Eritrea is an ancient land with its history that goes back as far as the stone ages. Being a strategic focal point along the Red sea coast close to Arabian Peninsula, Indian Peninsula, Far East and Europe, it had been part of past great civilizations and charmed many colonizers starting from the Turkish to Ethiopia.
As a result, Eritrea now contains sediments of many world civilizations. Ruins of ancient civilizations abound in many parts of the country such as the ancient port of Adulis, Gulf of Zula, Qohaito (Kohaito), Matara (Metera), Tekondae and Keskese.
Duration: 06 Days/ 05 Nights
Destinations covered: Asmara, Massawa, Adulis, Gulf of Zula, Qohaito, Matara, Tecondae, Keskese and more.
Day 1: Arrival to Asmara. Meet, Assist and Transfer to hotel (Overnight Asmara)
Upon Arrival at Asmara International Airport, tourists will be met, assisted and transferred to their hotel.
Day 2: Asmara city tour (Overnight Asmara)
Visit Asmara, the city called as ‘Piccola Roma’ (Little Rome) and observe its aesthetically inspiring collection of Art Deco architectural wonders and other styles portrayed in many of its buildings.
Visit the National Museum. It houses various artifacts such as excavations from Adulis, inscribed tombstones from the Dahlak Island (Dahlak Kebir), some Sabean materials, scrolls in Geez (ancient church liturgical language), fine collection of weaponry from the 19th century, the country’s ethnography and others.
Day 3: Asmara – Massawa – Adulis – Zula – Massawa (Overnight Massawa)
Travel from Asmara to Massawa. Drive further to archeological sites of ancient port of Adulis and Zula.
Visit ancient port city of Adulis, also known as Aduli, was once a popular metropolitan city about 45 kilometers south of Massawa. It is described in the 1st century Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, a guide of the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean.
Adulis was once a renowned gateway to ancient civilization, a major trade route, once numbering among the greatest ports of the ancient world that has links to the Roman, Egyptian and Greek World Empires. Recent excavations undertaken by an Eritrean and Italian Archeological team have recently uncovered the ruins of ancient palaces, two temple, ancient ceramic leftovers from the Middle East, as well as walls and other artifacts. The excavation is still going on and recovering new relics from time to time.
Visit Gulf of Zula – a deep cleft in Eritrea’s coastline which is the birthplace of the Great Rift Valley on the African continent.
Day 4: Massawa – Ghindae- Asmara (Overnight Massawa)
Visit the port city of Massawa – City of islands and the ‘Pearl of the Red Sea’, a city which for centuries has been one of the region’s most important ports.
Massawa is home to the Northern Red sea Regional Museum that displays the region’s interesting archeological, cultural and historical artifacts. This includes animal and other fossils from ‘Buya’ and other archeological sites on the coast that are believed to be the first human attempt to exploit coastal areas. This provides some intellectual fodder for paleontologists and anthropologists.
In the afternoon, drive uphill the main Massawa-Asmara highway while enjoying all the breathtaking scenery of peaks and valleys all the way to Asmara.
Day 5: Asmara – Qohaito – Adikeyh (Overnight Adikeyh)
Drive from Asmara, via Dekemhare to Adiekyh,
Thrilling trekking to Qohaito (Kohaito), some 15 km off-road from Adikeyh. Visit this famous historical site that features a superb array of archaeological sites that recount volumes of history.
Some of the wonders to see in Qohaito include: a pre-Christian temple of Mariam Wekiro, tombs, pillars, impressive prehistoric cave paintings (that date back circa 4000 – 5000BC), Safira Dam (a large dam dating back to 1 century AD, believed to be a place of worship with 79 words long Geez inscriptions) and the foundation of ancient palaces.
Day 6: Adikeyh- Senafe – Matara – Segeneiti – Asmara. Transfer to airport for departure.
Travel from Adikeyh to Senafe.
Exciting trekking to Metera (Matara/ Belew Kelew), equivalent to an important ancient town named Koleo from 2nd century AD, situated 20km south of Qohaito, house some of Eritrea’s most important historical sites.
Some of the things to be seen in Metera are a 2.5m tall enigmatic stele known for its pagan, pre-Christian symbol of the sun over the crescent moon – a south Arabian divinity, engraved on the top of the eastern face and it faces eastward, which is unique in Eritrea; a royal palace, a tomb chamber, etc.
Also stop by and visit ancient ruins at Tekondae and Keskese.
Drive uphill while enjoying the magnificent scenery and lush vegetation all the way to Asmara.
En route visit the town of Segeneiti- a lush fertile area. Visit the huge Sycamore tree locally known as Daaro revered by the locals -for its beauty, for its generous shade, for its fruitful home for beehives and for providing important social purpose- as it form a place where the community can assemble for discussions and debates. The tree has been immortalized on the five-nakfa note.