At Young Pioneer Tours, Eritrea was amongst our first destinations in Africa. Throughout the years, we have developed contacts within the country as well as an expertise and love for the locals which allow us to support and streamline all sorts of projects in the country.
One of the most seclusive countries of Africa, getting into Eritrea can be quite the challenge but people will tell you that it is one of the most rewarding place to visit in Africa. If you don’t have contacts within the country, the procedure to get a visa for Eritrea can be most irritating, if not impossible. With our experience and way to proceed, we take care of the challenging parts for you, leaving you only with the rewarding parts.
The contrary truly is a world apart from the rest of the world and offer unique experiences due to its situation. While you will get the worst internet connection in the world, you’ll get as a tradeoff, a quite pleasant reminder of what the world was before connectivity was everywhere: busy cafés, vibrant street life. A vibe it shares with Cuba.
Scheduled group tours and bespoke tours
Young Pioneer Tours organises two group tours a year to Eritrea. Our oldest and most famous tour is certainly our Independence Day Tour of Eritrea, which visits Eritrea while its streets are packed with musicians and parades. It also visit the Mass Games of Africa. Finally, it takes in all the highlights of Eritrea and YPT’s favourites, such as the Dahlac Archipelago and the steam train of Eritrea.
Our second tour is our Budget Tour of Eritrea. Since Eritrea can be a country that is difficult to access on one’s own and some of its main highlights can be pricey, we’ve decided to create a tour where a group of like-minded travellers could pool their ressources to experience the highlights of Eritrea over a short time and at a reasonable price.
Young Pioneer Tours can also organise any kind of independent tours of Eritrea tailored on your interests. In for a short 2 day tour of Asmara or a longer archaeological foray? YPT makes it easy!
It is relatively easy to arrange anything in Eritrea once you’re in. Getting the visa is the trickiest part. As such, people with specific interests which are not fulfilled by our group tour could join the group tour and then do extensions on their own, such as visiting Christian monasteries or ruins.
Getting to Eritrea
While it used to be quite difficult, the normalisation of diplomatic relations between Eritrea and Ethiopia has simplified getting to Eritrea a great deal.
It is still not possible for foreigners to enter Eritrea from Ethiopia overland. However, Ethiopian Airlines has multiple daily flights linking Addis Ababa to Asmara, at a reasonable price. Other airlines, such as Egypt Air and Turkish Airlines also link their respective capitals to the country, which gives you plenty of choice.
Finally, some other destinations, such as Sudan and other neighbouring countries, are deserved by Eritrea’s National Carrier, Eritrean Airlines. While you won’t be able to book the tickets online, Young Pioneer Tours can arrange those tickets for you.
You’ll find more about the subject in our detailed blog about it.
Accommodation in Eritrea
Once again, since Eritrea is mostly disconnected from the internet, you won’t be able to just go on booking.com and get on booking.com to book your accommodation. YPT has an extensive network of accommodation, for all budgets, which we can pre-arrange for you. Accommodation can be organised in all main cities of the country: Asmara, Keren and Massawa.
Things to do in Eritrea
Tours of Asmara
The city which was called Piccolo Roma in its days as the capital of an Italian colony hasn’t changed much since those times. In fact, many will tell you that Asmara is an open-air museum like no others around the world. Since there hasn’t been any big reconstruction project in the country since World War II, you’ll find the same buildings, cafes and cinemas which have been there for more than a century. Locales such as the Cathedral, the Cinema Roma and the recycling markets are fascinating places to visit. Car enthusiasts will also find antique cars still running around the city and, when the sun gets too much, go for a traditional Italian gelato.
The tank graveyard, located near Asmara, is one of the highlights of the country if not of the continent. Here, everything has been stacked in this king of scrapyards for decades. You’ll find everything, from Ethiopian tanks to Italian ice cream delivery trucks in this urban exploration wonder.
Century-old steam train
The renown of the steam train of Eritrea is well spread. Imagine going around century-old train track on an old steam engine on winding roads crossing multiple tunnels, that’s only possible in Eritrea! The train is only available on charter, which is something YPT can arrange. Come and experience it while it lasts.
Located in the Red Sea, the Dahlac Archipelago consists of 2 big islands and 124 smaller islands. It is reached from the port of Massawa. It is a place of abundant aquatic wildlife and a great place for scuba diving. Visiting the Dahlac Archipelago in depth can take over a week but the main islands can be visited in one full-day. The islands also sports some ancient ruins. We can arrange all sorts of cruises and camping around the archipelago.
Eritrea shares with its Ethiopian neighbour an ancient Christian culture as they were amongst the first Christian countries in the world. Due to that, the country has impressive Christian monasteries which can be incorporated in our independent tours. Amongst them, the Debre Bizen monastery is one of the most famous. Located by the town of Nefasit, it takes two hours of trekking to reach it, as it is perched in the mountains. It is still functional today, with about 100 monks living there in autonomy.
It is not only Christianity that has a long history. The ruins of Matara and Qohaito, located near the city of Senafe, was a major settlement of the D’mt and Askumite kingdoms. The ruins, which are comparable to ruins found in North Africa, can be visited on any trip to Eritrea.