Yemen · November 5 - 12 2024
8 Day Socotra Trekking Expedition
Embark on a hike across Socotra's Haggier MountainsBOOK NOW
This 8 day Socotra Island trekking expedition will take you to explore the island’s central highlands slowly and more intimately. It will be a challenging yet rewarding week camping under the stars and walking across the stunning Haggier Mountains that bisect the island from east to west. Trekking with the help of camels to help haul gear this is one of the more grueling Socotra itineraries on offer. This is an adventurous Socotra itinerary, meaning you will be camping each night, many of which you won’t have access to showers- but trust me it’s worth it.
Wandering Forests of Dragon Blood Trees
Socotra's most iconic and famous sight is the unusual endemic dragon blood tree. The Firhmin Forest is home to the largest population of them in the world.
Stand in the Shadow of Skånd Peak
At 1525 meters, Skånd Peak is Socotra's tallest mountain, towering over the saw-toothed Haggier Range.
Relax at the Unreal Detwah Lagoon
Close your trek in Socotra's Haggiers with a relaxing visit to ribbons to turquoise water and white sands at Detwah Lagoon
Hadiboh | Arher | Delisha Beach
Be met by your local Socotri guide on arrival at Socotra International Airport. Collect your bags, go through formalities, and head into the main town of Hadiboh. Here you will have an early lunch before making the drive to the perfect white dunes of Arher.
Take the afternoon to swim in the beautiful Arabian Sea and relax on the beach. At sunset, it’s recommended to climb to the top of the massive Arher Dune for the best views. Following sunset, load up and head back down the coast to camp at Delisha Beach, very close to the start of your Haggier Mountains trek.
Accommodation: Tent camping at Delisha Beach
Delisha Beach | Adourna | Adho Demelah
Get an early start before sunrise to beat the heat on the first day of your Socotra Island Haggier Mountains trek. The trek begins along a broken dirt road from a village on the southern outskirts of Hadiboh called Adourna that eventually peters out as you reach the base of the Haggiers.
The path loosely follows a mountain spring that tumbles down from the Haggiers which is much more bountiful in the rainy season with lovely pools that make for popular picnic spots for locals. As you climb boulders ascending your way into the mountains pay attention to the island’s star endemics. The uber-rare Dirachma socotrana can even be spotted along this route.
Eventually, you will reach the shepherd settlement of Adho Demelah, the perfect spot to camp among the jagged peaks of the Haggiers.
Accommodation: Tent camping at Fera
Adho Demelah | Fera
From Adho Demelah, follow a pathway to the west that will take you up to a great viewpoint in an area known locally as Fera. Here you can relax and watch Egyptian vultures swarm overhead as clouds drift in and out among the Haggier’s craggy and characterful peaks in a scene reminiscent of Machu Picchu. This is a great spot for peering over the cliff edges in search of the endemic Begonia socotrana.
In the afternoon, make your way back down to Adho Demelah where you’ll be camping for one more night.
Distance: 4.5 kilometers | 6 hours
Accommodation: Tent camping at Adho Demelah
Adho Demelah | Daahzaz | Firhmin Forest
Getting an early start, we will leave Adho Demelah at around sunrise, beginning our descent into a wide valley. At the bottom of the canyon, you will have a chance to see a Socora pomegranate tree before the path heads back uphill among Frankincense ameero and bottle trees. Finally, the trail does descend again, taking us to the villages of Sha’ab and Daahzaz where we will find a nice pool in between the two to take a swim in and have a picnic lunch nearby.
After a rest, we will begin our final push-up into the Firhmin Forest, known for its over 9,000 dragon blood trees. Tonight we will camp among a grove of trees in the forest.
Distance: 11.5 kilometers | 11 hours
Accommodation: Tent camping in Firhmin Forest
Firhmin Forest | Dixsam Plateau | Skånd Peak Viewpoint | Dixsam Plateau
As the 4WDs can reach us here in the Firhmin Forest, we will be picked up in the morning to drive to the start of the final section of the trek on the other side of the Dixsam Plateau. This trek will bring you down into a valley and gradually back up the other side to reach an epic viewpoint gnarled in between Socotra’s highest peaks.
The descent is back down the way from which you came. Tonight camp again under the stars on the Dixsam Plateau.
Distance: 12 kilometers | 6 hours
Accommodation: Tent camping at Dixsam Plateau
Dixsam Plateau | Detwah Lagoon
After breakfast, we will depart the Dixsam Plateau and back down to the coast, this time to explore the white sands and lively waters of Detwah Lagoon.
