Socotra:CULTURE, NATURE & CAMEL TREK
NOTE: WE ARE AWAITING CONFIRMATION THAT THE PREVIOUS 2 FLIGHTS PER WEEK TO SOCOTRA FROM ABU DHABI WILL RESUME. ONCE THIS IS CONFIRMED WE CAN GUARANTEE THIS JOURNEY. LET US KNOW OF YOUR INTEREST AND WE WILL NOTIFY YOU IF CONFIRMED.
Where is Socotra? What is Socotra? Four hundred kilometers off the coast of Yemen in the Indian Ocean lies the island of Socotra. It's largely unknown, as it is remote, sparsely populated and difficult to access. Nature enthusiasts however usually have some knowledge about Socotra as it is home to so many endemic plants and animals, all bizarre, beautiful and unusual, which has lead Socotra to be called the 'Galapagos of the Indian Ocean.' While Yemen is engulfed in a tragic civil war, Socotra remains untouched by the conflict. In fact Socotra has remained untouched by much of anything in the past few centuries and this is an enormous part of the appeal for visitors. The largely arid island is home to stunning mountains and beaches, forests of endemic species of plants, rivers that wind through the canyons and beckon swimmers and sun bathers.
On this 10 night journey we explore the coastal and mountainous areas that are accessible by vehicle, and we also get 'off the beaten path' on this island that is already considered 'off the beaten path.' With camels to carry our gear, and trekking guides we venture into the central mountains of the islands, where the scenery of tiny villages, massive peaks, pink boulder strewn meadows, and more of the unique vegetation will dazzle and amaze. Very few visitors explore this part of Socotra, so join this group of select individuals who will experience this fascinating and unknown part of this remarkable island.
Only 60,000 humans inhabit Socotra, Socotris are both friendly and welcoming to the island's few visitors. The majority of these people live in Hadibo, the capital which is home to the island's only hotel. While we sleep in this hotel the second and final night, the other nights we camp, though we have camp assistants, guides and cooks to prepare our tents, cook us delicious meals and plan our daily activities as we explore this remarkable island. Bring your sense of adventure and prepare to be astonished by the island called the 'most surreal place in the world.'
DAY 1: TUESDAY, Oct 3
Abu Dhabi to Socotra
You’ll depart Abu Dhabi early in the day to arrive in Socotra late morning on one of the 2 weekly Air Arabia flights. Upon arrival at Socotra Airport we clear customs and immigration and then meet our guides and drivers. We then drive to Hadibo, capital of Socotra to exchange money and have lunch, and then drive to the west end of the island to arrive at Detwah beach, where we camp. You can swim in the azure waters of the Arabian Sea. Late afternoon we explore nearby Qalansiyah, Socotra's second largest town, and then watch sunset from a bluff above town. We return to camp for dinner and conversation.
Overnight: camping at Detwah Beach
DAY 2: WEDNESDAY, Oct 4
Shu'ab Beach, drive to Hadibou
This morning we take trip by boat to Shu'ab Beach, often termed the most beautiful of all Socotra's beaches (and by some the most beautiful beach they have ever seen). En route to the beach jumping pods of spinner dolphins are often seen. Seabirds are present in great numbers and we pass a remnant of the mangrove forests that were once more common on Socotra. After we relax and swim, we return to Qalansiyah, and then drive to Hadibo to check into Summerlands Hotel. Time permitting (and if open) we will visit a local women's collective where clothes and handicrafts are made (and sold) and the dragon blood tree nursery.
Overnight at Summerlands Hotel.
DAY 3: THURSDAY, Oct 5
Drive from Hadibou to Adourna, begin camel trek
DAY 4: FRIDAY, Oct 6
Trek from Adho Demelah to Daahaaz
Today's 5 mile hike will take approximately 5 hours as we walk further into the mountains, and enjoy more splendid scenery, including mountain rivers that flow through landscape dotted with huge pink boulder, and rocky meadows. Tonight we camp near the tiny settlement of Daahaaz.
Overnight: Camping in Daahaaz.
DAY 5: SATURDAY, Oct 7
Trek from Daahaaz to Diksam via Wadi Dirhur and Firmihin Foroest
Today's hike (10 miles, approximately 9 hours) is the final and longest, and some say the most spectacular of the trek. We climb uphill for an hour to arrive at a ridge that offers impressive views of the wadi below. As we continue to walk the landscape changes, from grassland to scrub, and then we begin to see the iconic dragon blood trees as we enter the Firmihin Forest, which has the greatest concentration of this trees. Late afternoon we arrive at the small town of Diksam where we spend the night in the community campground.
Overnight: Camping in Diksam.
