TOUR CODE, AAT 3333
DURATION: 6 DAYS/5 NIGHTS
SITE: Asmera, Keren, Massawa
TRANSPORT: BY AIR & SURFACE
- Discover the amazing Art Deco architecture of Asmara, one of the most charming cities on the African continent.
- Visit the highland town of Keren and its famous camel market and a British War Cemetery
- Travel to the Red Sea coast and evocative Massawa with its Ottoman heritage
Eritrea is a northeast African country on the Red Sea coast. It shares borders with Ethiopia, Sudan and Djibouti. The capital city, Asmara, is known for its Italian colonial buildings.
Asmara is renowned as one of the most pleasant cities in Africa, situated on the edge of an escarpment on the Rift Valley and Eritrean Highlands. Founded in the 12th century, it originally consisted of four villages, and by the 16th century had become a significant city. Its name derives from these original villages, being an Italianized version of the ‘four united’ villages. It gained prominence when in the 19th century, a local governor appointed by the Ethiopian ruler moved his capital there and established and important marketplace. In 1889 Asmara was occupied by Italian forces bent on creating an African empire, and was developed greatly, later with many superb examples of Art Deco architecture, many of which remain today. Asmara in the 1930s had a sizeable Italian community, but almost nothing of it remains today. After the Italians were pushed out of the country during the Second World War, Asmara was administered by the British before Eritrea was effectively transferred to the rule of Ethiopia. Asmara today, with its elegant palm lined streets, is a great place to wander around, taking in the old Art Deco buildings as well as admiring the numerous other styles of early 20th century architecture, such as the futuristic Fiat Tagliero building. You can also take a ride on one of the traditional horse and carts that still ply the streets. It also has a great market and is dotted with small Italian style cafes where it is possible to grab a cappuccino and lazily watch the world go by. Unlike many other towns in Eritrea, it was largely undamaged during the thirty year war for independence against Ethiopia.
Keren, whose name means ‘highland’, 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
Massawa has very much of an Arab 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 on the Red Sea Coast, 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. It gained prominence back in the 16th century when it was captured by Ottoman forces, who developed the old town using traditional Ottoman architectural styles, often with coral instead of bricks. Many of these old buildings remain today. 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.
Departure Day: Daily Guaranteed Departure with 2 participants minimum
Day 1: Arrival in Addis Ababa and fly Asmara
WELCOME TO ETHIOPIA. On arrival in Addis Ababa our representative will meet you at BoleInternational Airport.
After Breakfast and refreshment city Tour in Addis Ababa. Including Unity Park, Merkato and to the main streets. After lunch transfer to the airport and fly to Asmera
Day 2: Full day City tour in Asmara
After breakfast 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. Overnight Sarina Hotel or similar
Day 3: Keren
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.
Day 4: Massawa
We continue from Keren to the Red Sea Coast and the city of Massawa. Our leisurely drive will take us through Filfil, home to Eritrea’s last remnant of tropical forest. It forms part of the Semenawai Bahri or ‘Green Belt’ area and, amid the arid starkness of the surrounding landscape, rises up oasis-like before you, cool, lush and verdant. It is also one of the best places in the country to see birds and mammals. There is a good chance of spotting vervet monkeys and hamadryas baboons. Overnight Grand Dahlak Hotel or similar. (BLD)
Day 5: Drive Massawa Asmara
Return to Asmara, with more time to explore the capital . Overnight Sunshine Hotel or similar.
Day 6: Fly Asmara - Addis and then Departure
After breakfast transfer to Asmara International Airport and fly to Addis Ababa.
We respect your personal preference on what is to be included and not included on the tour cost.
But as a standard included in our given prices are meet and greet at airport, All accommodation, Meals in Addis, on bed and breakfast basis, Meals out of Addis, on full board basis, All entrance fees at sites, churches, parks and villages, All ground transportation according to the itinerary and Guide service.
