Expedition to the island of Dragon's Blood trees
with the professional photographer

SOCOTRA


January 3 – 10, 2022
Tour Socotra 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.

January expedition is led by professional photograther.

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 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 3 - 10, 2022

Duration
: 8 days / 7 nights

Number of participants: 7 – 12

Cost of participation per person
:
- 1590 USD subject to 11 – 12 participants,
- 1690 USD subject to 9 – 10 participants,
- 1790 USD subject to 7 – 8 participants.

Everything is included (also full board, Yemen visa) except for:
- international flight to Hadibu (Sokotra),
- international medical insurance.

Estimated cost of flight Moscow – Dubai / Abu Dhabi roundtrip: USD 400 - 600 (Usually bought on your own, we consult you).
Estimated cost of flight Abu Dhabi – Hadibu (Socotra) roundtrip: USD 860 (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 0. January 2, 2022 (Sunday). FLIGHT TO ABU DHABI / DUBAI (UAE)

International flight from your city to Abu Dhabi or to Dubai (UAE).

IN CASE OF FLIGHT TO ABU DHABI.
Arrival in Abu Dhabi airport with international flight from your city. If you have less than 24 hours in Abu Dhabi airport (before your flight to Socotra), you travel transit and do not leave the transit zone. Your luggage from international flight will be re-embarked to the flight to Socotra. In this case you don't need any PCR test to be taken in Abu Dhabi.
In case you leave the Abu Dhabi airport, as well as in case you have more than 24 hours in Abu Dhabi, you cannot be considered traveling transit via Abu Dhabi. In this case you are supposed to undergo mandatory week quarantine in Abu Dhabi, unless you have 2 steps COVID vaccination certificate and you properly register your visit on UAE governmental website (also mandatory free PCR test in the airport of Abu Dhabi is a must).
You can stay overnight in the airport of Abu Dhabi: common transit area, business lounge or airport hotel at your choice.

IN CASE OF FLIGHT TO DUBAI.
Evening or night arrival in Abu Dhabi airport with international flight from your city. Mandatory free PCR test in the airport of Dubai. Stay overnight in the airport or in the city of Dubai (up to you, it has no any restrictions to stay in Dubai city). You can also drive DIRECTLY to Abu Dhabi airport (takes 1 - 1.5 hours) to catch our flight to Socotra. In order to be considered traveling transit via Abu Dhabi, you should stay not more than 24 hours in Abu Dhabi airport. PCR test result is not needed for movements in between Dubai and Abu Dhabi airports.
In order to board any UAE airlines (and some other airlines) from your country, you will need PCR COVID test negative result certificate, than would be taken 48 hours before your departure from your city to UAE. In order to enter Socotra (Yemen), you need to bring the negative result of COVID PCR test, result of which would be issued no more than 72 hours before departure from Abu Dhabi to Socotra. For both these purposes you can use the same test taken in your home country, provided that the above terms have not expired. Otherwise, for the flight from Abu Dhabi to Socotra you can use the result of the PCR test taken in UAE.

* Recommended flight from Moscow to Abu Dhabi / Dubai (UAE):
- direct flight to Abu Dhabi EY68 with Etihad Airways on January 2, departure from Moscow at 15:55, arriving in Abu Dhabi (UAE) at 21:45 pm on January 2,
- direct flight SU-0520 with Aeroflot on January 2, departure from Moscow at 8:15 am, arriving in Dubai (UAE) at 14:30 pm on January 2,
- or any other flight arriving in Abu Dhabi (UAE) not later than 6:00 am on January 3,
- or any other flight arriving in Dubai (UAE) not later than 4:00 am on January 3.

Accommodation included: no
Meals
included: no


Day 1. January 3, 2022 (Monday). ABU DHABI (UAE) – HADIBU (SOCOTRA, YEMEN) – DIHAMRI MARINE PROTECTED AREA

Morning 2 hours direct flight from Abu Dhabi (UAE) to Hadibu (Socotra), with governmental charter flight performed by Air Arabia. Departure at 11:00 am. In order to enter Socotra (Yemen), you need to bring the negative result of COVID PCR test, result of which would be issued no more than 72 hours before departure from Abu Dhabi to Socotra.

