Who can travel to Eritrea?
Often called the ‘North Korea of Africa’, this reductive sobriquet fails to do justice to the former Italian colony of Eritrea, one of the Horn of Africa’s least visited (and most fascinating) countries.
It’s one of the hardest-to-visit countries in the world – but it is possible to travel to Eritrea! Here’s the skinny on taking a tour with Rocky Road Travel.
Getting a visa for Eritrea
First things first – you must have the Eritrea visa in your passport before you arrive there. The only exception to this is if your country of residence does not have an Eritrean embassy/consulate. If this is the case, you must have a letter of invitation (LOI) when arriving in Eritrea.
Eritrea has embassies in Washington DC, London, Paris, Rome, Berlin, Moscow and Beijing. Expect to pay around USD 70 for your visa.
Travelling to Eritrea
When travelling to Eritrea, your only arrival option is flying into the capital, Asmara. You cannot travel overland from the neighbouring countries of Djibouti, Ethiopia or Somaliland. It’s possible to fly from Khartoum, Addis Ababa, Cairo, Dubai, Istanbul and Jeddah. We recommend travelling from Addis Ababa, as not only is it the shortest flight, but Addis Ababa is easily reached from many global destinations.
What should I wear in Eritrea?
There are generally no culturally proscribed articles of clothing, but women should be cautious when it comes to revealing clothing – avoid miniskirts, shorts and sleeveless tops. It’s recommended to carry a scarf in case you need to cover up. Eritrea is generally quite hot, though Asmara can get chilly on occasion. Be sure to bring sturdy footwear for hiking.
How much can I expect to spend in Eritrea?
Firstly, it’s not possible to withdraw cash once you’re in the country, so bring hard cash and bring more than you expect to spend.
Daily expenditure varies depending on souvenirs and alcohol consumption. The local currency, the nakfa, is somewhat unstable and prone to fluctuation, but prices are roughly as follows (all prices are in USD):
Soft drinks: $1
What kind of cuisine do they have in Eritrea?
As a former Italian colony, you can expect plenty of good coffee and very serviceable Italian – style food such as pasta and pizza! Local dishes are also pretty good: be sure to try igni, a spicy mutton broth, with a side-dish of spongy Eritrean flatbread. The local tipple of choice is Asmara beer, which will set you back around $1 per bottle. Gin is very much favored amongst Eritreans, however; a double costs about 90 cents.
Can I use the internet in Eritrea?
Kinda sorta. Eritrea notoriously has the world’s worst internet – but at least it has it! Generally speaking, there’s no network coverage and you’ll have to visit an internet café to get online. The bandwidth cap and speed are so atrocious that you’ll be basically limited to text only – forget about posting that cute selfie for your Instagram followers!