Expedition to the island of Dragon's blood trees

SOCOTRA

January 2 - 9, 2024
January 9 - 16, 2024
ToSocotra Island, Yemen

Socotra is an island of an extraordinary oddity, with its bizarre trees and rare animals, traditional nomadic life of local pastoralists and fishermen, and unearthly mountainous landscapes, merging with sand dunes and sliding right into turquoise ocean waters.

Socotra is considered to be the Galapagos of the Indian Ocean. Located off the coast of Yemen in the Indian Ocean, the island of Socotra contains some of the world's most astonishing and unique plant forms. More than a third of some 800 can be found nowhere else on our planet.

Probably unlike anywhere on Earth, Socotra has to be seen to be believed.


tour to to Socotra expedition to Yemen trip to the island of the Dragon's blood trees tour to the island in Indian ocean Galapagos of Indian ocean Arher Qalansiya beach Hadibo Hadibu

©️ MZUNGU EXPEDITIONS / Alexey Kolbov, 2021
Drone pilot and director: Alex Kolbov aka Mzungu
Music: Hans Zimmer "Now we are free" from Gladiator

Socotra 2022
©️ Maria Kolosova

Socotra is an island of an extraordinary oddity, with its bizarre trees and rare animals, traditional nomadic life of local pastoralists and fishermen, and unearthly mountainous landscapes, merging with sand dunes and sliding right into turquoise ocean waters.
Socotra is considered to be the Galapagos of the Indian Ocean. Located off the coast of Yemen in the Indian Ocean, the island of Socotra contains some of the world's most astonishing and unique plant forms. More than a third of some 800 can be found nowhere else on our planet.
Probably unlike anywhere on Earth, Socotra has to be seen to be believed.

SCHEDULE & COST:
Dates:
– January 2 - 9, 2024
– January 9 - 16, 2024
– January 16 - 23, 2024

Duration: 8 days / 7 nights

Number of participants: 7 – 12

Cost of participation per person
:
– 1890 USD subject to 11 – 12 participants,
– 1990 USD subject to 9 – 10 participants,
– 2090 USD subject to 7 – 8 participants.

10% early booking discount (in case you book before September 2, 2023)


Everything is included (also full board, accomodation) except for:
- international flight to/from Hadibu (Socotra)
- Yemen visa full support: documents, visa fees and processing (150 USD)
- international medical insurance.

Estimated cost of flight Moscow – Dubai /Abu Dhabi/ Sharjah roundtrip: USD 400 - 600 (Usually bought on your own, we consult you).

Estimated cost of flight Abu Dhabi – Hadibu (Socotra) roundtrip: USD 1 160 (We arrange and buy it for you, you reimburse).

Single supplement: 40 USD (single accommodation is provided upon request in the hotel in Hadibu. Single accommodation in tents is included by default)




TRAVEL PROGRAM: TOUR TO SOCOTRA
Day 1. January 2, 2024 (January 9, 2024). ABU DHABI (UAE) - HADIBU (SOCOTRA, YEMEN) - CITY OF QALANSIYA - DETWAH LAGOON

We begin our journey with a two-hour morning direct flight from Abu Dhabi (UAE) to Hadibu on a government-chartered flight (exact time will be confirmed later). Upon arrival at Socotra Airport, Yemen, we will be greeted by a local guide who will accompany us throughout the trip.

Welcome to an enchanting adventure on the beautiful island where the sun and sea dance harmoniously. We hop into all-terrain jeeps and head straight to Qalansiya, the second-largest city on the island. Near the city, we will set up our camp in Detwah Lagoon. Our talented chef will greet us with a delicious lunch.

Afterward, we can stroll along the lagoon, marvel at the sand dunes, and enjoy swimming in the azure waters of the sea. As evening approaches, we will climb a little higher to witness a breathtaking sunset that will leave an unforgettable impression in our hearts.

In the evening, we will have a welcome dinner featuring the freshest seafood prepared by our talented chef. Accommodation for the night will be in individual or double tents, as per your preference.

