Discover the mystery of Socotra, part of a remote archipelago in the Indian Ocean. A Jurassic island so isolated that a third of its plant life is found nowhere else on the planet.
Home to the unique dragon’s blood trees that look like flying saucers perched on trunks and the unusual desert rose trees which look like elephants’ legs with pink flowers on top. Birds such as the Socotra starling, Socotra sunbird, and Socotra grosbeak are found nowhere else on earth. Rolling white sand dunes, dotted with camels, crumbling stone villages and turquoise lagoons brimming with an abundance of marine life, all make up this Arabian jewel.
Explore this fascinating island of endemnicity with us as you uncover a destination, so remote and so untouched, it may feel like you are the only travellers there. Socotra, a forgotten island that has stood still in time for millions of years.
**Yemen is currently in a state of civil war. However Socotra has escaped this due to its remote location. However, should that change we must state that our local team have the final word with regards to changes in the itinerary for safety reasons.**
Welcome to the remote but uniquely beautiful island of Socotra!
You will be met at the airport and assisted with immigration. Transfer to your hotel. Drive to Ayhaft Canyon National Park. In the canyons large water pools, you will be able to enjoy a swim while enjoying the wide variety of birds and trees. In the afternoon, you shall visit Delisha beach. Here you can swim in the sea, walk along the white sands or paddle in the fresh water lagoon. There is also the chance to climb a sand dune for an aerial view of the beach, as well as enjoy sunset on the beach. Dinner and overnight in hotel. (L,D)
We will travel around the town and the port of Qalansiyah, then make our way to an overview point where you can see the entire beach of Qalansiyah and the Detwah lagoon.
From there, we will drive to Detwah lagoon, a marine protected area renowned for its magical landscape. Relax by the golden sands and turquoise waters of the bay, while taking in one of the best views on the island. There will be free time for swimming until we return to Qalansyia. Dinner and overnight in hotel. (B,L,D)
Drive to Diksam Plateau and gorge, the most spectacular limestone landscape feature on the island. The gorge drops vertically to the valley floor. You will be able to walk along the edge of the gorge where you will see Dragon’s Blood trees. Sections of the plateau have partially slipped into the gorge, leaving ‘lost worlds’ accessible only to buzzards and vultures. The plateau is home to nomadic Bedouin herdsmen who move from one site to another with their herds. We will be welcomed by them with a cup of tea and see houses built into ledges where the plateau meets the gorge. The forest in Diksam is the last Dragon’s Blood woodland. Local people will show you how they used to collect – and still collect on a smaller scale – the precious red resin of the trees. After Diksam Plateau a dramatic change in landscape onto the lush canyon floor, home to Bruce’s Green Pigeons and Laughing Doves. Cool down by swimming in the wadi’s deep pool. Dinner and overnight in hotel. (B,L,D)
After breakfast, travel to the south of the island, visiting villages along the way. The first stop is at Amak beach where we can swim in the clear water of the Indian Ocean. Lunch will be at Dagub cave, overlooking traditional villages. The cave itself contains many stalactites, stalagmites and pools of water that have seeped through the rock over time. After lunch we shall visit the colossal sand dunes of Hayf and Zahek that have been pushed up against the mountainside by seasonal winds. There will be an opportunity to climb the dunes for a view worthy of the effort. Dinner and overnight in hotel. (B,L,D)
Today we will depart early, as we head to the port of Qalansiyah to catch the boat where an exciting day begins. We will head to the western side of Socotra to explore one of the most beautiful beaches in the world – the beach of Shuaab and the isolated town of Qabahen. Here, you can swim in the magical crystal clear water and lay down in the white-snow sand.
On the way to Shuaab, you will see a group of Spinner dolphins. You will also see a one of its kind – Socotra cormorant birds – in their natural habitat, as well as many underwater caves. Many of them are still unexplored, making it a great place for thrill-seekers and divers.
If the time allows, you will meet Mr. Aliyah aka the caveman, the smartest man in Socotra who created his very own tourist attraction. Hundreds of tourists come to his cave to meet him and to enjoy listening to his stories on the life in the cave, the land, and its people. (B,L,D)
After breakfast, drive to Hoq Cave. One of the biggest caves on the island, with subterranean water supplies. The 2.5-hour uphill trek to the cave entrance is tough but rewarded by the cave system spanning over 10km long. As we walk inside, we will admire many huge stalagmites, stalactites, and a rim pool. Afterwards we will drive to Arher where sand dunes have been piled up against the sheer rock faces by the prevailing westerly winds. You can relax on green grass around a freshwater creek, swim in the sea or if feeling fit climb a huge sand dune to get a fantastic view over this charming spot. Dinner and overnight in hotel. (B,L,D)
After breakfast, pack your bags, put your swimming wear on and hiking shoe because we will head to the protected area of Homhill which is home to an endless number of the Socotri endemic plants such as Dragon’s blood tree, Frankincense, and Desert Rose Trees. It’s about 1 hour drive from Arher and a 30 minute walk along a selection of trails, one of which takes us to a viewpoint where there is a natural swimming pool and a view of villages below on the plain, and of the Arabian Sea.
