Eritrean Heritage 11 days

1° Day – Saturday

ASMARA

At your arrival at the Asmara International Airport, after processing custom formalities you will be transferred at your hotel.

In the afternoon you will start with the discovery of Asmara. A guided tour will lead you to the most interesting and unusual places that Asmara, UNESCO World Heritage Site, offers. From October to March Asmara is an explosion of jacarande, ibiscus and cascades of buganville. The beauty of Asmara is not finished here …………. you’ll realize it in person.

 

Overnight in Asmara, Midian hotel or similar.

Bed & Breakfast

2° Day – Sunday

ASMARA – TRAIN EXCURSION – KEREN

After breakfast excursion on board the legendary train, pulled by locomotives “Mallet” from Asmara to Nefasit and back. (tour subject to availability and to be paid locally).

You will have the rare opportunity to travel along one of the most daring railways in the world, whose construction began in 1897, on board trains that go back to the times of the colonies, still efficient thanks to a “loving” maintenance. We will cover the stretch Asmara-Arbaroba, about 18km one of the most striking and scenic part of the entire route.

If the excursion by train will not be available, the morning will continue the visit of Asmara.
In the afternoon departure to Keren, (1,392 Mt. high), crossroad between the highland and the lowland and well-known for its silver filigree works, with several stops along the way and arrival in the late afternoon.

Overnight in Keren, Sarina hotel or similar.
Bed & Breakfast

3° Day – Monday

KEREN – ASMARA

Today in Keren there is the cattle market, and therefore a crossroads that attracts all the people of the areas surrounding the city.
Sightseeing tour of the city and its market. Worth-seeing places are: the Italian and British war cemeteries, the mosque and the little Greek church near the market, the governor country-seat, the Romanesque Saint Michael church and the old Fortress (1,460 Mt. high). Last but not least, a visit to “Mariam Dearit” (Our Lady of Baobab), a chapel built inside the tree itself.

Stop at the Sanctuary of the Madonna del Baobab, linked to a miraculous story that saved the lives of some Italian soldiers, they made it as their thanks to God because they took shelter there during the British bombings in 1941.

Visit to the war cemeteries in which Italian soldiers and Askari are buried (the Eritreans who fought alongside the Italian troops) and the British cemetery.
On the way back to Asmara, if possible, stop at Elabered for a visit to the “De Nadai Estate”. An efficient system of dams, still today working, was created by the Italian farmers, which allows the cultivation of vegetables and fruit and the breeding of animals in exemplary stables. Large mango trees can be seen along the river.
Overnight at Asmara, Midian hotel or similar.
Bed & Breakfast

4° Day – Tuesday

ASMARA – KOHAITO – ASMARA

After breakfast excursion to Kohaito, heading south, with 4x4 off-road vehicles. Short stop at Dekemhare. (optional excursion, to be paid locally). If you choose not to go to Kohaito area you will have a free day in Asmara.

Proceeding to Segheneyti where you will observe the majestic sycamore trees, the largest in the country, some old even 300 years old, in what is called the “Valley of the Sycamores”. The most beautiful is reproduced on a banknote of the country. Arrival in Senafè and Kohaito, where the ruins of the ancient axumite cities of Metara and Coloe rise.

Based on the different names in the area that are related to the elephants, Kohaito is believed to have been a center of ivory trade and an agricultural area due to the many remains of stones for grinding. At the beginning there were only 46 sites identified, but now the number has risen to 900.

Overnight in Asmara, Midian hotel or similar.
Bed & Breakfast
NB: this excursion is subject to confirmation for obtaining the permits. In case they are not obtained, the excursion will arrive until the sycamores plane.

5°- 6° day Wednesday – Thursday

ASMARA – MASSAWA – DAHLAK ISLANDS

Departure to Massawa, in just 100 km the road, that from Asmara brings to the beach of Massawa, descend to 2450 metres.
As soon as arriving in Massawa, we will board for the three-day excursion to the Dahlak islands by motorboat to the discovery of “the pearls of Red Sea”: Dahlak Islands. The itinerary includes the visit of some of the most interesting and richest coral reef islands and will be decided in the imminence of the departure dates of the cruise. The final program will be decided by the captain on the departure day considering the conditions and weather forecasts, as well as the islands for which permits are granted..

Scattered over a vast area of the Red Sea like a string of pearl upon the azure, translucent waters of the Red Sea, more than 350 Eritrean islands, among which more than 200 islands belong to the Dahlak Archipelago, remain one of the last great unspoilt destinations in the world. Dahlak Archipelago is an exceptional ecosystem, which has few rivals in the world. A tourism specialist, on the return from a cruise has summarised as follows his admiration for these islands: “The Maldives are the best destination in the world where services and nature have a mix unrivalled, but …. the Dahlak!!! They are the Maldives of 20 years ago!).

