Eritrea Warnings Or Dangers Tips by Saagar Top 5 Page for this destination
Eritrea Warnings and Dangers: 14 reviews and 5 photos
Sheltering from Eritrean shelling at Zalambessa
Ethiopia is loosing face at home over the ruling of the UN border commission, and turning it into a hopeless situation where Ethiopia now again is rumbling with her weapons and putting claims on getting Badame back despite the UN's view. It is plain irritation over loss of face on both parties, because Badame is nothing but a deserted village and broken stones and scattered shrubs now. Behind the Ethiopian president is a vocal Oromo and Amharic opposition to his regime, claiming access to the sea. Behind the Eritrean president are 30 years of independence war and resultant national pride. Now they quarrel with manners and in a language like bad brothers - in fact, the presidents are cousins! Both presidents de facto hold their populations hostage to the crisis.
If you are to believe Ethiopian propaganda there is going to be a new war over personalities with the pricking pin being and excuse being Badame again. Unfortunately, Eritreans are so unrealistic about the situation of their country that they are not good at negotiating a settlement that goes anywhere in a sensible direction. Thus, they help very much putting themselves into an increasing risk of war. For travellers, it is very important not to get into a situation too near the border - they are all very trigger happy there. And travellers should take care not to offend their temporary hosts and put locals into a difficult position later.
Past experience has show that the two countries try to immobilize air transport, and thus try to bomb each others' forward airports. This means Asmara airport in the case of Eritrea, and pre-war break-out there may be an evacuation order. So stay in touch with the embassy or consulate if you travel in Eritrea. Ethiopia is simpler as you can escape back from the front in Tigray.
Ex-soviet, ex-Ethiopian, ex-tank near Barentu
This conflict is the world's most stupid. Basically, Ethiopia is dissatisfied with Eritrea's arrogance, and the blocking of Ethiopia's access to the sea (Assab). Eritrea is taking nothing from Ethiopia, and claims the moral high ground, posing a very arrogant stance. While the liberation of both Ethiopia from the Dergue regime and Eritrea from Ethiopia coincided in time and action, the few years of honeymoon that ensued were not to last. The two presidents started personifying the critical attitudes of each others' peoples as political expediency - both had promises they couldn't fulfill, such as democratic reforms, multiparty rule, prosperity etc... A stupid currency issue (Eritrea introducing Nakfa, banning Birr, and Ethiopia demanding hard currency payments for all vital exports), lead to souring of relations, erupting in a terrible propaganda war, one-sided expulsions of Eritreans from Ethiopia, an incredible arms race in light of extreme poverty and hunger and eventually a bloody war over mutually conflicting claims over the joint border. In '98 Eritrea managed to hold off Ethiopia more or less, but in a renewed conflict focussed on the Badame village and semi-desert area, Eritrea was soundly beaten back into her own territory in 2000. 80.000 killed... Few in Eritrea seem to know or acknowledge this fact. In a subsequent border demarcation by the UN-led border commission Ethiopia lost most of Badame to Eritrea despite having "won" the war.
Internally displaced by war
After the liberation from Ethiopia there was such an opening up in Eritrea, such a happy nation. After two subsequent border wars with Ethiopia and tightening up of belts and mouths, the mood has changed 180 degrees. Now people are reluctant to speak their minds and in groups of more than five, there is a feeling there is bound to be a government spy. There is active oppression of opposition to the president Isaias Afeswerki, and again droves of people leave the country. Academic institutions, media and other institutions are subject to heavy sensorship. In short, it takes some effort to find out what is going on in Eritrea when you are there. For the sake of your aquaintances and those you meet along your trail, be a good listener and do not provoke or discuss politics and the situation unduly and in public.
Dahlak patch reef
Make sure the captain doesn't throw the anchor straight on live coral when out on a sea excursion off the Eritrean coast. The captain will do so if you don't tell him not to...
The boat crew obviously want to please and so take you to the nicest coral patches, and off the anchor goes without any consideration for the coral below. Find a sandy or rocky place for the anchor, not live coral. You have a voice here and can do something about it!!!
Nice, but rushing by....
There are very strong currents in some of the best snorkelling spots around the Dahlak islands- several knots - so be careful, and perhaps trail a rope with a safety bouy to hold on to after the boat when snorkelling.
I noticed that a couple of souvenir shops on the main street in Asmara (in 2000) had sea turtle shells and leopard skins for sale. Both items are illegal sales objects according to the CITES treaty. Two of the skins that I saw were of very young, small leopards.
Point 1) As they are endangered species, do not buy them, and object to their sales when you see such things.
Point 2) Trying to bring them across borders may land you in trouble for smuggling illegal goods - also in your home country.
Other Contact: CITES
North of Massawa are some nice beaches and good swimming. Extremely hot, it can be, but that's why you want to cool off in the sea, no?
This area has seen some fighting in the past (Ethiopia-Eritrea in the '80es), and I was advised there were still landmines and unexploded ordinance in the sand further inland from the road. So stay on the beach, and do not stray inlands beyond the vicinity of the hotels/restaurants and the road.
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