Eritrea Tour – May 2021

National Day

At A Glance

Our Africa tours are back for the fourth year running! Come join us for an almighty off the beaten track experience of one of the world’s least visited places – Eritrea.

Eritrea is a real undiscovered gem and has fallen through the cracks on most travelers radar for some time. We will be checking out its pristine coastlines and untouched Red Sea islands, and not forgetting some of the best kept colonial architecture in all of Africa. The tour highlight is the two-day festival we will be taking part in to celebrate Eritrea National Day.

Like many of the destinations we visit internationally, Eritrea has been influenced by other nations and regions as a result of occupation, in this case by the Turks, Egyptians, and Italians. In essence, you will see surprising undertones of European and Middle Eastern influences that have left their mark here including but not limited to ethnic, cultural and architectural joys that will instantly astound you. Asmara, Eritrea’s capital city is an incredible place.

The Eritrean capital city of Asmara is reminiscent of a film set from a vintage Italian movie. Picture old-school Italian coffee machines and not to mention some outstanding examples of Art-Deco architecture. Although Eritrea still faces various challenges, it paradoxically remains one of Africa’s most peaceful, safest, and welcoming destinations. Crime against tourists here is virtually unheard of.

We can also take care of all steps of the Eritrean visa application. If there is an Eritrean embassy in your country we can assist you with collecting the visa, if not then all you have to do is collect the visa on arrival in Asmara airport.

Eritrea Tour Highlights

  • Visit the National Stadium of Eritrea in the Eritrean Capital for the National Day festival, whis is one of the most important holidays in Eritrea. There will likely be a military parade on the day which is a spectacle with many Eritrean flags on display as well as the opportunity to hear traditional Eritrean music.

  • Architecture in Eritrea is a sight to behold with a unique mix of African and Italian design with many important buildings built by the Italians in Eritrea during the 1800’s. You will see many example and ride on a 100 year old Italian built railway.

  • Take a boat to Dahlac Marine National Park which is one of the most beautiful natural locations in Eritrea, an archipelago of over 124 Red Sea Islands (optional diving in the area)

  • Sample plenty of traditional Eritrean food and drinks, experiencing the nightlife of towns and cities and seeing how Eritrean people like to relax.

Dates & Pricing

May 23rd – May 31st 2021
9 Days
€1,475

At a glance
Asmara > Massawa > Asmara

 

Inclusive of

  • All Transport (unless otherwise stated)
  • All Accommodation
  • Food
  • Some local tours (unless otherwise stated)

 

Exclusive of

  • Visa Fees (Eritrea 70 USD) Please e-mail us for instructions and further info on the visa process.
  • International flights
  • Personal expenses
  • Local guide tips
Itinerary

Sunday 23rd May – Asmara

  • Arrival at the airport at your convenience, according to your flights.

  • For those who arrive early, free day to explore Asmara slowly and do some shopping, according to your interests.

  • Meet up with the rest of your group in the evening in our hotel, the Top Five Hotel.

  • We will meet our new group members at the hotel before heading out for our first group dinner and drinks in Eritrea at Harnassien Restaurant.

  • Tonight, Harnett Street should be busy with the carnival so we will head there to check out the various pre-Independence Day celebrations including modern and folklore dances.

  • Festival continues into the night culminating in a massive fireworks show at midnight to celebrate independence.

  • Overnight in Asmara

 

Sunday 24th May – Independence Day in Eritrea

  • Early morning (if you want to) 6am 21 gun salute to mark Independence Day in Eritrea. We can get breakfast afterwards and then take a stroll around Asmara to soak up some of the atmosphere and chat with Eritreans on the streets.

  • Citizens make huge efforts for Independence Day so you can expect a lot of colour and exhibitions of different types up and down Liberation Avenue in Asmara. We can get some lunch and then head to Asmara Stadium. There will be more performances here and a military air show and will also feature a speech by the president of Eritrea

  • In the evening we will have dinner in a traditional restaurant and of course, take an opportunity to sample some of the local drinks here as well. If you want to take part in some dancing to round off the Independence Day celebrations you are welcome to do so!