In Detwah spend the afternoon relaxing in the most turquoise waters, get in on a game of football with some local teens, or maybe catch the well-known Abdullah the Caveman who may take you out to explore around the lagoon.
Accommodation: Tent camping on Detwah Beach
Detwah Lagoon | Qalansiya | Shua’ab Beach
After an early breakfast, make the short drive to the second-largest town on Socotra of Qalansiya. From the beach in Qalansiya, we will load up into local dhow fishing boats and cruise along Socotra’s rugged western coast down to the impossibly white sands of Shua’ab Beach. Keep your eyes peeled as you leave Qalansiya for jumping spinner dolphins who frequent the area.
After a perfect final beach day in Socotra, head back for Qalansiya in the early afternoon (the waters around here get notoriously rough later in the day) and then enjoy your final sunset and dinner back at Detwah Lagoon.
Accommodation: Tent camping on Detwah Beach
Detwah Lagoon | Hadiboh Airport
Following breakfast, you will be dropped off at Hadiboh Airport to catch your flight to either Abu Dhabi to continue your journey home (or elsewhere).
Meals as noted on itinerary
Camping equipment (tent, blanket, sleeping mat)
Yemeni visa fee
Pack animal support
English-speaking local guide
What's Not Included
UAE visa fees (if applicable)
Tips for local staff
Your guides for Socotra
Despite being born and raised in the mountains of Alaska with plenty of backyard adventures that could have kept her busy for a lifetime, the unusual dragon blood trees of Socotra, the truly bizarre landscapes of Iran’s far-flung Sistan and Balochistan Province, the gingerbread-house-like architecture of Sana’a, and the dazzling turquoise lakes of Tajikistan’s Fann Mountains lured Nicole to the other side of the planet and on to get to know these locations extremely well.
Socotra Expert | Flora Specialist
Born and raised in a village perched on the edge of Socotra Island's Qaria Lagoon, Sami eventually made his way to Hadiboh. He began guiding on the island in his late teens, where he gained his interest in his home island's unique endemic plant species. Sami went on to attain a bachelor's degree in forestry from Mendel University in Brno, Czech Republic to further dial in his expertise on Socotra's biodiversity. After which, he returned back to Socotra to guide full-time.
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.
What Is The Difficulty Level Of This Socotra Expedition?
This 8 Day Socotra trekking expedition is rated as difficult and rugged. This means that we will be tent camping throughout this expedition and sleeping in primitive campsites. Not all campsites have showers or toilets, so can be a bit uncomfortable for some. In terms of physicality, you can expect hikes of several hours in length on at least 4 of the days of the itinerary.
Where are the Start & End Points on this Expedition?
This 8 Day Socotra Trekking Expedition will begin and end at the Hadiboh Airport on Socotra. The flight to and from Socotra will depart from and return to Abu Dhabi, UAE.
How do I get to Socotra?
Air Arabia provides a flight from Abu Dhabi to Socotra on Tuesdays, we will handle the Abu Dhabi-Socotra-Abu Dhabi airfare for you.
Do I Need Travel Insurance To Join A Socotra 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.
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 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 Socotra. On arrival in Socotra, 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.
A note to those who may want to utilize the flight from Cairo with the stopovers in Aden and Mukalla: You will need an additional security clearance for transiting the mainland. We will attain this document for you.
When Is The Best Time to Visit Socotra?
Socotra has four distinct seasons, that being said, the optimal time to visit Socotra is between October and April.
January to April is the dry season, which sees the most stable weather. The island is a bit more arid this time of year, with many of the endemic plants such as the adenium obesum blooming, and is the best time for exploring all over Socotra, especially the coastline.
May-June sees the arrival of the Khareef season, bringing rains and windier conditions. Flights become more unreliable starting in May and extending until September owing to erratic weather.
June-September coincides with the windy season. This is a great time to visit for those into canopy sports such as kiteboarding and windsurfing.
October-December is the rainy season which sees bursts of rain throughout the day with the occasional storm. This is the best time for trekking in the Haggier Mountains, offering to experience Socotra at its most lush and verdant.
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.
Is There A Socotra Packing List & Prep Guide?
Yes, we do provide a suggested packing list and preparation guide for Socotra expeditions that can be viewed here.
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.
Is There a Minimum Number of Participants Necessary for the Expedition to Run?
Yes, a minimum of 3 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.