International flights, Lunch and Dinner in Addis Ababa , Any drinks including local non-alcoholic beverage and alcoholic drinks, Video filming and photography fees, Incidental meals, snacks and drinks and Tips and items of personal nature like laundry, souvenirs, etc
Visa and Immigration Requirements
Most nationals require a visa for entry into Ethiopia. The easiest way to get Ethiopian Visa is to get it on line thttps://www.evisa.gov.et/ . Again visa can be obtained at Ethiopia’s diplomatic missions overseas.. The last option is to get visa on arrival at Bole International Airport; nationals of 33 countries are now allowed to receive their tourist visas on arrival in Ethiopia at the regular charge. The list includes Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greek, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Thailand, citizens of United Kingdom and United States.
How to get in to Ethiopia
Addis Ababa is a major hub for international airlines. Ethiopian Airlines, the national airline of Ethiopia, provides excellent links with East, West and South Africa, Europe and the Middle East, with connections to America and the Far East. The national airline also offers domestic services to the major towns in Ethiopia, as well as most regional centers. All international services arrive at Bole International Airport, Addis Ababa. Other airlines serving Ethiopia include: Kenya Airways, Emirates, Egyptian, Alitalia, British Airways, Lufthansa, Saudi, Aeroflot, Yemeni, and Turkish Airways.
Luggage on tour
your luggage should not exceed 20kgs (44lbs). One large suitcase/rucksack, and one small hand luggage rucksack is acceptable. Soft rolling bag (we usually use a 22 inch roll aboard) are recommended.
Weather and Climate
There are two seasons: the dry season prevails from October through May; the wet season runs from June to September.
Generally except for June, July and August, most part of Ethiopia will be sunny and pleasant temperature to travel around.
When you travel to the north you are staying in higher altitude towns (Example Addis Ababa, Gondar, and Lalibela) the daily average Temperature is from 20 – 25 degrees and the temperature drops quite rapidly towards sunset. Evenings are fairly cold and you are advised to bring something warm for the evenings, like a sweater or warm Jacket.
Those travelling to the Southern Omo Valley of Ethiopia, the weather of this region will be sunny, hot and dry; the average temperatures is about 30 degrees. During the day the sun is strong. Shorts, Hats, sun glasses, sun creams, light cotton summer clothes and layers of clothes are recommended. Although the daytime temperatures are not very high, the sun is strong and people coming pale and pasty from a European winter should be careful of sunburn -long sleeved shirts may be advisable.
Travelers are advised to travel with American Dollar or Euro. Australian dollar cannot be exchanged in Ethiopia. There is ATM machine In Most of the Regions and one can withdraw money Visa or Master Card. Banks are places to exchange money.
Hotel rooms are basic but generally clean with en suite toilet and bath facilities (usually shower only). In many places hotel accommodation is limited; we utilize the best tourist class properties available. Hotel in Addis is 3-star international standard.
We will be using 4WD Land Cruisers, 4WD mini buses or Coaster buses depending on the conditions of the roads and the size of the group. All our vehicles are Air- conditioned.
For internal flights, we use the national airline Ethiopian Air lines, which offer excellent domestic services to the major towns in Ethiopia.
Handshaking is the usual mode of greeting, although friends or families who have not seen each other for some time will kiss on each cheek. (Displays of sexual intimacy, kissing or hugging, will arouse embarrassment among most Ethiopians.) Usually a handshake greeting is accompanied by a pleasant discussion on personal matters before getting down to business. The offer of tea or coffee is normal, and time is not that important. Smoking is not popular amongst traditional people, or in front of priests. Shoes are often taken off on entering churches, and always on entering mosques.
Despite years of the civil wars in the previous regime, in terms of crime and robbers, Ethiopia is still a very safe country to visit, and Addis Ababa is still one of the safest capitals in Africa. Visitors should of course take the usual precautions, not carry large amounts of money with them and leave particularly valuable items with hotel reception. Both men and women visitors should be careful about hand and money bags, keeping them close at hand in crowded places. Like everywhere else, pick pockets and snatch thieves like to create some kind of diversion before making their move, so visitors should walk purposefully and be cautious about sudden introductions in the street.