Socotra – The Lost Island
|BETWEEN||Sana’a and Sana’a|
|COUNTRIES VISITED – 1||Yemen|
|MAXIMUM GROUP SIZE||14|
|WHATS NOT INCLUDED||
Discover the mystery of Socotra, part of a remote archipelago in the Indian Ocean. A Jurassic island so isolated that a third of its plant life is found nowhere else on the planet. Home to the unique dragon’s blood trees that look like flying saucers perched on trunks and the unusual desert rose trees which look like elephants’ legs with pink flowers on top. Birds such as the Socotra starling, Socotra sunbird, and Socotra grosbeak are found nowhere else on earth. Rolling white sand dunes, dotted with camels, crumbling stone villages and turquoise lagoons brimming with an abundance of marine life, all make up this Arabian jewel. Explore this fascinating island of endemnicity with us as you uncover a destination, so remote and so untouched, it may feel like you are the only travellers there. Socotra, a forgotten island that has stood still in time for millions of years.
Socotra – The Lost Island
Crooked Compass is a boutique small group tour operator that provide culturally immersive experiences while supporting local communities and projects. Explore this fascinating island of endemnicity with us as you uncover a destination, so remote and so untouched, it may feel like you are the only travellers there. Socotra, a forgotten island that has stood still in time for millions of years.
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Day 1: Sana’a – Socotra – Ayhaft National Park – Delisha Sandy Beach
Welcome to Yemen! Upon arrival into Sana’a, you will take a Yemenia or Felix flight from Sana’a to the remote but uniquely beautiful island of Socotra. You will be greeted and collected from the airport and transferred to an eco-lodge located near the island’s capital, Hadibo. After relaxing and getting refreshed, you will depart for a trip to Ayhaft Canyon National Park. In the canyon (wadi), you will find large freshwater pools surrounded by large endemic trees, where you can swim or relax and soak. All around you, there will be tamarind trees, cucumber trees and a wide variety of birds such as Socotra sparrow, Socotra sunbird and both Socotra and Somali starlings. Ayhaft is a natural nursery due to its large abundance of endemic trees, plants and birds. This is the perfect introduction to this island of endemnicity.
Overnight camping at Ayhaft (L,D)
Day 2-7: (Trek) Haggier Mountain Trek, Dagub Cave, Ameq Beach
This morning following breakfast, you will make your way to the base of the mountain range where your 6-day trek will commence. This trek will be a combination of travelling both by foot and by camel. The Haggier Mountain Range is truly something to behold. With sharp peaks, wadis of various sizes, beautiful rock formations and lush green vegetation. The air in the mountains is much cooler than in the lowlands, so it can be quite refreshing. You will visit some traditional Socotri villages along your trek, allowing you an insight into the locals world. The camels will be loaded up and then you set off for 3-4 hours of hiking. On the way to Kishan, expect to cross wadis and walk amongst the endemic plants such as Croton Socotramo, Adinum, and pass by a beautiful granite wadi. After enjoying a picnic lunch in Kishan, you will continue on to Adoho Dema’alah at 600 metres in altitude.
Overnight in Adoho Dema’alah
The following morning, we will trek to the most beautiful and interesting region, known as Skand. Skand has a high density of vegetation, you will be astonished by the jungle of huge plants. It also has the highest peak on the island which reaches 1525m above sea level. Continue trekking to wadi Da’aharoh where you will overnight. After breakfast we will trek to Firmhin Forest which is the last dragon’s blood woodland. Nowhere else in the world can one find dragon’s blood trees in such density. The local people will show you how they collect the precious red resin of the tree. Continue hiking to Derhur Canyon (wadi) where you will see unusual yet beautiful rock formations and can swim in the inviting pool.
Overnight at Derhur Canyon
Today is the last day of the trek as you head to Hadarhan. Starting from Agliso plateau which is 800m above sea level, overlooking Noged Plain in the south, the south is a vast flat area, with dramatic white sand dunes flocked with camels.
The final destination for the day will be Ameq Beach where you can swim in the clear waters of the Indian Ocean. For lunch you will go to Dagub Cave, which overlooks a scattering of traditional villages below.
The cave itself is of interest as there are many stalactites, stalagmites and pools of water. You will then witness the colossal sand dunes of Hayf and Zahek, which have been pushed up against the mountainside by the seasonal winds of Socotra. You can climb the dunes for a view that is truly breathtaking and well worth the effort.
