Socotra Things to Do

  • SOCOTRA ISLAND
    SOCOTRA ISLAND
    by Ekahau
  • Qalansiyah
    Qalansiyah
    by Ekahau
  • Diksam Plateau
    Diksam Plateau
    by Ekahau

Most Recent Things to Do in Socotra

  • Socotra Dream tours

    by marialapina Written Jul 11, 2014

    This trip review focuses on a tour to Socotra exploring for two full weeks this small island located between the Arabic Sea and the Indian Ocean. A short extension to Sana'a, in Yemen's mainland, is also included.
    WHAT TO DO AND WHAT TO SEE IN SOCOTRA?
    Socotra is a small island that broke away from the main continent, moving gradually away towards the Indian Ocean. Similarly to the Galapagos and Madagascar (just to name a few examples) the isolation of Socotra compared to mainland, has allowed the evolution of endemic plant species that can not be found anywhere else on the planet, like the beautiful Dracena cinnabari. Also other plants actually present in East Africa, such as the Adenium obesum, in Socotra assumes dimensions out of the ordinary, deserving to be classified into a dedicate sub-specie (Adenium obesum subsp. socotranum). But the endemic flora of Socotra is not the only reason that drives travelers to get so far: in fact Socotra has also beautiful beaches that often culminate in huge sand dunes or, for trekking lovers, the island also offers the opportunity to discover the fascinating landscapes of the central mountain range, where you can immerse yourself in the simple and hard life of the shepherds taking advantage of high altitude pastures.
    HOW TO GET TO SOCOTRA?
    How to arrive in Socotra? At the time of writing this Socotra trip review in March 2014, Yemenia has one flight per week (every Monday) to and from Sana'a, with a stopover in Riyan/Mukalla (Yemen). Yemenia may offers the opportunity to purchase the entire flight from your country to Socotra in a single ticket in cooperation with other airlines (usually Egyptair) but for this solution, you should consult your travel agent, as usually this ticket can not be purchased online. Alternatively, Felix Airways offers several weekly flights from Sana'a to Socotra via Riyan/Mukalla or Aden, but not allowing to buy the ticket as a single package with flights to and from your country (therefore, in case of any problem with connecting flights, the passenger would be responsible for additional costs). Felix Airways offers also a weekly flight to Socotra via Riyan/Mukalla from Sahrjah, an airport about 30 minutes by taxi from Dubai. We recommend however to always check the latest information about flights to Socotra, as they are often modified .
    HOW TO ORGANIZE A TRIP TO SOCOTRA?
    Would you like to go to Socotra? If you wish to arrange a tour in Socotra, you may just contact one of the many tour operators in your country who sells this destination. However, as a result of the various travel advisories issued by Western governments (in my opinion a bit exaggerated, at least according to the conditions found in February 2014 ), it may happen that not all the tour operators are able to confirm travel to Socotra. A great alternative is therefore to contact a travel agency in Socotra that can organize the trip of your dreams on this beautiful island, based on your interests and your available time. Generally, the tour operator in Socotra provides you with one or more 4x4 cars depending on the number of passengers, drivers, guides, meals, and everything you need to sleep in a tent if you chose this option for overnight stays. If you are traveling alone there is no problem, except a little bit higher price, because the fixed costs can't be split over multiple passengers. For my tour to Socotra I've contacted Socotra Socotra Dream Tours who, as explained above, has provided the whole logistics according to my preferred route.

    WHAT IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT SOCOTRA?
    As the island is an eco-tourist destination, with wonderful beaches to enjoy in tranquility and beautiful scenery to admire, you may ask yourself what is the best season to go to Socotra, which ensures stable weather and pleasant temperatures while swimming at the beach or hiking in the mountains. The best time to visit Socotra runs approximately from January to mid-April, preferring a late tour if you want to see the seasonal blooms of the Socotra's endemic plants (therefore from late February onwards). In May, the climate in Socotra starts to become hot, making the treks too strenuous, while from June to September there is a constantly blowing strong wind that makes some parts of the island inaccessible. The rainy season in Socotra runs from October to about mid-December. Obviously these details about climate in Socotra are only a guideline and may have significant variations from year to year.
    IS IT SAFE TO GO TO SOCOTRA AND TO YEMEN?
    If you are dreaming a trip to Socotra, but are worried about the security alerts in Yemen that are often issued on the websites of Western governments, I can say that during my stay in Socotra I never felt in danger, indeed, I personally consider Socotra safer than most European countries (including France or Italy) as the crime virtually unknown throughout the island, with extremely friendly and hospitable people who are just curious to meet you and share their culture with you. If your concerns about safety during a trip to Socotra is in regards to the stopovers in Yemen, it is actually possible to arrange the flights with only a few hours of waiting time at the airport (seehow to get to Socotra previously discussed). In any case, even during the 15 hours spent in Sana'a, including a short tour of the fantastic Old City and a nap at Arabia Felix hotel before catching the connecting flight, I did not have any particular type of problem or perception of danger. And Sana'a is SO beautiful! Do not miss it! If your concern is instead related to the medical and evacuation insurance, as many insurance companies do not cover countries for some reason considered politically "at risk", you might consider purchasing a policy withFrontier Travel Insurance that covers optionally any country of the world, including countries with potential political issues.

