Diodorus of Sicily a Greek historian and traveler one century BC, talked about the island Soqotra, -- “supplying the entire world with all sorts of aromatic and medicinal plants”. He also wrote about a Greek temple to of Jupiter constructed with the wealth of the trade in Incense and Dragons Blood and turtle shells the temple was in what is now Hadibo than the town was know as Panara Tamara and it was the main settlement even back than , which turns out to be the old name of Hadibo/ Hadiboh
The town of Hadibo lies is situated on a small plain on the north coast with beautiful and mountains on all the other sides. Hadibo has the Yemen mix of the decay and sprawl with the broken cars and unpaved roads and half finished houses.
I think there are about 10,000 people who live here -- I was told as few as 6,000 and as many as 35,000 or 40,000 but 10,000 looks about right. Stayed in the Summerland Hotel it was sparse but clean with running cold water. The view of the Haggier mountains the flowed into the clouds was a nice view and reminded me I was not here because I was looking for first class hotel to stay in.
Meander the street you hear a funny sounding language being spoken which is what most of the Socotrans speak it goes back about 4,000 years to when the first people settle here from the Kingdom of Sabea the place of the Queen of Sheba from Solomon time in the Bible . The language is Socotri and it is in the South Arabian language family.
The houses are mostly the wonderful old Yemeni mud brick style but lots of half finished cement houses going up. The Socotrans are friendly and kind very hospitable people.
The food at the restaurant at out hotel was very good fresh fish cooked in a clay Socotran oven with local wood oh so tasty.
I think understand culture and what makes people tick to me is what is most exciting I would rather go home with a taxi driver and meet his family or live on a fishing boat with local than just about anything. Well this make Socotria paradise because you see it has at least three separate cultures and lifestyles.
The First culture and the one I really came to see, oldest and most unique it made up of the people that migrated here during the South Arabian Kingdom period like Sheba (as in the Queen of) and the language they speak is Soqotri. This group of are often called the Mountain Dweller. Soqotri is related to the most ancient languages spoken in the Arabian peninsula and is related to language of the kingdom of Sheba. It seems this place at the highlight of the shipment of frankincense, Dragon blood, and other incenses people settle here from Sheba and also the “Greeks” came in some number when the Alexander displaced the Persians as the rulers of the Middle East. The most remote area of the Island and the area where Soqotri is the most isolated still is the mountain dialects, in the range of ˆaghyer, and in Diksam. These regions are not easy to reach. The people are living in villages, moving around in the same area, depending on the season (rain, wind); sometimes, they are living temporarily in caves. They are shepherds and cultivate some date-palms. In the past, they collected the resin of Dragon's-blood. The contacts with the coast are occasional. Many of the Diksam Plateau people do not speak Arabic.
Socotri people have set up with the help of the UNDP a program for eco-tourism as a way to have sustainable development for Socotrai.
Socotra Ecotourism Society has trained field guides, naturalist guides, drivers; 4X4 wheels drive cars, camping. They can arrange accommodation in the three guesthouse of the island and can but you in touch with the local culture
To arrange your stay in Socotra, contact:
Mr Abdelateef Saad Amer
UNDP Programme Contacts in Socotra:
Mr Nadim Taleb (Manager) +967 5 660130 email@example.com
Dr Abdelkader Bensada (Ecotourism and Protected Areas) +967 5 660579 firstname.lastname@example.org
The diving here is like the early days of Sinai if you go you will be one of maybe 10 or 12 foreigners on the Island. Hard to get to dive spots but oh so worth the effort Swim with whale sharks a plenty. Socotra is from the standpoint of geology and Biological point of view really one of the most interesting and isolated places on the face of the earth.. As of March of 2006 there was an organized dive support team in place called Dive Socotra run by a German fellow with a nice tent camp, all the diving equipment one would need and breakfast.