Arrival in Socotra airport, Yemen, at 12:30 am. We will be greeted by our local Socotri guide who will accompany us for the whole trip.
We jump into a 4x4 vehicles and head directly to the wild! Drive to Dihamri marine protected area – the best place for snorkeling and scuba diving on Socotra. We will provide you with masks, tubes and fins for snorkeling (or you are welcome to bring your own favorite ones).
We explore the undersea world at Dihamri marine protected area, which is home to one of the richest coral reefs of the archipelago. The area features many marine animals that can be seen while swimming, snorkeling and/or diving. As rich in life as the area is, you are likely to see a combination of parrotfish, moray eel, rays, turtles amongst a variety of many other fish.
We can also join the local fishermen for a sea trip, if we have chance to meet fishermen here at this very time. In this case we will bring back our catch of the day for dinner in Dihamri.
Tonight we make deep dive into Socotra local cuisine during our dinner, tasting something special of rich sea food can be caught in these waters.
Shower from the bucket. Overnight in tents (each person has his/her own tent, unless you are a couple!) in Dihamri protected area.

* Recommended flight from Abu Dhabi (UAE) to Hadibu (Socotra, Yemen):
- direct governmental charter flight with Air Arabia, departure from Abu Dhabi at 11:00 am on January 3, arrival in Hadibu at 12:30 am on January 3.

Accommodation included: tents
Meals
included: lunch, dinner


Day 2. January 4, 2022 (Tuesday). DIHAMRI PROTECTED AREA – KELESEHAN CANYON – ARHER GIANT SAND DUNES

Scuba diving is available at extra cost and needs to be pre-arranged.
After morning swimming and snorkeling (or scuba diving for those who goes for that) in the clear waters of Dihamri and breakfast, we drive to Momi plateau in order to visit one of the amazing sites famous for its natural fresh water swimming pools and cascades – Kelesehan canyon, one of the most unique places on the island. Ideal for swimming, jumping and… for your drone!

Then continue drive to the giant sand dunes of Arher where the huge 200-meters white dune is located right in between the turquoise ocean and the black cliff. This is the point where freshwater and saltwater meet creating a natural phenomenon.
Late lunch will be prepared at the site of sand dunes of Arher by our local team.
Bathing in the ocean, photos at sunset and another special dinner from our chef. Overnight in tents at the Arher beach with the sound of the waves.

Accommodation included: tents
Meals
included: breakfast, lunch, dinner


Day 3. January 5, 2022 (Wednesday). ARHER SAND DUNES – HOQ CAVE – RAS ERISAL – ERISAL VILLAGE – ARHER BEACH

The area we spent overnight is surrounded by giant dunes and it is the best place for watching fabulous sunrise. We wake up early morning (you can sleep longer if you skip the most beautiful sunrise on Socotra!) and climb atop the dune for best photos. Climbing time is 40 - 60 minutes, 200 meters high.
Upon descending, breakfast time. 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 some leisure at the most amazing beach of Socotra, we drive to the easternmost point of the island Cape Ras Erisal – the meeting point of the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean. Huge waves, sperm whale bones and the severe landscapes of eastern Socotra. Evening visit to a traditional fishermen village of Erisal, where the most famous Socotri fishermen live. Meet fishermen and communicate with locals. We buy some tuna fish or kingfish and grill steaks for the dinner, as well as some raw fish specialty.
Dinner with tuna and overnight at Arher beach.

Accommodation included: tents
Meals
included: breakfast, lunch, dinner


Day 4. January 6, 2022 (Thursday). ARHER BEACH – HOMHIL NATIONAL PARK – HAYF AND ZAHAK SAND DUNES – OMAQ SANDY BEACH – DIKSAM

After breakfast we will head to Homhil national park – natural botanical garden with an amazing natural swimming pool. The park is famous for its supply of the endemic Dragon's blood trees and Frankincense trees. Dragon's blood trees can only be found on Socotra. The bottle trees and cucumber trees also grow here.
After hiking uphill for an hour or so, we will reach an incredible crystal clear and cool pool of fresh water with views over the whole Northern part of the island and on emerald infinity of the ocean. That's probably why this place is also called Infinity Pool. Definitely one of the best spots on Socotra! Homhil has a unique charm of a landscape from a prehistoric movie. Dramatic slopes with dragon blood trees will amaze you together with pools filled with water after the monsoon you have the opportunity to swim in the fresh water pool.
Homhil Dragon blood tree forest is considered the second home for Dracena Cinnabari in Socotra. After roaming in the forest and cool bathing in Infinity pool, trek downhill (not more than 1 hour) and departure to the southwest, up to Wadi Dehur canyon, known for its beautiful palm oasis. Here at canyon we have lunch and can take a bath in the natural reservoir.