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    Trekking in Haghier Mountains

    by BohdanaR Written Jun 24, 2012

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    Our camel with camping gear.
    4 more images

    It would be a great pitty not to walk in charming Socotri mountains. You can choose from a wide range of treks accoring to your stamina. We went for a three day trek to cross Haghier Mountains: started in wadi Deneghen where we loaded our stuff on a camel. That mae it easier for us to walk and take photos on the way. First night camping in Adho Dimelo Pass where local herdsmen cooked a goat for us ad we spent a locely evening together. The next day, we walked down and up and down again to wadi Azaqalo whene we camped by a small lake (swimming!). The last day we climbed up to Firmihin Plateau, which is the largest Dragon Blood Tree forest on the planet. Having lunch with local people was nice again. Afternoon, we walked down to wadi Dirhor with another lake (swimming!).
    Socotra Eco-tours organized the trek for us, bringing camelier Abu Ramzi and his camel. It's not necessary to book much in advance, simply make up your mind, visit Socotra Eco-tours in Hadibo (on 20 Meter Street, the only asphalt street in Hadibo) and they are able to organize it for you for the very next day!
    Trekking in the mountains is the best way to see endemic Socotri plants, which don't exist anywhere else in the world: Dragon Blood Trees (dracaena cinnabari), Desert Rose (adenium obesum), Cucumber tree, eight types of Frankincense, Socotri pomegranate etc.

    Related to:
    • Eco-Tourism
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Camping

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    Boat trip to Shouab beach

    by BohdanaR Written Jun 24, 2012

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    Our boat anchoring at Shouab.
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    Shouab is a long white sand beach on the western coast of Socotra island. It's a wonderful place with turqoise water, cliffs full of birds, empty clean beach, and unique mangroves. There is no other way to get to Shouab than by a fishermen's boat from Qalansiya. It takes around one hour to reach there. On the way, our fisherman stopped the boat to observe dolphins. Suddently, there were dozens of them, swimming, jumping and making high tone sounds. Such beautiful moments! There is a coral reef near Shouab beach so it's possible to go snorkeling. Or just sunbathe on the beach and swim in lovely glittering water. It's really a paradise.
    Since it will be just the sea and you there, don't forget to take enough water and suncream. Also take a plastic bag to cover your camera in case sea waves get high. Sunglasses and head cover are necessary, too. Your tourist guide will give you good advice before you set off. The boat should cost between 12.000 and 18.000 Yemeni rials depending on number of passangers.
    During months when the sea is choppy around Socotra, it is recommended to go to Shouab in the morning and get back by 1 pm, before the sea gets too rough.

    Related to:
    • Fishing
    • Diving and Snorkeling
    • Beaches

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  • SocotraRandy's Profile Photo

    Too many to pick just one!

    by SocotraRandy Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Just another mountain!

    I can't pick just one thing about this island. But at the top of the list is just to explore it from one end to the other, and if you've a mind, scuba dive along the way, big game fish for world record Marlin, Dolphin, Swordfish, Tuna, or take a camel trek across the island, climb the Hagier Mountains (1500 M) for a view that will take your breath away, snorkel off some of the most beautiful beaches you've ever seen, and so, so mcuh more!

    Related to:
    • Desert
    • Diving and Snorkeling
    • Fishing

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  • MichaelFalk1969's Profile Photo

    Boat trip to Shoab Beach

    by MichaelFalk1969 Updated Nov 12, 2008

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    Turquoise Socotra Sea

    You can hire a fisher boat, complete with fisherman, in Qualanisya to Shoab Beach for roughly 15.000 Yemeni Rial. Usually the boats only go out in the morning between seven and nine and take you for an one hour-ride through the turquoise-coloured coastal waters, along a rugged coastline. The water is so clear you can see lots of fish and stingrays during the boat ride - we even encountered two schools of dolphins. You can negotiate how long you want to be left at the beautiful deserted Shoab Beach, until you will be picked up again. It is likely that your skipper/fisherman will be catching some fish (tuna, kingfish) - you might be able to buy a fresh fish for a bargain. You can bring the fish in any restaurant where they will prepare it for you, or maybe your local guide is able to cook it for you.

    Related to:
    • Beaches
    • Sailing and Boating

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  • MichaelFalk1969's Profile Photo

    Shoab Beach

    by MichaelFalk1969 Updated May 30, 2008

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    Shoab Beach

    This is the most beautiful beach I have ever seen in my entire life. Imagine the most beautiful beach from a travel magazine cover photograph, white sands, turquoise-coloured warm water, an endless horizon, without people, and there you have it. They don`t have that kind of beach in Europe. Even the grand beaches of Australia or South Africa are no real competition. Nuff said.

