Asmara © Jacopo
Eritrea has two faces, split 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.
Although, the tensions that existed between Eritrea and its neighbour Ethiopia have improved considerably over the last decade, risks remain. Many national government authorities, including the British Foreign Office, advise against travel to parts of Eritrea especially areas close to any of the country's land borders.
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