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Eritrea, Village
Eritrea, Village
Massawa is a city on the Red Sea coast of Eritrea
Massawa is a city on the Red Sea coast of Eritrea
Church, in  the city of Asmara, Eritrea
Church, in the city of Asmara, Eritrea

Eritrea travel guide

A little bit of Italy in Africa - Eritrea boasts stylish architectural reminders of its past colonisers, twinned with wild lands, great diving and quirky charm

Mysterious Eritrea lies on the northeastern edge of Africa between Sudan and Ethiopia. Part African with a dusting of European and Arabian influence, this former Italian colony has a curious charm.

Travellers are few and far between and Eritrea has a nonchalant attitude to tourism. No matter. Visitors may have to put in more legwork but they will be handsomely rewarded; everyone from bird watchers to history buffs will find something that takes their fancy here.

While it is a fragile, barren environment with little wildlife left, tropical birds abound and the Red Sea is brimming with marine life. Visitors can also enjoy chilled out seaside towns, eclectic ethnic groups, archeological ruins and cities crammed with Islamic, Modernist, Futurist and Art Deco architecture.

Wanderlust recommends

  1. Go diving in the Dahlak Archipelago where you can frolic above one of the most untarnished reefs in the Red Sea.
  2. Explore the inhospitable wasteland of Dankalia.
  3. Visit Asmara to take in some of the finest colonial architecture in Africa.  
  4. Escape to the Semenawi Bahri AKA Eritrea’s green belt. A pocket of dense, tropical forest amid a largely barren landscape, this natural haven boasts monkeys, brightly coloured birds and views of the lowland plains.   
  5. Take a ride on the restored Asmara to Massawa steam train. The scenic sights you’ll spy through the window are guaranteed to leave an indelible impression.  

Wanderlust tips  

Invest in a good first aid kit and good travel insurance that will fly you home or to the nearest adequate medical facilities.

Don’t plan on leaving the capital straightaway; every foreign visitor must apply 10 days in advance for a permit to leave Asmara.

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