Here, we are far from mass tourism and the cultural changes that it too often involves. Tourism in Eritrea is essentially a local tourism, which lives thanks to expatriates; foreigners who visit the country are quite rare. This ensures you a certain confidentiality and no matter what you do, you will have the pleasant feeling of going off the beaten track, of seeing what many have never seen before. The weakness of the tourist infrastructures leads the visitor to a total immersion in the heart of people's lives, thus a truly authentic contact, a source of surprises and wonder. Different forms of tourism are available to the traveller: explore the rich and diversified architectural heritage of Asmara and Massawa or explore the different natural landscapes characteristic of Africa - bush, savannah, steppe, desert, without forgetting the islands and seabed; try the steam train or sambuk cruise; immerse yourself in local customs and traditions, visiting the many markets or attending the coffee ceremony... The lovers of thrills and total change of scene will not be disappointed.
The mixing of cultures and geographical diversity :
By its strategic location on the Red Sea trade routes since the earliest antiquity, Eritrean culture has inherited a mixed population of diverse origins and influences that have created an atypical culture in Africa. This identity is affirmed in fields as diverse as languages (nine recognized national languages, not to mention other spoken languages, as many different ethnic groups), architecture (art deco, Ottoman, ethnic), gastronomy (traditional or of Italian origin) or religious practice (Catholic, Orthodox or Muslim). Nowhere else on the continent will you find such a cultural mosaic. On the other hand, the contrasts between the different geographical regions - high and arid central plateaus separated by steep valleys, low and fertile western plateaus or hills, coastal sandy plain, Dahlak islands and Afar salt desert - offer extremely varied landscapes for such a small country.
© Dominique Auzias & Jean-Paul Labourdette