Overnight camp at Ameq Beach (B,L,D)
Day 8: Difarhu Canyon – Arher Freshwater Creek and Beach
Today you travel from the south of the island towards the north crossing Difarhu Canyon with visits to local villages along the way. Enroute towards Hadibo, we will pass through Difarhu canyon where we can see traditional villages and natural water pools at the bottom of the vast canyon. The unusual Desert Rose tree clings to the canyon walls. The vegetation here is lush green and there are multitudes of birds. Driving on to Arher where there is a fresh creek coming out from a granite massif, meeting the sea water on the beach. You can relax on the green grass around the creek, swim in the balmy sea or if you’re feeling fit, you can climb a huge sand dune where you will be rewarded with a fantastic view over this charming piece of paradise.
Overnight at Arher (B,L,D)
Day 9: Dihamri Marine Protected Area
This morning you will head to Dihamri Marine Protected Area. It boasts one of the richest coral reefs in the archipelago. You can relax on the beach in palm leaf huts or swim and snorkel in Dihamri Bay. Snorkelling gear can be hired at the bay. Marine species you will see underwater include Parrotfish, Moray eel, Rays, Sea urchins. If you are lucky, you may even find yourself swimming alongside sea turtles. For those who are keen divers, there is a local dive centre who can take you diving in the many superb diving locations Socotra has to offer.
Overnight Dihamri Marine Protected Area (B,L,D)
Day 10: Rosh Marine Protected Area
Today you will have an early start as you drive to the base of Hoq Cave in Terbak village. Before the sun is too hot, you will walk up to the entrance of the cave. It is more than 3km long with a water pool at the end and holds a wealth of Socotri history. Inside, you will see stalactites, stalagmites and crystalline formations, ancient writings on the cave walls and also what appears to be a picture of an old trading ship which has been preserved over the ages by a calcite glaze. The rest of the day will be spent at Rosh Marine Protected Area.
Overnight camping at Rosh Campsite (B,L,D)
Day 11: Homhil Terrestrial Protected Area
Today’s destination is Homhil, a protected area with fabulous scenery that gives you a kind of prehistoric feeling. You will stop at Qaria Lagoon en-route. It is the largest lagoon on the island and the home to flamingos, herons and greenshanks. The trek to Homhil starts at the bottom of a spectacular ravine at sea level. The trek is of medium difficulty is around 1.5 hours in duration. The view from the top is truly spectacular. Once at Homhil, you can choose from a selection of walking trails. You will be astonished by the prehistoric atmosphere of the landscape rich with dragon blood trees and bottle trees. You will be addressed by local children who sell dragon blood raisin and frankincense. One of the trails leads to a viewpoint with a natural pool with almost freezing green and blue water.
Overnight will be camping at Homhil (B,L,D)
Day 12: Qalansia to Dewah Lagoon
We drive to the west of the island to a little fisherman’s town of Qalansia. It consists of traditional Socotri houses, narrow alleyways and a beach full of fishing boats ready to set off for today’s catch or to take you to Shu’ab Beach. We will continue to Detwah lagoon, a marine protected area renowned for its magic landscape. You will be charmed by a white sandy beachscape surrounded by turquoise waters of the bay. You can swim here and enjoy spending time in this paradise. There is also an array of sea birds to be seen at the lagoon.
Overnight at Detwah (B,L,D)
Day 13: Golden Beach of Shuab
After breakfast in Detwah, you will take a boat trip to Shu’ab. Keep an eye out for some spinner dolphins along the way with cormorants flying overhead. Once at Shu’ab, you visit a mangrove area. Lunch will be enjoyed along the beautiful Shu’ab Beach. Enjoy exploring or take a swim in these pristine waters. In the late afternoon, you take a boat ride back to Qalansyia. Line fishing is possible from the boat if you would like to attempt to catch your dinner.
Overnight in Adeeb Eco Camp near Hadibo (B,L,D)
Day 14: Adeeb Nursery to Delisha Sandy Beach
Today we will visit a local souvenir shop before heading to Adeeb Nursery to see a collection of endemic plants grown here. In the afternoon, we will visit Delisha Beach with pristine white sands, littered with crabs. You can relax whilst swimming in the sea or in the nearby freshwater lagoon. You can climb a huge sand dune overseeing the beach and try to surf it down. If you wish to stay longer, there may be a fabulous sunset to watch from Delisha.
Overnight at Adeeb Eco Camp (B,L,D)
Day 15: Departure
After an early breakfast, you will be transferred to Socotra airport. You will take a Yemenia or Felix flight back to Sana’a where your tour ends on arrival. (B)
Please note that there is more detailed tour dossiers available specific to each departure date, contact our Sales team and we would be happy to send these to you