Introducing Eritrea

Asmara © ctsnow

Geographically Eritrea has two faces, as it is dissected in half by the Great Rift Valley. The western 'half' is fertile land while the east is a desert descending to the coastline. Eritrea sits squarely over the Danakil Depression, where three tectonic plates tug away from one another. And if the possibility of the ground pulling apart underneath you wasn't enough to complicate your movements on this land, getting around in Eritrea once there, is tricky. It has some of the world's most expensive fuel and even if you could afford a taxi or rental vehicle, many of the country's roads are defunct or closed. Instead, the only way to navigate the interior is by rail.

Still, despite the poor infrastructure and notable lack of tourists, Eritrea is not without charm. With the Red Sea serving as its coastline, diving to see coral and majestic sea life is a rewarding experience and Eritrea's most popular tourist activity. The exotic coastal town of Massawa is a good base for exploring the coast. The capital of Asmara boasts some of the most intact colonial (Italian) architecture in Africa, while to the south of Asmara there are pre-Aksumite civilisation sites such as the ruins of Qohaito, the ongoing excavation of which is constantly revealing new mysteries.

Unfortunately the wonder of Eritrea will probably remain buried until conflict with neighbouring Ethiopia is resolved. The current government stringently controls all travel, media, business and other enterprise, earning Eritrea the dubious accolade of being dubbed the 'North Korea of Africa'. Many travel authorities, including the British Foreign Office, currently advise against travel to Eritrea.

Become our Eritrea Travel Expert

We are looking for contributors for our Eritrea travel guide. If you are a local, a regular traveller to Eritrea or a travel professional with time to contribute and answer occasional forum questions, please contact us.