By Land Cruisers head to Hayf and Zahak big sand dunes (1 hour), where we can scramble up and play among the sand dunes of the biggest desert of Socotra. Then drive (40 min) to explore Omaq sandy beach, the southern coast of the island. Here we can walk along the beach and swim in the big waves of the Indian Ocean. Sunset at Omaq beach.
Back to Diksam village for dinner and overnight.
Tonight we will meet the head of the village, if he is available. Talk about Bedouin traditional lifestyle. Sheep or goat barbecue for dinner tonight. Overnight in tents, while the shower and the toilets of guest house are available.
Night shooting is possible.

Accommodation included: tents
Meals
included: breakfast, lunch, dinner


Day 5. January 7, 2022 (Friday). DIKSAM – SHEBHAN PLATEAU – FERMAHIN FOREST – QALANSYIA TOWN – DETWAH LAGOON

Diksam plateau is best known for the native Dragon's blood trees and is home to the Bedouin nomadic people. Visit Shebhan plateau and viewpoint, one of the most photogenic places on Socotra. Here you can meet pastoralists and buy dragon blood fragments in woven boxes from local children.
Then we move by cars to Fermahin Dragon's Blood tree forest (this is subject to the weather and road conditions. If it rains, the road can be impassable and can be covered only on foot. It is some 12 km, 40 min driving one way or 2 hours hiking one way). Hike through the beginning of Fermahin forest of Dragon's blood trees. Fermahin forest of dragon's blood trees is the largest on Socotra. Absolutely prehistorical views! 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 the 800 or so can be found nowhere else on Earth.
Short swimming in the canyon river on the way back. Return to Diksam village for lunch.

Continue driving to Qalansyia, the second largest town on the island. On our way to Qalaynsia in Alalmah village we have a stop to take photo of the Russian military tanks surrealistically located next to the cost. Upon arrival in Qalansiya, we pass the nice town blocks, military base with another range of rustic tanks and make a stop at the beautiful viewpoint at the Detwa lagoon – definitely one of the most beautiful beaches on the planet! We take pics of the lagoon from the top and go swimming! Sting rays can be seen in the lagoon, so take care when swimming. As the lagoon is in the western part of Socotra it is the best site to watch the sunset.
Special dinner in Detwah lagoon with the sea food. Shower with the bucket and overnight in tents.

Accommodation included: tents
Meals
included: breakfast, lunch, dinner


Day 6. January 8, 2022 (Saturday). DETWAH LAGOON

After breakfast, we walk around the huge Detwah lagoon accompanied by the Caveman, the local fisherman well known in Qalansiya for his ability 5to catch the stingray with bare hands! Lagoon is famous for its sandy beach, spectacular landscapes and seascapes, sea crates, turtle, massive octopuses, balloon fish, sting rays, sea shells, squids etc.
Caveman will try to catch some rays, as well as oysters, sea urchins, mussels and some other delicacies. Some of it we can taste right in the sea, and for some we will come to the cave, the temporary dwelling of the fisherman.
Here we will have lunch with octopuses or squids caught by caveman. Traditional preparation of Socotrian stingray for lunch.
After lunch again time for swimming in the sea, as usual in Socotra! Late in the afternoon drive to the port of Qalansiya to see the tiny but noisy spontaneous fish market after bringing the catch of the day. We buy some local fish for dinner.
Then return back to our camp in Detwah lagoon.

If participants wish, not far from Qalansiya, we have an option to take a helicopter flight or autogyro(small motor flying vehicle with the helicopter-like propeller) flight above Socotra landscapes (at extra cost of 100 USD, may change).

As the afternoon moves into evening, make sure you find a place to watch one of the spectacular Socotra sunsets.
Dinner and overnight in Detwah lagoon.

Accommodation included: tents
Meals
included: breakfast, lunch, dinner


Day 7. January 9, 2022 (Sunday). DETWAH LAGOON – SHOUB BEACH – HADIBU

After breakfast, early morning we will take a boat trip from Qalansiya to Shoub beach, with local fishermen. Along the way be sure to look out for spinner dolphins while observing the sea birds playfully flying alongside the boat. For a time, a large cliff alongside the boat provides an excellent opportunity for watching seabirds nesting amongst the ledges. For its endemic wildlife and vegetation, Socotra is considered to be the Galapagos of the Indian Ocean, as it was called by the British scientific expedition in 1880.
Line fishing also possible from the boat. Arriving at pristine beach, mangrove trees can be found in the beach. Relax at one of the most beautiful and desert beach on the island. As local say, "golden beach".
Upon arrival back to the camp, we have lunch and then drive back to Hadibu for the rapid COVID test in Shiekh Khalifa hospital (it is not PCR test!), which is required for the flight back to Abu Dhabi (COVID test is at extra cost of 8 USD. The cost may change).

