The Socotra archipelago is an oasis of calm, isolated in the northwest Indian Ocean off the coasts of Yemen and Somalia. It is a land of high mountains, pristine white beaches, and one of the world’s densest concentrations of plant and animal life found anywhere on the planet.
Visitors throughout history have been drawn to the island in search of its natural treasures, not least the otherworldly dragon’s blood tree, revered for its healing powers and used as a paint colour by artists. There are thought to be 825 species of plants on the 3,796km² island, of which 37% are endemic.
From June to September every year, strong monsoon winds hit the islands, contributing to Socotra’s inaccessibility. This inaccessibility has been a blessing for Socotra's nature in recent years. There have been very low levels of human impact on the environment of the island compared to other global biodiversity hotspots. The island’s population remains small (around 60,000), and was a barter only economy as late as 1990. The island’s isolation also means that Socotra has been insulated from the ongoing civil war on mainland Yemen, making Socotra a safe and welcoming destination for the handful of tourists which make their way to the island each year. Our bespoke itineraries stretch across the Island. Get in touch to hear more options: firstname.lastname@example.org
Whether you're looking for a family adventure, a honeymoon to remember, an office retreat or stimulating solo break, we can curate the trip to fit your needs.
Some of you will be drawn by the prospect of spending time in the remote wilderness, others will be drawn by the chance to learn about a fascinating and poorly understood part of the world. We will work closely with you to guarantee the journey you want away from the typical tourist trails.
Travel length is planned in week long increments, as there is only one flight a week in and out of the island from Abu Dhabi, currently scheduled for Mondays. We suggest a trip of one week for the highlights, and two weeks for more in-depth explorations catering to niche interests.
To read some sample itineraries get in touch with us on: email@example.com.
The price for this trip will depend completely on your chosen itinerary. It will include all food, transport and accommodation whilst in country. We will be assisted by guides who know the region inside out, providing access to areas rarely seen by tourists.
Email to find out more: firstname.lastname@example.org
** Where international payments are due, we request that you ensure the full amount is received, after all bank charges have been levied as per the price and currency stated on the invoice.
We are uncompromising when it comes to the safety and security of our travellers and will not hesitate to alter plans or cancel trips due to changing security dynamics. Due to Socotra's remote location, it has been insulated entirely from the physical conflict on mainland Yemen. We do not travel to mainland Yemen.
Through working with our team of local guides we are able to stay abreast of any changes to the security situation if there were any.
Please see our Travel Security page for more information.
Socotra is host to an extraordinary array of landscapes and endless possibilities.
For those who love the water, crystal clear reefs, bioluminescence, and even the chance to catch a glimpse of a whale shark.
Hiking unexplored mountain ranges, watching the sun rise over the dragon's blood trees, and swimming in the fresh water wadis that crisscross the landscape.
For the history buff, petroglyphs and rock art, including the western-most location of ancient Sanskrit in the island's cave systems are waiting to be explored.
The rest is up to your imagination. Let us know what you have in mind, and we'll curate an itinerary to fit.
ISHKAR Team Members
Your ISHKAR point of contact for the trip is Clare Doolan. If you have any queries about the trip:
Clare Doolan ~ Head of Travel
Clare grew up on a big island in the middle of the Pacific (Australia) acutely aware that a bigger world awaited. For the past fifteen years, she has dedicated her personal and professional life to travel, looking for the backstory of places that get overlooked by guidebooks and google maps. Before joining ISHKAR, she spent a decade developing travel experiences for Botswana and Zimbabwe’s high-end safari industry. Though Clare has travelled widely across every continent other than Antarctica, she’s most fond of forays into Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia.
ISHKAR's trip to Socotra was a truly once in a lifetime experience which we will treasure forever. We loved every minute of it, and wouldn't have changed a thing. Thank you for bringing this place to life for us and for making it so special
Kate - ISHKAR Traveller to Socotra 2021
Ishkar and the local on-the-ground team did an amazing job making a remote island accessible. The staff was great, friendly, helpful, and knowledgable; the arrangements were logical and practical, and the experiences and guests were fun and unique.
