WHEN TO VISIT
There is no time for year that is unsuitable for visiting Eritrea. Asmara and the highlands have a very pleasant climate all year round, the hottest month being May with highest of about 30 °C. There are little rains in March and April and heavy rains from late June to the beginning of September. These rains are unlikely to impede travel or general enjoyment of the highlands.
On the coast, September to January and April to early June are good months to visit. It is not insufferably hot and skies are likely to be clear. While it is always warm enough to swim, the winter months of February to April can be cloudy. Unless you are used to very hot climates, visiting between June and September is only for those who know what to expect. Massawa regularly has temperatures in the mid 40th °C and there is no significant fluctuation between day and night time temperatures. If rain does fall it is in winter.
There still remains a marked paucity of information available overseas about Eritrea, though booking from abroad is now easier than it ever has been.
Asmara, Massawa and Keren are the absolute musts on any visit to Eritrea and you can enjoy all of them in quite a limited timeframe; beyond that ring usually requires more time and a little more money. Expeditions to Shale north of Nakfa, to the Dunakil, and to the southwest (south of the main Keren-Tessenaei road) all require 4WD, plenty of time, and preferably a guide.
Be sure to consider the times of year in which you will be travelling. The temperatures in the western lowlands from April-June and in the coastal regions from May-September can reach 45-50°C. Similarly, from June to September, during the heavy rains in the highlands and northern and western lowlands, the roads to Nakfa and Tessenei can be blocked by flooding.
Here are some Oasis Travel Agency & Tour Service Ltd., suggested routes, based on road conditions and distances, though if you are travelling on local transport you can assume to add a few hours each day on travel.
- Asmara (2 nights); Massawa (2 nights); Keren (1 night)
- Asmara (2 nights); Massawa (2 nights); Dahlak Island (1 night)
- Asmara (2 nights); Keren (2 nights); Agordat (1 night)
- Asmara (2 nights); Senafe (1 night for Metera); Adi Keih (1 night for Qohaito); Decemhare (1 night)
- Asmara (3 nights, with option of day trip to either Dechemhare – Segenaiti, Mendefera, Adi Qual, Debre Bizen Monastery or Filfil); Massawa (3 nights with option of day trip to the islands); Keren (2 nights)
- Asmara (3 nights); Keren (2 nights); Nakfa (2 nights); Agordat (1 night)
- Asmara 3 nights); Massawa (3 nights); Assab (2 nights)
- Asmara (3 nights); Massawa (3 nights); Dahlak Island (2 nights)
Ten-day (or more) tour
Such a trip would depend on your mode of transport and your interests. Travelling by public transport requires a lot of time, energy and patience, but it is infinitely cheaper than hiring your own four-wheel drive. However, hiring your own vehicle can be very rewarding if you fancy doing a bit of your own exploring or you like to have the opportunity to stop along the way.
- Asmara (3 nights); Keren (2 nights); Agordat (1 night); Barentu (1 night) Tessenei (2 nights)
- Asmara (3 nights); Keren (2 nights); Nafa (3 nights)
- Asmara (2 nights); Massawa via Filfil (3 nights); Thio (1 night); Assab (2 nights)
- Asmara (2 nights); Keren (1 night); Barentu via Agordat (2 nights); Mendefera (1 night); Senfafe (2 nights).
Owing to Eritrea’s and diversity, there are great deals of excursions that can fulfill special increases. These could include:
- Archaeology: Including Qohaito, Metera, Adulis, Adi Keih and Belew Kelow.
- Bird watching: Includes camping in the Filfil region.
- Architecture: Includes tours of the famous Italian and Turkish-style building of Asmara, Massawa and Keren.
- Railway: Take a trip on the newly restored stream railway from Ghinda to Massawa. The line is also open from Asmara to Massawa.
- Scuba diving: the Red Sea coast offers some of the world’s best diving.