The Essential Etiquette Guide To Eritrea

The Essential Etiquette Guide To Eritrea
Central Asmara, Eritrea. © hanming_huang/flickr

Strategically located in the Horn of Africa, Eritrea is an African destination that many people dream of visiting. It is well known for its diverse landscapes, but it has much more to offer. After a 30 year war, Eritrea won independence from Ethiopia in 1993. Despite the tense relations with its neighbours and repression faced at home, Eritrea remains one of the most desired destinations in Africa. Culturally vibrant with stunning scenery, this country have beautiful and magical hidden gems that you should be there to explore. Here is a list of some of the essential etiquette guide to Eritrea to make the most of your time there with diverse range of ethnic groups.

Etiquette in Eritrea

When in the country, avoid displaying disdain and arrogance, also show no ignorance or harsh criticism towards the people’s culture, religion, and the country. Eritreans are polite and soft spoken, but might often keep a distance due to language barrier. However, they are very hospitable.

Greeting and handshakes

A handshake is customary for members of the same sex, followed by the word “selam” which means “peace.” However, men will usually wait for the woman to extend her hand first.


Eritrean food: Injera
Injera – Eritrean national dish. © sexyhabesha

Before eating, always wait for the oldest person to take out of the dish, bless the food or appoint someone to do the honours. Traditional meals are usually eaten with the hands, exceptions are often made for foreigners. Only take the portion in front of you and eat them, do not ask for more as some consider it rude.

Personal space

When speaking, it’s normal for members of same sex to casually touch each other with hand gestures and expressions. Also, tend to stand close when talking, so be prepared and do not misinterpret as inappropriate advances. You should avoid bringing up religious or political or war topics.

Right hand

From handshakes to giving/receiving items to eating are generally conducted with right hand as the left hand is traditionally considered unclean.


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