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SOCOTRA EXPEDITION: ALIEN PLANET


socotri-bedouin-nur-in-the-fermhin-forest-of-diksam-souther-socotra-yemen-yemeni-inertia-network.jpg

SOCOTRA

Join us on an expedition through the remote island of Socotra in the Indian Ocean. This camping, trekking and jeep expedition will take us from the stunning coastline, underwater, into the mountains and amongst the Dragons Blood Trees of Socotra. We will go on a camel and foot trek through the Haggier Mountains, along the way we will meander through Dragon’s Blood Tree forests, stay in traditional Socotri villages, walk through deep canyons and otherworldly terrain. We’ll hike up giant sand dunes, go snorkeling off pristine beaches, visit fishermen, and wander the deserts while camping on glorious white sand beaches.


HIGHLIGHTS

  • Camel trek through the Haggier Mountains.

  • Stay with local Socotra families in small inland mountain villages.

  • Line fish for our own dinner with Socotri fishermen.

  • Sip tea with traditional camel-raising Bedouin tribes on the Diksam Plateau.

  • Wander amongst Socotra’s famous Dragon Blood trees.

  • Hike the wadis and canyons of Derhur.

  • Climb the colossal sand dunes of Hayf and Zahek.

  • Snorkel amongst the sealife and colourful reefs of the Rosh Marine Protected Area.


TRIP ESSENTIALS

Max group size: 14 participants
Ruggedness: Moderate
Starting in: Cairo, Egypt
Ending in: Cairo, Egypt
Trip type: Culture, Trekking, Wildlife and Nature


ITINERARY

DAY 1. MONDAY, NOVEMBER 11, 2019. ARRIVE IN CAIRO

Arrivals throughout the day and evening. For those arriving today, we will provide airport transportation for you from Cairo International Airport to the hotel. At 6pm we will meet in the hotel lobby for an expedition overview and then go out for our first team dinner.

Overnight: Steigenberger Hotel El Tahrir.

DAY 2. TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 12, 2019. CAIRO

Today we will embark on an epic day trip around greater Cairo. This massive city is the most populous in the Arab world and has been built from thousands of years of human history. We are going to team up with Dr. Ibrahim Morgan, an incredible Egyptologist, to go tour the newly discovered tombs at Saqqara (the most impressive in lower Egypt), the step pyramid area, then we will have lunch in a rural barbeque south of Cairo. We’ll then visit the Great Pyramids and Sphinx and go for a camel ride as the sun begins to set. In the evening we’ll explore the Khan El Khalili bazaar in Islamic Cairo, where ancient mosques, artisans, workers, restaurants and tea shops converge in Cairo’s narrow streets. We’ll have a late dinner in the city before returning to the hotel to collect our luggage and drive to the airport. Our flight to Socotra leaves very early the next morning.

Overnight: On the plane.

DAY 3. WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 13, 2019. CAIRO / SEIYUN / HADIBO / HOMHIL

We’ll depart Cairo on Yemenia’s only weekly flight into Socotra, leaving at 2:00am from Cairo and arriving in Socotra around 10:30am, with a two-hour stop in the mainland Yemeni town of Seiyun, where we pass through a security check. We’ll be met upon arrival at Socotra Airport by our local team ready to explore. We’ll first visit the only “city” in Socotra-- Hadibo-- to have some lunch and go shopping for some local clothes for those interested. In the afternoon we’ll drive to the Homhil, a prehistoric feeling national protected area with incredible scenery. There, we can enjoy a sunset walk amongst the Bottle, Frankincense and famous Dragon’s Blood Trees.

Overnight: Camping at Homhil.

DAY 4. THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 2019. HOMHIL / ARHER

We will begin this morning like all of our days in Socotra, waking up just before sunset, followed by a simple breakfast. We’ll then go on a hike down to a beautiful natural infinity pool at the bottom of the valley, surrounded by Dragon’s Blood Trees and Bottle Trees. On the way we’ll likely meet local children selling dragon blood resin and frankincense. The scenery is absolutely spectacular, and out of this world. Welcome to Socotra.

We’ll return to camp for lunch and then drive to Arher, a spectacular camping spot on the beach in the far northeast of the island, where a fresh creek comes out from where a granite massive meets sea water on the beach. We can relax on green grass around the creek, swim in the sea, or if you feel fit you can climb a huge sand dune to get a fantastic view over this charming spot-- amazing for sunset. If we’re lucky, we can see bright blue bioluminescence in the ocean at night.

Overnight: Camping at Arher Beach.

DAY 5. FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 15, 2019. ARHER / HOQ / ROSH / ARHER

We will start early today, with a drive to the base of Hoq Cave in Terbak village. Before the sun gets too strong, we will walk up to the entrance of the cave. It is more than three kilometres long, with a water pool at the end. The cave 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 have been preserved over the ages by a calcite glaze.

In the afternoon, we’ll drive a short distance to the Rosh Marine Protected Area for some lunch followed by excellent snorkeling amongst thriving coral reefs. When it’s time for sunset, we’ll return to Arher to enjoy the views from the beach or towering sand dunes just behind.

Overnight: Camping at Arher Beach.

