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Dahlak Islands, Eritrea

The Dahlak Archipelago is an island group located in the Red Sea near Massawa, Eritrea. It consists of two large and 124 small islands. The pearl fisheries as they were known to the Romans, still produce a few pearls. Only four of the islands are permanently inhabited. The islands are a home for diverse marine life and sea-birds, and attract some tourists.

Dahlak Kebir is the largest island of the Dahlak Archipelago. It was formerly called Dahlak Deset. It has a population of around 2,500 people speaking Dahlik. The village of Dahlak Kebir lies on the west of the island and is known for its ancient cisterns and necropolis, dating from at least AD 912. It is also known for its fossils. Other features of the island include pre-Islamic ruins at Adel, wildlife and mangrove swamps.

Things to see and do

* Ancient cisterns and necropolis at Dahlak Kebir.
* Fossils
* Pristine beaches
* pre-Islamic ruins at Adel
* Wildlife and marine life

Cruise Season – Oct - April
Currency – Nakfa (ERN)
Language – Tigrinya, Arabic, Tigre
Population – 2,500 approx
Electricity – 2 round pins European style
Time – GMT plus three hours
International Country Telephone Code – +291

Port Location – The major port is located at Massawa.

Transport Links – Ferries link the island with Massawa and several smaller islands.

Eritrea's only international airport at present is in the capital Asmara. Lufthansa is the most reliable airline flying 3 times a week into Asmara from Frankfurt. Eritrean Airlines flies twice weekly to/from Frankfurt, Dubai and Jeddah as well as once weekly to/from Rome. Egyptair serves Asmara twice weekly from Cairo. Yemenia Air fly twice weekly from Sanaa. Saudi Arabian Airlines fly twice weekly from Jeddah/Riyadh. The other Eritrean Airline Nasair flies five times weekly to Jeddah as well as twice weekly to Nairobi and Khartoum.

There is no international railway connection to Eritrea.

There are Sudanese pickup taxis running from Kassala in Sudan to the Eritrean border (a half hour away) daily, and Eritrean taxis from the Eritrean border to Tessenei about an hour away (poor road).

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