Three Seasons in two Hours

About Eritrea - History & Culture

Eritrea is beautifully located at the highest landmass of the African continent.

The country is mostly known for its varied weather. In Eritrea it can never be too hot or too cold, and this gives a lot of visitors a pleasant stay and for the residents it gives a peaceful state of mind.

Eritrea has a variety of climatic conditions. Asmara at 2,350 meters (7,700 feet) has a pleasant climate all year round (average temperature of 16° Celsius (60° Fahrenheit)) and has 508 mm (20 inches) of rainfall annually. The eastern coastal areas have the unpredictable, “little rains” from October to March, while the other areas get “main rains” (kiremti) from June to September. On the highlands, further inland, with an elevation between 1,800 and 2,100 meters (5,900 and 6,900 feet) the hottest month is usually May (around 30°) and in winter (December to February) temperatures are near freezing point at night.

While at the sea level, along the coast (Massawa, Assab), the period from June to September is very hot (40-50°). In the period covering December to February (rainy season) the temperature varies from 20 to 35° Celsius.

Massawa, at sea level, has an average annual temperature of 30° Celsius (86° Fahrenheit) and an annual precipitation of 205 mm (80 inches). In the western lowlands (Agordat,Barentu), the temperatures and the rainy seasons are comparable to those on the coast.

We are indeed talking about the land where one can experience three seasons in just two hours or one hour and a half of drive - from the rugged mountain peaks of Emba Soira to the arid desert heat of the Danakil Depression (100 meters below sea level, which is one of the hottest places on earth) to the cool breezes of the Red Sea.

“Three seasons in two hours,” goes the tourism motto in Eritrea. With the great land scape Eritrea has to offer, numerous sites of natural attractions and rich historical monuments are fascinating to any visitor. Both the high mountains and the lowland are dotted with unique features, including breathtaking tropical beaches, beautiful mountain ranges, tranquil landscapes, fertile plains and verdant hillsides among others.

In just two hours, it is possible to travel from the cool 2,438m (8,000ft) ‘city in the clouds’ down to sea level Danakil Depression to the hot coastal desert strip. A number of travel agents offer excursion packages to various destinations.

Asmara, the capital city, lies 2,400 metres above sea level with its friendly climate of 17 degrees centigrade. Summer comes in April and May, with temperatures reaching 25 degrees centigrade while December and January bring the coldest season with temperatures of between 18 and 20 degrees centigrade. June and July are the months of rainfall.

For everyone who visits Eritrea, an absolute must-see is the journey from Asmara to Massawa for the best and unforgettable scenic sites and beautiful landscape that no one would want to miss. From the terraced mountains of Asmara area, the journey to Massawa takes you down a mountainous road with quite spectacular views. Half an hour drive from Asmara by car brings you to a small town of Nefasit overlooking mount Bizen. At the top of this mountain, 400 metres high and 7 km from Nefasit, stands Debre Bizen monastery, which is 700 years old. The only way to access it is by climbing on foot.

The trip from Asmara to Massawa takes about two hours - where the “three seasons in two hours” motto originates from. The experience of three seasons during the journey:

The fall - the cool air of mountainous Asmara

The spring - Plateau around Ghinda area

The Summer - the heat of the Red Sea desert

You can visit Eritrea any time of the year because of the pleasant whether in both Asmara and the country’s highlands. The highest temperature may go up to 30 degrees centigrade in May.

September to January may be a good time to visit the coast. Another favorable period is from around April to the beginning of June because the temperatures are not too hot. But either way the gorgeous climate, delicate landscape and, above all, the welcoming people definitely make Eritrea a place to visit and have some great memories with your loved ones.