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Travel with Respect

Eritreans are polite, hospitable and soft-spoken but due to the language barrier may generally keep their distance from foreigners. If approached by an English speaker, try to maintain an innocent topic of conversation and use universal common sense. Avoid displaying disdain, arrogance or too harsh criticism towards the country, culture, religion or politics of the country. Although most if not all will be more than tolerant of your "mistakes" as you are a passing foreigner. Do not fall prey to those willing to offer you a better exchange rate for your hard currency or some other "shady economic deal". A) They could be undercover government agents, which can land you in severe trouble with the zero-tolerance Eritrean justice system, or B) Even if they were not, you run the risk of not receiving a fair trade or getting caught by the law which is something you must avoid at all costs in Eritrea. It is rude to take pictures of people or their property without asking for permission. When taking pictures of public buildings beware of government buildings, especially police and military buildings. Taking pictures of these is not always illegal but if done without permission or supervision, it can be viewed as highly suspect and can result in an uncomfortable arrest and interrogation. Ask the closest official (receptionist or police) for permission. Prostitution is legal but only in licensed establishments discretely placed out of the public eye (certain bars, nightclubs, hotels). Public display of romantic affection is considered immodest and overt flirting with an Eritrean is viewed by the general public as akin to prostitution or soliciting thereof and can be taken as extremely offensive if the person in question or their kin is not involved in such business. Like in many East African and Middle Eastern countries, use of the left hand to greet, eat or hand something to someone is considered very dirty. When handing something over, using both hands is accepted and even seen as respectful, but not using the left hand alone. Dress code is generally western, women are not required to "cover up" or wear veils, but showing too much skin, both for men and women will earn them very little respect and women (who show too much cleavage, wear too short a skirt/pair of shorts) will be viewed as prostitutes. "Western" (women) are generally allowed more freedom, as they are seen as already "different" from the norm, than Eritrean or Eritrean-looking women, who would be judged badly also for smoking or even riding a bicycle in public. Women do however drive in Eritrea, all vehicles, even military tanks, ships, planes and they command troops, serve in all the ranks of the army and government in the same capacity as men. It is a country undergoing a post-liberation accelerated (and sometimes paradoxical) cultural evolution.

Information from wikitravel.org*

Travel Safe

Watch out for bicycle riders and pedestrians. People don't look when crossing and bike riding accidents are common. It is a safe city though and you can walk about at night and anywhere in the city and not worry about crime. There are sometimes children that aggressively beg but usually leave you alone if you are stern with them.

Information from wikitravel.org*

 

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* ecotourdirectory.com is not responsible for the travel advice and travel with respect sections on this page. We would strongly advise that before traveling to Eritrea you consult your countries embassy for the lastest guidance.

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