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13 Day Socotra & South Yemen Expedition

April 8-20, 2024

Join us on a journey along old frankincense trade routes through Central Yemen’s Hadhromaut after your expedition across Socotra Island. Having visited both Socotra and Mainland Yemen numerous times over the years, this is a personal favorite trip for me to organize and run.

Highlights of this once-in-a-lifetime journey include the massive white dunes of Arher on Socotra’s northeast coast, the infamous Detwah Lagoon known for its bands of white sand and impossibly blue water, the dragon blood forests of Firhmin, the ethereal Wadi Daw’an and its fairy tale village of Haid al Jazil, the Hadhrami coastal city of Mukalla, exploration of Yemen’s mystic heart in Tarim, the lovely palaces of Seiyun, and the enigmatic ancient mudbrick city of Shibam.

Interested in this departure? Send an email to [email protected].

Socotra & South Yemen Expedition Info

Cost: $4,900 per person
Dates: April 8-20, 2024, 2024
Duration: 13 days | 12 nights
Start: Hadiboh, Socotra, Yemen
End: Seiyun, Yemen
Deposit: 30% at time of booking
Inclusions: Accommodations, guide, driver and transportation, meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner), Yemeni visa fee, permits, security clearance, and entrance fees.
Exclusions: Flights (we will help facilitate the booking), travel insurance, personal spending and souvenirs, and tips for local staff.
Note about the flights: Flights will cost approximately $1160 per person (Cairo-Socotra, Socotra-Mukalla, Seiyun-Cairo).

Socotra & South Yemen Expedition Itinerary

Day 1: Hadiboh | Homhil Protected Area

Socotra, Socotra Island, Yemen, Homhil, Homhil Protected Area, natural infinity pool

Be met by your local Socotri guide on arrival at Socotra International Airport. Collect your bags and then go through formalities and head into the main town of Hadiboh. Here you will have an early lunch before making the drive to Homhil Protected Area.

Homhil is home to a scattering of Socotra’s fascinating endemics including the famed Dragon blood tree, bottle trees, and frankincense trees. Meander among these rare plant species and to a natural infinity pool that you undoubtedly have to see to believe.

In the afternoon spend your time checking out the interesting plant life around and taking a much-needed swim in the Homhil pool that overlooks the Arabian Sea.

Overnight: Tent camping at Homhil
Meals: Lunch, dinner

Day 2: Homhil Protected Area | Arher | Ras Erissel

Today we get an early start and trek down from Homhil to a village on the coast where your 4WD awaits to take you to the sugary white dunes of Arher.

In the afternoon, explore the areas further east around Ras Erissel before heading back to your camp at Arher where you can climb to the top of the mountainous dunes to catch an unbelievable sunset.

Overnight: Tent camping at Arher
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 3: Arher | Hoq Cave | Di Hamri Marine Area

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For those ambitious, catch the sunrise from atop Arher Dune before breakfast. From here we’ll continue toward the massive Hoq Cave. We will get dropped off near a village from which we will make the approximately two hour trek uphill and into the mouth of the cave.

Once at the mouth of Hoq Cave, we will continue our walk roughly 1.5 kilometers into the earth. Make sure to bring a headlamp or torch to see the impressive stalactites, stalagmites, and other cave formations. Once we’ve finished exploring the cave it’s time to make the jaunt back down to the village and continue onto Di Hamri.

Di Hamri, meaning ‘two rocks’ in Socotri is named after the impossible-to-miss double-red rocky outcropping that sits adjacent to the wide coral-filled bay. Spend the afternoon snorkeling in Socotra’s main marine protected area in search of parrotfish, turtles, sharks, and more.

Overnight: Tent camping at Di Hamri
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 4: Di Hamri | Dixsam Plateau | Wadi Dirhur

From Di Hamri we pick up camp and make way toward Socotra’s central highlands on the Dixsam Plateau. Here you’ll have the opportunity to wander amongst some of the largest and oldest dragon blood trees on Socotra.

In the afternoon, we’ll make a trip down into Wadi Dirhur and take a short trek along the valley floor to a small chain of pools before heading back up onto the plateau for the night.

For those interested in stargazing, the Dixsam Plateau is one of the best places on Socotra Island for viewing the stars- even better if viewed with the silhouette of a Dixsam dragon.

Overnight: Tent camping on Dixsam Plateau
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 5: Dixsam Plateau | Firhmin Forest | Omaq Beach | Zahek Dunes

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Catch the sunrise over the dragon blood trees of the Dixsam Plateau before taking a ride back down into Wadi Dirhur and back up the other side and into the Firhmin Forest.

Firhmin Forest is home to the densest population of dragon blood trees on Socotra, and therefore, the world! It’s estimated that there are over 9,000 dragon blood trees in this forest.

