10 Surprising Things I Learned While Traveling in Eritrea

  1. Somewhere on a downtown street (adjacent to Alba Bistro) there’s an open wifi spot called Triple H OUTDOOR. I tried connecting and you bet, it didn’t work.


  1. At the time of my trip (May to the end of July), Kuwait Dinar had the highest foreign currency exchange in Eritrea. The exchange rate is 49.5 Dinar  to 1 USD.


  1. Dial 456 to check your EriTel phone’s account balance.


  1. The old steam train from Asmara to Massawa has shortened its route from Asmara to Nefasit, and travelers fortunate to find a group to tag along with can call this number to book an appointment.
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Source: Google images


  1. Biet Giorgis—the Zoo—in Asmara is closed.


  1. When a local tells you “miss call gebereley,” he means call and hang up the phone after the first ring to let him know you’re waiting in front outside. Money is hard to come by in Eritrea, so people typically don’t spend longer than a minute on the phone.


  1. Nearly everyone has the app ShareIt installed on his phone. Locals use it to share pictures, videos and song files.


  1. Mebrak Asmara Restaurant is an establishment in Maakel Ketema managed by returnees from the United States. The late owner is an Eritrean woman who once lived in New York.


  1. Roughly 480 out of the nation’s 27,000 businesses were penalized for evading taxes in 2018 and forced to close down for several months, according to a family friend living in the capital. The merchants started receiving notices from the government two years ago.


  1. Some of the best pastries in Asmara can be bought at Red Sea Pastry Cafe which is a block up from my aunt’s street on Godena Felket. My other favorite pastry spot? Cafe Bonjour in Arbaeta Asmara.




Traveling in Eritrea or plan to soon? Leave a comment below with any discoveries from your trip.

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