When is the best time to plan your visit to Eritrea?
The best time to travel to Eritrea is from September to May. Especially in the winter months (November to February) there is a pleasant temperature of around 20 degrees. The vast majority of Eritrea has a desert climate with mild winters and extremely hot summers. The summer months (June to August) are generally the hottest. Temperatures can then reach up to 40 degrees.
Do I need insurance for my trip to Eritrea?
Everyone must take out travel and health insurance before leaving for Eritrea. Whether Eritrea is covered by your policy differs per insurance policy. In most cases this will not be a problem. If not, we recommend that you check with one of the following international insurance companies: Global Underwriters or IATI Travel Insurance. They have different packages and you can put together exactly what works best for you.
Do I need a visa for Eritrea?
A visa for Eritrea takes a long time. First, a Letter of Invitation (LOI) is requested for you. As soon as it is received (about two months before the trip) you can take it to the embassy. Your application will then be passed on to the ministry in Asmara. Once the ministry has approved the application, you can get a visa at the embassy. The visa procedure varies regularly in duration. So make sure to take plenty of time for your visa application.
What is the time zone in Eritrea?
Eritrea uses the time zone UCT +3.
Eritrea has no difference between summer and winter time.
How can I pay and how much will I spend in Eritrea?
Eritreans pay across the country with the Eritrean Nafka. Always make sure you bring enough cash with you when traveling. There is no possibility to withdraw extra money in Eritrea. It is wise to bring Euros or American Dollars. These are accepted everywhere and can easily be changed. You can exchange money with the guide at a similar rate that you see at the bank. For the most recent exchange rate, visit www.xchange.com.
Of course it mainly depends on yourself how much you actually spend in Eritrea, but as a guideline we keep around € 15 to € 25 per day. You should be able to make it with that amount. If you like to buy souvenirs, you better bring something extra. Soft drinks usually cost around € 1 and a meal between € 5 and € 10. Tipping local guides is always encouraged. They don’t earn much in this part of the world and it often makes a big difference to them. Of course this is according to your own preference.
Do I have to arrange my international flight to Eritrea myself?
We are always available to advise you when booking a flight. However, most customers prefer to book the flight themselves. Often this is cheaper in terms of price and you can pick your own preferences.
What is the voltage and which plug should I use in Eritrea?
The complete electricity supply of Eritrea is 230 Volt / 50 Hz. Eritrea therefore uses the same plugs and sockets as in most of Western Europe. However, you may occasionally need adapter plugs, so we recommend to bring a universal plug. There is also regular power outages, so make sure to charge everything as soon as there is power in your hotel.
Is there internet access and can I make calls in Eritrea?
Internet is sometimes available at the accommodations. However, the connection is very poor, with most known websites blocked (such as Facebook and Gmail). You also have to pay for the internet connection. It is not possible to buy a local SIM card. If you want to call, it is best to use a land line.
What are the local customs in Eritrea?
Christianity and Islam are the largest religions in Eritrea. It differs per region which is the largest, but in general it is Christianity. Eritreans are known as a quiet people who are often friendly once they get to know you better.
A few rules to keep in mind:
– Eritrea is an authoritarian police state. Respect the local rules and do not discuss the local norms and values. Also avoid any political discussion.
– Eritrea is a country of strict rules. That means that certain things can change just like that. This is the nature of traveling to Eritrea and we ask you to look at these kinds of developments with an open mind and flexibility.
– Wear simple clothes (T-shirt with pants / skirt).
– Do not drink alcohol in public.
– Always take off your shoes when entering a mosque or house. Never show your shoe sole when you sit down.
– Don’t walk in front of someone who is praying.
Is it safe in Eritrea?
Eritrea is a safe country. As long as you behave and follow local rules, virtually nothing can happen. If the situation changes, the travel schedule will be adjusted on the spot. Of course we want to give everyone the best possible tour. However, the guide always has the last word regarding changes in the tour schedule.
A few things to keep an eye out for;
– Don’t go out on your own in the evening. Always discuss this with the guide.
– We do not discuss the itinerary or the name of the hotel with anyone. Although it will of course only be out of curiosity that someone asks, we do not share this information with others, purely as a precaution.
– If you want, you can register at your local embassy. This can be done for the Netherlands via this link. If you have problems on the spot, it is much easier to get in touch with the embassy on site.
Can I take pictures in Eritrea?
In general, you can take photos freely in Eritrea. However, there are a few rules to keep in mind.
– Always ask permission before taking a photo of a person. Don’t just take pictures of women or praying people.
– You may also not take photos of soldiers, military installations, police officers or government buildings.
Food and drinks in Eritrea
Eritrea has very tasty dishes. You can think of stews and Italian dishes such as pizza, sandwiches and pasta. Since Eritrea used to be an Italian colony, you can still find many Italian influences in the food and with the coffee. Generally Eritreans like spicy food, often using spices such as cardamom, turmeric and cloves. There is also plenty to choose for vegetarians in Eritrea. Often the food is served on a large plate, which is shared by everybody. It is not possible to drink water from the tap in Eritrea. This is due to a bad filter system for bacteria. It is possible to drink alcohol in Eritrea. Beer is especially popular among the population.
What should I wear in Eritrea?
There is no special dress codes for Eritrea. Usually you can wear pants / skirt with a t-shirt. Women also do not have to wear a headscarf. In most hotels in the big cities you will be able to do laundry if there is time.
Health and hygiene
Eritrea is a developing country with a very turbulent history. Healthcare is therefore very limited. Also in terms of hygiene, the standard is much lower than in the Western world. Make sure you have enough disinfection gel, sunscreen and insect repellent.
We advise you always to the last (health) risk programs for the region where you’re going to visit. Check with your own government for the latest info about your destination.