"Saagar's Eritrea pages" Top 5 Page for this destination Eritrea by Saagar

Eritrea Travel Guide: 267 reviews and 1,409 photos

Why Eritrea????

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.

What to do in Eritrea?

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.

Eritrean travel for the hardy

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 and Cons
  • 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.
  • Last visit to Eritrea: Mar 2000
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (37)

Comments (12)

  • travut55's Profile Photo
    Feb 10, 2010 at 12:39 PM

    Thanks for the interesting information, i was last december in eritrea, it was phantastic.

  • travelinxs's Profile Photo
    Nov 10, 2007 at 6:16 AM

    This is excellent - thanks. Off there in a few weeks so great to see so much concise info. Cheers.

  • sachara's Profile Photo
    May 16, 2007 at 7:17 AM

    Hi Olav, interesting information of this fascinating country ! Thanks for visiting my Nigeria page and your comments on Abuja.

  • fabrice's Profile Photo
    Nov 29, 2006 at 11:58 PM

    it seems to be a fascinating country with superb landscapes , although a little scary

  • Jan 29, 2006 at 9:48 PM

    Another impressive page, Sagaar. Hope you get time to finish off some of the tips and reviews!

  • Rusket's Profile Photo
    Sep 7, 2005 at 3:21 PM

    Jeg MÅ prøve den jernbanen! Får slenge meg med neste gang min eritreiske venninne skal hjem og besøke familien :-)

  • tosse's Profile Photo
    Aug 13, 2005 at 7:25 AM

    Hi Olov! Lovely pages of Eritrea very interesting.

  • dejavu2gb's Profile Photo
    Mar 30, 2005 at 3:38 AM

    WOW, very interesting page... the islands look very nice. great tips!

  • mtncorg's Profile Photo
    Mar 11, 2005 at 12:09 PM

    Another fascinating destination served up here - from sea to desert. Looking good.

  • MattTB's Profile Photo
    Mar 10, 2005 at 10:34 PM

    Thanks for your comments! Very helpful. Looks like a really interesting place to visit!


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