Socotra is the perfect definition of remote island. Closest to Yemen and Somalia, its location has made it somehow an oasis in turbulent waters. Azure beaches, crystal clear water for snorkelling and diving, healthy corals full of fish and thousands of endemic species of flora and fauna make it a unique ecosystem. It’s often called the “Galapagos of the Indian Ocean”, but it’s so off the grid, maybe we should nickname the Galapagos “The Socotras of the Pacific”?
Trip dates: May 17 – 24th 2021. Total of 8 days / 7 nights.
Day 1: Arrival in Socotra. Arher Beach.
We welcome you at the Socotra airport before heading to our traditional Socotri house, our choice to make you feel at home as soon as you set foot on the island. You’ll meet our local team and hit the road after a quick briefing. The road provides a first glimpse of Socotra’s unique territory as we continue along the northern coast to the eastern extremity of the island.
Enjoy the scenic drive while passing small villages, pristine beaches and strange plant life. Approaching Arher, dramatic twin sand dunes are set against the sheer rock faces creating a breathtaking contrast between the elements. 200 meters high, these monsoon-formed dunes surround with a freshwater creek exiting a cave in the granite massive and end upon the beach: simply unbelievable. Enjoy the unspoiled beach, relax on the green grass or climb the massive dune to reach a fantastic vantage point. It is here we will enjoy dinner and camp for the first night.
Day 2: Hoq Cave
The day begins with an early morning visit to the traditional village of Erissel. Here on the easternmost tip of the island we will interact with locals, witness the outstanding local fishermen’s activities and visit family’s house for a Socotri chai.
After departing the village we will head for cave exploration. There are many cave systems throughout the island thanks to its karstic nature and limestone plateaus. The huge mouth of the Hoq cave is reached by a 2 hours hike. Here we’ll be rewarded by a spectacular underground channel. The cave has yet to be fully explored, speleologists have determined its length as 10 km or more. We will venture 2 km into the belly of the cave admiring stalactites, stalagmites, ancient writings and subterranean water supplies.
After spelunking we will return to Arher – the afternoon is yours to relax in the surrounding serenity or join another hiking to the top of the plateau. The hike to the mountain ridge offers a bird’s-eye-view of both sides of the northern and southern shorelines. A highlight of the trip unique to our tour. Afterward we will dine and camp once again at the stunning Arher beach.
Day 3: Homhil & Dihamri Beach.
Homhil is a name you will remember. Here you will hug the first Dragon’s Blood tree of your life. A narrow trail leads to the protected area of Homhil, which is also home to Frankincense trees, Adenium Obesum and a gorgeous natural pool. Let’s swim in the infinity pool, surrounded by the most unusual flora on the planet, overlooking the turquoise ocean below. In the afternoon we drive to nearby Dihamri marine protected area. It is one of the richest coral reefs on the archipelago. Relax and snorkel in the bay enjoying the unique combination of underwater flora and fauna such as parrotfish, moray eel, sea urchins, barracudas, sea turtles and more.
For those experienced, diving is available to one of many surrounding shipwrecks.
Dinner and overnight camping at Dihamri beach.
Day 4: Diksam Plateau.
We leave the coast heading to Diksam plateau, the true home of the Dracaena Cinnabari. Small settlements are hidden around the crevasses of the valley where nomadic Bedouin herdsmen will welcome us on the edge of a gorge: the most spectacular limestone landscape on the island. The gorge drops 700 meters to the valley floors, with views providing a remarkable atmosphere of prehistory.
We continue through the unique and oddly shaped Fermhin forest: where Socotra’s iconic Dragon’s Blood abound everywhere! Here we will get to know the famous resin and its miraculous properties, while local children seek cover under the upside down umbrella-shaped canopies. As the road descends 400 meters into Wadi Dirhur, we plunge into a profound chasm slicing through the granite. Here we enjoy one of the island greatest secrets: an oasis surrounding freshwater pool with natural waterslide.
Dinner and overnight in Diksam plateau.
