Eritrea, officially named as the State of Eritrea, is located in the Horn of Africa, which also houses Ethiopia (renting a car in Ethiopia), Somalia (rent a car in Somalia) and Djibouti (car renting in Djibouti). Its name is derived from the Greek equivalent of the Red Sea with which it has an extensive coastline. This hot dry strip along the coast of the Red Sea experiences heavy rainfall from June to September except in the region of coastal desert, dry season lasts from December to April. The country has two airports: Asmara International Airport in its capital (Asmara) and Massawa International Airport is located in the coastal town of Massawa. You’ll need to choose from just about half a dozen airlines, of which the most popular are Egypt Air and Turkish Airlines which operate flights to Asmara from Cairo and Istanbul respectively.
Eritrea is also accessible by car from Sudan but you need to possess a valid certificate of ownership of the vehicle you’re driving, meaning no car from car rental in Eritrea can enter or leave the country. Moreover, the roads in the border area are very poor, so you should have a 4WD.
Visa & Currency
It is mandatory for all nationalities to apply for and procure a visa before entering the country Websites of many Eritrean Embassies provide online visa application for you to download and thus save some time.
Eritrea Currency is Nakfa (ERN)
1.00 USD = 10.4700 ERN
There are currently no ATMs in Asmara. Credit cards are accepted by some major hotels and travel agencies.
Time zone EAT (UTC+3)
EAT is the time zone used in eastern Africa. The zone is three hours ahead of UTC (UTC+3), which is the same as Arabia Standard Time.
Driving in Eritrea
All foreigners must obtain a travel permit from the Government of Eritrea. As per statistical data of 2009, WHO named Eritrea as the most dangerous country in the world to drive in because of the ratio of road deaths to total population. Roads are generally in bad shape and roads to villages are unpaved. Driving at night is best avoided. Driving is quite risky due presence of animals, lots of pedestrians and cyclists. Fuel is considered to be the most expensive here , compared to the rest of the world. Road rules are commonly ignored and speed limits not imposed. Generally, it is safe to walk at night without worrying for any crime.
Find Car rental in Eritrea
You’ll need an International Driving permit to rent a car. You won’t find any of the big companies that offer car rental in Eritrea. There are some local, though one may not find any website. Here are two such car rental in Eritrea:
Fontana Rent A Car Tel +2911 120052
Africa Rent Car Tel +2911 121755, 202597
You will need to contact them on phone and negotiate prices.
Even if you manage to get a car, it is recommended to get one with driver who can speak English otherwise you may have problems asking for routes and directions. Car rental in Eritrea are insanely expensive, probably due highly expensive fuel. Even hiring a car to drive you around town is quite expensive, yet affordable. Be ready to pay about 3000 – 6000 Nakfa for a weekend with a driver. It is a better idea to take buses or contact one of the national tour agencies at the information desk at the airport. You can also consider traveling by yellow taxis. Though most such taxis operate on fixed route, it is not very difficult to locate one willing to take you to your destination and back.