You are here: Home » Eritrea Travel & Tourism Information

Eritrea Travel & Tourism Information

Eritrea Airlines, the National carrier

Eritrea Airlines, the National carrier

Eritrean Airlines, the National Carrier, currently flying to/from Eritrea to Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Head Office: Asmara
Sales Offices: Milan, Dubai, Cairo, Khartoum and Jeddah.

Flies toMilan and Jeddah once a week (Saturday)
Dubai twice a week (Monday & Thursday)
Khartoum and Cairo (Wednesday and Friday)

Vital information for tourists planning trips to Eritrea

AIRLINES:

Eritrean Airlines, Egypt Air, Turkish Airways, Qatar Airways, Yemenia, Sudan Airways and Nova Airways operate regular international flights from/to Asmara to/from many parts of the world including Europe, Asia, North America, Middle East and Africa.

AIRPORT:

Asmara International airport is the country’s major gateway, where international airlines make direct flights. Two major airports are the new Massawa International airport and Assab International Airport.

LOCATION AND LANDMASS:

Eritrea is situated in East Africa, between latitudes 120 and 180 north, bounded by Sudan on the north, Ethiopia on the south and Djibouti on the south east. It’s eastern and south eastern part is covered with 1000-plus km coastlines of the Red Sea. Its landmass is equivalent to that of England, more than 46,000 square miles.

Major Ports:

Massawa and Assab.

ENTRY VISA:

All foreign nationals, except citizens of Kenya and Uganda require an entry visa to Eritrea, which can be obtained before entering Asmara from Eritrean Embassies or consulates in country of residence.

For addresses of Eritrea’s Diplomatic Corps, kindly check our Eritrean Embassies and Consulates Abroad webpage.

ENTRY VISA on arrival:

For those where there is no Eritrean Embassy, entry visa can be granted up on arrival at the airport upon prior request from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Asmara. In this case, Explore Eritrea Travel & Tours can facilitate for tourists who travel with us.

TRAVEL PERMITS:

Travel permits are required for all tourist visits outside Asmara, which can be obtained from the Ministry of Tourism’s Information Office suitably situated in Asmara on the Liberation Avenue, opposite to the Roman Cathedral church and next-door to Sweet Asmara Cafe.

Besides, for visits to archeological sites, monasteries and islands, special travel permits are required from each respective office.

Note: Regarding Entry visa support, Entry visa on arrival and Travel Permit facilitation

For those visitors who travel with us, Explore Eritrea Travel and Tours can facilitate all your travel permits as per your request. For more information, email us at explore@tse.com.er or info@explore-eritrea.com.

CUSTOMS REGULATION:

Personal computers, videos and other electronic items that can be sold at a profit are required to be declared and registered at Customs Office Airport on arrival and signed out on departure. Personal effects are duty free, and a duty free allowance of 1 liter of alcohol, 200 cigarettes and a half-liter of perfume is permitted. Eritrea is a no-nonsense country when it comes to narcotics and obscene materials.

CLIMATE:

Eritrea has a pleasant tropical climate with three distinct climatic zones- the central highland, the coastal regions and the western lowlands.

The central highlands: hot and dry, Apr-Jun, with average temperature 27-30 degree C; cold, Dec-Feb; rainy season, June-Sep.

The coastal region: hot and dry, Jun-Sep, with average temperature ranging 40-47 degree C; cold, Dec; rainy season, Dec-Feb.

Western lowlands: hot, Apr to Jun, with average temperature 30-41 degree C; cold, Dec, temperature reaching as low as 15 degrees C; rainy season, Jun-Sep.

THE BEST TIME TO VISIT ERITREA:

Most part of the country, including Asmara, is endowed with a pleasant and balmy climate throughout the year; hence, it can be visited anytime.

The best months for the three climatic zones are September to April.

WHAT TO WEAR:

Due to the sultry climate, light cotton clothing with sunglasses and a hat are recommended for the lowlands and coastal areas. Anyone visiting the highlands should pack medium clothing with a light sweater or jacket. For visits during the rainy season, a light raincoat is recommended (some might also bring an umbrella).