1,510,856 bytes
Loading Time Base Classes  0.0028
Controller Execution Time ( Countries / Index )  0.1426
Total Execution Time  0.1459
No GET data exists
No POST data exists
  DATABASE:  globe_media   QUERIES: 34   
0.0019   INSERT INTO `ci_sessions(`session_id`, `ip_address`, `user_agent`, `last_activity`) VALUES ('4c92a1218d7f26c126a5bef8aeaa3f85''''CCBot/2.0 (http://commoncrawl.org/faq/)'1419022727) 
0.0012   UPDATE `ci_sessionsSET `last_activity` = 1419022727, `user_data` = '' WHERE `session_id` = '4c92a1218d7f26c126a5bef8aeaa3f85' 
0.0008   UPDATE `ci_sessionsSET `last_activity` = 1419022727, `user_data` = '' WHERE `session_id` = '4c92a1218d7f26c126a5bef8aeaa3f85' 
0.0020   UPDATE `ci_sessionsSET `last_activity` = 1419022727, `user_data` = '' WHERE `session_id` = '4c92a1218d7f26c126a5bef8aeaa3f85' 
0.0063   UPDATE `ci_sessionsSET `last_activity` = 1419022727, `user_data` = '' WHERE `session_id` = '4c92a1218d7f26c126a5bef8aeaa3f85' 
0.0097   UPDATE `ci_sessionsSET `last_activity` = 1419022727, `user_data` = '' WHERE `session_id` = '4c92a1218d7f26c126a5bef8aeaa3f85' 
0.0064   UPDATE `ci_sessionsSET `last_activity` = 1419022727, `user_data` = '' WHERE `session_id` = '4c92a1218d7f26c126a5bef8aeaa3f85' 
0.0007   UPDATE `ci_sessionsSET `last_activity` = 1419022727, `user_data` = '' WHERE `session_id` = '4c92a1218d7f26c126a5bef8aeaa3f85' 
0.0006   UPDATE `ci_sessionsSET `last_activity` = 1419022727, `user_data` = '' WHERE `session_id` = '4c92a1218d7f26c126a5bef8aeaa3f85' 
0.0005   UPDATE `ci_sessionsSET `last_activity` = 1419022727, `user_data` = '' WHERE `session_id` = '4c92a1218d7f26c126a5bef8aeaa3f85' 
0.0005   UPDATE `ci_sessionsSET `last_activity` = 1419022727, `user_data` = '' WHERE `session_id` = '4c92a1218d7f26c126a5bef8aeaa3f85' 
0.0005   UPDATE `ci_sessionsSET `last_activity` = 1419022727, `user_data` = '' WHERE `session_id` = '4c92a1218d7f26c126a5bef8aeaa3f85' 
0.0005   UPDATE `ci_sessionsSET `last_activity` = 1419022727, `user_data` = '' WHERE `session_id` = '4c92a1218d7f26c126a5bef8aeaa3f85' 
0.0005   UPDATE `ci_sessionsSET `last_activity` = 1419022727, `user_data` = 'a:1:{s:16:\"destination_type\";s:9:\"Countries\";}' WHERE `session_id` = '4c92a1218d7f26c126a5bef8aeaa3f85' 
0.0004   UPDATE `ci_sessionsSET `last_activity` = 1419022727, `user_data` = 'a:2:{s:16:\"destination_type\";s:9:\"Countries\";s:7:\"country\";s:7:\"Eritrea\";}' WHERE `session_id` = '4c92a1218d7f26c126a5bef8aeaa3f85' 
0.0009   UPDATE `ci_sessionsSET `last_activity` = 1419022727, `user_data` = 'a:3:{s:16:\"destination_type\";s:9:\"Countries\";s:7:\"country\";s:7:\"Eritrea\";s:13:\"selected_node\";s:8:\"overview\";}' WHERE `session_id` = '4c92a1218d7f26c126a5bef8aeaa3f85' 
0.0009   SELECT *
FROM (`config_categories`)
WHERE `type` = 'left'
AND `parent_category_idIN (SELECT id FROM config_categories WHERE link "/countries")
display_order` != '0'
ORDER BY `display_order
0.0006   SELECT `province_code`, `province_name`, `c`.`country_name`
FROM (`provincesp)
LEFT JOIN `countriesON `c`.`country_code` = `p`.`country_code`
WHERE `c`.`country_name` = 'Eritrea'
ORDER BY `p`.`province_name
0.0026   SELECT rc.id as regions_cities_idrc.region_namerc.major_cityrc.key_regionc.country_namep.province_name  FROM regions_cities rc INNER JOIN countries c ON c.country_code rc.country_code LEFT JOIN provinces p ON rc.province_code p.province_code WHERE c.country_name "Eritrea"  AND rc.major_city AND rc.nfuwt != 1 UNION SELECT rc.id as regions_cities_idrc.region_namerc.major_cityrc.key_regionc.country_namep.province_name FROM regions_cities rc INNER JOIN provinces p ON p.province_code rc.province_code INNER JOIN countries c ON p.country_code c.country_code WHERE c.country_name "Eritrea"  AND rc.major_city AND rc.nfuwt != ORDER BY region_name  
0.0029   SELECT rc.id as regions_cities_idrc.region_namerc.major_cityrc.key_regionc.country_namep.province_name  FROM regions_cities rc INNER JOIN countries c ON c.country_code rc.country_code LEFT JOIN provinces p ON rc.province_code p.province_code WHERE c.country_name "Eritrea"  AND rc.major_city AND rc.nfuwt != 1 UNION SELECT rc.id as regions_cities_idrc.region_namerc.major_cityrc.key_regionc.country_namep.province_name FROM regions_cities rc INNER JOIN provinces p ON p.province_code rc.province_code INNER JOIN countries c ON p.country_code c.country_code WHERE c.country_name "Eritrea"  AND rc.major_city AND rc.nfuwt != ORDER BY region_name  
0.0014   SELECT `r`.`id` as resort_id, `r`.`name`, `r`.`major_resort`, `r`.`attr_ski_chk`, `r`.`attr_beach_chk`, `c`.`country_name`, (SELECT region_name FROM regions_cities WHERE country_code c.country_code AND id r.region_city_code) as region_name
LEFT JOIN `countriesON `c`.`country_code` = `r`.`country_code`
WHERE `c`.`country_name` = 'Eritrea'
AND `attr_ski_chk` != "Yes"
ORDER BY `r`.`major_resortDESC, `r`.`name
0.0014   SELECT `r`.`id` as resort_id, `r`.`name`, `r`.`major_resort`, `r`.`attr_ski_chk`, `r`.`attr_beach_chk`, `c`.`country_name`, (SELECT region_name FROM regions_cities WHERE country_code c.country_code AND id r.region_city_code) as region_name
