As conflicts with Ethiopia, its neighbor, wind down, Eritrea may finally get a chance to put its proud nationalism into practice—in peace. And that would be very good news for adventurous travelers, because this country, for all its troubles, has a lot to offer.
Eritreans are among the friendliest people in the world, and their enthusiasm for their new nation is catching. (The country won its independence from Ethiopia in the early 1990s.) Storefront signs in Asmara, the lively capital, and elsewhere in the country still proclaim hard-won pride in Eritrea's nationhood, and the euphoria of rebuilding the country is still reflected in daily life: Eritrea has few of the beggars and pickpockets that plague Ethiopia. Although its population is divided between Christians and Muslims, Eritrea experiences little of the religious rivalry that has troubled neighboring Sudan.
Eritrea (pronounced er-uh-TRAY-uh, although many Eritreans pronounce it er-ih-TRAH, rolling the r) has a long way to go in some regards, but the delays, cancellations and uncertainty that once made travel very difficult are fading away. Your visit to this still undeveloped country could be the adventure of a lifetime.
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