One of Eastern Africa’s lesser known destinations, Eritrea lies sandwiched between the azure waters of the Red Sea and the contrasting cultural landscapes of Sudan, Ethiopia and Djibouti. Blessed with a historic pedigree that can trace its origins back to some of the oldest hominids ever found, Eritrea is also believed to be the location of the fabled land of Punt that the Egyptians first mentioned in the 25th century BC. Part of the once great trading kingdom of the Aksumite Empire, today it is home to a rich multi-ethnic mix of cultures and traditions that include no fewer than nine national languages and nine recognised ethnic groups.
Bisected by a branch of the East African Rift, the country encompasses fertile, cool highlands, arid coastal plains and the rich fishing grounds of the Dahlak Archipelago, which forms part of the Dahlak Marine National Park. Its abundant wildlife features spotted hyena, rare African bush elephants, olive baboons and some 560 species of birds, whilst its coastal waters lay claim to whale sharks, dugongs and mantas. A cultural melting pot and a former Italian colony, Eritrea’s long struggle for independence from neighbouring Ethiopia left behind a legacy of political and economic stagnation that has gone some way to keeping the country off the tourist radar and refreshingly undeveloped for so long.
Small by African standards, but endowed with an incredible bounty of natural and cultural highlights, Eritrea presents an Africa of breathtaking beauty and forgotten adventure.