Eritrea Discovery Tour – a 10 day Small Group Tour.
Join our small group tour of Eritrea where we will get a fantastic insight to this little visited corner of Africa. This tour allows you to discover the highlights of the country.
We start and end with the charming capital Asmara, at 2,300m pleasant at any time of the year. You will have plenty of time to check out some of the Italian style cafes and bars before we head north to Keren, famous for its Monday camel market. Next we travel towards the Red Sea Coast and the city of Massawa, a place with an engaging, exotic character and a delight to explore.
Returning to the capital, we make an excursion to the interesting town of Decamhare and also the historical site of Quohaito. A great trip through a truly exciting and undiscovered part of Africa.
Our tour of Eritrea has a visit to Keren, whose name means ‘highland’. It was once a small town, but developed quickly with the advent of the railway linking it to Asmara.
Known as one of Eritrea’s prettiest towns, it wasn’t all roses for Keren – during both World War Two and the war for independence, Keren was the scene of much conflict including one of the fiercest battles of Britain’s fight against fascist Italy.
Today it contains an interesting British War Cemetery as well as the Italian style railway station, and is overlooked by an old Egyptian fort dating back to the 19th century. It has an overtly Muslim feel to the town and is inhabited by a number of Eritrea’s different ethnic groups.
The pace of life here is best reflected in the way that camels and donkeys still outnumber cars.
We also visit Massawa. Here at the coast, there is a very Arabian feel to it, reflecting its trading links with the Arabian Peninsula. It consists of two islands connected to the mainland by a causeway, and is the largest natural deep-water port on the Red Sea.
With its strategic position it was much coveted by foreign powers and has been occupied by the Portuguese, Arabs, Egyptians, Turks, British and Italians. Originally it was the capital of Italian Eritrea, before a decision was taken to move it to Asmara. One of the delights of Massawa is exploring its narrow streets, chancing upon old mosques, tombs and merchants’ houses dating back several centuries, and giving you a real feel for what the town was like in its heyday.
Day 1 – Arrival in Asmara
Arrive in Asmara and transfer from the airport to your hotel. Overnight Sunshine Hotel or similar.
Day 2 – Asmara
Explore beautiful Asmara on a city tour to see many examples of Art Deco architecture dating from the Italian period, and enjoy the perfect year-round climate by taking a cappuccino at one of the many outdoor cafes. Some of the other key places of interest we will see will be the Catholic Cathedral, the Coptic Orthodox Church, the Grand Mosque, the Recycling Market, the tank cemetery, the local food markets and the National museum. Overnight Sunshine Hotel or similar. (BLD)
Please note that depending on arrival times of clients some of the city tour may also be done on Day 1.
Day 3 – Asmara to Keren
(Approximate driving time 3 hours)
Today we leave the capital and head north through the highlands past steep terraces of coffee and orange groves to Keren, set on a plateau at 1392m surrounded by dusty ochre mountains. One of the country’s most attractive towns, Keren is also the heart of Eritrea’s agricultural community. Visits include Keren’s popular markets, including one for livestock and camels, which attracts traders from a wide area. Overnight Sarina Hotel or similar. (BLD)
Day 4 - Keren
Today we will continue with tour of Keren focusing on the historical and architectural areas of the town. We will visit Mariam Da’arit a statue of Mary inside a baobab tree, The British and Italian cemeteries from Second World War and the architectural buildings that shows the creativity and beauty of the Italian era. Overnight Sarina hotel or similar (BLD)
Day 5 – Keren to Massawa
(Approximate driving time: 4.5 hours)
We continue from Keren to the Red Sea Coast and the city of Massawa. Overnight Grand Dahlak Hotel or similar. (BLD)
Day 6 – Excursion to Adulis and the Gulf of Zula
Visit the ancient port of Adulis- one of the ancient ports once numbering among the greatest ports of the ancient world with links to the Roman, Egyptian and Greek Empires. From there continue to the Gulf of Zula – a deep cleft in Eritrea’s coastline which is the birthplace of the Great Rift Valley on the African continent. Return to Massawa at noon. Spend the rest of the day exploring Massawa. Stroll among the many white Turkish, Egyptian and Italian buildings and through the maze of narrow alleyways to soak up the atmosphere and maybe sample some of the mouth-watering seafood available. Overnight Grand Dahlak Hotel or similar. (BLD)
Day 7 – Massawa to Asmara
(Approximate driving time: 3 hours)
Return to Asmara, with more time to explore the capital upon arrival. Overnight Sunshine Hotel or similar. (BLD)
Day 8 –Decamhare – Senafe - Adikeyih
(Approximate driving time: 4 hours)
Travel to Decamhare, a charming town once called secondo Roma (Second Rome) designed to be the transport hub of the Italian Empire in the Horn of Africa. It was once a favourite settlement of the Italians and contains some good examples of old colonial architecture. The town was built by the Italians, planned to be the industrial capital of Eritrea. It was a favourite settlement of the Italians by all account and was a beautiful town. We will continue further north to a town called Senafe, close to the border and we have a chance to visit the second largest mountain in Eritrea. Then continue to Adikeyih passing by the beautiful sycamore valley and stay overnight there. Overnight Central hotel or similar. (BLD)
Day 9 – Adikeyih – Qohaito – Asmara
(Approximate driving time: 3 hours)
Quohaito is the archaeological and historical site located about 20km from Adikeyih. It is 2600 meters above sea level and 121Km south of Asmara. As legends say, it was built during the time of Queen Sheba, approximately 750BC. The historical relics include an engraved stele 4-5 meters high and buildings of Axumite period and many cave writing and tombs. We return to Asmara for an overnight stay. Overnight Sunshine hotel or similar (BLD)
Day 10 – Departure from Asmara
Time at leisure to explore further until your transfer to the airport for your onward flight. (B)
Dates & Price.
Return flights from London to Asmara start at £590. Contact us for a quotation.
Airport transfers are included if you are booking pre and/or post tour accommodation at the hotel mentioned in our tour dossier.
Single Supplement from £159.
Private and Tailormade tours to Eritrea
Want to see details of your itinerary on a map?
Download the full tour dossier for this trip here.
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+44(0) 191 296 2674 from THE UK
1-800-614-2967 from THE US & CANADA
1-300-956-415 from AUSTRALIA
- Arrival and departure transfers
- All accommodation
- Services of English speaking guide / tour leader
- Meals as listed (B – Breakfast, L – Lunch, D – Dinner)
- Entrance fees for sites listed as part of the itinerary
- International flights
- Any airport taxes
- Travel Insurance