Eritrea’s Red Sea coast is hot and dry all year round. In Massawa, winters (December to March) are hot and sunny, with highs of 30°C, but from May to September it can feel oppressively hot, hitting 45°C sometimes. By contrast, much of the interior, including the capital Asmara, is at altitude, and therefore cooler. Expect around 23°C in winter, slightly warmer from March to June, and then temperatures drop a bit in July and August, which are the only rainy months. Nights are cool in summer and can be cold in winter. Organized tours tend to visit Eritrea in February, April, October, November and December.
Tipping up to 10% of the bill is appreciated but not always expected in restaurants, and sometimes this will be included as a service charge. In smaller cafes rounding up a few nakfa is appropriate.
Accessing the internet has grown much easier in the past few years, and every small town seems to have at least one or two internet cafes. These will generally sell login details for set blocks of time (anywhere from 30 minutes to four or more hours) that are valid for a certain period, usually a few days.
Local calling is possible from numerous blue payphones around the major cities, but for international calling you’ll do better to visit the Eritrea Telecom Building in Asmara. For either, an EriTel phone card is necessary, purchased from shops or directly from EriTel offices.
Very basic squat/pit toilets are the standard in Djibouti, except for western-style flushable toilets that are sometimes available in large hotels and other modern buildings. Carry your own supply of soap and toilet paper, as this is rarely provided.
- Double room in a budget hotel: nfa150–375
- Fast food meal: nfa40–75
- Tea in a small cafe: nfa2–5
- Local bus in Asmara: nfa2
- Midrange: nfa500–1500
- Double room in a midrange hotel: nfa375–1125
- Pizza or pasta: nfa100–120
- Coffee at a historic cafe: nfa20
- Taxi to a village near Asmara: nfa400
- Top end: More than nfa1500
- Double room in a restored colonial-era hotel: from nfa1125
- Eritrean curry with injera: nfa200–300
- Drink at a dance club: nfa150–300
- Daily car hire and driver: nfa3000 or more
Though UNICEF efforts in partnership with the national government in recent years have helped provide access to clean drinking water for a little over half of the country’s population, it is recommended that travelers not drink tap water in the country and check that bottled water has not been tampered with.
Only very rarely will businesses accept credit cards, and as these payments must be processed through networks outside the country, they often incur surcharges of up to 5%.
There are no international ATMs in Eritrea and credit cards aren’t much use. Bring all the cash (US dollars get the best rates) you expect to need.
If you run short of funds there is a Western Union transfer at the Commercial Bank of Eritrea in Asmara.
Absolutely. All passengers traveling with Intrepid are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of their trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.
- New Year’s Day. 01 January 2019.
- Orthodox Christmas Day. 07 January 2019.
- Orthodox Epiphany. 19 January 2019.
- Fenkil Day. 10 February 2019.
- International Women’s Day. 08 March 2019.
- Orthodox Easter Monday. 29-April-2019.
- Labor Day. 01 May 2019.
- Independence Day. 24 May 2019.
- Martyr’s Day. 20 June 2019
- Revolution day. 01 September 2019
- Christmas day. 25 December 2019
Please note these dates are for 2019. For a current list of public holidays in Eritrea go to: https://www.worldtravelguide.net/guides/africa/eritrea/public-holidays/
Yamral Africa is committed to travelling in a way that is respectful of local people, their culture, local economies and the environment. It’s important to remember that what may be acceptable behavior, dress and language in your own country, may not be appropriate in another. Please keep this in mind while travelling.
- believe every sad story.
- accept services (taxi’s) before you know the price.
- change money on the streets (use the exchange offices).
- picture any military or military object (including the airport)
- travel outside Asmara without explicit permission from the Ministry of Tourism or Information.
- drink unboiled water or suwa.
- Make planning including “plan B” for every day of your visit.
- Collect local telephone numbers of people you trust.
- Buy your handkerchiefs, chewing gum, from the children in Asmara.