Yemen · August 12 - 19 2024
8 Day Kiteboarding Socotra Expedition
Kiteboard one of the most unique islands in the world- SocotraENQUIRE
Embark on the adventure of a lifetime with a kiteboarding expedition to the enchanting Socotra Island, a hidden gem in the Indian Ocean. Tucked away off the Yemeni coast, Socotra is a strange paradise known for its bizarre scenery, including craggy and dramatic coastlines, dragon's blood trees that resemble inside-out umbrellas, and other alien-like flora. As you harness the power of the wind, imagine soaring above crystal-clear turquoise waters, surrounded by untouched beaches and dramatic cliffs. This thrilling combination of heart-pounding water sports and stunning natural scenery is what this kiteboarding adventure in Socotra promises to deliver. When the wind is right, navigate through pristine lagoons and along the island's rugged coastline. When not on the water, spend your time taking in panoramic views of the unique flora that sets Socotra apart from any other destination on Earth. Join us for this kiteboarding expedition, and let the winds of Socotra take you on a unique experience combining extreme sports and the natural world.
Kiteboarding Socotra's Lagoons & Bays
Feel the rush of the wind in your kite as you navigate through pristine lagoons and along the island's rugged coastline.
Famed for its alien-like flora, enjoy walk among forests of dragon blood trees and other unusual endemic plant species.
Cairo | Hadiboh | Detwah Lagoon
Day 1: Arrive in Socotra & Detwah Lagoon
Our local team in Socotra will be waiting for us on arrival at Hadiboh Airport. We will first go into the small island capital to pick up provisions and grab lunch at a local restaurant before continuing to our first destination on the island, the breathtaking Detwah Lagoon.
Along this paradisiacal coastline, take in vistas extending from the mountains to the Arabian Sea and surroundings.
Weather permitting, our inaugural kitesurfing session unfolds in this awe-inspiring locale. While out for our first session our local team will establish camp. After our ride, we'll relax over glasses of tea as the sun drifts away below the horizon. A little later we will feast on a delicious seafood dinner under the stars.
Day 2: Kiteboard Detwah Lagoon
Awaken to the rising sun in the idyllic Detwah Lagoon with an early morning breakfast, to set us up for our adventure today.
Explore a cave that's housed a local family and had been used by Socotri fishermen for centuries after exploring the lagoon, checking out the sealife found in this area.
Most likely in the afternoon, when the wind is right, gear up for a kiteboarding session.
Detwah Lagoon | Shua'ab
Day 3: Detwah Lagoon & Shua'ab
Following breakfast, we'll drive to nearby Qalansiya, board a local fishing boat, and sail through the maze of dramatic coastline and massive boulders planted in the sea. Keep an eye out for glimpses of dolphins and other exotic marine life that grace this area.
Our journey will culminate at Shua'ab Beach, where we'll unpack our kiteboarding gear for yet another exhilarating session.
Tonight, we will camp along the quiet shoreline of Shua'ab, where we'll have the opportunity to connect with local fishermen, sharing stories and experiences beneath the vast expanse of the starlit sky.
Detwah Lagoon | Dixsam Plateau | Firhmin Forest
Day 4: Detwah Lagoon & Dragon Blood Tree Forests
After an early morning of kiteboarding, providing the conditions are right, we'll load our belongings back on the boats and head back to Qalansiya.
From Qalansiya we venture towards the mountains to discover the mesmerizing rock formations and the unique dragon blood tree forests Socotra is famed for. The 4x4 journey will lead us up to the Dixsam Plateau, down into Wadi Dirhur, and up to the Firhmin Forest where our upcoming camping site is located, surrounded by these unusual trees.
Firhmin Forest | Omaq Beach
Day 5: Dragon Blood Forests & Socotra's South Coast
Take some time in the morning following breakfast to walk among the dragon blood trees in the Firhmin Forest before we continue the journey to Socotra's southern coast.
We'll be camping tonight at Omaq Beach and if conditions are right we'll hope to have an afternoon kiteboarding session. Catch the sunset over the nearby Zahek Dunes.
