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NEW EXPEDITION: SOCOTRA 2020

discover the UNESCO World Heritage island

Written by Secret Compass

Brand new for 2020, we’re returning to the isolated jewel of the Arabian Sea for an epic expedition to traverse the UNESCO-listed island of Socotra.

Bisecting the island from coast to coast, this 120km camel supported journey will trek into the heart of the Hajhir Massif, tackling the highest non-technical trekking peaks of Socotra. En route, we’ll be exploring expansive wadi gorge systems and crossing plateaus, river valleys and forested hills, wild camping and staying in local home-stays, discovering the natural beauty the country has on offer and experiencing first hand the culture and hospitality of the local communities.

“For tourists, getting onto the island has been virtually impossible in recent years, so after a 7 year hiatus on Socotra we’re super excited to return,” says Secret Compass founder Tom Bodkin. “The island is unlike anywhere else on Earth, there’s tons of endemic wildlife and some pretty mind blowing landscapes. Crossing the whole island, we’ve designed the itinerary to challenge the team but ultimately offer reward. This is an amazing opportunity to really explore what is probably one of the most unique places on the planet.”

Often dubbed the ‘Galapagos of the Indian Ocean’, Socotra is home to an abundance of biodiversity including a huge number of endemic species. For years, the tiny island off the coasts of Yemen and Somalia remained isolated, plagued by civil war which kept the the number of visiting tourists extremely low. As a result, major developments have largely bypassed the island, preserving its unique flora, fauna and terrain.

Expedition Highlights

  • Discover the UNESCO World Heritage listed flora and fauna
  • Explore gorges, plateaus and high peaks before descending to untouched beaches
  • Summit the highest non-technical peaks in the Hajhir Massif
  • Keep an eye out for endemic species such as dragon blood trees and blue baboon spiders
  • Swim in natural rock pools before camping for the night
  • Meet the vibrant communities who call Socotra home

Who is this Expedition For?

Covering about 120km, completing this trek is certainly no mean feat. Designed with equal measures of challenge and reward in mind we deem the expedition physically demanding but achievable by anyone leading a healthy lifestyle. Trekking up to 25km a day over rugged, mountainous terrain, with altitudes of up to 1500m in temperatures averaging 30ºC, the physical demands are pretty clear, and teammates should be prepared to be sore, tired, hungry, uncomfortable and possibly wet at times.

Camel supported, the team will be carrying day packs (up to 8kg) with them on the trek each day so teammates will probably find the distances more attainable than on our 360º expeditions where they may be required to carry much larger packs with far more equipment. However, in order to cover such varied terrain, teammates should arrive ready for all eventualities and prepared mentally and physically for living in basic conditions for the duration. It would definitely be advantageous to come with some previous multi-day trekking or hill-walking experience, as well as some practice camping.

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