Accommodation: Tents
Meals: lunch, dinner


Day 2. January 3, 2024 (January 10, 2024). DETWAH LAGOON - SHOUB BEACH

Early morning departure by boat to Shoub Beach with a local fisherman. The boat ride will be accompanied by birds and long-nosed dolphins, giving us a chance to see them. The rugged coastline provides an excellent opportunity to observe seabirds nesting among the cliffs. Due to its endemic nature, Socotra is often referred to as the Galapagos of the Indian Ocean, a name given by a British scientific expedition in 1880.

Fishing with a rod is also possible from the boat.

We will make a stop at the pristine Shoub Beach with its mangrove trees. Relax on one of the most beautiful and deserted beaches on the island, locally known as the "golden beach."

Upon returning to the camp, we will put on our coral slippers and take a walk in the vast Detwah Lagoon, accompanied by the Cave Man, a local fisherman famous in Qalansiya for his skill in catching stingrays with bare hands!

We will explore the enormous lagoon, renowned for its sandy beach, picturesque landscapes, sea turtles, giant octopuses, needlefish, pufferfish, stingrays, seashells, squids, and other peculiar creatures.

The Cave Man will attempt to catch stingrays, oysters, sea urchins, or mussels. We can taste some of these delicacies right by the sea, while others will be taken to the fisherman's cave, his temporary abode.

For lunch, we will enjoy octopuses or squids caught by the Cave Man. Traditional Socotrian skate preparation will be served.

After lunch, it's time for another swim in the sea, as is customary on Socotra!

For those interested, we have the option to take a helicopter or autogyro flight (a small motorized aircraft with a helicopter-like propeller) over Socotra's landscapes (additional fee of $100 USD applies, prices subject to change). When evening comes, we will find a spot to admire one of the breathtaking sunsets of Socotra.

Dinner and overnight stay at Detwah Lagoon.

Accommodation: Tents
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 3. January 4, 2024 (January 11, 2024). DETWAH LAGOON - DIKSAM PLATEAU - WADI DEHUR CANYON - DRAGON'S BLOOD TREES FARMHAIN FOREST

After breakfast by the Lagoon shore, we will travel to the central part of the island, to the Diksam Plateau. This place, known for its dragon's blood trees, is home to the nomadic Bedouin people. We will stop here to take photos from the Shebhan viewpoint, one of the coolest photo spots on Socotra. You can encounter herders and purchase dragon's blood tree beads or woven boxes with fragments of this tree from local children. We will then proceed by car to the Dragon's Blood Trees Farmhain forest. (This depends on weather and road conditions. If it's raining, the road may be impassable, and we can only proceed on foot. It's approximately 12 km, a 40-minute one-way trip, or a 2-hour hike in one direction). This dragon's blood tree forest is the largest on the island. The species here are absolutely prehistoric! Socotra, an island located off the coast of Yemen in the Indian Ocean, is home to some of the most astonishing and unique plant forms. Over a third of the approximately 800 species found here are not found anywhere else on Earth. We will have lunch in the canyon, at a very picturesque location. Then we will continue our journey into the mountains. A few Socotri people live here in the middle of the forest. We will meet them and have a conversation. Dinner and overnight stay in the dragon's blood forest amidst these amazing trees.

Accommodation: Tents
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 4. January 5, 2024 (January 12, 2024). FARMHAIN FOREST - OMAK SAND BEACH - DEGUB CAVE - HAYF AND ZAHAK SAND DUNES

After breakfast, we will visit the local Bedouins, learn about their way of life, and see how they cultivate dragon's blood trees.

Next, in our Land Cruiser jeeps, we will descend from the plateau and head to the southern coast of Socotra, to Omak sandy beach. Here, we will enjoy a walk along the beach and swim in the pristine waters of the Indian Ocean. We will then visit Degub Cave (a light 10-minute trek). Afterward, we will journey to the large sand dunes of Hayf and Zahak, stretching right into the sea (40 minutes). We will climb the dunes of Socotra's largest desert, take a stroll, and capture photographs. We will return to the beach and witness the sunset on the shore. Night in tents (toilet and shower facilities available at the guesthouse).