Omaq Beach | Arher Dunes
Day 6: Socotra's Northeast
Today we embark on a journey back across Socotra as we head to the northeastern part of the island to explore the expansive Arher Dunes overlooking the Arabian Sea and to the area of Ras Erissel, the extremity of Socotra where the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea meet.
Should the winds behave, our kitesurfing session will unfold against the backdrop of rocky mountains fringed by sugary white sand.
Tonight, we'll camp under the stars at Arher.
Arher Dunes | Hoq Cave
Day 7: Northeast Socotra
Join an optional hike up to the top of Arher Dunes for sunrise before breakfast to catch the sunrise.
Following breakfast, drive to nearby Terbak Village, where we will begin a hike to the beguiling Hoq Cave.
We will plan to wrap up the trek by midday in order to return to Arher to get in an afternoon kiteboarding session.
Hadiboh | Cairo
Day 8: Departures Back to Cairo
In the morning we will head back to Hadiboh Airport to board our flight back to Egypt.
Meals as indicated on itinerary
Camping equipment (tent, blanket, sleeping mat)
Yemeni visa fee
English-speaking local guide
Abu Dhabi-Socotra-Abu Dhabi Airfare
What's Not Included
Egypt visa fees
Is Socotra Safe?
Despite being part of Yemen, territorially speaking, Socotra is a safe destination. In fact, there has never been an incident involving a tourist on the island. The biggest risks you would face as a tourist in Socotra are injuries sustained while out on a trek or in the sea. There is a risk of getting stuck in Socotra longer than planned in the event the flights in or out are delayed or canceled, more so if traveling in the June-September season.
Can Kiteboarding Beginners Join this Expedition?
The Socotra expedition caters to riders at an intermediate skill level or higher, requiring experience and proficiency in riding comfortably in wavy conditions and the ability to ride toeside. If you have any inquiries about your skill level, feel free to reach out to us, and our team will provide guidance.
Where are the Start & End Points on this Expedition & How do I get to Socotra?
This 8 Day Socotra Expedition will begin and end at Cairo Airport Terminal 1. From here we will board our flight on the evening of Sunday, August 11th. In the early morning hours we will land at Aden Airport where we will have 4 hour layover and go through immigration formalities.
We will then board the next flight which will take us to Socotra via a quick stop in the coastal city of Mukalla. We will arrive at Hadiboh Airport around 10:00 on August 12th.
We will depart Socotra at midday on August 19th. We will change planes in Aden on a 4 hour layover and arrive back in Cairo around 20:00.
What are the Entry Requirements for Yemen?
Nearly all nationalities require a Yemeni visa to travel to Socotra. We will handle the Yemeni visa process for you. All we need is a scan of your passport info page. We will apply for your visa in Socotra and once it is approved we will send you a document of visa approval. This visa approval document should be printed and brought with you to the airport in order to board your flight to Yemen from Egypt. On arrival on the layover in Aden, this document will be exchanged for a stamp in your passport. We will need approximately 2-3 weeks to get your visa secured for you.
When Is The Best Time to Kiteboard Socotra?
June-September coincides with the windy season and is therefore the best time of the year for kiteboarding.
What Kiteboarding Equipment is Required to Bring?
Ideally, it's recommended to bring three kites in good condition securely packed in a golf bag. Optimal kite sizes will be within the 6 to 12 meter range. Riders are advised to bring a maximum of two boards, preferably a twin tip and a surfboard. It is necessary to bring two bars that match the specific kite you are using, along with a harness in good condition. Additionally, it is recommended to carry a comfortable life jacket. Our 4x4s will conveniently transport any extra equipment along the shore, ensuring continuous access to gear and reliable support throughout your adventure.
Do I Need Travel Insurance To Join This Socotra Kiteboarding Expedition?
To join any Safar Expeditions departure you will need to carry an active travel insurance plan. Be aware that Socotra is a remote island with limited healthcare infrastructure which can pose very real challenges in the event of a medical emergency or serious injury or illness.
We recommend that travelers purchase their travel insurance through IATI travel insurance and seriously consider purchasing an emergency evacuation plan from Global Rescue. Do check if kiteboarding is covered by the plan you are purchasing.
