The Department of Foreign Affairs strongly recommends that you obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before travelling to Eritrea. You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake. Irish citizens should note that the Irish Government does not provide funds for emergency medical repatriation or for repatriation of remains.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade advises against all tourist and other non-essential travel due to tensions between Eritrea and neighbouring countries. The security situation in Eritrea has the potential to deteriorate with little warning.
There is an extreme risk to your security in Eritrea’s border areas with Sudan, Djibouti and Ethiopia due to unresolved border conflicts. We strongly advise against all travel to these areas.
There is a risk from unexploded landmines and ordnance throughout the country, particularly near the border with Ethiopia.
Safety and Security
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade advises against all travel within 50km of the Ethiopian and Sudanese borders with the exception of the main road between Adigrat and Axum.
On January 21st 2013 there were reports of military movement in the capital city, Asmara. State TV was off the air for several hours. Irish citizens currently in Asmara are advised to exercise caution and to monitor available local and international media for information, as well as to check this website for further updates.
On 15 March 2012 the Ethiopian military attacked targets across the Eritrean border. Reports suggest that a number of people were killed in the attacks and there is a risk that foreign nationals could be caught up in further violence in the Ethiopia-Eritrea border area. Military presence is high in the area, and the border is completely closed to both international and local travellers.
There are extensive unmarked minefields in Eritrea, particularly near the border with Ethiopia. The risk from unexploded landmines and ordnance throughout the country is high.
Banditry is known to occur in border areas, and on some rural roads. Driving on main roads outside of border areas is generally safe. Driving on non-metalled roads, off-road driving, walking and hiking in rural areas can be dangerous and we advise against doing so near border areas.
Travelling after dark in rural areas is dangerous, due to lack of road signs, barriers and lighting. Many parts of the country are impassable during the rainy season.
Heavy pedestrian and bicycle traffic and livestock on roads near urban centers pose hazards.
Street crime is rare but does occur in cities and towns, including Asmara.
Local Laws and Customs
Penalties for drug offences are severe and include long prison sentences. Serious crimes may attract the death penalty. Serious crimes may also attract corporal punishment. Homosexual acts are illegal.
Taking photographs of government buildings and military installations is not allowed.
The economy in Eritrea is cash-based. There are no ATMs. You must declare all foreign currency brought into Eritrea on arrival. On departure, you must prove that any missing foreign currency was exchanged at a branch of the state foreign currency exchange, Himbol. Failure to comply can result in prosecution. It is illegal to exchange money anywhere other than at a Himbol branch. It is illegal to try to use hard foreign currency in Eritrea
Natural Disasters and Climate
Eritrea is in an active volcanic and earthquake zone.
Climate is varied ranging from pleasant in Asmara with little rainfall to cooler with more rainfall in highlands and east.
Additional Country Info
The Embassy of Ireland in Dar es Salaam is accredited to Eritrea. As there is no Irish diplomatic presence in Eritrea, the ability of the Department of Foreign Affairs to assist Irish citizens who get into trouble is severely limited.
Diplomatic Missions and Consular Missions
The Embassy of Ireland in Dar es Salaam is accredited to Eritrea . As there is no Irish diplomatic presence in Eritrea, the ability of the Department of Foreign Affairs to assist Irish citizens who get into trouble is severely limited.
Eritrean authorities have not always informed the relevant embassy when foreign nationals need consular assistance. You should include this in your considerations before travelling.Top