Flight to Abu Dhabi and overnight in hotel
- ACTIVE PERIOD
- Semi Guide departures: 16-25 November and every Monday & Thursday as a Semi Guide
- Group departure: Easter 2024
- DIFFICULTY LEVEL
- 10 days
Socotra is an incredible place that looks like it's from another time, with rugged terrain left behind after the Arabian Peninsula was cut off from Africa 20 million years ago. It is made up of four islands and two islets that appear as an extension of the Horn of Africa, 240 km to the east. Its mountainous landscape, winds, dry climate, and tropical temperatures have created unique conditions that have led to the development of unique endemic species of flora and fauna. Socotra is home to an incredible 825 plant species, of which 37% are endemic to the island, and 90% of the reptile species and 95% of the land snail species are found nowhere else in the world! The place is also home to 192 species of birds, 44 of which breed on the islands and 85 are regular migrants, including a number of endangered species such as the Egyptian Vulture. Socotra's marine life is also very diverse, with 253 species of reef-building coral, 730 species of coastal fish, and 300 species of crabs, lobsters, and shrimps.
Socotra is also home to one of the most impressive and characteristic trees, the Dragon Blood tree, which contains a red resin called "dragon blood" with immunostimulant properties that was used as medicine.
Socotra belongs to the Republic of Yemen, but it is 400 km away from the mainland and has not been affected by the civil war, maintaining a sense of peace and tranquility. The island's main source of income comes from tourism, and in 2008, the entire Socotra Archipelago was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List of Natural World Heritage Sites.
The program offered provides a unique opportunity to explore the island's natural environment by camping in places of unparalleled beauty and enjoying the peace and serenity of nature.
It is a unique opportunity to explore a region with few tourists, where only one flight a week arrives and only a few hotels are around the capital.
Flight to Abu Dhabi and overnight in hotel
Flight from Abu Dhabi to Socotra airport with departure time 11:30 and arrival time 13:00. Lunch and departure for Ayhaft Canyon National Park, where among other things we will spend time with local villagers visiting their humble homes, drinking tea and interacting with them. Later depart for the northwestern tip of Socotra and the Detwah wetland. Evening meal and overnight in a tented campsite.
Detwah Lagoon is a coastal lagoon which is famous for its spectacular scenery but especially for its rich fauna, which led to it being designated as a Ramsar wetland of international importance and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It has a tidal entrance open to the sea and is surrounded by dunes and 400-metre-high limestone and granite cliffs. It is considered an important nesting and feeding area for waterfowl, with 32 species recorded here, including the endangered Egyptian vulture and the vulnerable Socotra cormorant Phalacrocorax nigrogularis.
Our day today will be entirely dedicated to getting to know the area.
First we will go to the beautiful fishing village of Qalansyia, where the charming images of traditional houses and narrow streets are complemented by images of fishing boats, fishermen's catches and children playing. From here we will depart by boat to Shuaab beach, winding around steep shores on a sea that is usually calm as it faces westward which is rarely windy. We are very likely to encounter groups of Long-beaked bottlenose dolphins, famous for their aerial spinning leap stunts, following our boat. Upon reaching the beach we will go out to explore, walking on the white fine sand or the surrounding mangrove slopes. Here we can also swim in the crystal clear waters that have an average temperature of 24o C.
Back at camp we will spend the afternoon walking along the lagoon and perhaps we can visit Ellai who lives in a cave like the ancient inhabitants of the island, fishing in the lake with his hands, or take a walk to the top above the lake enjoying the spectacular views from above.
After breakfast we depart for the Dixsam Plateau, known for its endemic Dragon Blood trees, one of only two areas in Socotra that exist in such high concentrations. The resin from these trees is blood red in colour (which determined their name), has immunostimulant properties and is harvested by the people of Socotra for use and trade. Their branches are spongy, fibrous and brittle and are now seriously threatened after goats enter the island, as they eat the young trees before they have time to grow, when they are still in the form of tender bushes. On the plateau there are gorges, caves and caverns inhabited by Bedouins, some of which we will explore.
At the Shebahon viewpoint we see a magnificent view of the Dirhur Gorge with its unusual rock formations. We will drive down to the bottom of the canyon for lunch and an easy walk and perhaps swim in the freshwater pools found here. Dinner and overnight camping in the Fermhin Forest, a forest of Dragon Blood, Bottle Tree and other trees.
We travel to the south of the island, with visits to villages along the way. Our first destination is Amaq beach where we can swim in the clear waters of the Indian Ocean. For lunch we will head to Dagub Cave, which overlooks scattered traditional villages below. The cave itself is interesting as there are many stalactites, stalagmites and small pools of water that have formed in the rock over time.
We will then wander around the colossal dunes of Hayf and Zahek which are constantly shifting from the seasonal winds of Socotra. Dinner and overnight in tents on Amaq beach or the Zahek dunes.