CURRENCY:

The Eritrean unit of currency is the Nakfa, which is divided into 100 cents. It has notes with denominations of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100; cents with values of 1, 5, 10, 25 and 50.

A declaration of foreign currency under USD 10,000.00 is not required; however, one must declare for amounts large than this on arrival.

The current exchange rate is Nakfa 15.00 to USD 1.00. Although USD and EURO are conveniently preferable, all foreign currencies- both cash and traveler’s cheques- can be exchanged at the Commercial Bank of Eritrea and official exchange offices such as Himbol Exchange Bureau conveniently located at the airport and in major cities.

HEALTH

Thanks to the Government’s untiring efforts and meticulous health program executions, at present Eritrea does not suffer from debilitating endemics that still plague its neighboring countries.

To always be on the safe side, a supply of necessary medicines and inoculations are advisable. Travelers who are from or transiting via infected areas must have a valid certificate of Yellow Fever vaccination.

OFFICE HOURS:

Monday to Friday: 0800 – 1200 and 1400- 1800; and 0800-1200 on Saturdays. For Massawa (and lowlands): Monday to Friday: 0700 – 1230and 1600- 1800 and for Saturdays 0700-1130.

ELECTRICITY:

220 volts AC, 50 Hz. Though major hotels avail adapters for guests, travelers with appliances and electronic gear are advised to bring their own adapter kit.

WATER:

To be on the safe side, you better stick to clean, refined water. The handy bottled water that come in half liter and a liter are available for sale everywhere.

TIME:

Eritrea is three hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time – GMT +3.

Weights and Measures: the metric system is used throughout Eritrea.

MEDIA and COMMUNICATION:

The international dialing code for Eritrea is +291. Fax and Internet services (both wired and wireless) are also available in major towns including Telecommunication offices, hotels and Internet cafes.

The Daily newspaper, Hadas Eritrea, is printed in local languages- Tigrinya, Arabic and Tigre. Eritrean Profile is the English newspaper, which appears bi-weekly on Saturdays and Wednesdays. The national Television station, ERITV, broadcasts daily in major Eritrean languages. The English language news and programmes are telecast from 2200hrs onwards.

Postal services, which are available in most major towns, are open during business hours.

TRADITIONAL COURTESIES:

While Eritreans are well aware of the form in other countries, they tend to be conservative at home. A handshake greeting is normal, with a pleasant discussion on personal matters before getting down to business. The offer of tea or coffee is normal. Smoking is not popular amongst traditional or elderly people. Shoes are often taken off before entering orthodox churches, and always before entering mosques.

Photographing:

To capture the beautiful touristic attraction that Eritrea offers, travelers are advised to bring their own camera.

You should avoid talking photographs of Government buildings and Military establishments. Do also remember that many local people, especially the lowlanders, don’t like to be photographed.

Hence, be courteous and use discretion when talking photos of people and ask permission before doing so.

Professionals (Journalists, travel writers, researchers, etc) need explicit photographic permits obtained from the Ministry of Information.

LANGUAGES:

Tigrinya, Arabic and English are the official languages. Italian is understood among the elderly.

Arts & Entertainment:

Drama, art, music and dance are all culturally very important. Dance plays a very important role in traditional culture, varying considerably from one ethnic group to another. If you are in Asmara between May 20 – 24 you will experience many public dances in the streets to celebrate the liberation of the country.

Teatro Asmara, in Asmara often has some interesting plays that are greatly appreciated by the local audiences.

Eritrean music has a distinct beat created by the koboro (drum) accompanied by a range of different instruments like the krar (guitar), wata (violin), shambuko (flute), embilta (wind instrument) and melekhet (traditional saxophone). Some of the night clubs have live music, otherwise being invited to a wedding or other major ceremony should guarantee the opportunity.

In Asmara there are four cinemas, one theatre, many different nightclubs, literally hundreds of bars and restaurants, some with billiards, and even a bowling alley. In Asmara, the festivities take place in Expo, on the airport road.