Accommodation: Tents
Meals included: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 5. January 6, 2024 (January 13, 2024). OMAK BEACH - KELESEHAN CANYON - ARCHER GIANT SAND DUNES

After breakfast, we will embark on a 3-hour journey to Kelesehan Canyon, an astonishing place known for its natural freshwater pools and cascades. Here, we will encounter an otherworldly landscape, one of the most unique on Socotra. It's the perfect place for swimming, canyoning, and... your drone! We will then continue our journey to the giant sand dunes of Archer, where a massive white dune, about 200 meters high, stands between the azure ocean and the black mountains.
Here, fresh and salty waters come together, creating a natural phenomenon. A late lunch from our local team near the sand dunes of Archer - perhaps the most recognizable place on Socotra. Swimming in the ocean, photos at sunset, and a special dinner from our chef. Overnight stay in tents on Archer Beach, with the sound of waves.

Accommodation: Tents Meals included:
Breakfast, lunch, dinner


Day 6. January 7, 2024 (January 14, 2024). ARHER SAND DUNES – HOQ CAVE - RAS ERISAL CAPE - ERISAL TRADITIONAL VILLAGE - ARHER BEACH

Our campsite is surrounded by gigantic dunes, making it the perfect spot to witness the sunrise, which is truly magical here on Socotra. We wake up early in the morning (you can sleep in a bit, but you wouldn't want to miss the most beautiful sunrise on Socotra!) to climb the dune and capture the best photographs. The ascent takes 40-60 minutes, reaching a height of 200 meters. After descending, we have breakfast.

Having finished breakfast, we will then drive to Hoq cave (40 minutes), where we trek from the base of the cave. We hike to Hoq cave (1 – 1.5 hours one way, 350 meters elevation gaining). The cave is 2.5 kilometers long and inside is a wealth of natural beauty, including stalactites, stalagmites and rim pool as well as ancient writing. Hoq is the most beautiful cave of the island. Better to bring along your tripods, flash lights and for sure the head torch, as it is dark inside. We spend some 1 hour inside the cave.
We will then trek down (1 hour) to the cars, driving back to Arher beach and having lunch right on the sea shore.

After relaxing on Socotra's most beautiful beach, we head to the easternmost point of the island - Ras Erisal Cape - where the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean meet. Enormous waves, whale bones, and rugged landscapes await us on the eastern side of Socotra.

In the evening, we visit the traditional fishing village of Erisal, home to the best fishermen on Socotra. We'll have the opportunity to meet the fishermen and engage in informal conversations with the locals. For dinner, we'll purchase tuna or kingfish and indulge in delicacies made from raw fish.

Dinner and overnight stay at Archer Beach.

Accommodation: tents
Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 7. January 8, 2024 (January 15, 2024). November 29, 2023 (December 6, 2023). ARCHER BEACH - INFINITY NATURAL POOL - HOMHIL NATIONAL PARK - DIHAMRI MARINE RESERVE

After breakfast, we depart for Homhil National Park, a botanical garden boasting an astonishing natural pool. The park is renowned for its endemic plants, such as the dragon's blood tree and the bottle tree. The dragon's blood trees only grow on Socotra, and the bottle trees and cucumber trees are also prevalent here.

After approximately an hour of trekking, we'll reach a crystal-clear freshwater pool with a view of the entire northern part of the island and the emerald infinity of the ocean. This place is aptly named Infinity Pool, and it's undoubtedly one of the best spots on Socotra. The scenery resembles scenes from prehistoric times, with steep slopes adorned with dragon's blood trees and natural pools filled with freshwater.

The Homhil Forest, with its dragon's blood trees, serves as a second home to Dracaena cinnabari on Socotra. After strolling through the forest and enjoying a refreshing swim in the Infinity Pool, we'll descend (no more than 1 hour) and head to the beautiful palm oasis of Qaria Palm Oasis in the northern part of the island, where lunch will be provided.