Overnight in tent.
Full board (breakfast, lunch and dinner including local drinks (bottled water, soft drinks or beer) 4 pcs per person per day)

7° day – Friday
DAHLAK ISLANDS – MASSAWA

After having enjoyed a last swim in this paradise, return to Massawa that will be reached in the early afternoon. Rest of the day will visit the city.
Sturdy and tenacious, like Eritreans themselves, Massawa City has survived throughout the centuries. This old port city preserves an ensemble of wonderful Ottoman architecture. The beginnings of Massawa are shrouded in millennia long past. It is known that in the times of Axumite Empire (first centuries AD) here was small village, which was overshadowed by Adulis port which was located some 50 km to the south. Now Adulis is in ruins. Massawa has two historical districts – each on its own island. The oldest and most valuable is the Old City on Batz’ (Massawa) Island: a coral island without fresh water sources, covered with valuable Arabic and Ottoman architecture. 440 m long causeway leads to the other part of historical city – Taulud Island. This island was uninhabited until the late 19th century, when Italians started construction here. This island is connected to the mainland with 1030 m long causeway. The most valuable buildings in Massawa are:
– Shrine of Sahaba – Old City. Small shrine in the site, where, according to legends, the followers of prophet landed in 615 AD. It is believed that this shrine was built back in those times – thus it could be the oldest constructed Islamic shrine in the world, but this is not proved.
– Sheikh Hanafi Mosque – Old City. The oldest mosque in Eritrea, built in the 15th century AD.
– Bazaar– Old City. Fine Ottoman building.
– Imperial Palace – Taulud. Ornate building constructed for French consul Werner Munzinger in 1872 – 1874. Now in ruins.
– Banco d’Italia – Taulud. Gorgeous building, constructed in the 1920s.

Overnight in Massawa, Grand Dahlak Hotel or similar.
Overnight only

8° day – Saturday

MASSAWA – ADULIS – GHELALO

In the morning departure for a taste of Dancalia. We will stop to visit the archaeological excavations of the “emporium-city” of Adulis, the Pompeii of Africa, and we will continue to Arafali (in the Buri peninsula) up to Ghelalo where we will stay overnight, in a local guest house (open air) or tent.

Adulis, a city to rediscover, a Pompeii of Africa, overwhelmed by water, mud and buried by sand. The Haddas Wadi flows from the plateau to the coast, a river that born at 2,500 meters and goes down through steep valleys and deep ravines. Perhaps it was the strength of one of its exceptional floods that overwhelmed and made the city disappear. It was only in the 16th century that its name was rediscovered on an ancient paper. The city of Adulis, on the south-west coast of the Red Sea, in ancient times, widely regarded as to be the main port of the powerful Empire of Aksum, was one of the main ports in the routes between the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean, a crucial node within the network of cultural contacts and trade between the Mediterranean and the East.
The pioneering excavations of the 19th and the first half of the 20th century have, as usual, privileged monumental aspects of the site, revealing only some elite elements of the ancient urban landscape and the community that lived there. From old diggings was found a large amount of artifacts, mostly dating from the 4th to the 7th century AD; almost unknown are the earlier phases, beginning from at least the 1st century AD, when the port of Adulis was named by sources. However, there are indications of periods of attendance and/or settlements referable to previous eras at the ‘adulitane ages’.
Since 2011, Italian / Eritrean archaeological campaigns have been held to get to know the city’s urban planning and its relationship with the territory.

Overnight in Ghelalo, in local guest house (open air) or in tent
Full board

9° day – Sunday

GHELALO – MASSAWA – ASMARA

After breakfast, one last walk to admire Ghelalo and back to Massawa  and continuation  to Asmara that we will reach in the  afternoon. Leisure time for a walk to discover Asmara by night, maybe sitting in a bar, enjoying an excellent coffee and the quiet and cheerful coming and going of young people and tourists.

The bars of Asmara are part of the history of the bright African city, from the early twentieth century to today, some unaltered in a time that seems suspended. On the main avenue, Harnet Street, the most popular bars, such as the historic bar Empire, have outdoor tables, sit down, drink coffee, “espresso”, tea or the excellent cappuccino, you can taste the brioche or pastries, and you watch the passing people. In what was once the avenue of the Queen, another historic bar, the bar Vittoria, still has the old mirrors, the old counter and the bottles with vintage labels, a fifties bar also frequented by the few and astonished travelers who they pass through Asmara.

