Socotra Archipelago Tour
Outlying Islands & Remote Peaks
This departure is a unique Socotra expedition that will take us to places very few have ever stepped foot. Lead by myself and Isaac from Inertia Network, this wild two-week expedition will take us to explore the outer islands of the Socotra Archipelago on the first week, and an epic trek in the Haggier Mountains amongst dragon blood trees back on the main island of Socotra during the second week.
This departure will take place in early 2022. If you want to see a full itinerary or to sign up click here to head over to Inertia Network’s page, with who I am partnering with to run this trip. You can also find a brief description of the itinerary below.
Prices are set at $6,000 per person and this includes the roundtrip flight from Dubai to Socotra, Yemeni visas, all camping gear, local guides, and three meals per day (excluding arrival and departure days).
We will also be offering the option to add a 5 day visit to Mainland Yemen at the end of this trip. For security reasons, we will not be posting the mainland Yemen itinerary online. For more info on this addition, check out our Yemen Expedition info page or send an email to [email protected].
A Little About Socotra
Socotra is a gem of biodiversity located about halfway between Yemen and Somalia in the Arabian Sea. The Socotra Archipelago is home to many species of endemic flora and fauna– in fact 37% of Socotra’s plant species and 90% of it’s reptile species are found nowhere else on Earth. This high number of endemics puts Socotra in the ranks of the Galapagos, Hawaii, and New Caledonia for highest numbers of endemic species. In 2008 the archipelago was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
On This Socotra Tour We Will Explore Socotra’s Remote Outlying Islands & Trek Through The Rugged Interior
These highlights will include:
- Visiting the remote islands of the Socotra Archipelago including Abd Al Kuri, Samhah, and Darsa.
- Bird watching for endemics on the outlying islands
- Exploring the unbelievably pristine and gorgeous Detwah Lagoon
- Walking among Dragon Blood Trees high on a plateau- Socotra’s most iconic plant
- Meeting nomadic Bedouin Tribespeople in the Socotra highlands and interacting with them to get an idea of their daily lives
- Trek across the rugged Haggier Mountains and traverse the stark and arid Noged Plateau
- Swim in a natural infinity pool overlooking the sea below and wander through a forest of Dragon Blood & Frankincense Trees at Socotra’s Homhil Protected Area
- Enjoy an afternoon swimming in the crystal clear freshwater pools of Kalysan
- Camp under the stars in a number of areas including in the Arher Dunes next to the stunning beach of the same name
15 days | 14 nights
Maximum Group Size
30%, due at time of sign up
Included In The Costs
- Accommodations & camping equipment
- 3 meals per day
- Roundtrip Dubai-Socotra flights
- Yemeni Visa Fees
- Transportation by 4×4 on Socotra Island
- Professional English-speaking local guiding team
- All entry fees
- International airfare to & from Dubai
- UAE Visa Fee (if applicable)
- Travel insurance
- Personal spending
- Snorkle & Diving Gear
- Sleeping bags
So Why Join This Socotra Archipelago Expedition?
Quite simply put, Socotra is one of the most difficult places in the world to access right now. We have secured all the documentation and approvals necessary to reach the island by flight to offer this Socotra tour. Getting a Yemeni visa can be a nearly impossible challenge that we have navigated and will assist everyone in the group in obtaining.
This particular departure is our most unique one yet, exploring the rarely visited outlying islands of the Socotra Archipelago, combined with a trek across the Haggier Mountains and Noged Plateau.
For this Socotra expedition, we have partnered with a local operator that we personally know and trust to guide us on the island to show our small group one of the most wonderful and pristine environments on Earth.
The Socotra Archipelago Itinerary: Outlying Islands & Remote Peaks
Day 1-2: Flight from Dubai, Hadiboh, Homhil, Arher
The group will meet in Dubai airport in the early morning for our flight to Socotra. Our flight should arrive in Hadiboh around 9:30 am, but delays can be expected.
Once on the island, we will be met by our local team and then head into Hadiboh for lunch and to visit the souq. Soon after, we will make the drive out to the northeast of the island to explore Homhil Protected Area and Arher.
In Homhil we will have the chance to walk among dragon blood trees and other famous endemics of the island. In the later afternoon we’ll continue onto the powdery white sands of Arher, where we will have the chance to catch sunset from atop a high sand dune. If we’re lucky in the evening we’ll hopefully see glowing blue bioluminescent plankton crashing on the beach.