All the details are on the web site check before you go as in all of 2006 only about 400 foreigners show up the whole year and I wonder how they can make it. Underwater around Socotra is a true Eden with beautiful clear water and wonderful light making the colors just dance. Tons of fish and crustaceans
CAMP DIHAMRI Rates as of (April 3, 2006)
Accommodation in Luxury Tents Per person incl. Breakfast USD 25 p.p.
Accommodation under the Skies (or small camping tent) Per Person incl Breakfast USD 5 (YR 1000)
Meals Lunch, Dinner USD 5 (YR 1000) each
Dive rates Single Dive USD 25 (Cylinder, weight, drift buoy), 10 Dives USD 225
Boat USD 12 per trip
Excursion Ras Erysel USD 40 per person (plus dives). 2 pax minimum
Excursion Shoab USD 60 per person (plus dives) 2 pax minimum
In 2001 the Cave of Hoq was discovered by a Belgian team led by Peter De Geest. It is a real beauty with a depth of 7 kilometers. According to cave scientists, this is the biggest news in cave discovery made in this part of the world in recent times, as distinguished on the basis of the size and age of Hog cave. But even more interesting was the 2 to 3 kilometers into the cave is a holy place of worship date to the 3rd century AD. Lots of artifacts were found including some wooden tablets written on in the Aramaic language it has a date of 258 AD and the name of the writer , Abgar of Palmyre, who states that he is writing it as an offerings to God’s divinity. The walls are cover in writing from the languages of the world of Roman times showing what a melting point this Island must have been in the 300 or 400 years around the time of Christ when the Dragons Blood and spice was king.
Cave of Hoq Video
Dihamri -- this is a natural marine protected area of the coast and has the Socotra dive camp set up sponsored by the Socotra ecotourism society it is set up with tents to sleep. The Dihamri marine protected area, is where some of the best natural diving is and it has some of the richest coral reefs in this part ot the gulf of Aden. Maybe it is my imagination but the fish seem to not be as elusive here maybe because people are so rare but the marine animals are many. Dihamri is reachable by either boat from Dive Scotia or by car from Hadibo in about 13/4 hours. The main attractions are the beautiful beaches and the beautiful coral reef. The Dive location is only a few minute’s of the reef.
Qalansiyah, a romantic looking Arabic small fishing village tucked into some palm trees and beautiful beach. Here you can sail in a local hand made wooden craft. Stay overnight in a camp on the beach or with a local fisheman family the are around Qalansiya, has fantastic clear blue seas, gorgeous valleys full of palm trees and beautiful unique birds. Since the people of this area are mostly fishermen one can get really fresh fish and have it cooked as the locals do. We bought a bunch cooked them all up and invited the local families to join us we had a wonderful time. One old fisherman told us all a story that most go back 2000 years.
The coastal people are fishermen, mostly African origin. They live in African style houses mud with leave and branches as the roof as I understand most of the African were brought to Socotra as slaves and labor for as far back as recorded time
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.
Wind Surfing and Kite boarding is the new rage in Socota sort of exstream wind surfing with amazing wind condition.
Cindy Mosey, as World no 1 kite surfer came to Socotra Yemen since than this place is on the Map as a place to go.
Socotra with Cindy Mosey kite surfer
These folks will help if you want to try --
ph: 967 (0)5 660132, 660579
contact person: Mr Abdelateef Saad Amer
Unique Qualities: The government of Yemen with the help of the United Nations development program is working to train and building project staff around botany, zoology, bird conservation, scuba diving, marine biodiversity etc.
Also they are supporting local training in the fundamentals of ecology, English language, eco-tourism. So the folks that work with you like your drive and guide are part of this training program.
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).
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.
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.
While out on a boat trip to the marvelous Shoab Beach, we encoutered a couple of dolphins. Friends who did the boattrip before confirmed that it is quite usual to spot dolphins during the boat ride. Even from the shore it is sometimes possible to see them in Socotran waters, where they seem to be quite frequent.
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
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.