"Saagar's Eritrea pages" Top 5 Page for this destination Eritrea by Saagar
Eritrea Travel Guide: 267 reviews and 1,409 photos
Eritrea is a fascinating country on the edge of Africa. There is a bit of another flair to this place that you do not get many other places in Africa. It is definitely laid-back, but it is also efficient and quick, resourceful and elegant in its solutions and approaches. Fiercely independent and with 30 years of liberation war and an unfathomable territorial war in 2000 (that also ended my visits there) that they lost against Ethiopia, this time ruled by their former brothers in arms, make this a special place and people with a special history. The current refugee flow out of the country more than indicates that military leaders might not be as good at civilian rule.
Politically, the situation of late does not really invite to come here: the conflict with Ethiopia simmers, they threw out the UN Border demarcation Commission and most other international organizations and institutions. The country is still ruled by the former liberator and commander Isaias Afwerki and leads an entrenched politics at the cost of press and freedom of expression. The country Is still recovering from the strains of war, and suffer from the general poor material standards.
If none of this is bothering enough, and you can get a visa, and once in, you follow the regulations and expected behavior, it's definitely still an interesting place to visit.
The ancient (Abyssinian) history and historical shared with Ethiopia is fascinating, so is recent history with the Italian colonisation, and subsequent Ethiopian regimes' rules and superpowers' influences over their land.
The war of independence and subsequent realisation as an independent nation was a major feat that drew international attention and sympathy and support. Having been ignored for years by the international society (apart from the US utliizing the Hamasien plateau for their Kagnew Station spy facility), Eritrea won their independence not only from an emperor, a military dictatorship (the "Derg"), but in a way they won over both the Soviets and the Americans both whom used the Ethiopian Dergue as their proxy. There are many sides to this history, and what the adversaries share is a keen belief in historical origin and rights.
These are key reasons to visit and learn about Eritrea:
- The history of independence
- A fantastic desert scenery and- very dramatic arid landscapes
- Asmara's colonial architecture
- Excellent Italian-inspired coffee culture, the best coffee in Africa
- The most beautiful city in Africa
- Massawa's beaches
- Massawa's grilled fish and other food
- Fantastic desert coastline down toward Assab
- The Dhalak Archipelago
- The northern Danakil desert and depression, volcanoes
- The Massawa-Asmara railway partly in operation.
To set out and see some of the more remote areas of Eritrea is for the hardy ones. It may or may also not be permissible. Do check the need for travel permits.
The lowlands are exceedingly hot. To the north is the Sahel province, all desert and very hot. Northern Danakil depression south of Massawa shared with Ethiopia, is in fact the world's hottest place, and to make it hotter, the site of active volcanoes
I visited Keren and Agordat also to see the sites of the WW2 battles between the British and Italians. I regret I never made it to Nakfa.
The Gash and Barka desert valleys are fascinating, with some wildlife here in north-west Eritrea, and an interesting rainfed agricultural production. The highlands is where the recent independence struggle took form and reminders of this are strewn around in the Eritrean landscape in the form of blown-up, burnt-out and rusty tanks and trucks. More recent reminders about the cost of independence and a big brother south of the border are heaped closer to the Ethiopian border.
- Pros:Proud people with a history written in capital letters. Beautiful landscapes, good food and drink.
- Cons:Difficult to get visa and travel around freely, political repression, tourist costs high.
Cont'd.... Ethiopia is loosing face at home over the ruling of the UN border commission, and turning it into a hopeless... more travel advice
After the liberation from Ethiopia there was such an opening up in Eritrea, such a happy nation. After two subsequent... more travel advice
- See All Book 1: Mai Weini: A highland village in...
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- Eritreans are party lovers
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Saagar's Related Pages
Eritrea Travel Guide
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- "Eritrea: The Forgotten Gem of Africa"
- "Saagar's Eritrea pages"
- "Won the War, Losing the Peace"
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- "Eric Eritrea Trip"
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