After Homhil, we will head to another exciting area called Dihammri protected area where you can snorkel and dive in the marine protected area which is home to dozens of species of colourful marine life; it is one of the richest coral reefs on the archipelago. (B,L,D)
After an early breakfast, you will be transferred to Socotra airport to meet your onward flight. (B)
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**Please note that this tour can be organised on request for private departures for travel between October to May.
* Pricing is subject to change at anytime until full payment has been received.
* A minimum of 2 adults is required to guarantee this departure.
A non-refundable deposit of $1000 AUD per person is required to secure your place. Final payment is due no later than 60 days prior to departure. Travel insurance is mandatory for travelling with Crooked Compass. For full terms and conditions, please click here.
This category of tours involves light trekking, walking, cycling, rafting or kayaking for a few hours each day with a small amount of inclines and declines. You will require a reasonable level of fitness and good health to participate. It is important to note that due to the nature of some of our trips, they may take place in remote areas (with basic facilities) and can involve long travelling days on various modes of transport.
Suggested preparation : At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake aerobic exercise (this may include jogging, cycling or fast walking) for 30 minutes, three times a week. It is also advised to walk on variable terrain and in variable weather conditions. For a cycling adventure, road cycling twice a week is recommended and for adventures which involve paddling and kayaking, it is important to gain confidence and rhythm rather than speed prior to departure.
This category of tours involve trekking, kayaking and cycling for period of 6 to 8 hours a day at a fairly consistent pace. Ideal for people looking to slightly increase the heart rate. For our moderately rated tours, you must have a good level of fitness and also be in good health. It is also important to be prepared for variable weather conditions. Altitude may also come into play. This category of tours may involve visiting remote areas where facilities can be quite basic. Accommodation may also involve camping, homestays or basic accommodation where facilities may not be considered of western standards. To enjoy this style of travel, it is suggested for travellers to have a reasonable level of fitness and health, a positive attitude, as well as a fairly active lifestyle. An open mind is also required.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake 45mins – 1 hour of aerobic exercise, three to four times a week. Some potential exercises that could be beneficial include hill walking with a backpack on over variable terrain and weather conditions, as well as running and cycling dependent on the activity you plan on undertaking.
This category of tours involves trekking, kayaking, cycling or other adventure activities in remote areas for up to 8 to 10 hours a day. It is important to note that with the remoteness of some regions comes a variety of other challenges such as variable weather conditions, accommodation as well as facilities. You must have an excellent level of fitness and good health to be able to partake in this category of tour. You must have confidence in your own ability and be in good physical condition. Includes extended periods of endurance.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 to 4 months of strenuous exercise, four times a week. When preparing for treks it would be beneficial to participate in hill walks with a weighted day pack (approximately 5-8 kg) once a week for aerobic fitness and strengthening of leg muscles. It is also important to do this on variable terrain to prepare for challenging adventures. When preparing for cycling adventures, regular bike riding (at least 4 to 5 times a week for 1-4 hours is essential). It is also important to cycle on uneven surfaces or even participate in other aerobic exercises such as running or swimming to build up strength and stamina. Altitude may also be a factor in these tours.
This category of tour often involves extreme trekking, cycling or other extreme adventure activities. It is important to expect remote and poorly defined tracks and to be prepared for variable weather conditions for 10 to 12 hours per day (may sometimes be more depending on weather and altitude). These adventures are suitable for travellers who have prior experience in strenuous travel and activities, are extremely fit and have excellent health. It is also important to note that some of the terrain on these adventures will involve trekking in snow, at high attitude levels and may require technical equipment.
Suggested preparation: It is important to note that physical fitness should be an ongoing activity, commencing around 5-6 months prior to departure, or even before if you have no prior fitness. Exercise should focus on building maximum endurance and stamina. Four to five hard sessions of 40-60 mins per week should be completed and can include exercises such as going to the gym, running, swimming or cycling to focus on building aerobic stamina. It could also be beneficial to prepare by hiking on rough terrain, in extreme weather conditions or partake in altitude training.