Socotra – a kind of modern Garden of Eden, a secret world filled with trees of
knowledge and life – unique species with mythical names such as Dragons Blood or
Desert Rose. Socotra is a botanists paradise.
- Trip Outline
- Trip Includes
- Trip Excludes
We are pleased to offer something very special for nature lovers and travel enthusiasts:
Socotra – a kind of modern Garden of Eden, a secret world filled with trees of knowledge and life – unique species with mythical names such as Dragons Blood or Desert Rose. Socotra is a botanists paradise.
It is the last place on planet Earth where no species that we know has gone extinct in the last 100 years. In recognition of it’s distinct plant and animal life, the archipelago was designated a UNESCO Word Heritage Site in 2008.
The Island stands isolated between the Guardafui Channel and the Arabian Sea and is often described as the Galapagos of the Indian Ocean.
Price: from 2.610 $ pp (group size 2 – 15 persons)
Day 1: Arrival on Socotra, overnight in hotel
Day 2: Homhil P.A. / stopover at Qaria lagoon
Today we make our way to Homhil protected area, taking in the fabulous sceneries of deep ravines and plains along the way. We will stop at Qaria lagoon en-route. Qaria is the largest lagoon on the island and we can hopefully see Flamingos, Herons and
Greenshank, amongst others. Once at Homhil, we can walk a selection of trails, one of which takes us to a viewpoint where there is a natural pool and a view village below on the plain and of the sea. Homhil is home to many Dragons Blood trees, the resin of which is collected, used and traded by the people of Socotra. Frankincense trees are also prevalent here and deserve a close look.
Dinner and overnight at Homhil outside the campsite.
Day 3: Hoq Cave/ Arher freshwater creek and beach
After breakfast we will drive to Hoq Cave. As we make our way to Hoq Cave, we will have the chance to see some great scenery: beautiful beaches and low-lying shrub lands with endemic trees.
Due to the limestone plateau and mountains, there are many cave systems on Socotra.
During our expedition, we will explore one of the biggest caves, Hoq, with its subterranean water supplies, underground dwelling animals, and archaeological findings. The 2.5-hour uphill trek to the cave entrance will be tough but it's definitely worth the effort once we reach this cave system that is at least 10 km (6.2 mi) long.
Inside, during an easy walk of 2 km (1.2 mi), we will admire many huge stalagmites, stalactites, and a rim pool, taking photographs along the way.
We will drive to Arher where sand dunes standing 150 m (492 ft) high have been piled up against the sheer rock faces by the prevailing westerly winds. In Arher there is a fresh creak coming out from a granite massive is meeting salty sea water on the beach. You can relax on green grass around the creak, swim in the sea or if you feel fit you can climb a huge sand dune to get a fantastic view over this charming spot.
Dinner and Overnight camping at Arher
Day 4: Defarhu / Amek sandy beach, Dagub Cave, Hayf and Zahaq Sand dunes
After breakfast we travel to the south of the island, with visits to villages along the way. Our first destination is Amak beach where we can swim in the clear water of the Indian Ocean. For lunch we will go to Dagub cave, which overlooks a scattering of traditional villages below. The cave itself is of interest as there are many stalactites, stalagmites and pools of water that has seeped through the rock over time. We will then witness the colossal sand dunes of Hayf and Zahek which have been pushed up against the mountainside by the seasonal winds of Socotra. If you are feeling especially fit, you can climb the dunes for a view that is truly worth the effort.
Dinner and overnight camp at Amek beach
Day 5: Dixsam Plateau/ Derhur Canyon/Fermhin Forest
After breakfast, we will drive to Diksam. Diksam Plateau and gorge is definitely the most spectacular limestone landscape feature on the island. The gorge drops 700 m (2295 ft) vertically to the valley floor. We will walk along the edge of the gorge to see attractive stands of Dragon's Blood Trees and the extensive limestone pavement. 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, where we can observe the many houses built into ledges where the plateau meets the gorge.
The forest in Diksom is the last Dragon's Blood woodland. Nowhere else in the world can one find Dragon's Blood Trees in such densities as growing here. Local people will show us how they used to collect - and still collect on a smaller scale -the precious red resin of the trees .
After filling our cameras with as many pictures of the Dragon’s Blood Trees as we can, we will continue by road towards Derhur Canyon. After Dixam Plateau, the road plunges 400 m (1312 ft) into a profound chasm slicing through the granite, giving a completely different atmosphere from the airy heights of the plateau. The lush canyon floor has been planted with palm trees, in the shade of which lay Bruce's Green Pigeons and Laughing Doves. We can refresh ourselves by swimming in the wadi's deep pool, escaping the midday heat.
