Safety and security
The security situation in Eritrea has the potential to deteriorate with little warning and there are ongoing tensions with the neighbouring countries despite recent positive developments in the region.
The UN Human Rights Council has expressed concerns in relation to human rights abuses in Eritrea.
We advise caution when travelling along Eritrea border areas where the risk to safety is high. Avoid all travel within 25 km of Eritrea’s land borders.
There are extensive unmarked minefields in Eritrea, particularly near the border with Ethiopia. The risk from unexploded landmines and ordnance throughout the country is high.
Don’t stray off main routes, particularly in rural areas, and always check with your local contact before travelling to affected regions.
Street crime is rare but does occur in cities and towns, including Asmara so you should take sensible precautions:
- Don’t carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place.
- Don’t carry your passport unless absolutely necessary and leave a copy of your passport (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home.
- Avoid showing large sums of money in public and don’t use ATMs after dark, especially if you’re alone. Check no one has followed you after conducting your business.
- Avoid dark and unlit streets and stairways, and arrange to be picked up or dropped off as close to your hotel or apartment entrance as possible.
- Keep a close eye on your personal belongings and hold on to them in public places such as internet cafés, train and bus stations.
Banditry is known to take place in border areas, and on some rural roads. Driving on main roads outside of border areas is generally safe but driving on non-metalled roads, off-road driving, walking and hiking in rural areas can be dangerous and we advise against doing so near border areas.
If you are a victim of a crime whilst in Eritrea, report it to the local police immediately. You can also contact the Irish Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, if you need help [+254 716 353 999].
If you’re planning to drive in Eritrea, you should be extremely careful. Watch out for heavy pedestrian and bicycle traffic, as well as livestock on roads near urban centres, which can pose hazards. Travelling after dark in rural areas is dangerous, due to lack of road signs, barriers and lighting and many parts of the country are impassable during the rainy season.
If you want to drive:
- Bring your full Irish driver’s licence and your international driving permit and make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is against the law and you risk being detained, fined or banned from driving if caught
- Keep your vehicle doors locked and your bags kept out of sight to prevent opportunistic bag-snatching if you’re stopped at traffic lights
Hiring a vehicle
If you’re hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you’re allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.
Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).
The telephone network in Eritrea is unreliable and may not work for long periods, particularly outside Asmara and other larger towns. You may not be able to receive or place calls or SMS text messages from overseas mobile phone network. There are no agreements in place between Eritrean mobile telephone provides and international providers. Local SIM cards cannot be purchased without a Resident’s Permit. There have been unconfirmed allegations that phone calls made on the local mobile phone network are recorded.
Wed, 09 Jan 2019 15:22:22 GMT