Day 5: Aomak Beach, Dagub Cave, Zahek Dunes.
Leaving the central highlands, we descend to the southern coast, where the plateau ends and the endless panorama of the Indian Ocean opens.
The destination is Aomak with its immaculate white sandy beaches.
After lunch we visit Socotri villages scattered around the southern plain before reaching to Dagub cave. This grotto has some very interesting rock formations and it has long been used by villagers for ritual purposes and to shelter their cattle in the monsoon season.
The afternoon is dedicated to another mind blowing Socotra’s feature: a desert within an island. The appearance of Zahek’s blinding white sand dunes will delight even the most experienced Sahara traveller. Climb, slide down, meditate and wander around for some astonishing views before sunset.
Dinner and overnight camping at Aomak beach or in the middle of the sand dunes depending on the season.
Day 6: Detwah Lagoon & Qalansiya.
Finally we head west to enjoy the last two days of relaxation in paradise.
Detwah lagoon is a protected area situated at the confluence of the Arabian Sea and the currents of the Indian Ocean. With its magical landscape and an array of sea birds, stingrays and other oddly shaped fish the lagoon is a blessed ecosystem adorned with a breathtaking white sandy tongue surrounded by the warm turquoise waters of the bay, one of the most beautiful beaches on the planet.
The village of Qalansiya lies at the north/west tip and it’s the second biggest settlement of the island. We will get lost in the narrow alleyways, meeting friendly people and many curious children. In the afternoon you can join a fascinating hike to the highest peak of the surroundings. This surely is one of the best views on the island.
Dinner and overnight camping at Detwah lagoon.
Day 7: Shoab Sandy Beach.
How does it feel to wake up on such a remote and idyllic beach?
We move to Qalansiya port dotted with fishing boats and its lively market.
If you are a passionate fisherman Socotra is a fishing paradise. More adventure awaits! The spectacular boat cruise along the cliffs of the western coast towards the beach of Shoab is very likely to reward us with sightings of spinner dolphins.
Once we’ve reached the shore of Shoab, we’ll indulge in this remote and pristine beach setting and get ready to feast again on delicious fresh seafood brought by local fishermen or even caught by you. In the afternoon we sail back to the port having the unique chance to swim with dolphins. Enjoy the last sunset walking on the endless sand bank emerging from the crystal clear shallow waters.
Dinner and overnight camping at Detwah lagoon.
Day 8: Flight back home.
After an early breakfast we drive you to the airport for your flight back.
The trip includes:
Entry fees in the protected areas.
Accommodation Fees: 7 nights of camping in protected areas.
Camping equipment: tent, pillow, mattress, sheets, mat, lights…
Cook and Cooking equipment.
Full board meals: 3 meals per day including dessert and snacks.
Drinks: Mineral water and soft drinks.
Transportation: 4WD private cars Toyota Land cruiser (One car fits 4 people).
Experienced Tour guide: English, Arabic and Socotri local speaker.
Local guides at specific places.
Boat trip to Shoaib.
The trip doesn’t include:
Insurance: Chances are your usual travel insurance won’t cover you in Yemen, hence you will need to cover your risks with special insurance for this trip.
Flights to Socotra: International flights from Dubai to Socotra aren’t included. The cost is around $800.
Visa: cost is $150.
PCR tests: You will likely be requested a PCR upon departure. The cost is around $60.
Discretional purchases: Your personal expenses, snacks, drinks, souvenirs, or other exceptional purchases are not included.
IMPORTANT! If you want to be one of the fortunate travelers selected for the Socotra Expedition be sure to:
- Understand the destination and the risks involved.
- Make sure the dates work for you! You need 100% assurance that you can take off on those dates.
- Send us your travel resume and your background (nationality of your passport, city you are based in, age, previous travel experience, usual travel style…) on the contact email as we’ll carry out a selection process.
- A negative COVID test will be required for everyone’s safety prior to visiting.
- This is a one time opportunity, but make sure you’re responsible enough to understand what it entails. If you have any doubts, just email us on the contact below.