Overnight: Camping, Arher
Day 3-7: Outlying Islands of the Socotra Archipelago
Early in the morning on day three of the Socotra Archipelago Expedition, we’ll head for the northwest coastal town of Qalansiya, from which we’ll board small fishing boats to the outlying islands of Abd Al Kuri, Samhah, and Darsa. These three islands are rarely visited and will provide us opportunities to look for whale sharks, and swim amongst dolphins and coral reefs. Above water, we’ll have the chance to visit the small village of Kilmia on Abd al Kuri and explore the rugged landscapes on Samhah, and uninhabited Darsa, while keeping an eye out for some of the unique species to these small islands.
When we arrive back to the main Socotra Island, we will spend the remainder of our day exploring Detwah Lagoon in search of sea life with Abdullah the Caveman.
Overnight: Camping, Abd al Kuri, Samhah, Darsa
Day 8-13: Haggier Mountain Trek
Over these next six days, we will traverse deep into the Haggier Mountains with a team of Socotri Bedouins and camels. Once through the mountains, we will trek across the desert plateau of Noged to end up on Socotra’s rugged and remote southern coast. Each night we’ll be camping in tents along the way.
You can expect around 4-6 hours of hiking each day with pack-camels helping carry gear and food.
Day 14: Wadi Kalysan & Arher
After a six day trek through the Haggiers we will take this remaining day to relax at the beautiful freshwater pools of Kalysan. We’ll spend our final night together on Arher Beach.
Overnight: Camping, Arher Beach
Day 15: Depart back to Dubai
Today we’ll say our goodbyes to our local team and head for the airport in Hadiboh to return to Dubai in the afternoon.
Other Important Information
Traveling in Socotra is most definitely not your standard trip, so this Socotra tour comes with a few unique hurdles.
Sleeping Arrangements & Showering
Socotra is rugged, rough, wild, and remote. We will be camping every night we are on the island on this Socotra tour. A couple of camps we stay at may have rainwater tanks for showering, but most will not. So yes, you will go for several days without bathing.
In Cairo, we will stay in hotels, and yes, they will have showers.
3 meals per day are included on the trip (except on arrival and departure days). In Socotra, meals will be locally prepared. Rice, bread, and sweet shai (tea) are staples out here and will accompany nearly every meal. When it’s available we will eat fresh locally caught seafood purchased from fishermen. If you have any allergies or special eating conditions please let us know in advance so we can try our best to accommodate you.
Electricity, Internet & Communications
Much of the time we will not have electricity. There is electricity in Hadiboh although it isn’t totally reliable, and you will only have a handful of camps that have electricity with generators. I highly recommend purchasing a solar charger and external batteries to bring with you to keep your electronics charged out here.
Given the remote nature of this trip, don’t expect to find wifi. Mobile phone coverage is extremely limited and not the most reliable in Socotra. If you want to keep in contact with those back home, I highly recommend bringing a Inreach Explorer+ or Find Me Spot with you.
A Note For Photographers
Bring as many camera batteries as you can with you from home to avoid running out of power between chargings. I also recommend bringing far more memory with you than you think you may need for the days we are in Socotra.
You will take heaps of photos, that goes without saying. There is nowhere on the island to purchase more memory cards so do come prepared.
I also recommend purchasing a good quality dry bag to protect cameras and electronics as this Socotra Archipelago expedition will see us spending several days on the water. Dust protectors are a wise idea too.
Medications & First Aid
Bring any medication you need or may possibly need from home. There isn’t much in way of medicine and doctors out here in Socotra, and there is no medical service on the outlying islands, so come prepared. I also highly recommend carrying a simple first aid kit with you for any minor injuries.
This Socotra tour is limited to a maximum of 14 travelers so spots will fill quickly. Click the button below to sign up for the trip or get email updates about the tour. If you’re looking for more info on Socotra in order to start planning, I recommend picking up a copy of Bradt’s new Socotra Guidebook!
Need Socotra Travel Insurance?
Start shopping plans over at battleface, my go-to travel insurance choice.
Bring Relief To Those Effected By The Crisis In Yemen
Yemen, especially the mainland of the country is undergoing one of the worst humanitarian crises in modern times. If you are interested in helping the people of Yemen, please consider donating to one of the following organizations:
- Zakat Foundation: Provides emergency relief and food distribution in several countries including Yemen.
- International Rescue Committee: Helps to bring safety, education, power, and health services to some of the world’s most devastating humanitarian disasters including Yemen.
- Baitulmaal AHED: Organization that works in Yemen as well as all over the world to help bring poverty and disaster relief.
- Islamic Relief: Working to alleviate hunger, illiteracy, and disease in Yemen and globally.
- Solidarios sin Fronteras: Spanish organization helping bring relief, food, water, and reconstruction projects to Yemen as well as Socotra.