The journey continues as we venture to Dihamri Marine Reserve, the best spot on Socotra for snorkeling and diving. Snorkeling gear, including masks, snorkels, and fins, will be provided (you can also bring your own).
Diving is available at an additional cost. We will explore the underwater world in the Dihamri Reserve, home to one of the most vibrant coral reefs in the archipelago. Here, a multitude of marine animals inhabit the waters, which we can encounter during swimming, snorkeling, and/or diving. There is a high chance of spotting a parrotfish, moray eel, rays, octopus, turtles, sharks (during diving), and many other marine creatures simultaneously.

Today is the final dinner on the island! We will be participating in a folklore evening, where we will have the opportunity to witness the traditional dances of the Socotri people.

Transfer to the airport area and overnight stay at the Heathrow Hotel.

Accommodation: Heathrow Hotel
Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner


Day 8. January 9, 2024 (January 16, 2024). HADIBU - ABU DHABI / DUBAI / SHARJAH (UAE) - RETURN FLIGHT

Today we have a final breakfast on Socotra before we head home.
After breakfast, we can take a short walk around the city, getting into its heart - the fish market, and buying souvenirs (this is not easy on Socotra).
Transfer to Hadibu airport. Check-in for a flight to Abu Dhabi. Two-hour direct flight by state charter flight.
Transit international flight from Abu Dhabi back home. Or transfer by taxi to Dubai or Sharjah for departure from the international airport home.


Accommodation: no
Meals included: breakfast


* The dates of the program depend on the flight schedule from Abu Dhabi to Socotra and can be rescheduled for 1 - 3 days in one direction or another. Exact dates will be determined no later than 2 months before the start of the trip, after the release of the exact schedule of Air Arabia charter flights.
Cost includes:


• Accommodation in hotel in Hadibu (in TWIN rooms)
• Accommodation in tents along the itinerary: SINGLE accommodation or DBL for the family couples
• Full board: three times a day meals throughout entire itinerary cooked by our chef and his assistant, the kitchen moves by their own pick-up car and always on time for meals
• Special dinners, soft drinks and fruits
• Drinking bottled water throughout the whole trip
• All transfers according to the itinerary by 4WD cars (Toyota Land Cruiser or similar, 3 clients in each car), all with air-conditioning, driven by local experienced drivers
• Airport transfers
• Tents, mattresses, cushions and sheets and camping gear and furniture. Possibility to wash yourself with fresh water every evening
• All sightseeing as outlined in itinerary
• Boat trip to Shoub
• Socotra traditional dance (some 15 dancers, 1-2 hrs long)
• All permits for visiting protected areas, National parks
• English speaking local guide throughout all trip and special Hoq cave guide
• Russian- and English speaking team leader throughout all itinerary.



Cost excludes (to be additionally paid) :

• International flight ticket Abu Dhabi (UAE) - Hadibu (Socotra) - Abu Dhabi (1160 USD per pax, may be changed)
• International flight ticket from your city to Abu Dhabi / Dubai (UAE) roundtrip, taxi transfers between airports
• International medical insurance
• Yemen visa full support: documents, visa fees and processing (150 USD)
• Tips for local team
• Personal expenses
• Additional activities: diving, flight on autogyre or helicopter
• Single accommodation in Hadibu


To take with:

• long sleeve wear set, wear set for hot weather
• very light jacket for cool nights
• comfortable trekking shoes or sneakers with thick soles
• flip flops
• coral slippers (aqua shoes) for walking on a rocky bottom
• swimwear
• cap/hat
• raincoat
• forehead torch
• big backpack/bag for luggage (not more than 80 liters capacity)
• small backpack for radial walks for personal stuff and photo-, video cameras (20-25 l)
• sleeping bag for +15/+20 degrees weather (optional)
• anti mosquito repellents
• sunblock cream
• sunglasses
• personal hygiene items (towel, soap, wet tissues)
• personal medical kit (analgesics, antiseptic, antibiotic, antiviral, intestinal, multivitamins, rehydrone, court plaster, your personal medications)
• photo and video camera / drone,
• tripod and flash light
• more spare batteries and power banks
• bottle for drinking water

Why with MZUNGU EXPEDITIONS?
  • 1
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  • 2
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  • 3
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  • 4
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  • 5
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