- Explore the charming capital city of Asmara, rebuilt as Africa's 'Little Rome' by Mussolini
- Cruise through the Dahlak Archipelago, with its coral reefs, desert islands and marine life
- Admire Ottoman buildings, as well as Aksumite ruins, such as Qohaito
- Discover a wonderfully friendly country that remains isolated after decades of war
Explore this nascent and isolated country, only officially recognised as independent from Ethiopia in the 1990s. From the Art Deco Italian architecture and Coptic churches of Asmara to the pristine coral reefs and blue waters of Dahlak, Eritrea is alive with culture, history and natural beauty.
Begin in Asmara, with its out-of-place Italian feel and architecture. Spend time exploring this fascinating city, whis is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, before venturing north, through the country’s highlands, to Keren. Famed for the decisive battle that took place here in World War Two, the city sits beneath mountain peaks.
From the mountains, drop down to the coast, to the historic port of Massawa – occupied for thousands of years. Here, board a boat on the Red Sea and spend several days exploring the remarkable Dahlak Archipelago. This remote and untouched cluster of islands is home to an incredible array of marine life.
Afterwards, return to Massawa and have time to discover this ancient coastal city, which still bears the scars of decades of war. The next day, leave the city behind and return to the highlands, visiting the dramatically located ruins of Qohaito - once a thriving Aksumite settlement.
Finish by returning to Asmara, hopefully completing the journey by train (cannot be confirmed currently), pulled along by a colonial-era steam locomotive.
Why We Like It
Eritrea has not yet been on maps three decades, yet it has a rich history and culture dating back millennia. From the outside, it is often seen as an isolationist state, but the few who have visited talk only of the warmth and friendliness of the Eritrean people. This, combined with the coral riches of the Dahlak Archipelago and the Art Deco architecture of Asmara, make it an incredibly rewarding destination.
Accompanied by One of Our Team
As with our other Pioneering Group Tours, this trip will be accompanied by one of the Steppes’ team. This not only means that a friendly face will be there at all times – willing to help out and deal with any issues that might arise – but it also gives us the chance to explore a destination that is just as new for us as it is for you.
This trip will be joined by Illona Cross, one of our Travel Experts. Formerly, a safari guide in Southern Africa, Illona is always open to new adventures. After numerous visits to neighbouring Ethiopia over the years, she is keen to see how Eritrea compares.
Will it be safe?
Eritrea is a diamond in the rough and the areas we are visiting are deemed safe to travel to by the Foreign Office (at the time of writing) and the threat of terrorism is low. We are not travelling close to the borders of Sudan, Djibouti or Ethiopia.
How will I get a Visa?
British nationals need a visa to enter Eritrea, and Steppes Travel will help provide the supporting documents for your application. There is an Eritrean Embassy in London.
What will the accommodation be like?
This is a destination that we have not visited before and so the comfort of the hotels can be changeable and unpredictable. However, we have it on good authority that the hotels in Asmara, Massawa and Keren have rooms that will be clean and ensuite, about three-star in quality.
The hotel in Adi Keyh will be a local rest house, which will be very basic with shared bathroom facilities. On the boat trip, you will be sleeping either on the boat or in tents on the beach. A mattress, tent and camping equipment will be provided. You will need to bring a towel and sleeping bag, if you wish. Keep in mind it will be quite hot, so a liner may suffice.
Will I need to be fit?
You will need to be relatively fit, and will certainly need to be mobile. It is also essential that you are able to travel fairly light and manage your own luggage. There will be some walking involved, as well as the opportunity to swim and snorkel when on the boat.
What will the road journeys be like?
The roads are largely asphalted, but may be quite bumpy and windy, making journeys slow and tiring. The days will sometimes be long and temperatures may vary, due to the difference in climate between the coast and highlands.
For a detailed itinerary or to book your place on this tour, please contact us.