 

Tuesday 25th May

  • This morning after breakfast we will take a walking tour around Asmara and get the chance to check out some of the architectural beauties on the art-deco streets. Constructed while the Italians were the colonising power here. Examples include the Albergo Italia (1899), the Presidential Palace (1907) and the Hotel Hamasien and Post Office constructed in 1916

  • We check out the tank graveyard. There will be plenty of remnants of the Eritrean & Ethiopian conflict which raged for two years between 1998 and 2000 that we can see as well

  • City Hall (built 1890) again by Italian architects.  There is an interesting photography exhibition here that is evidence of the countries difficult history but also the progress that has been made in more recent and peaceful years.

  • Overnight in Asmara

 

Wednesday 26th May

  • Today we jump aboard the Italian Historic Railway (100 years old!), making our way through various tunnels and until we reach our destination Arbaroba

  • While on board we will take part in a traditional coffee drinking ceremony

  • Arrival back to Asmara

  • In the afternoon, we will have some time to walk around and visit more of Asmara, possibly heading to the recycling market or the National Museum of Eritrea

  • Extremely cool and unique bowling alley for a step back in time

  • Dinner and overnight at our hotel in Asmara

 

Thursday 27th May – Massawa

  • Today we will make our way to Massawa with a 100km or so journey by road (approx. 3 hours) We will stop along the way of course for lunch. The journey is interesting as the landscape is incredible and there is a drop in sea level from 2,400 meters to 0

  • We will check into our seaside hotel after we arrive and take a stroll around Massawa before heading to Gurgusum Beach. You can take a swim here if you like. Asmara may have its Italian influences but Massawa has many great examples of Turkish architecture in addition to Italian

  • Authentic Eritrean dining experience this evening at “Salam Restaurant” where freshly caught fish is cooked in a traditional oven.

  • We can enjoy this perhaps at sunset

  • We will later check-out what Massawa has to offer by night including a few watering holes

  • Overnight at our hotel in Massawa, Dahlac Hotel

 

Friday 28th May

  • Where possible with all our destinations, we try to give you an insight into a countries education system by doing a school visit and chatting with the kids. Eritrea will be no different and after getting some breakfast this morning we will be visiting a local school in Massawa

  • Afterward, we will hop on a boat and go to Dahlac Marine National Park.  Which includes The Red Sea’s Dahlak Archipelago of approximately 124 islands. This is definitely a highlight of your trip and there will be some historical sights dating back to the 8th century. If you have a diving license let us know, please. For an extra cost, you can dive among heavy weapons which were disposed of after the war with Ethiopia and now act as artificial reefs. If you don’t want to dive you can also rent some snorkeling equipment

  • After arrival back in Massawa that evening we will head out for dinner and drinks at Almaz Bar & Restaurant where you can try Ja-Ja fish, an incredible stir-fry made up of thick pieces of fish

  • Drinks and overnight in Massawa

 

Saturday 29th May – Asmara

  • After a late breakfast, we will hit the road back to Asmara.

  • Arrival in Asmara at around 4 pm – we will have free time in Asmara. We may be lucky enough to watch football in the famous Cinema Roma or, if interested, have a chance to briefly talk about your country or profession to young Eritrean students.

  • Dinner and group drinks in Asmara.

 

Sunday 30th May – Asmara

  • After breakfast, we head to Keren city.

  • We visit the shrine of Mariam Dearit.

  • Lunch in Keren

  • Free time in this quaint town to check out the local markets and explore the lively streets.

  • In Keren, we will have the chance to catch some great views from the top of Hotel Keren

  • We will then visit the old train station of Keren and stop by some architecturally interesting buildings in this town which used to be a very important part of the Italian colony.

  • Drive back to Asmara and stop by some destroyed Ethiopian tanks along the way!

  • Last group dinner at the National Union of Eritrean Workers Restaurant and overnight in Asmara.

 

Sunday 31st May

  • End of tour.

  • We can arrange airport transfers for those who require, depending on flight times.

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