Scott - ISHKAR Traveller to Socotra 2021
If Socotra is part of Yemen, is it safe to travel to?
The island’s remote location has insulated it entirely from the physical conflict on mainland Yemen. You may notice military bases on Socotra, but these are not involved in the fighting.
At ISHKAR ensuring the safety of our travellers is at the heart of what we do. For more information surrounding our approach to security read this page.
Why travel with us?
We are proposing a different new travel experience. With years of experience and a network of fantastic contacts, we want to show people the Yemen we know. This trip will be about meeting inspiring people, visiting extraordinary places and experiencing a true adventure in one of the world’s most beautiful and yet least visited regions.
How will COVID-19 affect the trip?
In order to protect both our travellers and those that our travellers come into contact with, we mandate a strict set of COVID-19 protocols which include social distancing, usage of hand sanitiser and the wearing of face coverings. Our COVID-19 procedures are based on up to date advice from the World Health Organisation in addition to following local requirements. Along with our security information, we ensure to send out our COVID-19 procedures document to every traveller.
All travellers (regardless of vaccination status) are required to obtain a negative PCR test result within 72 hours prior to departure. Within 24 hours prior to departure travellers (regardless of vaccination status) must also obtain proof of a negative rapid antigen test result. Proof of both these tests must be sent to ISHKAR prior to departure, and its cost will covered by the traveller, not ISHKAR.
Should ISHKAR decide to cancel a trip as a result of COVID-19 or should a traveller be unable to take part in the trip as a result of COVID-19, you will be offered options including a full refund as per our COVID-19 Travel Policy. Any further questions, please take a look at our COVID-19 Travel FAQs, and our generic COVID-19 Protocols, or contact a member of the team: email@example.com
What is included in the cost?
When we have confirmed your itinerary, we will provide a price for the trip. This cost will include all accommodation, guiding, transport in Socotra, breakfast, lunch and dinner, entrance fees. It will not include international flights into and out of Abu Dhabi, visa fees, insurance, excess luggage charges, cameras, alcohol, additional food and drinks, medical expenses, tipping.
When do I need to book?
This is a bespoke trip according to your preferred dates so there is no concrete deadline. However, the final balance needs to be paid 60 days prior to departure - you can pay this online, or via bank transfer directly to us. To express your interest, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
How easy is it to get a visa?
Very simple - we will provide you with additional documentation to help with your application, along with advice for your country of residence.
Will we have a guide?
Throughout the trip, you will be accompanied by a guide from the region who knows the island extremely well.
Do I need special travel insurance?
You will be expected to have full travel insurance that covers the region. If you are unsure if the policy covers you we can suggest specialist insurance providers.
Do I need any vaccinations?
Please speak with your doctor to ensure you have the correct vaccinations for remote travel in Socotra. The island itself does not currently require specific vaccinations for entry, beyond proof of vaccination against COVID-19 with a WHO recognised vaccine, or proof of negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure for the island.
What do I need to bring?
We will send you a more detailed handbook before leaving, including recommended reading and clothing.
Where will we be staying?
We will be camping in order to access remote corners of the island. There are some basic hotels in Hadibo, but we don't usually recommend these as the best base to explore from. This is all something we can discuss when creating your itinerary.
Can I come on my own?
Yes, though costs for a bespoke trip for solo travellers will be higher than when splitting the costs against a private group.
What is the food like?
All meals are included. There are vegetarian options in most places but please consult us if you have very specific dietary requirements.
When do I need to book my flights?
If you are thinking of booking a trip with us, please email us at email@example.com and we will send you the flights you will need to book, in order to ensure that all travellers' arrivals in to Abu Dhabi are coordinated.
Can I book even if I don’t live in the UK?
Yes of course, our travellers always come from a mix of different countries. You will just need to arrive in the UAE in time to catch the flight to Hadibo.
Do I need to have a good camera for the trip?
No, feel free to bring any camera you wish, including just using the camera on your phone.