After breakfast we depart for the northeastern side of the island and the Difarhu Gorge where we can see traditional villages and natural water pools at the bottom of the gorge. The unusual endemic Socotran Desert Rose tree clings in many places to the canyon walls, another species of tree found only in Socotran.
After lunch we drive to the Dihamri Marine Protected Area, home to one of the richest coral reefs in the archipelago. There are many marine animals that can be seen while snorkeling or scuba diving, such as: parrotfish, eel, stingray, multifaceted sea urchins, etc. In the area there is diving equipment available for rent.
Just a reminder that the area is protected and you should not touch the corals, as this would cause irreversible damage.
Here we can swim, snorkel, or just hike around the area. Those who are interested can dive here with tanks and the support of the local dive center (extra charge).
We start early and drive to the village of Terbak, at the base of Hoq Cave. We take a path up to the cave, a 1 ½ hour walk. The cave itself is over 3km long and is one of the largest and certainly the most famous in Socotra. It has large chambers filled with stalactites, stalagmites and other crystalline formations, and hides an archaeological past as ceramic fragments and wooden tablets with Aramaic inscriptions dating back to the 3rd century AD when the island was inhabited by Christians. Exploring the interior requires flashlights and takes 40 minutes of walking to the pool of water at the bottom. On the way back we will go to Arher Beach, a long beautiful white sand beach with the highest dunes on the island, where we will spend the night in tents.
In the afternoon we will also take a walk to the easternmost point of the island, Cape Ras Erisel, the point where the Arabian Sea meets the Indian Ocean.
After breakfast we depart for the airport for our midday flight to Abu Dhabi. Overnight at the same hotel.
Flight to Athens, end of programme.
Semi Guide departures: every Monday & Thursday as a Semi Guide
Group departure: Easter 2024*
* Each completed group of 8+ people can request any other departure date, with an English-speaking guide.
Prices with English-speaking guide*
Single room supplement
• €220 supplement for single room (applies to tents as well)
*Indicative price until the confirmation of the air ticket commitment price
**Only local escorts, without our office escort
Note 1: To obtain an entry visa, passports must be valid for at least 6 months after the completion of the trip, and must not have an entry stamp from Israel.
Note 2: Airline ticket prices and availability are subject to change at the time of issuance. Early planning is a decisive factor in securing seats and good prices.
- Good physical condition
- Suitable equipment
To book a seat you must first read the terms of participation listed on our website and if you accept them, then fill in the Declaration of Participation at https://forms.gle/JYY58M7Evr3Cwx4c8
After completing the form and within 10 days you will need to send a deposit of 1,000. Another 2,000 must be sent by November 15, and payment for the trip must be completed in stages by one month before departure. Any seat cancellation after the airline tickets have been issued is subject to the airline's terms and restrictions and is not covered by the cancellation terms of the rest of the package.
The deposit and payment should be sent to ALPHA BANK account with IBAN number: GR1001407960796002002013550, in the name of OUTDOORS TRAINING IKE. During the transfer or deposit process, please note in the REASON field your name and the name of the trip
Flights from Athens to Abu Dhabi are included in the price, for group departure only. For individuals, flights Athens - Abu Dhabi are not included and in order to ensure a good price, planning should be done well in advance. Entry flights to Socotra, however, are included in the price in both cases. This flight is twice a week on Tuesdays and Fridays and at the time of planning the trip cost $860. A change in this cost would affect the sale price of the trip accordingly.
Local transfers are made by Land Cruiser or other similar car with a maximum of 4 cars/vehicle, as large parts of the route are rough dirt roads.
Accommodation in the camps is in tents in an organised area with built-in toilets. Each tent has a mattress, pillow and sheet, and everyone takes their own personal sleeping bag. There are no showers available at the camps and for this reason we will often stop for a swim in natural freshwater pools or in the sea, where the water temperature is about 24o C
The diet includes 3 meals per day which are prepared by our local staff. They cook for us in places of unparalleled natural beauty (gorges, beaches, mountains, etc.) and serve in the shade of lianas or dragon trees. Lunch is usually taken snacked on the way, while for dinner we usually take it more comfortably with folding chairs and tables.
It is possible to charge camera or mobile phone batteries in the cars. Take the appropriate car power supply with you.
The weather in Socotra during the travel period is mild, neither hot nor cold. Temperatures will be around 20o C and there is a chance of some rain.
Safety / insurance
We have included travel insurance in the cost of the trip, which protects us from both unexpected situations that may be related to covid-19, as well as other health contingencies (e.g. injury on a course that requires transportation and hospitalization), loss of a flight and other situations, and even total trip cancellation coverage for some of the covered coverages.
Follow the link below to contact our insurance advisor for a detailed explanation of the plan's coverages. Travel Insurance from Trekking Hellas - Travel Insurance (addvalue.gr)
Price from €2570DECLARE INTEREST