Charming Eritrea 8 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 –ASMARA

After having enjoyed a last swim in this paradise, return to Massawa that will be reached in the early afternoon. If time allowed us will do a short visit to the city and will proceed to Asmara were will arrive in the evening.

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

8° day – saturday
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.

* 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.

* Dahlak Archipelago is an exceptional ecosystem, which has few rivals in the world and remain one of the last great unspoilt destinations.

Price per person: USD 1.590

Departure: every first and third week of the month, saturday from Asmara

Accomodation: B&B in Asmara and Keren, full board when in Dahlak, 
Minimum 4 maximum 10 guests

Price include:

  • Four nights in Asmara, B&B accomodation, Midian Hotel or similar
  • One night in Keren, B&B, Sarina hotel or similar
  • 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
  • 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
  • Excursion by colonial train
  • 4WD excursion to Kohaito archaeological sites
  • 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”

NB: Some necessary advice:

The cruise to Dahlak, requires flexibility: the overnight stay will be in tents on the islands (large igloo tents mt 2.50 x 2.50x 1.90H, equipped with camp beds, pillow, sheets and pillowcases, chairs and tables are made available by the organization); the fresh water is limited so forget about daily showers. Camp toilets will be available. Meals will be prepared by the cook who will accompany you. You will eat freshly caught fish, the bread will be the typical Danakil’s one, fried or cooked in the pan, the fruit will be available only on the first days, but there will be tea and coffee, pasta and rice, biscuits and jam for the breakfast, in addition to, for those who prefer, typical breakfast of the coast: the “foul” based on fava beans, or an omelette with the addition of green hot pepper! Are available local drinks as bottled water, soft drinks and beer (4 drinks per day per person are included, extra will be paid to the crew). Do not miss a drop of areki (the local anise), to be enjoyed in the evening, maybe on the beach, around the fire chatting with travel buddies or admiring an incredible sky with (see to believe!) millions of stars, a breathtaking view in front of which everyone remains amazed and speechless and, if we are lucky, a bright sea for the phosphorescent plankton.

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.

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