DAY 6. SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 16, 2019. ARHER / KISHAN / ADOHO DEMA'ALAH

We’ll wake up early and set out for the Haggier Mountains just to the south of Hadibo after breakfast. There we’ll load up our pack camels and begin our three day overland trek through the mountains.

The Haggier mountain range is truly something to behold, with sharp rocky peaks, deep canyons, 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. We will visit some traditional Socotri villages along our trek.

We will start with a 4 hour hike to Kishan. On the way, we expect to cross wadis and walk among endemic plants such as Croton Socotramo and Adinum, and pass by a granite wadi. We’ll have lunch in Kishan. After our picnic, we will continue on to Adoho Dema'alah at some 600 meters.

Overnight: Camping in Adoho Dema'alah.

DAY 7. SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2019. ADOHO DEMA'ALAH / SKAND / WADI DA'AHAROH

This morning we will trek to one of the most beautiful and interesting areas of our hike-- to a place called Skand. Skand has high density of vegetation, you will be astonished by a jungle of huge plants, also it houses the highest peak on the island, which reaches 1525m above sea level. We will then continue trekking to Wadi Da'aharoh for the night.

Overnight: Camping at Wadi Da'aharoh.

DAY 8. MONDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 2019. WADI DA'AHAROH / FERMHIN - DIKSAM

After breakfast, we will trek to the Fermhin Forest, which is the last woodland comprised of Dragon's Blood trees. Nowhere else in the world can one find Dragon's Blood trees in such density. Nur, a local goat herder, will show us how they used to collect-- and still collect on a smaller scale-- the precious red resin of the tree. We will continue hiking down into the Derhur Canyon, where we will see unusual rock formations and can swim in freshwater pools, where we can enjoy a picnic lunch. Then, we’ll hike for one more hour, 700 metres up to the Diksam Plateau.

The plateau is home to nomadic Bedouin herdsmen who move from one site to another with their goat herds. We will be welcomed by them with a cup of tea, where we can observe the many houses built into ledges where the plateau meets the gorge. The forest in Diksam is the last Dragon's Blood woodland.

It’s a steep finish, but rewarding, as we can watch the sun set amongst the Dragon’s Blood Trees and canyon below.

Overnight: Camping at the Diksam Homestay.

DAY 9. TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 2019. DIKSAM / ZAHEK / DETWAH / HADIBO

We’ll arise before sunrise and drive to the south coast of Socotra. As the sun rises, we’ll wander amongst the colossal sand dunes of Hayf and Zahek, pushed up against the mountainside by the seasonal winds of Socotra. Then we’ll drive to the northwest of the island to Detwah Lagoon, a marine protected area renowned for its magical landscape and incredible coastline for swimming. We’ll be charmed by a white sandy peninsula jutting out into the sea surrounded by turquoise waters, where we can swim. There is also an array of sea birds to be seen in the lagoon. We’ll return to Hadibo in the evening for dinner.

Overnight: Hadibo Eco Lodge (beds and showers).

DAY 10. WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 2019. HADIBO - SEIYUN - CAIRO

After breakfast, we spend the early morning exploring Hadibo-- visiting the fish market, docs and bazaar. Then we’ll drive to Socotra Airport for our flight back to Cairo via Seiyun. The flight is scheduled to depart Socotra at 11:15am, arriving back in Cairo at 5:00pm. Delays of a couple hours are common. Upon our arrival in Cairo we’ll drive downtown, check in to our hotel and enjoy a final dinner all together.

Overnight: Steigenberger Hotel El Tahrir.

DAY 11. THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 21, 2019. DEPARTURES FROM CAIRO

Departures throughout the day from Cairo. No scheduled activities.


COST

Expedition

Early bird: $4,290 USD (until September 1st)

Regular: $4,590 USD (after September 1st)

Included

  • All accommodations (single supplement).

  • Airport pick up in Cairo.

  • 3 meals per day (excluding arrival and departure days).

  • Private and secure transportation.

  • Round trip flights between Cairo and Socotra ($1,300).

  • Yemeni visa fee ($150).

  • Professional North American trip leader and participation facilitator.

  • English-speaking local guiding team.

  • All site entries.

  • Camping gear (tents, sleep pads, pillows).

  • Tips for local staff.

Excluded

  • Round trip international airfare to Cairo, Egypt.

  • Double entry Egyptian visa ($50).

  • Travel and medical insurance.

  • Any activities not mentioned in the itinerary (including SCUBA diving, which is about $100-$150 per person)

  • Personal spending.

  • Snorkeling and or dive gear (you can bring your own or rent on the island, we highly suggest bringing your own mask and snorkel).

  • Sleeping bags.


TRIP LEADERS

Coming soon.


APPLY TO JOIN THE TRIP

Socotra has been near impossible to access for the past several years and we're one of the first groups headed back there. This comes with certain risks: flights may be cancelled, issues may arise, but we think its worth it to get back there. Just be prepared for delays and frustration, but we will do our best to make this trip happen in its entirety. Admissions are open and the group is limited to 14 lucky individuals!

To join this trip, please fill out the application form by clicking on the button below. A deposit is due immediately following a successful application, so we ask that you only apply when ready to commit.

If you're not ready to sign up yet but would like to receive updates on this trip and other related Inertia trips, you can enter your email address below to join our interest list. 


PHOTOS


 
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