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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.

Only 60,000 people inhabit Socotra, and Socotris are friendly and welcoming to the island's few visitors. The majority of the population live in Hadibo, the capital which is home to the island's only hotel. We sleep in this hotel the final night, the other nights we camp under the stars, and our great 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.'

Socotra mountain river.jpg


DAY 1: TUESDAY, Nov 12

Abu Dhabi to Socotra


We depart Abu Dhabi this morning on the weekly Air Arabia flight to Socotra. Upon arrival at Socotra Airport we clear customs and immigration and then meet our guides and drivers. We'll drive to Hadibo, capital of Socotra to exchange money, and then proceed east along the coast and to arrive at Arher, where our tents are set up on the beach in front of spectacular sand dunes. Arher is one of the most dramatically beautiful areas on Socotra. Here you can swim in the clear, clean sea, bath in the fresh water streams, or climb the huge 100 meter sand dune. Our cook and crew will set up camp, prepare dinner and we spend the evening relaxing. If we are fortunate, a green/blue light known as bioluminescence, produced by plankton and other sea creatures may be visible in the ocean at night.

Overnight: camping at Arher Beach



Explore Hoq Cave, sunset at Ras Erissel

Socotra beach & ocean.jpg

This morning's walk is the most strenuous of the trip, and one of the most rewarding as well. After breakfast we drive to the small village of Terbak, where we begin our 2.5 hours hike to the cave. We pass through groves of bottle trees and other unique vegetation, and enjoy excellent views of the Arabian Sea, and then 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, where we have 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 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. Sunset from Ras Erissel is usually dramatic, and we then return to Arher Beach to have dinner.

Overnight: Camping at Arher Beach.



Explore Homhil Nature Reserve

After breakfast we drive inland, stopping at Socotra's only museum to examine their cultural display and gain more insight into life on Socotra, 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 into a canyon that carries a trickle of water that eventually expands into a large pool, often termed a natural infinity pool overlooking 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 Dihamri Beach. The rocky beach is not ideal for swimming, but the reef offshore is good for snorkeling (snorkeling gear can be rented here). Tonight we camp on the beach and enjoy dinner under the stars.

Overnight: Camping at Dihamri Beach.


DAY 4: FRIDAY, Nov 15

Momi and Diksam Plateau

This morning we drive into the central part of Socotra to reach the Momi Plateau and commence our hike to the Killisan Pools, one of Socotra's many 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 Diksam Plateau in the Hajhir Mountains to set up camp for the night. If we arrive early enough we can explore the nearby village and wander among the forests of dragon blood trees.

Overnight: Camping in Diksam.




Explore Diksam Plateau and Firhmin Forest


This morning we drive down into the Dirhur Canyon and into the Firhmin Forest, home to the greatest concentration of dragon blood trees, which form a forest stretching as far as your eye can see. We spend much of the day hiking and driving to different parts of the canyon. At the bottom of the canyon there are more beautiful freshwater pools to enjoy before we continue our exploration into this remarkable green landscape, unique rock formations and views up to the plateau above. Return to the campsite for lunch and in the afternoon explore another dragon blood tree forest nearby the campsite, and then enjoy sunset from the plateau.

Overnight: Camping in Diksam.


DAY 6: SUNDAY, Nov 17

Diksam to Detwah

Departing Diksam we drive to the western part of Socotra, passing through Qalansiyah, Socotra's second city. Not far from Qalansiyah is Detwah Lagoon, flanked by another beautiful white sand beach. We will camp here tonight, and have much of the afternoon to swim in the ocean and relax. Late afternoon we drive into Qalansiyah town to observe a bit of urban Socotri life, meet the friends of our guides and drivers, and then drive to the hills above town to watch the sunset. As Detwah is popular camping spot others will be here and often a beach party with other visitors and their teams develops at night, the vibe of the Socotra beach party is unforgettable.

Overnight: Camping at Detwah Beach


DAY 7: MONDAY, Nov 18

Detwah to Hadibo

This morning we take a 45-minute boat trip to Shu'ab Beach, which many have called the most beautiful beach in the world. En route to the beach jumping pods of spinner dolphins cavort near the boats. Immense pink cliffs contrast beautifully to the green and turquoise sea, and countless numbers and varieties of seabirds add to the beauty of the scenery. 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 the dragon blood tree nursery. Farewell dinner this evening.

Overnight at Summerlands Hotel.


DAY 8: TUESDAY, Nov 19

Departure to Abu Dhabi

Socotra beach and desert rose.jpg

After breakfast we drive to Socotra Airport for our return flight to Abu Dhabi.



(Inclusive of 7 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, services of Socotra guide, cook, camp assistants and drivers, services of USA-based trip leader.)

$2700. (Based on double occupancy)

$2800. (Based on single occupancy)

NOTE: airfare from Abu Dhabi is by special Air Arabia charter flight cost is appriximately $900 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.

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