Eritrea is a narrow strip of a country in northeast Africa. There are tensions with Ethiopia over bordertowns and skirmishes with other neighboring countries at times so pay attention to current events. As of July 2018, a peace treaty with Ethiopia has been agreed to, so we can only hope for the best. Generally the country has gone backwards over the last decade with many fleeing and infrastructure faltering. Tourist numbers are very low these days.
Eritrea is proudly independent following Italian withdrawal after WW2 and a long war against Ethiopia which was essentially given the land by the British following the Italian withdrawal.
Great architecture. Great diving. Comfortable at higher elevations. Hot otherwise.
Do note that this is a country full of bureaucratic rules so plan on visas and other paperwork long in advance.
Best Time to Visit Eritrea
Short Answer: December to February.
Longer Answer: The best time to visit Eritrea would be dependent on where you are heading.
In general, June through September is the rainy season.
If you are based on the coast, then you will want to visit Eritrea December through February when the temperatures aren’t so oppressive. Expect humidity and warm water temperatures year around.
If you are inland in the higher elevations, for instance visiting Asmara (1.5mi/2.3km above sea level), then anytime in the mid-September to mid-June period is a good time to visit this region. If you like cooler weather (highs 70F/21C), then December to February are great as they see the least rain and temperatures are quite nice. Beware of cool/cold nights, with November through March having nightly temperatures below 50F/10C. Year around, this region stays mild due to elevation. So, in general, outside of the rainy July and August, this region is good all year.
Further inland, back at lower elevations, the temperatures are mostly above 90F(32C) peaking around April. For this area of Eritrea, the best time to visit would be mid-September through January.
Miscellaneous Travel Tips for Eritrea
Before we get into other tips – note that Eritrean government rules require you to obtain permits to do most things you’d think you would never need a permit for. Essentially you need a permit to visit anything. Check in with the Tourism Ministry to obtain these permits or to ensure what you do or don’t need.
Asmara is the capital city and is known for its Art Deco architecture built by the Italians. In general its an architectural wonderland preserved by the dry desert air. Another site is the Tank Graveyard in Asmara.
Ride the steam train out from the mountains, through tunnels and bridges, between Asmara and the coastal town of Massawa. Will need to explain to officials why you are leaving Asmara and for how long and obtain a permit. Old coal-fired steam trains utilized on line. (There are some reports that this train is not running and others report it is).
Massawa and the Dahlak Archipelago are great jumping off points for excellent diving although royal families have built private palaces that makes some areas off limits now. The waters are shallow, warm and littered with submerged military equipment which have become havens for sealife. Will need permit to visit this or islands nearby.
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