Eritrea: A Destination for Digital Detox

rahul at eritrea

Have you ever traveled to a country without phone connectivity, Internet, and even bank ATMs? I have been to…any guesses?

No, it is not North Korea.

Media terms it as “North Korea” of Africa (that’s a clue).

Well, I have been there but I do not subscribe to this tag. I love this country, and would love to take you there.

It is the East African country of ERITREA, the “Horn of Africa”.

It was an achievement to get my Eritrean visa in just 45 days! Yes, just 45 days, because usually it takes 2-3 months.

Eritrean telecom operator does not have a tie-up with any other telecom operators in the world. Hence, international phones do not connect to the local network.

They do not issue SIM cards to tourists. EriTel has barred outgoing calls and text messages to foreign countries. You cannot make calls/text out of the country, even if you manage to get a local SIM.

EriTel does not have mobile data connectivity. There is no satellite Internet in Eritrea either.

The Internet is LICENSED and through dial-up modems, like the 1990s! Obviously, the speed is extremely slow.

Internet is only available in the lobby of major hotels, but again it is too slow. Airbnbs in Eritrea do not have Internet because they do not grant a license to the households.

After paying $1 for an hour at an authorized cyber café, I could hardly upload one picture for the entire hour.

I was pretty much cut-off from the rest of the world during my 8-day trip, SCARY right?

I went into digital detox and had ME TIME for 8 days.

BTW, need cash? You need to visit a bank. No ATMs here!

This beautiful land and its rich Italian and Arabic influence turns the clock backwards by a century, if not more.

Absolutely safe for tourists, Eritrea is an offbeat destination that debunks many myths.

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