Socotra Dream - proceed with extreme caution
As previous posters have mentioned, Socotra Dream have become an unreliable company to book with. I have read many great historical reviews, so perhaps something has changed for them in recent times, either way, our recent experience of them has been very disappointing
We wired the money for our flights from Sharjah in the UAE to Socotra (as we wanted to avoid the Yemen mainland if possible) plus our visas, a total of almost £1k to Socotra Dream and waited.
As our trip was to commence less than 6 weeks from the money being wired, we needed and expected things to move quickly, however we also understood that communications are poor on the island, and not to expect immediate responses to communications.
When we had not received confirmation of our flights almost two weeks later, we began to become anxious. There is only one flight from Sharjah per week (out on Wednesday, return flight on Saturday) so if we did not get seats on these flights, we could not go.
Our flights to Sharjah from UK and our accommodation there had already been booked, as had our time off work.
At this point we gave Abdullah at Socotra Dream a deadline – if he could not book in 2 days, we would have to go elsewhere, and asked him to refund our money. We have not heard from him since.
A couple of days later, we received confirmation direct from Felix Airways for the flight from Socotra to Sharjah only (with my name incorrect on the flight, making it unusable) but nothing from Abdullah to explain why he had only booked the return leg, or even to tell us he had done it.
By this point we had already begun dealings with another agent, who agreed to book our flights immediately as, unlike Socotra Dream, they did not require the money in advance (cancellation of the flights only costs $10, so there is little liability for the tour company if a client changes their plans).
What they discovered, as we had feared, was that the outbound flight was now fully booked, so we can no longer take the trip we planned.
We now have no option to cut our trip from 10 days to 7, and pay for an additional flight from UAE to San’aa (which we had hoped to avoid) plus we have 3 additional, unwanted days in the UAE when we should have been in Socotra.
We are really disappointed in the way Socotra Dream have dealt with us, especially now they are not responding to our communications and still have £1000 of our money.
We are not naïve, we checked out the company before we committed to them, and even asked for the details of a recent British client, who I subsequently exchanged several emails with, and who a great experience on the island. I also contacted someone who had very recently posted negative comments about Socotra Dream (which unfortunately we did not see until after we had sent our money) on this page, and their problems were rectified and they also had a great trip.
Unfortunately for us, our trip, as planned, is already ruined. Our new agents have been really helpful in helping us find a way to still make a trip happen, but unless there are a couple of cancellations on our original planned flight, it will be a truncated version of it, and will cost us more than we had planned. That isn't even taking into account the £1000 of ours that Socotra Dream still have, and are not responding to our emails about.
We know they do not have communication problems, as we emailed them from an alternative address, with a different name, and they responded immediately.
As I have said, there are plenty of people that have had great experiences with Socotra Dream, but also, we have since discovered, others that have been left in our position.
Either way, if you can’t afford to be out of pocket, however temporarily, or don’t have a huge amount of time between booking and travel, then I suggest you look elsewhere.
Socotra Dream Tours - challenging to work with
I booked my trip to Socotra with Socotra Dream Tours. The trip itself went quite well, although I will warn other travelers that Abdullah, the company's owner, does not have particularly good skills at communication (in terms of responding to e-mails asking for confirmations of their flights, visa documents, etc.) or cash flow management (which seems to be the root of the problem in delays of booking air tickets, processing visas, etc.) I got very concerned after I wired him nearly $1000 for a deposit and the cost of Felix flights that he was to book, upon which he went nearly silent for several weeks, despite me asking repeatedly for my flight confirmations. After a lot of yelling, I did get the confirmations, and my visa showed up about six days before my scheduled arrival--a little too close for comfort, but sufficient in the end.
When I finally reached Sana'a and then Socotra, all of the people that were supposed to meet me did show up and do what they were supposed to do. I had a very good trip, thanks mostly to my guide Salah (who works for all of the Socotra tour companies, not just this one). We played the schedule pretty much by ear, and in a place this small and casual, that's not a problem.
If you are looking for top-notch customer service, this tour company is probably not for you. But if you are willing to go with the flow, be aware that Socotra Dream uses the same stable of guides as every other company on Socotra, so your on-island experience will be fine. All of the guides I met were very nice, and they seemed determined to give their clients a good trip.
Socotra Dream Tours SWINDLERS
I join prevoius poster regarding Socotra Dreams criminal Abdullah Hazeem Omar. I had same experience last year with him, no reply on the phone, mail or message once he collected the money. I managed with different peoples' help to reach tourist police and after almost a year got my 300 € back. He caused me another 300 € costs I will probably never see again. Apparently public prosecution seized and sold his car to compensate victims of his scams. There were other people also scammed by Abdullah Hazeem Omar. But he seems to be on old outlaw tracks again.
i was warning other people on LP and Trip Advisor, but they kept deleting my posts.
By the way, his webpage http://www.socotradream.com/ is still runnign saying "The best way to discover Socotra". I would say "The best way to get scammed". All the nice posts written are probably from times before they got corrupted or written by themselves. According to some information, his girlfriend from Italy plays some part in whole thing.
In my case (other people from different countries were scammed too) he was apparently arrested twice, first time left free just for claiming he solved the issues. Such a police! If he continues with his doing, it seems lots of corruption is going on in that country. It would be better for travellers if yemeni governement would allow again visas on arrival and their flight operators to enable on-line e-bookings (Yemenia and Felix), the rest we would pay when we get the service done.
Wake up, Yemen, this is not the way to treat tourists! Start protecting them!
In Habido's hospital which we visited to see how health care is provided, we came across this poster. As we were explained it shows that the patient's family and friends should be supportive of an HIV/AIDS infected person
It is really danger thing!
You can be infected on island but results will be after several weeks. I have been sicked only after my return to Moscow. First free days I could not believe that it is malaria