Socotra Two-Week Trekking, Culture and Nature Itinerary

Day 1: Wednesday: Cairo / Seiyun / Hadibo / Ayhaft

You’ll depart Cairo on Yemenia’s only weekly flight into Socotra, leaving at 3:30am from Cairo and arriving in Socotra around 9am, with a one-hour stop in the mainland Yemeni town of Seiyun. You’ll be met upon arrival at Socotra Airport by your guide and we’ll take a quick rest and shower at an eco lodge in Hadibo town before starting our day. Our first spot is Ayhaft Canyon National Park. In the canyon, you’ll enjoy large freshwater pools where you can swim. All around you there will be tamarind trees, cucumber trees and a wide variety of birds such as the 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.

Overnight: Camping at Ayhaft

Days 2 -7 (trek): Thursday-Tuesday: Haggier mountain trek, Dagub cave, Ameq beach

In the morning we will make our way to the base of the Haggier mountain range to begin our 6-day trek. Some of the trek we will do by foot and some by camel. The Haggier mountain range is truly something to behold, with sharp rocky peaks, wadis (canyons) of different 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. We will visit some traditional Socotri villages along our trek. We will camp overnight at various locations and in homestays.

After loading our stuff on a camel, we will then hike for 3 to 4 hours. On the way to Kishan, 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. Dinner and overnight in Adoho Dema'alah.

The next morning we will trek to the most beautiful and interesting area 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.

After breakfast, we will trek to the Firmhin 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. Local people 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 to Derhur Canyon, where we will see unusual rock formations and can swim in freshwater pools. We’ll camp at Derhur Canyon.

The next day, we will trek to Hadarhan and the last day of the trek will be over the Agliso Plateau, which is 800m above sea level and overlooks the Noged Plain in the south. The southern area is flat, with huge white sand dunes surrounded by flocks of camels.

Our final destination will be Ameq Beach, where we can swim in the clear water of the Indian Ocean. For lunch we 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. We 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 worth the effort. Dinner and overnight camp at Ameq beach.

Day 8: Wednesday: Difarhu Canyon / Arher

Today we travel from the south of the island towards the north, crossing Difarhu Canyon, where we will visit small rural villages along the way. We can also see natural water pools at the bottom of the canyon. The unusual Desert Rose tree clings to many places on the canyon walls. The vegetation here is lush green and there are many birds. We will drive to Arher where a fresh creek comes out from where a granite massive meets sea water on the beach. You 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. Arher is one of the best spots for Paragliding and you can paraglide here if  you have your own equipment.

Dinner and overnight at Arher.

Day 9: Thursday: Dihamri Marine Protected Area

We will drive to nearby Dihamri marine protected area. It boasts one of the richest coral reefs on the archipelago. You can relax on the beach in palm leaf huts and swim and snorkel in Dihamri Bay. Snorkeling gear can be rented there, along with SCUBA equipment and organized private dives. Marine species you will see underwater include: parrotfish, moray eels, rays, sea urchins, and if you are lucky you will meet turtles. SCUBA divers can also use the services of Dihamri Diving center and go for a dive in Dihamri or another of superb diving spots of Socotra (extra $100 for two dives + $50 boat/guide fee).

Overnight in Dihamri.

Day 10: Friday: Hoq Cave / Rosh Marine Protected Area

We will start today early, 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. The rest of the day will be spent at Rosh Marine Protected Area.

Dinner and overnight camping at Rosh Campsite.

Day 11: Saturday: Homhil

Today’s destination is Homhil, a prehistoric feeling national protected area with incredible scenery. We will stop at Qaria lagoon en-route; it is the largest lagoon on the island and we will hopefully see flamingos, herons and greenshanks here.

The trek to Homhil starts at the bottom of a spectacular ravine at sea level. The trek is of medium difficulty and won’t take more than 1.5 hours. You will have enough strength to enjoy the view back towards the sea where we have started ascending.

Once at Homhil, we 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 meet a lot of local children here 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.

Dinner and overnight will be camping at Homhil.

Day 12: Sunday: Qalansiya / Detwah Lagoon

We will drive to the west of the island to a little fishing village called Qalansiya. It consists of traditional Socotri houses, narrow alleyways, and a beach full of fishing boats ready to set off for today’s catch. We will continue on to Detwah lagoon, a marine protected area renowned for its magical landscape. 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.

Dinner and overnight at Detwah.

Day 13: Monday: Shu’ab

After breakfast in Detwah, we will hire a fishing boat to take us to Shu’ab beach. On the way, we are likely to encounter spinner dolphins, and depending on conditions, we can get into the water and swim with them (bring your own mask and snorkel). This area is also known for its large cormorant birds who may be flying overhead. Once at Shu’ab, we’ll visit a mangrove swamp and have lunch on the white sand Shu’ab beach. In the afternoon, we can go for a swim before taking a boat ride back to Qalansyia. On the way, we will go line fishing with the local fishermen. Let’s try to catch our dinner for the evening.

Dinner and night in Adeeb eco camp near Hadibo.

Day 14: Tuesday: Delisha / Hadibo

Today is our last day on Socotra, so we’re going to make the most of it. We’ll head to the only “city” on Socotra, Hadibo, to explore the bazaar, go souvenir shopping if you’d like, and also visit the Adeeb Nursery to see a collection of endemic plants grown here on the island. In the afternoon, we will visit delisha beach with pristine white sands full of crabs. We will climb a huge sand dune overlooking the beach and try to surf it down for our last sunset in Socotra.

Dinner and night at Adeeb eco-lodge.

Day 15: Friday: Hadibo / Seiyun / Cairo

After an early breakfast, we will drive you to the Socotra airport, where you’ll catch your flight back to Cairo via Seiyun. The flight is scheduled to depart Socotra at 11:15am, arriving back in Cairo at 4:15pm. Delays are common.