Overnight in Asmara, Midian hotel or similar.
Bed & Breakfast

10° day – Monday

ASMARA – ADI QUALA – ASMARA

Breakfast and departure with 4x4 off-road vehicles along the road that leads to Ethiopia in the direction of Adwa and Axum. Arrival in the Mareb valley and visit to the church of Santa Rita in Adi Quala where there is a memorial plaque in memory of the deaths of Nova Scotia.
In the town of Adi Quala, on the borders of Ethiopia, we will visit the Coptic church, dedicated to the Madonna, one of the few built in the colonial times, of good workmanship and which houses beautiful frescoes inside. Then we will see the Catholic church of Santa Rita that holds the plaque in memory of the deaths of “Nova Scotia” and then we will visit the shrine that houses the remains of the fallen in the battle of Adwa in 1896.
Continue to Daaro Khonat where the Memorial of the Dead of Adwa is located. From here you can enjoy one of the most spectacular views and a splendid view of the Mareb valley, and on clear days, the view sweeps right up to the hills of Adwa.

In the late afternoon return to Asmara.

Overnight in Asmara, Midian hotel or similar.
Bed & Breakfast

11° day – Tuesday

ASMARA – DEPARTURE

Free day in Asmara.
Located on a highland plateau at the centre of Eritrea, Asmara, a Modernist city of Africa is the capital of the country and is an exceptionally well-preserved example of a colonial planned city, which resulted from the subsequent phases of planning between 1893 and 1941, under the Italian colonial occupation.
Asmara’s urban character and strong urban form exhibits a human dimension in the relationship between buildings, streets, open spaces, and related activities adapted to the local conditions, which embodies both colonial and post-colonial African life, with its public spaces, mixed-use fabric and place-based material culture. These spaces and use patterns also bear witness to interchange and cultural assimilation of successive encounters with different cultures as well as to the role played by Asmara in building a collective identity that was later instrumental in motivating early efforts for its preservation. Asmara’s urban layout with its different patterns associated to the planning phases, illustrates the adaptation of the modern urban planning and architectural models to local cultural and geographical conditions.

At a suitable time for your flight, you will be transferred to the airport.

Highlights:

* Asmara, the city that boasts one of the world’s finest collections of early 20th-century architecture – with UNESCO awarding it World Heritage Site status.

* The multi-ethnic Keren with its languid atmosphere boasts a seductive amalgam of architectural elements: mosques, churches and colonial buildings.

* The ancient ruins of Kohaito with its perfectly preserved cave paintings.

* Adi Quala and its beautiful Coptic church, the Shrine of Daàro Khonat where the soldiers died in the battle of Adwa rest and the site from which from which you can admire one of the most beautiful views of Eritrea

* Sturdy and tenacious, like Eritreans themselves, Massawa City has survived throughout the centuries, this old port city preserves an ensemble of wonderful Ottoman architecture and gorgeous colonial building.

* Adulis, a city to rediscover, the “Pompeii of Africa”, overwhelmed by water, mud and buried by sand and the main port of the powerful Empire of Aksum. It was only in the 16th century that its name was rediscovered on an ancient paper.

Please contact us for a quote

Individual departure

Accomodation: as per program

Minimum 2 guests

Price include:

  • Six nights in Asmara, B&B accomodation, Midian Hotel or similar
  • One night in Keren, B&B, Sarina hotel or similar
  • One night in Ghelalo, local guest house (open air) or tent, FB
  • Two nights at Dahlak island, overnight in tent, full board during the cruise (breakfast, lunch, dinner including local drinks among bottled water, soft drinks and beer (4 drinks per person per day).
  • All camping equipment at Dahlak camp: comfortable igloo tent (height mt 1.80), camp bed, sleeping bag, fully equipped camp kitchen and cook.
  • Private transfer from Asmara to Massawa and return
  • 4WD excursion to Kohaito archaeological sites
  • 4WD excursion to Adi Quala
  • Welcome at arrival and farewell at departure
  • English/Italian/Amharic/German speaking guide, except on free days
  • Local taxes, tourist permits, entrance fees and Dahlak tax

Price do not include:

  • Entry visa
  • Meals and drinks in Asmara and Massawa
  • Breakfast in Massawa
  • Excursion by colonial train
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Travel insurance: is a MUST to have a comprehensive travel insurance covering cancellation, curtailment, medical, emergency travel and assistance, as this is compulsory on all our trips. Personal expenses
  • All what is not included in the “Price include”

Our first goal is to organize a journey that can satisfy all your wishes. Do not hesitate then to ask any information you feel useful, and explain all the details that you consider important so that your journey really remains in your memory as one of the most beautiful experiences in your life.

Eritrea a la Carte 8 days

The proposal is aimed to those who want to know Eritrea country with the greatest freedom, but however with due care. An expert guide of the country is available, cars with unlimited Km. Tools that, together with your interests, will be able to create unique journeys, tailored to your dream and needs.

Dreaming Eritrea 10 days

A program of 10 days that will take you all around Eritrea, visiting Asmara the modernist capital city, the beach of Massawa, Keren, the archeological area of Kohaito and Adi Quala and daàro Khonat Shrine.