The following information relates to our 2013 expedition which was completed in November 2013.
Any revisions (following an evaluation of this pioneering adventure) plus 2014 dates will appear imminently.
Blog and press coverage
Socotra gained UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site status in 2008. Our mission is to conduct a trekking expedition to summit the island’s highest peak, the Haghir Mountain, and explore a mythic island blessed with alien-looking fauna and flora. This ambitious journey will exploring the entire eastern portion of the island on foot. The goal is to travel south starting near Hadibo, the island’s main city, summiting Hajhir via the Ayhaft gorges then looking to reach Erissal Cape via the Homil Plateau. Our trek will lead us through the island’s most enchanting locations and will reveal why it’s known as the Galapagos of the Indian Ocean. An enriching experience will be the chance to meet with native Socotris and learn from their unique traditions.
The expedition will start as soon as we set foot on the island. We will establish our first camp on Delisha beach, on the northern part of the island. This beach is a pristine white sand oasis facing the Arabian Sea, where we will relax and swim both in the sea and in a freshwater lagoon to recover from our previous flights. The day will probably end with a spectacular sunset that will inspire us for the journey to come.
The first phase of our expedition aims to reach the summit of the Hajhir Mountains via the Ayhaft Canyon and Tenerah where will enjoy large freshwater pools and a high density of endemic vegetation such as the famous Tamarind and Cucumber trees. This region is also home to a wide variety of birds such as the Socotra Sparrow, the Socotra Sunbird and both Socotra and Somali Starlings. Despite all that natural beauty, we will be climbing 1600m on a very harsh and rugged terrain in a very short amount of time. Good physical preparation is required.
After reaching the summit of the Haghir Mountains and enjoying its breathtaking views, we will have the opportunity to cross the Fermhin forest. This unique forest is home to Socotra’s famous symbol, the Dragon Blood Tree. With temperatures rising above 30C, their shade will be more than welcome. In the next few days, we will be travelling south-east towards the Homil Plateau, home to the second most important concentration of Dragon Blood and Frankincense trees. On our way, we will yet again witness the best of what nature has to offer. Beautiful rock masses, lush green vegetation, freshwater pools and traditional Socotri villages will take part of our daily routine. At the same time, sharp peaks and deep valleys will bring their fair share of physical challenge! We will then be reaching Matyf, a splendid fishing area on the south coast of the island, before heading north to reach Homil.
The final section of our journey will take us to Erissal cape, a pristine and long white beach, where we will have the chance to relax before heading to Dehamri, home to one of the richest coral reefs of the archipelago for a unique snorkelling experience. Finally, we will spend our last evening at Hadibo, the island’s main city, before heading back home.
Expedition dates are subject to change depending on the Felix Airlines flight schedule.
Please contact Secret Compass for up-to-date information.
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SUITABLE TEAM MEMBERS
You need to be over 21, fit and healthy and capable of trekking for up to 20km a day.
We will be in remote and mountainous terrain for 10 days without external support.
You will need to carry up to 15kg of personal gear.
You should be able to endure continuous sunshine and temperatures above 30 degrees.
- full services of a Secret Compass expedition leader with local guides and drivers
- all meals – we will have a cook to provide excellent local meals
- all transport as outlined in the itinerary
- all specialist and safety equipment
- all accommodation (Including tents)
- all local permits
- international flights
- local airport taxes and international visas
- tips to local guides
- beverages and any costs of a personal nature
- personal equipment (once booked you’ll receive a comprehensive kit list)
Whilst on the trek we will be camping for the entire expedition.
We will have the chance to stay in a guesthouse on our final night.
The trip will involve bumpy rides in a minibus and trekking.
Flights from Dubai are included as per the joining instructions.
Insurance and FCO advice
The British Foreign & Commonwealth Office may advise against certain parts of this itinerary.
Before choosing to join this trip you should first read the relevant sections of the FCO website.
Insurance needs to cover emergency repatriation for medical emergencies and is compulsory.
Many standard policies may not cover you adequately for all aspects of a Secret Compass trip.
Please read your Joining Instructions carefully and visit our Travel Insurance page for advice.
The Yemen continues to suffer from myriad security issues, from Al’Qaeda inspired terrorism to local power struggles. The Yememi mainland is very insecure. At no point on this expedition do we travel in mainland Yemen, although we do touch down for a short period of time at Riyan Mukalla we do not leave the plane. The island of Socotra has not been affected by the turbulence on the mainland, has a very different ethnic make-up and should be analysed differently. It is, however, in a volatile part of the world and you should be aware of any specific issues at the time of travelling.