Prescription and even some over-the-counter medications can be difficult to find in Socotra, so make sure to bring any meds you need or may need with you. Even though Socotra is a safe place to visit, travelers should also exercise caution when participating in activities. These could include trekking, swimming, snorkeling, diving, and any adventure sports.
What Currency Is Used In Socotra & How Can I Pay For Things On The Island?
Officially the Yemeni Rial is the currency used in Socotra. Note that the Yemeni Rial is quite volatile to fluctuations. The Rial can vary between 500-1500 Rial to the US dollar.
There are simple money exchange offices in Hadiboh where money can be exchanged for Yemeni Rials. US dollars seem to net the best rates and bills must be new and crisp without any markings, folds, tears, etc. You may want to exchange a small amount into Rials on arrival for smaller purchases on the island as people are starting to sell more handicrafts around Socotra and for little purchases such as snacks. In many cases such as these locals will accept small denominations of US dollars.
Note that there are no ATMs that work with foreign cards anywhere in Socotra and credit cards are not accepted.
Where Will I Sleep?
This is a camping-style expedition and we will move camps each night. Three-season tents are provided for each guest that we use as singles, however, couples are welcome to share one tent. Blankets and sleeping mats are also provided. Many travelers prefer to bring a sleeping bag liner from home to sleep with, which can be useful on nights we camp in the mountains.
What Is The Food Like & Can You Accommodate Dietary Restrictions?
Local Socotri cuisine is simple yet delicious and features a lot of fresh seafood, especially fish. For breakfast, expect Yemeni-style flatbread, eggs, a variety of spreads, and sometimes beans. For lunch and dinner rice or noodles, a veggie curry, and fish are common. Sometimes goat and even chicken may be served too. Of course, in Yemeni fashion, every meal is accompanied by shai (tea).
Please let us know of any dietary restrictions or allergies in advance so that we can accommodate your needs.
What Should I Wear In Socotra?
Socotra is a conservative place, that said, Socotris are accustomed to seeing foreign tourists, so it is not as strict as other Islamic destinations.
While at beaches, swimsuits/bikinis and swim trunks are fine, and shorts are perfectly okay when trekking in the mountains. In towns and villages, dressing modestly is the best practice.
While visiting towns and villages women should wear clothing that covers from shoulders to ankles, so trousers and a T-shirt or a maxi dress (though not sleeveless) are great options. Headscarves for female travelers, while not required, are very welcomed by the locals. Keeping a sarong handy is also useful to throw on over shorts, over shoulders, or as a head covering.
In towns and villages, men are okay to wear shorts that at least cover the knee and T-shirts. Tank tops or going shirtless in public is in poor taste.
Will I Have Internet Access & Electricity?
It's best to plan to log off during your visit to Socotra. Internet is slow in Socotra, with 3G being about as fast as it gets. Mobile internet is only operational in a handful of places around the island. Cell phone service is available on Socotra Island but access to the cell network through roaming may vary depending on your carrier. If you have roaming service on your phone plan for UAE or Mainland Yemen, you may be able to access the local internet network but don't count on this. Foreigners can't purchase local SIM cards in Socotra.
In Socotra don't expect to have access to electricity every day, however, a few of the camps we will stay at will have it. A solar charger and battery banks are handy for this.
Are There Any Items I Cannot Bring to Socotra?
Alcohol and illicit substances are not allowed in Yemen.
Are There Any Restrictions On Who Can Visit Socotra?
Yemen forbids all Israeli nationals, people born in Israel, and any traveler with proof of travel to Israel in their passports (including border stamps from Egypt and Jordan) from entering the country.
Are Non-Kiters Welcome on this Expedition?
Yes, non-kiters are more than welcome to join this experience. Note that prices will be the same.
Is There a Minimum Number of Participants Necessary for the Expedition to Run?
Yes, a minimum of 2 passengers will need to be on this expedition in order to run. If the minimum isn't reached, we will contact you about the potential to still operate the trip but at an additional charge or you will be given the option to cancel and your deposit/payment can either be returned to you or applied toward a different expedition of your choosing.