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Getting around

Bus & tram


The bus service in Eritrea is reasonably extensive, but few would call it comfortable. Coverage of Keren and Massawa is excellent. Services thin out the further away from the capital you get.

Fares used to be very cheap, but with the soaring fuel prices and fuel shortages, they’re a bit less economical. Buses don’t adhere to fixed timetables; they depart only when they’re full. For long-distance journeys, you need to be at the bus station by 6am to buy a ticket and to be guaranteed a seat.

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Car & motorcycle

Vehicle hire is expensive in Eritrea. If you’re just planning on travelling on the main routes between towns, a 2WD vehicle is sufficient. But some sights, including Qohaito, are only accessible by 4WD. A driver is usually provided for your 4WD, which is a great help.

Car rental costs Nfa350 to Nfa550 per day; a 4WD costs Nfa1500 to Nfa1900 per day, including third-party insurance. The first 50km to 90km are free, and each additional kilometre costs between Nfa1.50 and Nfa3. For Assab, there is usually a surcharge. Not all rental agencies accept credit cards but, if they do, they add an extra surcharge (usually 7%).

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A section of the old Italian railway that stretched between Asmara and Massawa has been repaired and there’s now a regular service on Sunday morning between Asmara and Nefasit, about 25km east of Asmara (US$50 or Nfa750 return, one hour).

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Eritrean Airlines, the national carrier, flies from Asmara to just one domestic destination: Assab.

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