Asmara - Post Report Question and Answers
What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?
If you are bringing a car, the government requires it be less than five years old. If you stick to the city, you may be able to get away with a sedan, but even in the city you can sometimes come across horrible potholes that could wreck a low car. We have an SUV, and are glad to have it. No concerns of carjacking, though. - Apr 2021
The local laws prevent us from bringing anything older than five years. In town, a sedan or coupe will do just fine, but if you plan to go to the outer parts of town or into the country you will need something that can handle rough terrain. I've not yet had to replace anything, so I don't know about the availability of parts. As for crime, it's not a high crime area; definitely no issues with carjacking or burglary, but there have been cases of smashed windows and bags grabbed. I'm told one should not bring a hybrid or electric vehicle, as people do not know how to repair them. - Dec 2019
Toyota is the easiest for parts and servicing; the only car company that currently has an authorized dealer/repair shop. I say "dealer" but that's misleading because Eritrea has banned private car imports since 2011. Only diplomats, embassies and international organizations have been allowed to import cars since then. So the local car market is distorted. Although I've definitely seen worse, some roads in Asmara and Eritrea are potholed and a bit rough, so an SUV with a bit of ground clearance and good suspension isn't a bad idea -- especially if you're interested in joining the weekly Sunday hikes in the countryside surrounding Asmara. Carjacking is non-existent in Eritrea, though nighttime vehicle break-ins -- breaking a window to grab property left inside -- has been happening some, off and on. Most diplomats have secure parking at their homes, inside the garden wall, as well as (unarmed) guards to keep an eye on things at the house. The vehicle break ins are mostly an issue when parked in dark downtown areas in the vicinity of bars and clubs. - Feb 2019
Any car will do, but a bit higher is better. The roads are generally okay due to great weather, but once you get off asphalt (even in the city) itâ€™s another story. Huge ravines and holes. The government only allows cars younger than 5 years and with no tinted windows. The factory non-tint is ok, even though itâ€™s a bit tinted. No problem with burglars or car jacking, itâ€™s a safe place. - Sep 2018
You can bring anything. I would recommend bringing a Toyota as an ideal vehicle, because there are dealerships and they are probably more easily fixed than other brands. A SUV is good if you plan on trying to regularly go out of the city to Massawa. When the rainy season comes, the city has a lot of flash flooding. I would stay away from anything that is highly difficult to work on and do maintenance on, and anything with a low clearance.
Carjackings are almost non-existent and burglaries are generally low. - Dec 2016
A 4-wheel drive is not necessary in the city, but if you're able to travel outside the capital it would be an asset. A vehicle w/high clearance is preferable, even in the city, due to the bad roads and severe flooding in the rainy season. - Aug 2007