Eritrea with Timkat celebration

Jan 18-26
9 Days

Popularly known as the North Korea of Africa, it is said that Eritrea is the most repressive and hermetic country in all of Africa, a real off-the-beaten-path destination not many travelers have had the chance to visit.

Most travelers, however, agree that this is one of the most unique destinations in the continent, home to the most laid-back city in sub-Saharan Africa and also the most diverse country in terms of landscapes, ethnicities and culture, all concentrated in such a small piece of the African continent.

This is the third expedition we run in Eritrea, and it’s one day longer because we’ll be there during Timkat, the most important religious celebration in all of Eritrea.


January 18th to 26th, 2025


9 days

Oriol López

travelers who joined us say


Note that we always keep the itinerary flexible, and it may be subject to change, depending on the political situation.

Day 1 – Arrival in Asmara

Day 2 – Timkat Festival

Day 3 – Keren

Day 4 – Back to Asmara, Asmara city tour

Day 5 – Massawa

Day 6 – Rasahida tribe and back to Asmara

Day 7 – Decamhare & Senafe

Day 8 – Qohaito & Soho tribe

Day 9 – Departure

Day 1 – Arrival in Asmara

  • Airport pick-up, followed by checking into the hotel
  • Introductory briefing on this Eritrea expedition, followed by dinner and drinks.
  • Overnight in Asmara.

Day 2 – Timkat festival

  • Timkat is a festival from both Ethiopia and Eritrea celebrated by the Orthodox Curches of both Ethiopia and Eritrea.
  • During this festival, hundreds of thousands of people gather to celebrate the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan.
  • This is the best day of the year in Eritrea for people-watching watching, and photography and basically, we’ll spend the entire day in Asmara trying to enjoy this beautiful, traditional event.
  • Overnight in Asmara.

Day 3 – Keren animal market

  • Day 3, which is the day that Keren animal market takes place, probably the best livestock market I have ever seen.
  • We will take our time visiting the market, including plenty of free time for taking pictures, interacting with locals and just discovering it on your own.
  • After lunch, we’ll visit the rest of town and surrounding areas.
  • Overnight in Keren.

Day 4 – Back to Asmara, Asmara City Tour

  • Wide, palm-lined boulevards, art deco, more Fiat Cinquecentos than Italy itself, and a great coffee scene. Asmara, the capital of Eritrea, might be the most charming city in Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Things we will visit include: Fiat Tagliero building, Cinema Roma, Cinema Imperio, Saint Joseph Cathedral, Medemer Market, and the famous bowling center, among other things.
  • Overnight in Asmara.

Day 5 – Massawa

  • Drive to the Red Sea coast, to Eritrea’s main port city of Massawa, and old city that has been occupied by the Portuguese, Arabs, Egyptians, Turks, British and Italians.
  • It gained prominence back in the 16th century when it was captured by Ottoman forces, who developed the old town using traditional Ottoman architectural styles, often with coral instead of bricks.
  • We’ll visit the old Ottoman town, the Italian legacy and have some great seafood.
  • Overnight in Massawa.

Day 6 – Rasahida tribe and back to Asmara

  • Rashahida people are an ethnic group that lives across the coast plain of the Red Sea, from Port Sudan to Massawa. They are the descendants of Arab tribes from the 19th century and are nomadic people and are characterized by their colorful dress and camel breeds.
  • Lunch with Rashahida community
  • If possible, we’ll also visit Adulis, once among the greatest ports of the ancient world, linking the Roman, Egyptian and Greek Empires.
  • However, February will be the rainy season in that area so the road tends to be very muddy and, impossible to drive on our bus. We’ll see. Otherwise, after lunch, we’ll head back to Asmara.
  • Overnight in Asmara.

Day 7 – Decamhare and Senafe

  • Travel to Decamhare, a town southeast of Asmara that served as the industrial hub for Italian Eritrea. At its peak in 1938, almost half the town’s inhabitants were Italian citizens.
  • Decamhare is known for its vineyards and flour mills and, despite considerable fighting in the War of Independence, Decamhare still has good examples of colonial architecture.
  • Lunch in Senafe, from where we will climb to a monastery located on the top of the highest mountain, a 2-hour hike.
  • Overnight in Senafe

Day 8 – Qohaito and Soho tribe

  • Quohaito is a pre-Axumite archaeological site about 20km from Adikeyih, located at 2,600m on the edge of the Great Rift Valley.
  • We will also discover some pretty ancient rock art, as well as meet members of the Soho tribe.
  • Back to Asmara and overnight in Asmara.

Day 9 – Departure

  • In the morning, visit the remaining sites in Asmara.
  • Then, time for a last cappuccino before your transfer to the airport.

Gallery of photos


Visa processing

8 nights of accommodation in secured hotels mentioned in FAQ

Permits for traveling around Eritrea

Private transportation around Eritrea

Breakfast and lunch

English-speaking Eritrean guide

International tour leader

Entrance fees to all places listed in the itinerary

Not Included

International flights to Asmara

Visa fees ($70)


Single supplement (€150)


January 18th to 26th, 2025


9 days

Oriol López


Which hotels do we stay in?

These are the hotels where we stay. Note that they might be subject to availability.

How does the room distribution work?

Price of the tour includes accommodation in a twin room.

If you are a solo traveler, you will be sharing the room with another like-minded traveler from the group. We always try to group people of same gender and age together but note that this won’t always be the case. Moreover, in the hypothetical case there weren’t perfect pairs, one of the rooms would be a triple room.

If you wanted to have your own single room, you will have to pay an additional €150.

How to get a visa for Eritrea?

You don’t need to worry about anything.

Since you’ll be visiting Eritrea as part of a group, we will apply for you, so you won’t need to visit the embassy but just collect it upon arrival.

How to get to Asmara?

You can only fly in. Land borders are closed.

The easiest is to fly from Addis Ababa with Ethiopian Airlines, since there are daily flights, plus they are much cheaper if you book the round trip with them.

Alternatively, on February 11th, you can also find flights from Cairo (Egypt Air), Dubai (Emirates) and Istanbul (Turkish Airlines).

How does payment work?

In order to secure your spot on the tour, we require a deposit.

All details will be shared upon booking your spot.

Do you recommend a specific travel insurance?

Either you are joining one of our trips, or you are traveling by yourself, you might want to look for proper travel insurance. Against the Compass has been a partner with IATI for several years already, recommending it to all readers, as well as covering all Joan Torres’ personal trips.

We like it because It covers all the countries where the FCDO advises against all travel, it offers budget plans and covers all sorts of adventure activities.

Against the Compass readers can benefit from a 5% discount.

Get a quote here to claim your discount

What about the cancellation policy?

Please refer to our Terms & Conditions.