A journey to discover an area with a surprising diversity of environments, cultures and traditions. It’s an itinerary that winds its way through elegant towns that seem to have been crystallised in the last century, daring ascents and descents, enchanting panoramas, valleys dotted with majestic sycamores and fiery coastal plains, until it reaches the white deserted beaches of the Dahlak Archipelago, an unspoilt natural paradise of colourful coral reefs and vibrant underwater fauna.
We will visit places full of reminiscences of a past that concerns us closely and of which today there remains a considerable imprint in the urban and social fabric of the country. The capital, Asmara, the “little Rome”, recently declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to the extraordinary mix of architectural styles that embellish its public and private buildings. The fascinating Massawa, with its Arab-Moorish imprint, which has paid a high tribute to the ferocity of the war, but in the past was one of the most important commercial hubs of the Red Sea. And then there is cosmopolitan Keren, with its kaleidoscopic weekly markets that attract people from all over the plateau. The villages of the Bilen people, with their characteristic clay, thatched and rough stone houses, and the camps of the Rashaida, semi-nomadic farmers of Arab origin, who will welcome us under their heavy tents before setting sail for the islands.
Day 1 : Friday 29 December 2023
Outward flight/Asmara (ASM)
Day 2 : Saturday 30 December 2023
The futurist and art deco architecture of “Little Rome”, a UNESCO heritage site.
Day 3 : Sunday 31 December 2023
The colonial train, the sycamore valley and the thatched and mud villages of the Bilen.
Day 4 : Monday 01 January 2024
The busy cattle market of Keren and the “Madonna of the Baobab”.
Day 5 : Tuesday 02 January 2024
The “road of the Italians”, an elevation gain of 2,300 metres in 115 km, amidst breathtaking scenery and baboon hammocks.
Day 6 : Wednesday 03 January 2024
The Axunite site of Adulis, an encounter with the Rashaida nomads and the ruins of Massawa.
Day 7 : Thursday 04 January 2024
The paradisiacal Dahlak archipelago, including white sandbanks, tropical fish beds and Afar fishing villages.
Day 8 : Friday 05 January 2024
Dahlak Islands/Green Island/Massawa/Asmara
One last swim in the crystal-clear waters of Dahlak before visiting mangrove-covered Sheikh Said Island.
Day 9 : Saturday 06 January 2024
Asmara (ASM)/Return Flight