Dinner and overnight in Diksam
Day 6: Qalansyia/ Detwah Lagoon/ The Golden Beach of Shuab
In the morning ,We will continue to neighboring Detwah lagoon which is a marine protected area renowned for its magic landscape. You will be charmed by a white sandy tongue surrounded by turquoise waters of the bay. This surely is one of the best views on the island. You can jump in the shallow sea there and enjoy the paradise. Only be careful with sting rays that can be seen in the lagoon. There is also an array of sea birds to be seen in the lagoon.
We can take a boat to Shuaab area to see the dolphins playing and swim in near a very pure and clean long sandy beach, once arrive Shuaab area we can have a look on the mangrove area. Be sure to look out for Spinner Dolphins along the way. Cormorants also
frequent the area. Once at Shu’ab we will have lunch and the afternoon is free to swim and enjoy this pristine beach setting, complete with mangroves. In late afternoon we take the boat ride back to Qalansyia. Line fishing may also be possible from the boat, if you want fish for dinner of course.
Dinner and overnight in Detwah campsite.
Day 7: Overnight in hotel
Day 8: Departure from Socotra
After an early breakfast, we will drive you to the Socotra airport. You can visit a souvenir shop there while waiting for a short flight to the mainland.
- flight tickets
- visa fees
- Camping gear
- 4x4 vehicle
- English speaking, well trained and experienced local guide
- Food, cooking equipment, cook and a sufficient supply of water.
- Protected areas fees and all fees.
- A boat ride to Shu’ab
- Some local guides at specific places.
- Transportation to the meeting point
- Personal insurance
- Guide’s and driver’s tips.
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Days full of wonders make this week feel like it was a month ! A fantastic itinery covering the Island from North to South and East to West – around Socotra with 3 cars and a most lovely “kitchen-crew” ! Crossing different landscapes, here and there tough off-road rides straight up and down stony paths, learning about healing plants, exploring caves, following the dolphins, swimming in unreal natural pools, between Dragonblood Trees, Desert Roses, Cucumber Trees, Egyptian Vultures and goats, camping at abondant places, starry nights, bonfires at the beach and every day a fresh fish on the dish !
Passing villages, bedouins, waving children, women in black and colourful girls, boys playing football in the afternoon sun, newly built schools, colored Yemeni doors, forlorn Russian Tanks, the mix of Africa and Arabia, or beyond – an overall unique place, where the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean meet, once-in-a-lifetime? I miss it already by Silke
Having the opportunity to visit the isolated island of Socotra was so special – stunning beaches and coastal scenery, exquisite snorkeling, exotic trees, a massive cave and fresh-water streams. Each day was full of surprises.
Thanks to Dabuka and the local travel company, Eco Tours, we were able to spend a week camping all over this natural paradise amongst the kind and proud Socotri people.
“Our trip to Socotra was amazing. Full of wonders–everyday! The schedule couldn’t be faulted, packed enough so we felt we had truly seen the island but also with sufficient time to relax at Socotra’s beautiful white sandy beaches and turquoise sea. And our guide and crew could not have been kinder or more helpful. Go now while this paradise remains unspoilt.” by Fiona
Even though Dabuka’s picture presentation had let me fall in love with Socotra, I was still reluctant to actually commit to the trip. Such a strange world to go to plus my first ever camping trip! But then a friend said- “I am going” and suddenly it became all possible. The “dragon island” was everything that was promised but somehow much less “fierce” or “challenging” than I had anticipated; the crew took wonderful care of us, were open to all our requests and even as a vegetarian they took excellent care of my meals.
A well organized comprehensive trip to the most friendly peace loving and content people in a heavenly pristine and bizarre island.
The daily schedule was a refreshing mix of a comfortable drive in the 4-wheel-cars, (with this amazingly patient driver who stopped whenever one of us shouted “Stop! Photo”!) and solid walking / hiking as well as swimming in fresh water lagoons and turquoise seas, or just watching a sunset on an empty, white beach. The landscape changed constantly and it was so unreal to be in all these beautiful places, be it the walk among all these dragon trees, the overnight camping stay on the whitest of all sand dunes or the gentle lunch, prepared next to a quiet lagoon in the soothing shade of date palms. For all our meals we were surrounded by these very polite, ever present Egyptian vultures, who knew that they would share our meal in the end and we learned that it is also due to them and their “cleaning efforts” that the places we went to are so spick and span. (Thank you, vultures!) by Marina
Yes, we did have to accept a downgrade in our bathroom routines but when a friend asked me, whether I would do it again, my answer was a straight “yes!” and when she asked me, which locations / day trips I would skip, I said wholeheartedly “not a single one!! Each and everyone was unique. I am still feeling so blessed that I have been able to go there and experience it!”