LEFT JOIN `countriesON `c`.`country_code` = `r`.`country_code`
WHERE `c`.`country_name` = 'Eritrea'
AND `attr_ski_chk` = 'Yes'
ORDER BY `r`.`major_resortDESC, `r`.`name
0.0022   SELECT `iata_code`, `name`, `url_name`, `c`.`country_name`
FROM (`port_of_callpc)
LEFT JOIN `countriesON `c`.`country_code` = `pc`.`country_code`
WHERE `c`.`country_name` = 'Eritrea'
ORDER BY `pc`.`name
0.0006   SELECT *
FROM (`config_nodescn)
JOIN `config_nodes_categoriescnc ON `cnc`.`node_id` = `cn`.`id`
WHERE `cnc`.`category_idIN (select id from config_categories where link "/overview")
ORDER BY `cn`.`position`, `cnc`.`display_order
0.0030   SELECT `id`, `headline`, `via_title`, `via_link`, `body`, `event_date`, `end_date`, `anchor_link`
FROM (`news`)
WHERE `for_pro` = 1
AND `end_date` >  '2014-12-19'
AND `country_code` = (SELECT country_code FROM countries WHERE country_name "Eritrea") 
0.0010   SELECT *
FROM (`tour_operators`)
WHERE `country_code` = (SELECT country_code FROM countries WHERE country_name "Eritrea")
show_in_column` = 1
`show_in_columnDESC, `name
0.0006   SELECT country_code FROM countries WHERE country_name "Eritrea" 
0.0008   SELECT from tourop_list WHERE destinations LIKE '%ER%' ORDER BY id DESC 
0.0006   SELECT `country_code`
FROM (`countries`)
WHERE `country_name` = 'Eritrea' 
0.0143   SELECT d.id AS destination_idd.overview AS destination_overviewd.extended_overview AS destination_extended_overviewd.photo as destination_photod.*, c.*, 'Eritrea' AS country_nameLENGTH(CONCAT_WS(d.timed.electricityd.languaged.healthd.tippingd.safetyd.businessd.communicationsd.duty_free)) AS basicsLENGTH(CONCAT_WS(d.embassy_consulate_usd.embassy_consulate_ukd.embassy_consulate_cad.embassy_consulate_aud.embassy_consulate_ird.embassy_consulate_nz)) AS contacts(SELECT money FROM destinations WHERE country_code "ER" ) AS money(SELECT LENGTH(CONCAT_WS(passport_visaentry_req_usentry_req_ukentry_req_caentry_req_auentry_req_irentry_req_nz))
FROM destinations WHERE country_code "ER" ) AS visa(SELECT group_concat(id) FROM public_holiday p WHERE p.country_code "ER" order by p.weight desc) AS public_holiday(SELECT count(*) FROM tour_operators t where t.country_code d.country_code) AS num_tour_ops(SELECT count(id) AS total_rows FROM tourop_list tl WHERE tl.destinations LIKE ("%ER%")) AS num_tour_operators(SELECT group_concat(name) FROM port_of_call pc WHERE pc.country_code d.country_code) AS ports_of_call(SELECT group_concat(region_name) FROM regions_cities WHERE major_city AND nfuwt != AND country_code d.country_code ORDER BY major_city DESCregion_name ASC) AS cities(SELECT group_concat(region_name) FROM regions_cities WHERE major_city AND nfuwt != AND country_code d.country_code ORDER BY major_city DESCregion_name ASC) AS regions(SELECT group_concat(name) FROM resorts WHERE major_resort AND country_code d.country_code ORDER BY major_resort DESCname ASC) AS resorts(SELECT count(*) FROM dmcs WHERE country_code d.country_code) AS num_dmcs(SELECT concat(caption" © "copyright) FROM images WHERE filename d.photo) AS photo_copyright(SELECT count(*) FROM airports ai where ai.nfuwt != AND ai.country_code d.country_code) AS num_airports(SELECT count(*) FROM events e where e.country_code d.country_code AND show_on_country 1) AS num_events(SELECT count(*) FROM activities where region_city_code "0" AND country_code d.country_code) AS num_activities(SELECT count(*) FROM attractions a where a.country_code d.country_code AND show_on_country AND excursion "No") AS num_attractions(SELECT count(*) FROM attractions a where a.country_code d.country_code AND show_on_country AND show_on_kids AND excursion "No") AS num_kids_attractions(SELECT count(*) FROM attractions a where a.country_code d.country_code AND excursion "Yes") AS num_excursions(SELECT phrases FROM phrase_book pb where pb.country_code c.country_code AND phrases != "") AS num_phrases(SELECT count(*) FROM image_bridge ib LEFT OUTER JOIN images i ON ib.image_id=i.id WHERE ib.destination_code c.country_code) AS num_photos(SELECT count(*) FROM hospitals h where h.country_code c.country_code) AS num_hospitals
(destinations d)
LEFT JOIN countries c ON c.country_code d.country_code
LEFT JOIN provinces pr ON pr
.province_code d.province_code
`c`.`country_name` = 'Eritrea' 
0.0081   UPDATE ci_sessions SET last_activity 1419022727user_data 'a:3:{s:16:\"destination_type\";s:9:\"Countries\";s:7:\"country\";s:7:\"Eritrea\";s:13:\"selected_node\";s:8:\"overview\";}' WHERE `session_id` = '4c92a1218d7f26c126a5bef8aeaa3f85' 
0.0005   UPDATE ci_sessions SET last_activity 1419022727user_data 'a:4:{s:16:\"destination_type\";s:9:\"Countries\";s:7:\"country\";s:7:\"Eritrea\";s:13:\"selected_node\";s:8:\"overview\";s:6:\"region\";s:0:\"\";}' WHERE `session_id` = '4c92a1218d7f26c126a5bef8aeaa3f85' 
0.0008   SELECT i.*, e.fullnamee.bioe.pic FROM interviews i INNER JOIN experts e ON i.expert_id e.id
INNER JOIN countries c ON i
.spatial_id c.country_code WHERE i.interview_type 'country' AND c.country_name 'Eritrea' 
0.0007   SELECT TagID FROM FORUM_DiscussionTags WHERE  Tag 'Eritrea'