DAY 6: SUNDAY, Oct 8
Diksam to Aomak
This morning we visit a plantation of nursery grown dragon blood trees planted near Diksam as part of an experiment to regenerate these unique forests. Late morning departure by vehicle to drive to the island's sparsely settled south coast. The south coast is known for its vast sand dunes, making you think you are in the Sahara Desert. We camp at beautiful white sand Aomak Beach, in a grove of date palms.
Overnight: Camping at Aomak Beach
DAY 7: MONDAY, Oct 9
Aomak Beach to Dihamri Beach via Momi
This morning we drive into the central part of Socotra to reach the Momi Plateau and commence our hike to the Killisan Pools, often described as one of Socotra's hidden wonders. The one hour hike takes us into an arid landscape and we eventually find ourselves deep in the wadi (valley) where we encounter a river and series of large pools, full of crystal blue water, fed by waterfalls and backed by smooth white limestone cliffs. This is one of the most unusual and beautiful places in Socotra where we spend a leisurely couple of hours swimming and enjoying the many pools before returning to the summit for lunch. Afternoon drive to Dihamri Beach on the north coast. Dihamri offers excellent snorkeling and equipment can be rented here. For those not wanting to snorkel, the campground offers a pleasant place to relax, and the possibility to hike to some nearby rocky outcroppings.
Overnight: camping at Dihamri Beach.
DAY 8: TUESDAY, Oct 10
Dihamri Beach to Homhil to Arher Beach eparture to Abu Dhabi
After breakfast we drive inland, stopping at Socotra's only museum for short visit, then begin our ascent into the mountains. Small villages and groves of date palms give way to forest of frankincense trees and soon we begin to see the famed dragon blood trees. We stop at a small village and begin our walk down and through the canyon to find the trickle of water in the canyon has expanded to a large pool, often termed a natural infinity pool that looks over the Arabian Sea, miles below. The pool is ideal for swimming with its clear blue water. The hike to the pool takes us through stands of ancient dragon blood trees, and among the many curious bottle trees, often called desert rose with their pink flowers (and botanically known as Adenium obesium). We will have local guide to lead us on this excursion, someone from the village who intimately knows the path and scenery along the path and will point out many items of interest. We may encounter children selling frankincense or dragon blood resin along the way. Both are collected without harm to the trees. In the afternoon we drive to Arher Beach, often considered one of the most beautiful of Socotra's beaches.
Overnight: camping at Arher Beach
DAY 9: MONDAY, Oct 11
Hike to Hoq Cave, sunset at Ras Erissel
After breakfast we drive to the small village of Terbak, where we begin our hike. Uphill into the mountains for 2.5 hours. Passing through groves of bottle trees and other unique vegetation, with excellent views of the Arabian Sea, we arrive at the mouth of Hoq Cave. The immense cave is full of enormous stalactites and stalagmites, and the cool temperature of the cave will be welcome after the walk in the sun. The views inside the cave, of the cave mouth and the mountain, trees and sea are all dramatically beautiful. We return to Arher for lunch, have some time to swim or relax before setting out in late afternoon for Ras Erissel, the easternmost point of Socotra where the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea meet. We stop at the small fishing village where at this time of day fisherman will be returning from their day at sea, and we can observe them as they bring their boats onshore and purchase fish for our dinner.
Overnight: camping at Arher Beach.
DAY 10: MONDAY, Oct 12
Arher Beach to Hadibou
Early afternoon we say farewell to the beach and drive back to Hadibou. We have the afternoon to visit local school and dragon blood tree nursery. Farewell dinner this evening.
Overnight at Summerlands Hotel.
DAY 11: MONDAY, Oct 13
Breakfast at hotel, followed by drive to airport to catch the flight to Abu Dhabi.
PRICES & REGISTRATION INFORMATION
(Inclusive of 10 nights in Socotra, tented and hotel accommodations, all meals in Socotra, get acquainted/orientation dinner in Abu Dhabi night before trip, ground transportation on Socotra by private vehicle, Yemen visa, Socotra community and conservation fee, services of Socotra guide, cook, camp assistants and drivers, services of USA-based trip leader.)
$3100. (Based on double occupancy)
$3300. (Based on single occupancy)
NOTE: airfare from Abu Dhabi is by special Air Arabia charter flight cost is $880 round trip.
This journey begins in Abu Dhabi, capital of United Arab Emirates. Abu Dhabi has easy air connections to many cities around the world. Participants are responsible for arranging their own flights to Abu Dhabi (we are happy to assist). Most nationalities do not require a visa for the United Arab Emirates. It is highly recommended that participants arrive in Abu Dhabi at least 2 days before flight to Socotra to allow for any delays or flight cancellation en route. There is only one flight per week from Abu Dhabi to Socotra. Flight from Socotra to Abu Dhabi arrives late afternoon, again it is recommended that you not book onward flight this same day in the event flight from Socotra to Abu Dhabi is delayed.