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Port Anchorage - The official anchorage is a large area at the back of the port facility.  You are well protected from winds and sea.  There is a soft mud bottom with good holding.  Call Massawa Port Control before entering the port and they will direct you to either come along side the seawall to check in or proceed to the anchorage and then check in by dingy.

You may also be able to tie up along the seawall at the port, if there is space.  But you may have to vie for space with the small freighters and traders bringing produce, cars and other items into the port.

The dingy landing is along the seawall at the port, usually where the Customs boat is moored.  Sometimes you can tie up on the Custom's boat, but don't leave it overnight as the boat may need to go out.  If you tie up behind the boat, you are sheltered somewhat from the waves created by wind and boat movement.   It is about a 10 minute ride in from the anchorage and is inside the port facility, so you will need your passport or shore pass to get through the gate into town.

Yacht Facilitator or Cruiser's Friend - Mike -  (PH:  55 24 67) usually can be found riding his bike along the waterfront, inside the port area or at one of the restaurants in that area.  He is dressed in western clothes and will probably make himself know to you.  He will exchange money and take your laundry to have done and will arrange almost anything you want.   He is personable and honest and will help you with everything you need. 

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Cruising Amenities

Grocery Stores - Several small grocery stores/markets in town that sell Beer! including Heinken.  
  • Bella Vista - near the middle of town
  • Ship's Chandlery - near middle of town

Bakeries - a couple of bakeries with flat bread.  Visit early in the morning or afternoon for the freshest bread, hot out of the oven.  Ask Mike for directions on how to get to the bakery.  It is too complicated to explain here.

Internet Access -  There is a good internet/book shop right next to the water desalination distribution shop.


  • Available at the fisherman's cooperative petrol station on the way to/from the anchorage area.  See Mike to have him organize getting fuel as he arranges for you to be "part of the co-op" and, of course, takes a small commission.  He will tell you the price per litre beforehand.
  • Shell station - along the road at the back (west end) of the anchorage.  We also found transmission fluid here.
Water - Potable filtered drinking water is available at a shop along the waterfront area.   The cost was reasonable, but it was a long way to carry the containers back to your dingy inside the port gates.

Laundry - See Mike.  The laundry will come back really clean, but the detergents used are very hard on the cloth.  Best not to put anything really nice in the laundry.  His price was very fair.

Postal Services -Near the Customs building.

Banks/ATMs -  Several banks along the waterfront, but NO ATMs

Propane Gas Canister Refill - See Mike

Money Exchange - Mike will exchange money for local currency.  His rate is better than the bank.  He was honest and did not try to cheat or run a scam.

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Buses -Local and long distance buses at the far end of the waterfront area.  There are several buses that go to Asmara.

Taxis - Many taxis and minivans available for hire.   They will even take you to Asmara.  You must negotiate price before getting in.

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Yacht Services

Chandleries - None See Mike regarding most yacht services you may need.  During the year we were there, several people had engine problems and had parts shipped in.

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 The following are services or places visited and recommended by Bob and Judi. We can only say that our experience was a good one and we hope that you will also have a favorable experience.
Restaurants - Several nice restaurants with seafood, beer and wine.   They have a limited selection of dry goods, eggs and some fruit and veggies.
  • Restaurant Eritrea - near the middle of town
  • Kidane Zeru - near the open-air cinema
  • Dolphin Bar - near the open-air cinema overlooking the  water.

 More Information

  • Lonely Planet Guide - Eritrea or Middle East
  • Red Sea Pilot 2nd edition 2002, Stephan Davies and Elaine Morgan
Things to See and Do- 
  • Visit Asmara - A must do while in Massawa is to take a visit to Asmara, the capital of Eritrea.  It is up in the mountains about a 3-4 hour trip from Massawa and is a wonderfully cosmopolitan, Italian-looking town.  Best of all, are the cool temperatures, and the Italian pasteries, pastas and coffees. 
  • Visit the fascinating town of Keren, a town about a 2 hour drive NW of Asmara.  Try to go on Mondays to see the camel and livestock market.
  •  We hired Solomon (via Mike) to drive us to Asmara and Keren in his taxi.  Solomon is a good, safe driver who speaks very good English.  He knows where tourist attractions and hotels are in Asmara.

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This Page Last Updated: 02 May 2006


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