenses: 1,296 USD
Average: 185 USD/day
The total cost of the tour for seven days was 1,119 USD. This included accommodation, all meals (but not beverages), and transportation within the country (but not flights in and out of the country). I paid 70 USD separately for the visa, and I exchanged about 100 USD in local currency, which was enough for water, snacks, and a few beers for all seven days.
How Is It Like to Travel in Eritrea?
We saw no other tourists besides us. There are no backpacking hostels or anything resembling a budget tourist industry. I think most people who go to Eritrea join a tour.
The streets of the cities are usually calm and mellow, unlike the other countries I visited in the region. I felt safe walking around with a DSLR camera on my hand at all times.
You’ll have to be patient when dealing with the service industry which, despite being friendly, is slow and inefficient. Also expect regular power and water outages.
Internet is incredibly slow. Sometimes it would take 5 minutes just to send a text email. Do anything you need to do online before arriving to the country.
There’s decent Italian food to be found in Asmara, but I wasn’t a fan of the more local dishes.
In the end, and despite some frustrations with my tour group, I enjoyed the sights of Eritrea and the interactions with the locals, who were very friendly and curious. It’s a very unique country with its blend of local and Italian culture.
Wow, that’s cool you made it to Eritrea. I heard it’s tough getting a VISA to this country. Were you able to get one without any problems?
Hi Kendrick. I joined a tour group while in Eritrea, so they took care of the visas for us. I’m not sure how easy it is to get it as an independent traveler.
WOW I really enjoyed all your posts about Eritrea. I too experienced much of the same when I went in 2012 although you were lucky enough to see the train! I’m from Eritrea so I was around family mostly but when I ventured into the city I noticed the massive opportunity to improve the service sector, hospitality sector and obviously the energy and telecom sector lol I tell people Eritrea is like a small startup in a dangerous neighborhood being gentrified. Yes we have an oasis of peace and stability but our harsh environment can make development take longer than some expect. Eritrea is only 26 years and had to start from scratch!
Getting a Visa is usually easier if you are sponsored in a group but for an individual the Eritrean Embassy in your country of origin should facilitate that, it’s not that bad.
Thanks for your pictures and commentary.
P.S. I too didn’t like the tour group vibe bc people tend to be mean and gossipy when they’re bored for some reason. One day, Eritrea won’t have to restrict movements for national security reasons and we can all backpack and camp anywhere we want (i think there are minefields in some areas right now bc of Ethiopia).