Socotra's Outer Islands & Sea Stacks

Rarely visited, the outer islands of the Socotra Archipelago are truly an off-the-beaten-path paradise. The Archipelago consists of six islands- Socotra, Abd al Kuri, and Samha being inhabited and Darsa, Kal Firun, and Darsa all unsettled by humans.

The truly intrepid, lovers of rare endemics, and those looking to take on a fishing expedition will want to add Socotra's Outer Islands to their bucketlist.

Expeditions Featuring Socotra's Outer Islands

See all of our departures that feature the outer islands of the Socotra Archipelago.

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8 Day Socotra Expedition

Hadiboh , Yemen

April 9 - 16 2024

8 Day Socotra Expedition

The Best of Socotra

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Socotra's Outer Islands Highlights


Abd al Kuri

The largest of the Socotra Archipelago’s Outer Islands is Abd al Kuri and the westernmost extremity at just 80 kilometers off of Cape Guardafui on the coast of Somalia. 

The island is long and narrow at 32 kilometers from east to west and 6 kilometers north to south and towered over by its largest mountain, Jebel Saleh at 500 meters.

With less than 500 residents, Abd al Kuri is sparsely populated with a handful of small settlements extending across the island, all connected by a dirt road. The inhabitants of Abd al Kuri are mostly fishermen and their families. 

Abd al Kuri rarely sees visitors, so do expect a warm welcome when passing through villages that extend from the extremities of the island.

One of the main features of Abd al Kuri is the endemic and massive Euphorbia abdalkuri, a unique plant with a toxic and caustic sap. This is endemic only to Abd al Kuri and cannot be found anywhere else, even on the other islands of the Socotra Archipelago. 

Abd al Kuri can be reached by chartering a fishing boat well in advance (get in contact for planned departures and for private charter rates), usually with stops in Samha and Darsa from Qalansiya. 


Darsa

Known as the Rat Island, just east of its brother, Samha is little Darsa.

Darsa is an uninhabited island and birder’s paradise with its insanely dense bird populations. 

One of the most stunning and pristine beaches in the world is here on Darsa, and subsequently, the only place to access the island from. The beach is backed by a cliffside pock-marked by caves that are fun to explore. 

Atop the cliffs is where the bird life begins. And apparently, this is where Darsa gained its nickname.

Apparently, after dark the island will be crawling with rats, who feed on the nesting bird eggs scattered around Darsa. Or maybe it’s just a rouse to keep any would-be campers at bay.

Like Abd al Kuri and Samha, Darsa is reachable by boat charter from Qalansiya. 


Samha

Known as the brothers, Samha and Darsa are the two closest of the Outer Islands to Socotra in the archipelago. 

Samha is a desertic place with a small village seemingly built into a narrow gash that was cut into the side of the island. 

A handful of families live on Samha which gives it an edge of the world feel.

A hike can be down into the interior of the island to the flat-topped mountain that rises from the island, making Samha quite noticeable as you approach.

Here in the interior, look for the Begonia samhaensis and the Pelargonium insularis, two of the eight plants endemic to only Samha. 

Along with Darsa and And al Kuri, visits must be arranged in advance as a fishing boat charter is necessary to reach Samha. 


Kal Firun

About 20 kilometers north of Abd al Kuri’s westernmost point lies Kal Firun, one of the sea stacks part of the Socotra Archipelago. 

Kal Firun is teeming with bird and marine life but extremely rough seas around them make landing essentially impossible. 

If chartering the boat to the Outer Islands you can request to get close enough for views of the Kal Firun Sea Stack from a safe distance.


Sabuniya

20 kilometers west of Qalansiya is the sea stack of Sabuniya. 

As the sea stack comes into view, you’ll soon see the birdlife covering Sabuniya. Much like Kal Firun, the seas are wildly rough around the sea stack so landings aren’t really a possibility.