    It is possible to reach Shoab Beach by boat. Hire a passage with a fisherman`s boat for a one-hour-ride and negotiate how long you want to be left at Shoab Beach. Price: roughly 15.000 Yemeni Rial depending on your negotiating skills.

    Related to:
    • Sailing and Boating
    • Beaches

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    Hadibo

    by MichaelFalk1969 Updated Apr 1, 2008

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    At a Caf�� in Hadibo

    Hadibo, the capital village of Socotra, has no real "sights", but it is a good place to buy provisions if you have run out of water/food, and it is likely the only place with running water if you intend to spend at least one night in a hotel to get a decent shower. There are some decent cafes which serve tea, bread, "ful" and "fassulja". These are also frequented by the local goat community.

    If you are into "Star Wars", Hadibo might remind you of the village on the planet Tatooine (without the bar scene).

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  • MichaelFalk1969's Profile Photo

    Dragonblood Trees

    by MichaelFalk1969 Updated Apr 1, 2008

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    Dragonblood Tree

    These hardy trees are abundant in the highland regions of Socotra beginning at 500 m above sea level (they do not exist in the lower regions). With their umbrella-shaped crown they look like giant mushrooms, or like trees planted in with the wrong side up! Good places to see them in Socotra are the Homhill and Diksam highlands.

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    Qualanisya Village

    by MichaelFalk1969 Updated Apr 1, 2008

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    Qualanisya is a small fishing village that serves as a base for boat trips to the spectacular Shoab Beach on the southwestern shore of Socotra (ca. 15.000 Yemeni Rial). The village itself is not spectacular, though the view from the boat on the town is rather nice. Qualanisya is also close to the incredibile Qualanisya Beach and the Detwah Lagoon, the most beautiful spot on the whole island in my opinion.

    Related to:
    • Beaches
    • Sailing and Boating

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    Homhill

    by MichaelFalk1969 Updated Apr 1, 2008

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    Homhill

    The Homhil Plateau is set in the northeastern part of Socotra island. There is a camp ground (highly recommended for overnight stays) set up by the local community. A toilet/shower is included. They serve breakfast, and they do dinner (i.e. slaughter a goat, if you like). From the camp ground, a great hike leads through a mountain valley with many dragonblood trees and truly great vistas, and then down to the coast. You have to hire a local guide for cheap 1.000 Yemeni rial. The hike itself is pretty easy, but stout boots are required, and the heat can be quite demanding. Your driver can then pick you up at the end of this 2 hour hike.

    Distance from Hadibo: roughly 50 km

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking

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  • MichaelFalk1969's Profile Photo

    Qualanisya Beach & Detwah Lagoon

    by MichaelFalk1969 Updated Mar 31, 2008

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    What a gorgeous place ! Qualanisya Beach stretches in a long arc of white sand against the background of coastal dunes and hills and Detwah Lagoon. A beach taken from a fairy-tale. The camping ground near Detwah Lagoon can be crowded for Socotra standards due to the popularity of this beach.

    When we arrived, the beach was pretty crowded as a group of Saudi businessmen who flew to Socotra as part of a Team Building Incentive - Event did a photo stop there, but they were out in a rush and we were alone again.

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    Vultures

    by MichaelFalk1969 Updated Mar 31, 2008

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    Vulture

    Egyptian Vultures are omnipresent on Socotra island. You just can`t miss them, even in the cities. One morning while camping near Diksam Plateau, we counted eight vultures hopping around our breakfast site looking for spoils.

    Related to:
    • Birdwatching

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    Diksam Plateau

    by MichaelFalk1969 Updated Mar 31, 2008

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    Diksam

    The Diksam Plateau is a unique, otherworldly landscape right in the center of Socotra. This place looks so unusual it could as well be on another planet. The ground is arid, barren, and dotted with rugged black stone. The dragonblood trees are abundant here, looking like giant mushrooms from outer space. Lots of vultures circle overhead in the warm winds.

    The Diksam Plateau is reached by a well sign-posted tar road in good condition that has recently been built through the mountains. The last stretch of the road is only manageable by 4WD.

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking

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  • MichaelFalk1969's Profile Photo

    The giant dunes near Shona

    by MichaelFalk1969 Updated Mar 31, 2008

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    Dunes

    If you drive along the northeastern part of Socotra, you cannot miss the giant dunes that stretch for kilometers along the mountains. It is great fun to climb them, but pretty exhausting in the unbearable heat.

    Related to:
    • Beaches
    • Hiking and Walking

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    Arher (Ar-Ar) Beach

    by MichaelFalk1969 Updated Mar 31, 2008

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    Arher Beach

    If you drive past the giant dunes near Shona (northeastern part of the circular island road) for around 15 -20 minutes, you will reach the fantastic beach of Arher (or Ar-Ar). This magnificent long beach is great for swimming and snorkeling, we saw stingrays, lots of fishlife and even dolphins.

    The only setback is that it is crowded with crabs at night - you might want to consider to camp a little farther off the beach (see my tourist traps-Socotra entry for more details).

    Related to:
    • Diving and Snorkeling
    • Beaches

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