"Eritrea: The Forgotten Gem of Africa" Top 5 Page for this destination Eritrea by hunwagner

Eritrea Travel Guide: 229 reviews and 757 photos

If there is a country that has ever deserved the overused titles like "hidden gem" or "overlooked jewel", Eritrea is it.
The mere name of this country along the Red Sea coast of East Africa tends to provoke blank looks from most people:
"Eritrea???
What... err... where is it, actually???"
History is partly to blame for sure. Under foreign occupation for centuries, Eritrea only appeared on the maps as an independent country in 1993, when its people have voted for leaving Ethiopia after decades of armed struggle. And ever since then, it has only hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

So that is why Eritrea is largely unknown to the World, but what makes it a gem?
First and foremost, its capital Asmara is the single most beautiful city in Africa, and an ethernal favourite of all those who have been there. Its history as an Italian colonial town has blessed it with an architectural legacy that would draw praise even in Europe. Beautiful buildings apart, the Italians have also left behind their impact on the local culture: cafeterias, pizzerias and fashionably dressed locals (including Africa's most beautiful women) make you feel far removed from the hectic, poverty-stricken and polluted cities of the rest of the continent. To further ensure a pleasant stay, Asmara's climate is as pleasant as it gets, with cool, dry, sunny weather throughout the year.
Wishing for something more exotic?
Asmara may feel like a piece of Italy, but out in the country you will find an amalgam of African cultures at their best. The highland plateu of southern Eritrea shares the ancient Orthodox Christian traditions of neighbouring Ethiopia, the peoples inhabiting the deserts to the west and along the Red Sea coast exhibit Muslim culture at its most colorful, while animistic, tribal Africa is represented by the Kunama and Nara of the south-west.
The landscapes range from lush, cool highlands to the hottest, most desolate deserts anywhere, towns and villages exhibit a curious mixture of traditionally African and Mediterranian influences, and wildlife, while nowhere nearly as abundant as in Kenya or Tanzania, is varied and includes many rare species.
Nevertheless, what really gives a lasting impression of Eritrea is her people. Eritreans are among the most educated, dignified and hospitable people I have met anywhere, and the begging, thievery and hassles encountered elsewhere in Africa quickly fade into distant memories here.

I visited Eritrea in 2004, as part of a three-month-long tour of North-East Africa, that also took me to neighbouring Ethiopia, Sudan, Djibouti and Somaliland. Due to Eritrea's relationship with these neighbours getting here required quite an amount of persistance and determination, but once I arrived, I felt it was all worth it. Eritrea has immediately became my favourite country in Africa, and I can only wish to return for a longer stay in the future.

If you are at all thinking about visiting this country, think no more - go!

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Beautiful, varied landscapes and architecture, fantastic people & low prices
  • Cons:Opressive government & difficult overland access
  • In a nutshell:My favourite country in Africa!
  • Intro Updated Sep 19, 2006
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Reviews (29)

Comments (22)

  • sachara's Profile Photo
    Dec 16, 2012 at 4:51 AM

    Laszlo, since you told me about Eritrea some years ago I had the intention to visit. Finally by end of this month I will go, if I will get my visa next week. I will read your pages again to get in the mood. A pity I have to stick to Asmara, Keren, Massawa and some places south of Asmara.

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Feb 16, 2009 at 9:14 AM

    Thanks for your interesting story!

  • alycat's Profile Photo
    Aug 21, 2008 at 7:44 AM

    Intriguing! India has a lot of students frm Eritrea. I might just land there based on your tips!

  • Aidy_p's Profile Photo
    Aug 8, 2008 at 6:26 AM

    Good day from the island of Singapore. Good write-up. I've only heard of this country just. Watching the Olympics now.

  • MariePisces's Profile Photo
    Jan 7, 2008 at 2:45 AM

    Hi! This is a really good page on Eritrea with good tips, thanks :)

  • titti's Profile Photo
    Jan 19, 2007 at 6:30 AM

    Interesting page and country. Thanks.

  • PA2AKgirl's Profile Photo
    Oct 3, 2006 at 12:25 PM

    You're right...Eritrea is often overlooked. I love your pictures and your tips are wonderful...can't wait to see more:) Thanks!

  • pepples46's Profile Photo
    Sep 18, 2006 at 1:57 PM

    I see what you mean, Eritrea looks very attractive and your tips and pix are witness of this attraction, the Capital green and with beautiful buildings. thanx Laszlo, I enjoyed your page

  • Ekahau's Profile Photo
    May 28, 2006 at 8:11 PM

    Asmara is a most beautiful city in Africa and this is a very nice page thanks

  • nipper1's Profile Photo
    Jan 30, 2006 at 11:55 PM

    excellent page of a country I know little of. thank you for sharing

hunwagner

“Nanga oho itimisi ifoloi - eko o dunia ilamo poli?”

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