Once you’ve had your fix on the most famous of Socotra’s endemics, continue south to Socotra’s Indian Ocean Coast to your camp at blinding white Omaq Beach. In the late afternoon head to nearby Zahek Dunes

Overnight: Tent camping on Omaq Beach
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 6: Omaq Beach | Dagub Cave | Detwah Lagoon

After breakfast, depart Omaq Beach to explore the cavernous Dagub Cave briefly before taking a jaunt back across the island and to the northeast to reach the idyllic Detwah Lagoon.

In Detwah spend the afternoon relaxing in the most turquoise waters, get in on a game of football with some local teens, or maybe catch the well-known Abdullah the Caveman who may take you out to explore around the lagoon.

Overnight: Tent camping on Detwah Beach
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 7: Detwah Lagoon | Qalansiya | Shua’ab Beach

Socotra, Socotra Island, Yemen, Detwah Lagoon, Detwah

After an early breakfast, make the short drive to the second-largest town on Socotra of Qalansiya. From the beach in Qalansiya, we will load up into local dhow fishing boats and cruise along Socotra’s rugged western coast down to the impossibly white sands of Shua’ab Beach. Keep your eyes peeled as you leave Qalansiya for jumping spinner dolphins who frequent the area.

After a perfect final beach day in Socotra, head back for Qalansiya in the early afternoon (the waters around here get notoriously rough later in the day) and then enjoy your final sunset and dinner back at Detwah Lagoon.

Overnight: Tent camping on Detwah Beach
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 8: Detwah Lagoon | Hadiboh Airport | Mukalla

Following breakfast, you will be dropped off at Hadiboh Airport to catch your flight to Mukalla to continue your journey into mainland Yemen.

After reaching Mukalla, we’ll break for lunch before setting out to explore what the city has to offer, including the Old Town of Mukalla, Mukalla Souk, and the beautiful Khoor Mukalla.

Overnight: Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 9: Mukalla | Wadi Daw’an

Buqshan Palace, Khayla, Wadi Doan, Wadi Dawan, Wadi Da'wan, Hadhramaust, Yemen, Middle East

Departing Mukalla in the early morning, we’ll make way for one of Yemen’s most beguiling and beautiful destinations- the ethereal Haid al Jazil of Wadi Daw’an. This stunning stretch of the canyon will be our home for the next two nights.

After having lunch at Haid al Jazil and taking in the views, we’ll head over to the colorfully painted Buqshan Palace and the stunning little hamlet of Hawfa nearby.

We’ll return to Haid al Jazil for sunset and to relax for the evening.

Overnight: Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 10: Wadi Daw’an 

After breakfast, we will drive a short distance from our hotel and begin our trek down to Hawfa village in Wadi Daw’an. 

The one hour trek meanders down the wall of the canyon, offering stunning views of the mesa-like village of Haid al Jazil sat atop a prominence.

Our vehicles will meet us in Hawfa, from where we will continue onto the teetering fortress of Qarn Majid, in addition to visiting the villages of Rihab and al Kharaiba.

Once again, we will return to Haid al Jazil in the late afternoon.

Overnight: Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 11: Wadi Daw’an | Hawta

Shibam, Wadi Hadhramaut, Hadhramaut, Yemen

Saying our goodbyes to Haid al Jazil, today we make way for Hawta, making stops along Wadi Dawa’an along the way- including the picturesque villages of Hajarain and Sif.

In the later afternoon, we will drive over to the famed city of Shibam, known as the “Manhattan of Arabia”. 

After taking some time to meander through the maze-like streets of Shibam, we’ll make a walk up to a stunning viewpoint over the city and stay there until the sunset call to prayer. 

As the sun sets, we’ll walk back down to our vehicles and continue onto Hawta for the night.

Overnight: Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 12: Hawta | Seiyun | Tarim

Today we depart Hawta toward the Sufi center of Tarim. 

En route, we’ll stop off in Seiyun to visit the Sultan al Kathiri Palace Museum, al Handhal traditional market, and Alfalas before breaking for lunch in Seiyun.

Following lunch, we’ll make a stop for the Aynat Shrine before reaching Tarim.

Tarim is a stunning desert city, home to several madrasas, serving as Yemen’s Sufi center. In the afternoon, we’ll take some time to explore the town, the Tarim Souk, and the blinding white al Mihdar Mosque.

We will return to Hawta for the evening once again.

Overnight: Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 13: Hawta | Seiyun | Cairo

We’ll make an early departure from Hawta to Seiyun today after a quick breakfast to catch our flight out of Seiyun and on to Cairo.

Meals: Breakfast

8 thoughts on “13 Day Socotra & South Yemen Expedition April 8-20, 2024”

  1. Hi, this is Larry
    I am returning from Iceland next week. No volcanic eruption. Lots of quakes. I am thinking about Soctra again. Honestly, ho risky is Yemen now for western men

    1. Hey Larry,
      Hope you can make it! There’s always risk involved, of course, but its fairly secure at the moment, especially with who I work with out there. I’ll send you an email, hope you enjoyed Iceland so far.

    1. 10 people maximum on this trip. Average age is usually quite scattered as I’ve had as young as mid 20s and as late as mid 80s. Typically most the people who join Yemen, Socotra, or the combo trip are solo travelers.

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