5 Things Zimbabweans Need To Know About Travelling To Eritrea…

Africa map pointing EritreaImage Credit: Pebbles For Christ

It would seem that a number of people are interested in wanting to know more about Eritrea, no prizes for guessing why. While people debate the authenticity of the story, we’ve gone ahead and compiled this list that should give you a better understanding, in case you want to make you way there:

Location

Eritrea, a former Ethiopian province and Italian Colony, gained independence in 1993. Officially the State of Eritrea, it is a country in the Horn of Africa. With its capital at Asmara, it is bordered by Sudan in the west, Ethiopia in the south, and Djibouti in the southeast. It had a population of 6.3m in 2013.

Language

There are nine languages in Eritrea. Tigrinya (50%) and Arabic are the working languages. The other languages are Tigre (40%), Afar (4%), Saho (3%), Bega (Beja), Bilen, Nara and Kunama. English and Italian are also widely understood.

There is no official language, though Tigrinya, Arabic and English predominate in commerce and national business. The use and development of all nine of Eritrea’s languages are encouraged at the local level, and children attend primary school through the fifth grade in their mother tongue.

Currency

The national currency of Eritrea is the Nakfa. The Eritrean Nakfa is issued in notes with denominations of 100, 50, 10, 5 and 1 Nakfa. Coins are 100 cents, 50, 25, 10, 5 and 1 cent depicting animals native to Eritrea. The exchange rate to the US$ as of 26 January 2016 is $1.00 = Nfk 15.00.

Credit cards
Credit cards are rarely used in banking transactions in Eritrea, and are accepted in some major Eritrean hotels. Airlines. Major travel agencies also accept credit cards. A commission of up to 5% will be charged, so check in advance.

Visa

Eritrea does not have an embassy in Zimbabwe. Any official state business with them will have to be carried out through their consulate in Pretoria, South Africa.

An application form should be filled out, together with a recent passport-size photograph. Passport must be valid at least six months beyond the dates of the trip and an application fee of between $30 – $70 (depending on type of visa applied for). For a business visa, a letter from a sponsoring company, stating the purpose of the trip and proof of sufficient funds to cover all expenses.

Flight

There is no direct flight to Eritrea, but of the flights that are available, the cheapest is about $900 return. However, if one wants to fly out of Johannesburg (supposing you take the bus there), the flight is only $480.

So there you have it folks. If you do intend to travel, let us know how that goes for you.

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