- Photography tours
- Workshops & short breaks
We have just about finalized our Scouting Trip to Socotra Island for 2014 and it is time to let you know about this amazing opportunity. Join Jeremy Woodhouse and me from January 4 - 17, 2014 as we explore and discover this amazing place "off the beaten path". After spending 4 nights in Sana'a, the extraordinarily picturesque capital of Yemen, we take a short flight south to Socotra.
Located in the Gulf of Aden off the horn of Africa, Socotra is one of those "lost world" islands (separated from the world six million years ago) where intrepid travellers - particularly those seeking exotic nature and wildlife in a remote tropical setting -- can go for days on end without rubbing shoulders with that less-than-endangered species, the tourist!
Known for decades as the Galapagos of the Indian Ocean, it is the world's tenth richest island for endemic plant species, and it is the biggest island in the Middle East measuring 125 kilometres in length and 45 kilometres across.
For extra reading check out this New York Times Article about Socotra.
Transfer group to hotel for overnight stay. The extremely photogenic old Sana’a, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is nearly 3000 years old. It is one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world. It is also home to the first and largest mosque in Yemen. Overnight: Hotel Arabia Felix
After breakfast, drive to Manakha. Visit Hajjarah. And Al-Hoteib, at Khahil Village. Tour Manakha on foot. You will also have the opportunity to attend a Yemeni-style party (dancing, food, traditional music, etc.) in evening. Overnight: Manakha at Hotel Al-Aqil, BLD
After breakfast, drive to Shibam & Kawkaban, a sister set of towns just north of Sana’a. The village looks like a castle complex. There is only one gate to enter, and it is filled with preserved mosques and water reservoirs. On the way we will stop at Hababah and Thula. We then visit Wadi Dahr, the home to Dar al Hajjar, the rock palace of the former Imam Yahya. Overnight: Hotel Arabia Felix BLD
After breakfast we will visit the National Museum. We then drive to the abandoned village of Bait Baws, a historic site on the outskirts of Sana’a, previously a Jewish settlement, now a popular weekend getaway for Yemeni families. It sits on a cliff overlooking Sana’a. We then visit the Al Saleh Mosque (with tour of mosque’s interior), Bab Al-Yemen, Old Sana’a (including old market and Heritage House). Overnight: Hotel Arabia Felix, BLD
Transfer to the airport for our flight from Sana’a to Socotra. Upon your arrival at Socotra airport you will meet our local guide who will escort us to Hadiboh and then on to Delisha Beach. Later then we will make our way up to the Homhil protected area. It is the best place on the island to see frankincense and Dragon’s Blood Trees. The lower plain is surrounded by an impressive limestone amphitheatre. A twenty five minute walk north from the camp brings us to a breathtaking view. On our first night, we will stay at the picturesque Homil Campsite where we will enjoy a delicious Bedouin style dinner. Overnight: Homhil Campsite, BLD
After an early breakfast, we can walk a selection of trails, on one of which takes us to a viewpoint where there is a natural swimming pool and a view of villages and the plain stretching out to the sea below. Homhil is home to many Dragons Blood trees, the resin of which is collected and traded by the people of Socotra. Frankincense trees are also abundant here and deserve a close look. We hike down to the northeast coast of the island to Wadi Al-Shifa (medium –three hours walking) where our car will meet us. We drive to the Arher area, where fresh water drains to the sea, and which is home to some magnificent sand dune formations. Overnight: Arher Beach, BLD
Today we will have the opportunity for swimming and snorkeling. If you have the energy, you can hike up the sand dunes. We will then explore Ras Irsal, a 3km long beach home to the ghost crabs. We drive back to Arher for lunch and relax at the beach. Fresh fish will be caught and barbecued for dinner and we will spend the night under the stars. Overnight: Arher Beach, BLD
Today we headed to the marine protected area of Dihamri, home to one of the richest coral reefs and uniquely protected coral reef in the archipelago. The many marine creatures to be seen whilst swimming /snorkeling include; parrotfish, Moray eel, Rays, Sea urchins, etc. Dihamri is blessed with more than 200 fish species and 4 of the 5 coral species that inhabit to the island. This shallow reef will let even the inexperienced snorkeler enjoy its beauty. We would like to remind people not to touch the corals in the marine protected area as this would cause irreversible damage. Then we drive to Hadibo, dinner and overnight will at the hotel. Overnight: Hadibo Hotel and Restaurant, BLD
After an early breakfast we start to Denghen to meet the cameleers to pack the stuff then start hiking up to mountain of Hajher to Adho Di Malleh. This takes roughly 5- 6 hours on foot. This trek takes you into the heart of the granite mountains that dominate the landscape around Hadibo. It is one of the most remote and unspoilt places on the island. The area around Skant is densely forested with dragons blood trees. The area is often shouded in cloud giving Socotra its name of the “Island of Mists”. Overnight: Camping, BLD
In the morning we hike down with the camels via Wadi Di Hazhoz to Daraho Village to meet the car and say farewell to the cameleers and continue to Dixam Plateau. Passing through the Forest of Firmahin which contains more that 3 million dragons blood trees. Overnight: Daraho Village, BLD
From Daraho we will drive to the Shebahon viewpoint which affords a fabulous vista to a forest of dragons blood trees. Overlooking the Dearhur Canyon you will see unusual and beautiful rock formations. We will then make our way down to the Wadi in the canyon for lunch. If you wish, you will be able to swim in the freshwater pools in the Wadi. Then we will head south east to Noged districts, navigating through some villages and cruising massive sand dunes pushed up against the mountainside by the seasonal winds of the monsoon. We make our way to Aomak Beach where we can swim in the clear water of the Indian Ocean. Overnight: Camping Aomak Beach, BLD
After witnessing sunrise and having an early breakfast, we will drive to the north east of the island. On the way we will visit Dogub Cave, which overlooks a scattering of traditional villages below. The cave itself is of interest as there are many stalactites, stalagmites and miniature pools of water that have seeped through the rock over time. We will then drive to Qalansiyah to look around this charming and picturesque fishing town with its traditional houses and narrow alleyways. We then go to the protected area in Detwah Lagoon, which is renowned for its spectacular landscape and expansive endless beach area. Stingrays can be seen in the lagoon, so take care when you are swimming. Enjoy the beach, or swim with in the clear crystal water, and photograph the wide variety of sea birds that inhabit the beach. We will have dinner under the stars. Overnight: Camping Qalansiyah Campsite, BLD
The last leg of this remarkable journey will be an excursion to Shoab Beach. We pick up our boat at Detwah Lagoon and we will be cruise with schools of dolphins leaping right next to the boat. You will also see Socotra cormorants, seagulls, and grey herons. Once we arrive at Shoab Beach we enjoy swimming in the clear sea with the dolphins. We then return to Qalansyia and back to our hotel at Hadibo. Overnight: Hadibo Hotel and Restaurant, BLD
After an early breakfast, we will transfer to Socotra airport for the short flight to back to Sana’a on Arabia Felix airlines. Here you will make your connection back home.
January 4th – 17th 2014 - sold out!
Another departure planned in Jan 2015
14 days / 13 nights
Max 10 people
This tour is run in cooperation with Jeremy Woodhouse, a Dallas based photographer. You can also inquire directly with Jeremy.