In the afternoon, we attend the folklore evening pre-arranged local traditional dancing of Socotri people in Hadibu. It will happen at Delisha beach, with nice sand dune and the sea shore, well before dark, so photos with good light are possible.
Tonight is our last night in paradise, so it's one last feast. Dinner with lobsters or another seafood, and overnight in the local hotel in Hadibu nearby the airport.

Accommodation included: hotel
Meals
included: breakfast, lunch, dinner


Day 8. January 10, 2022 (Monday). HADIBU – ABU DHABI – (DUBAI) – RETURN FLIGHT

Today we have one last nice Socotra breakfast before we have to head all the way back home.
We take short walk to the fish market or to buy some souvenirs (which is really not easy in Socotra).
Around 10 am transfer to the airport of Hadibu. Check-in for the flight to Abu Dhabi. 2 hours direct flight with governmental charter flight of Air Arabia. Departure at 13:00 pm. Arrival in Abu Dhabi at 16:00 pm (can be delayed).
Transit international flight from Abu Dhabi back home. Or drive by taxi to Dubai and flight from Dubai International Airport.

IN CASE OF FLIGHT FROM ABU DHABI.
If you have less than 24 hours in Abu Dhabi airport (before your flight back home), you are considered traveling transit. Still for boarding you will need to take mandatory free COVID PCR test upon arrival in Abu Dhabi from Socotra (the test result brought from Socotra cannot be used, as it is not PCR!). The result will be ready in 4 hours and sent by email.

IN CASE OF FLIGHT FROM DUBAI.
Upon arrival in Abu Dhabi from Socotra, you must take mandatory free COVID PCR test. The result will be ready in 4 hours and sent by email. You can proceed to Dubai by any taxi car (1 – 1.5 hours) in order to fly back home from Dubai International Airport on the same night or stay overnight in Dubai city and take flight on any of next days. For boarding you will need COVID PCR test result that you took upon arrival in Abu Dhabi from Socotra (the test result brought from Socotra cannot be used, as it is not PCR!).

* Recommended flight from Hadibu (Socotra, Yemen) to Abu Dhabi (UAE):
- direct governmental charter flight with Air Arabia, departure from Hadibu at 13:00 pm on January 10, arrival in Abu Dhabi at 16:00 pm on January 10 (can be 1 – 2 hours delayed)
** Recommended flight from Abu Dhabi / Dubai (UAE) to Moscow:
- direct flight from Dubai with S7 Airlines on January 11 (NEXT DAY), departure from Dubai at 13:30, arriving in Moscow at 18:00 on January 11 (NEXT DAY),
- direct flight SU-0521 with Aeroflot on January 11 (NEXT DAY), departure from Dubai (UAE) at 16:05 pm, arriving in Moscow at 20:50 pm on January 11 (NEXT DAY),
- direct flight EK-131 with Emirates on January 11 (NEXT DAY), departure from Dubai (UAE) at 16:15 pm, arriving in Moscow at 20:30 pm on January 11 (NEXT DAY),
- or any other flight departing from Dubai (UAE) not earlier than 2:00 am on January 11 (NEXT DAY).
- or any other flight departing from Abu Dhabi (UAE) not earlier than 1:00 am on January 11 (NEXT DAY).

Accommodation included: no
Meals
included: breakfast, lunch

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
• Yemen visa full support: documents, visa fees and processing (USD 100 cost included)
• English speaking local guide throughout all trip and special Hoq cave guide
• Russian- and English speaking team leader professional photographer throughout all itinerary.



Cost excludes (to be additionally paid) :

• International flight ticket Abu Dhabi (UAE) - Hadibu (Socotra) - Abu Dhabi (860 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
• COVID test before departure from Socotra (not PCR, at 8 USD per pax, may be changed)
• Tips for local team
• Personal expenses
• 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
• PCR COVID test negative result certificate. Rules for crossing to Socotra (Yemen): printed medical certificate (in English) with a negative COVID-19 PCR test result issued at most 72 hours before arrival. Rules for boarding to Abu Dhabi / Dubai (UAE): PCR COVID test negative result certificate, than would be taken 48 hours before your departure from your city to UAE.
• 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

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1
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We find the most astonishing places on Earth and speed up to reach them. Our motto is to go ahead of road roller, touch the unique and unknown, before it disappears.
2
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3
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4
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5
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