Where to stay in Eritrea
Asmara has a wide range of accommodation, from the only five star hotel in Eritrea to the dingiest hovel. At certain times of the year it might be difficult to find a bed in the price range you want, especially during the summer holidays when Eritreans from overseas visit in considerable numbers, but generally there is seldom a problem. You will only be able to book from overseas in the upper-range hotels. Privately owned hotels are generally cleaner and more inviting than the state-run establishments and have a better customer service. Many of the independent ‘pensions’ are also more than adequate. The low-end pensions often double as brothels and you tend to get what you pay for – very little.
Water and electricity supplies are unpredictable. The whole country has had problems in recent years, but most upper-range hotels will have back-up water supplies and a generator. It is important always to be prudent with your use of resources.
Massawa and Keren have a much smaller range of hotels, so it is worth booking in advance if possible. Prices are, in general, slightly lower than in Asmara. Meals are available in all major hotels in Eritrea. When making reservations, check for service charges and sales taxes. Hotel bills must be paid in hard currency.
Outside the larger towns and cities accommodation can be very basic, so be prepared for few frills and intermittent water and electricity supplies.
Bed and breakfast
There is no system of bed and breakfasts in Eritrea. The higher standard hotels all have their own restaurants, while the smaller hotels and pensions do not offer food, though cafes and restaurants are generally close by.
There are no official campsites in Eritrea but nobody seems to have had any problems pitching a tent on the coast, for example. If you are hiking in the highlands and wish to camp, there are some areas of the country that used to have campsites during the Italian occupation. Now, though, they are unused, but it is unlikely that anybody would have objections to you pitching a tent for the evening. It is always worth asking someone if you are near a village or settlement, just in case and do make sure that it is not farmland that you have just erected your tent on.
Because camping is uncommon you should be mindful when going off the beaten track, of unexploded munitions. Stick to well-trodden paths when hiking and be vigilant when choosing a site to pitch a tent.