Eritrea Travel Facts

Rainy Seasons: June-September

Travel Highlights: As well as the Grand Mosque there is also a Roman Catholic cathedral in Asmara. The former colonial palace is also worth a visit.

Accommodation: Most hotels are government owned. Prices depend on the room size and on whether or not the room is ensuite. High class hotels include the Hamasien Hotel, Selam Hotel and Embasoria. Tourist class hotels include the Ambassador, Expo and Bologna hotel.

Post and Communications: The post office in Asmara is opened from Monday to Saturday and half-day on Sunday. Fax messages can be sent and received at the telecommunications office on the main street in town.

Food: All good restaurants in Asmara serve both Eritrean and Italian food. You will also find Sudanese and Chinese food restaurants. In lowland areas the main dish is akelet, a porridge made of wheat flour dough served with pepper and butter sauce. The basic food for most highland meals is injera , a soft round pancake made from the staple grain taff served with taff, a dish made of finely chopped tripe, liver and intestines mixed with onions and butter.

Culture: Dancing is a popular form of expression across Eritrea. Each ethnic group has their style. In the lowlands, Tigre and Bilen, women dance the sheleel in groups, shaking their long plaited hair which swings vigorously across their faces.

Entertainment: There a several bars and music halls in Asmara. For a game of billiards visit Bar Lodi near Nyala Hotel or Bar Oriente near the Grand Mosque. If you are visiting the lowland areas, you may take part in the camel races that are organised from time to time.

Getting There:

Air: Asmara airport is six kilometres from the city centre. It is served by Ethiopian Airlines and Lufthansa with flights form London, Frankfurt, Rome, Riyadh, Jeddah, Dubai, Sanaa and Addis Ababa. An airport tax is levied for domestic departures.

Road: It is possible to enter Eritrea by road from Ethiopia and Djibouti .

Travel Around:

Air: There are bus, taxi, horse and buggy services available. Taxis are available at the main hotels and the airport.

Road: Eritrean airlines operate a domestic flight between Asmara and Assab. Travel Highlights

Driving: International Driving Permit recommended

Passport and Visa: Required, but NOT by the following: (1) Holders of United Nations Lais sez-Passer.

Passports Validity: Passports must be valid for at least 3 months beyond period of internded stay.

Visas: Required, but NOT by the following: (1) Nationals of Eritrea holding a national identity card. (2) Holders of national & service passports to nationals of Kenya. (3) Hoders of passports issued to nationals Uganda.

Recommended Immunisation: diphtheria, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, malaria, meningitis, polio, TB tetanus, typhoid. Recommended in some cirucmstances, seek further advice.

Compusory Vacination: Yellow fever certificate if arriving from infected areas.

Religion: Coptic Christian, Muslim, Protestant, Roman catholic

Languages: Am, Ar, En, Ti

GDP: $200 per capita

Currency: nakfa ()

Time: GMT+3

International Dialing Code: 291

International Radios: BBC KHz: (daytime) 17885,11940,9770. (evening) 21470,119940,6005.

Business Hours: Offices open from 08.30 to 18.00. Banks open from 9.30 to 16.30 Monday to Friday. Working hours are from 0800 to 1500. Friday is a day off. Shops are open from 0800 to 1900 Tuesday to Wednesday and Friday to Saturday 0900-2000 Monday and Thursday (winter), 0900-1230 and 1600-2000 Tuesday Shops are ope from 0800 -1300 and 1600 to 1900 Monday to Saturday.

Weekly Days Off: Saturday and Sunday

Public Holidays: International labour Day (May 1) , International labour Day (May 1), Independence Day (May 24), Intl Women's Day (Mar 8), Eritrean Good Friday (Apr 13), Eritrean Easter (Apr 15), Christmas Day (Dec 25), Epiphany (Jan 20), Id ul Adha (Mar 5), Anniversary of the Start of armed Struggle (Sep 1), Kudus Yohannes (Sep 11), Meskel (Sep 21)

Electricity: 10/220V AC

Emergency Services: Police: 127799 Ambulance: 127762

Last Updated on Tuesday 1st December 2009