Eritrea travel would never be complete without visiting the archeological sites of Adulis and Zula. Zula is a small town on the western coast of the Gulf of Zula. It lies on the right bank of the River Aligede, and 40 kilometers south of Massawa, a major city. Zula is an important base town for the nearby archeological site of Adulis. It was an emporium and port of Axum.
Zula apart from its archeological importance can also be very useful for tourists visiting the Gulf of Zula. The coast of Zula on both sides of the River Aligede is lined with mangroves. The town itself is very unique for its culture which is predominantly African. It has its roots in the ancient culture of Adulis, influenced by Middle Eastern, and colonial and western influences of Italy, France, and England.
Some of the major tourists’ attractions in Eritrea, located near the town of Zula, are;
Archeological Site of Adulis
Zula owes much of its importance and international fame to the archeological site of Adulis. The geographical location of Adulis on the trade route of Ancient Greek and Byzantine Empire made Adulis a busy seaport of Aksumite empires from 80 BC to AD 825. Most of the ivory, incense, gold, slaves, and exotic animals from the Axumite Empire traveled through the port of Adulis to Greek, Roman Empire, Byzantine Empire, and Egypt.
Zula are important not only for their trading links with the rest of the ancient world but scientists also believe that this was the route that anatomically modern human beings used to colonize the rest of the world. Some stone and obsidian tools excavated from this region are over 125,000 years old which give us an insight into our grand-grand ancestor from Old Stone Age or Paleolithic Period.
The Gulf of Zula
The Gulf of Zula is full of charming Eritrean beaches. It is just 4-5 kilometers from the town of Zula. The gulf is famous not only for its pristine crystal clear waters and white sandy beaches but also for one of the world’s most beautiful Dahlak Archipelago which is a group of over 200 islands. The shallow and crystal clear water of the islands are scuba divers’ dreamscape. Here, in the sea, you would find almost all varieties of fish including jellyfish, butterflyfish, parrotfish, pufferfish, clownfish, barracuda, manta rays, red snappers, coral fish, and over 200 kinds of corals. On the islands, you would also find a large number of rare and beautiful nesting sea birds.
The Aligede River
The Aligede River is on the south side of Zula. It flows between two large mountains Jebel Gedem and Mount Arbalu before making a delta and merging with the Gulf of Zula. Here, on the cost, it feeds mangroves and hundreds of beautifully colored fish and other sea life.
The Town of Foro
Foro is a small agricultural town where three rivers the Haddas, Aligede, and Camaile converge. The town is about 6 kilometers west of Zula. A visit to the town of Zula and Foro will help you better understand the rural life and culture of Eritrea and Africa. The people here, like anywhere else in Eritrea, are very cooperative and hospitable to tourists.
You would need a special permit to travel outside Asmara. If you travel to Eritrea and are managed by a tour operator, they will arrange the permit. You may travel either by road, rail, or air from Asmara to Massawa, and then by road or yachts to Zula, or by yachts to the Gulf of Zula, or Dahlak islands.