a VirtualTourist member from Krakow
I'm going to visit Eritrea in summer. I have a few questions, please help.
1) Is it true that only overland route is via Ethiopia and Djibouti?
2) Is it safe and wise travelling by land from Djibouti border (~Assab)
3) Are there any ferry from Massawa to Jeddah (SA) or somewhere in Yemen (Aden)?
In general, I will start in Egypt and I want to visit Sudan and Eritrea (it's a must) and then go back via Saudi Arabia/Syria/Turkey to Europe. Visiting Ethiopia and Djibouti would be nice, but not necessary.
Thanks in advance.
You cannot legally cross from Ethiopia into Eritrea because of the war-like but truce situation. It would also be dangerous to try to cross illegally due to land mines, unexploded ordinance and trigger-happy nervous soldiers on borth sides.
But you can enter from the Sudan from Kassala into Tesenay and Barentu.
There are cargo ships calling at Massawa and Assab from Jeddah in Sauda Arabia. There are frequent legal and illegal (smuggling) boats crossing over to Yemen - the same boats that "go fishing" or take tourists to the Dahlak islands. No schedules, though...
I have not heard anything about the Eritrean-Djibouti border being closed. I certainly know that Afar traders cross into Djibouti from near Asab, and that there is a track/rutted tracks crossing over. Stay on the road/tracks as this area saw much fighting - artillery duels and pitched battles/land mining during the recent war. From Djibouti you can take the road or railway into Ethiopia. Both in case of Djibouti, Yemen and Ethiopia ensure you have visas issued in your home country before starting off. May not be so easy to obtain en route.
Good luck - I envy you!
1) It is true. The Sudanese border has been closed for a few years now. I asked on both sides, going all the way to Kassala in Sudan.
2) Crossing from Djibouti is completely safe. I have done it myself. The route from Assab to Asmara is equally safe.
3) There are no passenger-carrying ferries from Massawa to any other country.
If you don't want to take the detour via Ethiopia and Djibouti (and pay for their visas), you can fly from Khartoum to Asmara for about 150 USD on Regional Air.
Thanks a lot for your answers! Saagar - there is nothing to envy, just do the same! :)